There are a number of planning issues that California residents can run into when they are preparing their wills. On one hand, some people want to leave bequests to so many people that they cannot figure out how to include everyone in their estate plan. On the other hand, a person may wish to exclude a child or other close family member from their will and may fear the repercussions that will develop from that action.
Choosing to leave an heir out of a will can be a tough decision, but there are important steps that can be taken to ensure that their intentions are clear. One of the most troubling things that can happen is the failure of the testator to explicitly state that the excluded individual is disinherited: ambiguity in a will or simply leaving the person out can introduce grounds for will contests and probate issues after the testator's death.
Therefore, if a testator wants to leave someone out of their will, the testator should make it clear that they are leaving a named person out of their estate plan. Readers should know, however, that special rules may apply to spouses in community property states like California, and spouses may, in some cases, be entitled to inherit from their deceased partners even if they are not named in their partners' wills.
Making an estate plan and will that reflect a person's desires can be difficult. With the help of an attorney, a person should be able to accomplish their goals and set up an estate plan that reflects their best hopes for the disposition of their wealth and property.