Consequently, it is essential that you name all of your children in your will, even if you are naming them for the sole purpose of disinheritance. You may wish to include an addendum stating that you have disinherited your child and have made an intentional decision to do so.

Some Important Notes and Exceptions

California law does not entitle children to their parents' properties or possessions. However, omitting a child from a will without explanation can still be troublesome, as they may tell the court that you simply forgot to list them as an heir or otherwise made a mistake. 

Most of the time, though, minor children may have a right to receive support from an estate or an estate’s proceeds. However, the law does provide some exceptions, and an estate planning attorney can help you determine whether any apply to your situation.

The Importance of Having an Estate Plan

Remember that you are only in control of your legacy if you have an estate plan. If you die without a will, a trust, or any other estate strategy, your properties, possessions, and accounts will be branded “intestate.”

When somebody dies intestate, the court uses a pre-defined legal formula to determine how your estate will be divided. This legal formula privileges your spouse, if you had one, and your living children. The probate court will not consider whether you wanted to disinherit your children in intestacy proceedings.


Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.