There are many people in Los Angeles who use their wills or estate plans to make a statement to family and loved ones. These people will often keep the specifics of an estate plan under wraps rather than keeping an open dialogue between family members and loved ones. This can end up to be a costly and damaging decision because it only truly impacts those who were left behind to deal with the provisions set forth in these plans.
Making a drastic decision or announcement in a will can leave family members lost and searching for answers they may never find. This can be especially true if a person disinherits a child or other family member in a will. Not only will a child be upset by this decision, but it is very likely that they will challenge the estate in probate court.
The process of challenging an estate plan can be very complex and time-consuming. Is some cases, these disputes go on for years and often take a significant toll on the people involved. Often times, the decision to disinherit one child in a will ends up hurting other children because they are then put into an uncomfortable position to either comply with the wishes announced in a will or not. This can be a painful situation, and rather than put family members through it, a person looking to disinherit a child may want to consider alternatives.
There are ways to limit payments to children, depending on the reason that a parent may want to do so. If a child struggles with substance abuse, a parent can limit inheritance money until a he or she seeks treatment and stays clean. Then there are some parents who appoint a trustee to intermittently assess the finances of the heirs and adjust payments accordingly so as not to distribute assets unfairly to children with different levels of wealth.
No matter what decision a person makes when it comes to an estate plan, it can be crucial to consider the impact that it will have on heirs and beneficiaries. Rather than putting together a will that will be constantly challenged in court with terms that are left up to a judge to interpret, people can work with an attorney to develop a clear, comprehensive and effective estate plan that expresses their wishes appropriately.
Source: Bloomberg, “You Want to Cut Your Kid Out of Your Will. Or Do You?” Lewis Braham, July 23, 2013