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Can you leave your child nothing in your will?

On Behalf of | May 19, 2023 | Estate Planning |

If one of your children finds themself left out of your will, they are likely to be upset, even if you have done it because they do not need the money. That could lead to them trying to challenge it. So, if you intend to leave them out, you need to do it carefully to reduce the chance they succeed in contesting it.

First, let’s be clear –  just because you don’t mention them in your will does not mean you are disinheriting them entirely.

A will might not cover all aspects of an inheritance 

If you feel your child will squander any money you leave them due to their addictions but maintain a slight hope they will turn things around, you could leave them out of your will but put something aside for them in a trust. You could set it up so they only get it if they meet specific conditions, such as attending rehab and staying drug-free for three years.

If you do want to cut them out entirely, make it clear

You can write in your will that you are choosing to leave the child nothing. That is far better than just omitting to mention them in it, as it is clear to them and anyone else that you made a decision rather than forgot to include them.

Consider explaining your decision to them while you are still around if you fear they will cause problems for those who are inheriting. You are better placed to justify your decision than anyone else. In all cases, it’s wise to seek legal guidance to learn more.