Spiro J. Verras Blog

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Cutting a Relative Out of Your Will

How do I disinherit a child in Florida?

With a will, you generally have the power to leave your assets to whomever you desire. At times, a parent may elect to leave a child out of his or her will, or a spouse could attempt not to include his or her partner in the will. Disinheriting someone is a difficult decision sometimes dictated by pragmatic rather than revenge based motives. It is important that you follow the letter of the law when disinheriting some family members, as leaving out certain parties could lead to litigation.

Excluding a Child

There are many circumstances that could lead a parent to want to disinherit, or leave nothing in their will, to an adult child. A parent may elect to disinherit an adult child due to a strained relationship, the child’s egregious behavior, or simply because the child is doing well and does not need the inheritance, while other loved ones may. Under Florida law, you are free to disinherit your adult child entirely, absent a court order in a divorce that requires you to provide for the child upon death.

If you intend to disinherit your adult child, it is critical that you have a strong estate plan. If you die without a will, your estate will likely go at least in part to your child or children. Accordingly, you will need to make a will right away. Your will should specify that you are electing to leave out a child, rather than not mentioning the child whatsoever. Consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure your estate plan complies with the law and will not likely be challenged by the child you have disinherited.

Leaving Out a Spouse

At times, a wife will desire to leave her husband nothing in her will, or vice versa. Leaving a spouse off a will raises complex legal issues and the Florida legislature has laws in place to protect a surviving spouse not included in a will. Under the law, the surviving spouse can choose to receive 30 percent of the value of the deceased spouse’s estate. The estate may include more than those assets listed in the will, and could encompass life insurance policies, investments, and bank accounts. This law will not apply if your spouse has signed a pre or postnuptial agreement limiting what he or she will receive upon a spouse’s death. If you are seeking more information regarding your estate plan, contact us today.

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