Estate planning is the process of planning for the disposition of an individual’s
assets at their death. Estate planning can also involve the process of
making sure an individual’s family is taken care of in the event
of incapacity and/or death. To the contrary, in some instances, family
members need to be specifically excluded from receiving bequests under
estate planning documents. This could be because such family members have
grown distant, or another reason could be that the excluded family members
may be more likely to cause trouble to an estate by instituting estate
litigation. In order to disinherit family members, certain formalities
need to be followed.
First, it is important to review what estate planning typically involves.
Estate planning includes incapacity planning documents (durable power
for health care, durable power of attorney for finances as well as a HIPAA
Release), a last will and testament and a revocable living trust. Incapacity
planning documents are put in place to avoid the necessity of guardianship
in the event an individual becomes incapacitated. The last will and testament
and revocable living trust are the documents that provide for asset distributions
and dictate what occurs when an individual dies.
The disinheritance language should be included in the dispositive documents
(last will and testament and revocable living trust). Disinheritance language
could be as simple as “I disinherit my daughter from receiving any bequests” or it could be more expansive and detailed. Such language should be included
in all of the dispositive documents (including the last will and testament
and revocable living trust). In cases of married couples, the disinheritance
language should be included in both of the husband and wife’s estate
planning to allow for consistency.
Contact The Presser Law Firm, P.A. if you or a loved one is interested
in having an estate plan prepared. Our attorneys are knowledgeable in
estate planning, asset protection and business law.