Estate Planning often involves the process of ensuring an individual’s
family is taken care of in the event of incapacity or death, as well as
determining who will receive an inheritance. However, in some instances,
family members need to be specifically excluded from receiving bequests
under Estate Planning documents.
There can be any number of reasons for this. After the death of a loved
one, family members can be at odds. The family members may have simply
grown distant, or they may be more likely to cause trouble to an estate
by instituting estate litigation. In any case, specific family members
can be disinherited. In order to do this, certain formalities need to
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 dispositive
documents that provide for asset distributions and dictate what occurs
when an individual dies.
The disinheritance language should be included in the dispositive documents.
This 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.