5 Things to be Considered Before Disinheriting a Child

Related Articles

Relationships are often difficult to navigate and at times we find it hard even to get along with family. Parent-child relationships are some of the most influential relationships. A parent creates a lasting impact on their child. 

The parent-child relationship also shapes the child’s perception of the world and themselves. For this reason, we cannot emphasize the importance of a positive relationship. It can create a sense of security, build a foundation for future relationships and affect self-esteem.

In most cases, when the parents are deceased it is expected that the child will inherit the estate after the probate. However, that is not always the case and wills lawsuits are common. Wills are contested and with the right will lawyer, a will can be invalidated. You may be wondering why a parent would disinherit their child.

The dynamics of a parent-child relationship are complex. They also can change over time as the child grows and develops. The parent and the child have to adapt as the changes occur for the relationship to develop positively. 

Also, this relationship can be influenced by various factors such as parenting style, family dynamics, and cultural background. You also have to factor in your child’s personality and characteristics. You should spend time together and build trust to keep the relationship positive.

However, that is not always the case with most relationships. The relationship between a parent and child may be strained for different reasons. Some reasons include being overprotective, divorces, illnesses, and re-marriage. If the issues are not addressed it may lead to a strained relationship and even a fallout.

In other cases, a child can destroy their relationship with their parents. This can be through financial abuse, disrespect, or difference in opinion. A broken relationship can force a parent to disinherit their child. There are other reasons why a parent may disinherit their child, but they are not always negative.

Warren Buffet, Kevin O’Leary, and Jackie Chan are examples of wealthy individuals that have left their children out of their wills. Each has its reasons for doing this. If you are also considering the same, there are things you need to know.

  1. Establish a Living Trust

Instead of writing a will, you can talk to a wills lawyer about establishing a living trust during your estate planning. With the assistance of estate planning lawyers, creating a living trust is simple and trustworthy.

Living trusts are created years before the death and have a track record of their activity. These records prove that the creator had a sound mind and was not under any pressure to create them. Trusts are also private documents, so your decision to disown your child is not made public.

  1. State Your Intention to Leave the Child out

It is common for a parent to unintentionally disown their children. This occurs when the parent forgets to mention them in the will. In such cases, an adult can dispute the will citing this as a mistake. In the end, they might get what they think they deserve. 

However, to prevent these disputes, you should include your intention to leave the child out of your will. This will eliminate the chance of contesting the will by stating it was a mistaken omission.

  1. Add  a ‘No Contest’ Clause to Your Will

You can ask your will lawyer to include a no-contest clause in your will. This clause states that any heir that challenges the validity of the will forfeits their inheritance. If you take this approach, give that child you want to disown a token amount. This will reduce their likelihood of contesting the will since they have something to lose.

Source: Unsplash

  1. Impact of Disinheriting Your Child

Disinheriting a child is painful for both parties. First, you have to deal with the thought of leaving them out and wondering if they will amount to anything. Also, the act sends your child a powerful and painful message. Therefore, you should consider how disinheriting your child will affect them and their siblings.

The disinherited child can lead to strained family relationships, and in some instances, they may be violent. There are cases of disinherited children killing their siblings after being left out of their parent’s will. Also, they may end up spending years in court disputing the distribution of your estate.

  1. Discussing Your Will With Your Family

Consider discussing your will with your family when you can change things. This discussion presents an opportunity for your benefactors to challenge your will early enough. You can state your reasons for your allocations and save them the time they would spend fighting in court.

Also, it eliminates the surprise they would get when they discover you disinherited one of your children. It allows you to state your reasons and perhaps even mend your relationship. Your child may try to make amends for their actions upon learning about your plan. 

It can give you a chance to improve your relationship and you should be willing to fix things. Remember, leaving them something little is better than nothing. Changing your decision and including them in your will also help with the security of your estate. This is because the child will be less likely to be out to destroy it.

People often fail to include a child in their inheritance since they think they are well off and doing well. However, in such a discussion, your child might communicate the challenges they may be facing financially. This may prompt you to make changes in your will to help them.


Parent-child relationships are often complicated but important. Parents make a lasting impression on their child and this impacts their lives. Therefore, parents need to create healthy relationships with their children and work on keeping these relationships healthy.

With inheritance and succession, a parent may leave one or multiple children out of their will. This stems from a variety of reasons including strained relationships. There are several ways to ensure your child does not contest your will. However, consider discussing your issue with them before you finalize your will.

More on this topic



Popular stories