Should you tell someone they won’t inherit?

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2023 | Estate Planning |

If you have children, they probably expect to inherit something when you pass away. Yet child-parent relationships can sometimes become strained, and you might decide you don’t want to leave anything to one (or all) of them.

Should you leave them to find out when it’s no longer your problem? Or should you give them advance warning that they are due to receive nothing?

It’s probably best to tell them now

It’s unlikely to be an easy conversation, but here is why you should probably have it:

It might be the wake-up call they need.

Maybe your son has wasted their life on drugs. They’ve done all sorts of mean things, such as stealing from your purse or stashing drugs in your house and almost getting you arrested. That does not mean they are bad person. It just means the drugs have more influence on them than they know how to handle.

However much you have tried to help them, sometimes it takes a big wake-up call, such as realizing they won’t inherit a cent to provide the boost they need to do something about their problem.

It reduces the chance of a family feud when you’re dead

Sibling rivalry can be intense, and however valid your reasons for not leaving anything to a particular child, they may feel their siblings pushed you toward that decision.  Taking time to explain that you don’t feel they need the money as much as the others (or that none of them need it as much as a charity needs it) now allows them time to comprehend. If they only find out when you die, they may resort to legal action on instinct.

If you are sure you want to disinherit someone, seek legal help to understand how best to write it into your will.