Estate Planning Cincinnati: How To Disinherit Someone

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2017 | Business Law |

ESTATE PLANNING CINCINNATI: HOW TO DISINHERIT SOMEONE Posted on – 07/13/2017 by PJK There are often good reasons why a person or couple may decide to leave someone out of their estate plan. Perhaps a child has already received substantial gifts during the parents’ lifetimes. It could also be that one child is financially secure while the other is not so well off. Whatever the reason, Ohio law protects the rights of an individual to disinherit someone who otherwise would be entitled to inherit. The easiest way to disinherit someone is simply to leave them out of your will or trust. If the person is not specifically mentioned, the legal presumption is that they don’t get any part of the trust or estate (although some people—such as surviving spouses—cannot be totally disinherited, no matter what you put in your will). The problem with simply leaving someone out of your will is that after you’ve passed away they may—and probably will—complain that they were only left out because of the nefarious anglings of other more fortunate family members who were included. The better alternative to leaving someone out of the will or trust is to specifically state in the will or trust that they are being intentionally disinherited, the reason they’re being disinherited and that, if they contest your will or trust, they will be deemed to have pre-deceased you and will receive nothing. Which brings me to another consideration, which is whether you should disinherit someone entirely, or leave them something that they could lose if they challenge your estate plan.  For example, you could leave someone $5,000.00.  Now they have decide if they would rather have the $5,000.00, or challenge your will or trust and potentially receive nothing. Ohio law specifically authorizes a will or trust to include language prohibiting will or trust contests in court and these bans will be upheld so long as there really isn’t anything wrong with the will or trust. Finally, if you are planning to disinherit a family member who expects to receive something after your death, it may make sense to break the bad news to them before you die so they won’t contest your estate plan in court after you’re gone (however, the prospect of a will contest after you’re dead may be preferable to the awkward moments at Thanksgiving dinner). Estate planning, particularly when disinheritance is contemplated, can be a difficult process but if done correctly can save your estate significant legal expenses and courtroom drama when you are gone. Paul Kellogg is an attorney in Cincinnati with the Phillips Law Firm, Inc. Paul’s practice focuses on providing comprehensive estate planning and probate services to families and business owners, as well as serving as outside general counsel to entrepreneurs and businesses where he provides guidance and advice on a wide variety of transactions and disputes.  He can be reached at (513) 985-2500 or via email.   Please explore Paul’s other articles on estate planning and business on the Phillips Law Firm Blog page.    The article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Anyone contemplating taking legal action is urged to obtain proper legal advice from an attorney licensed in your particular jurisdiction.  For an initial consultation contact us at (513) 985-2500 or email us or click Chat Now!® to get started immediately.