Family relationships can be complicated, to put it nicely, and you may conclude that you do not want to leave an inheritance to your adult child. Perhaps there is bad blood between you and your child or perhaps you simply feel your child does not need the inheritance and you would rather leave your estate to a favorite charity or other heirs. Whatever the reason, you will want to tread carefully if you are disinheriting an adult child, to minimize the risk that they will pursue a will contest.

Communication can be key

If you are not going to leave an adult child an inheritance, one crucial step you can take during your lifetime is to explain why. Being disinherited by surprise can make your child wonder why you did not leave them anything in your will and could cause them to question the will’s validity.

You do not need to put a ton of detail into your explanation as to why you are disinheriting your child. However, you need to make it clear to them that you are of sound mind in making this decision.

Disinherit for the right reasons

The desire to disinherit an adult child is very personal. However, you want to be careful if you are doing so as a means of controlling your adult child during your lifetime. Threats to disinherit for misbehavior are generally not taken well and could easily lead to future conflict.

Consider a trust

One option you may be interested in if you are afraid your adult child would squander an inheritance is to leave them an inheritance in a trust rather than a will. You can place conditions on a trust. For example, you could state that your child is not to receive trust funds until they reach a certain age.

A trust is managed by a trustee of your choosing upon your death. You can leave instructions for the trustee to distribute trust funds in increments. This way, your child will not have access to their entire inheritance all at once.

Being disinherited by surprise can lead to a will contest and cause bad feelings between heirs. By communicating your intentions and exploring other estate planning options, you can help preserve your financial interests and desires along with family dynamics if you want to disinherit an adult child in your will.