Estate Planning, Probate, Trusts, Uncategorized, Wealth, Will Contests, Wills

How to Disinherit Your Loved Ones (Part 2)

The point of this newsletter is to educate as many people as I can about estate planning and probate in an easy-to-understand manner…

With a slight hint of sarcasm of course.

As I mentioned last week, sometimes the holidays remind you of the less-than-perfect sides of your family. If that’s the case, sometimes you want your estate plan to protect you from those family members.

So, contrary to the spirit of the holidays, I want to give some tips and pointers on how to exclude (and how to NOT exclude) family members from your estate.

Today’s Tip: Do Not Mention Family Members By Name if You’re Excluding Them.
“I give my wife Suzy half of my estate because she was a loving and caring wife for me towards the end of my life. I give Mary the other half for being such a faithful daughter as well. However, I give ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to my son, John Jr., who is a raging alcoholic who stole from my savings and…”

No! No, no, no, no, and another no!

Do not have language like that in your will or trust. Please no. Here’s what I mean.

Sometimes ambiguity is better than precision. In the case of the family member you are excluding from your will or trust, do NOT mention them by name. And especially do not mention why you do not want them to receive anything.

Why?

Because it’s very embarrassing to get called out in a legal document that the whole family will see. And embarrassed people act irrationally.

When a creator of a will or trust passes away, the rest of the family is going to read the document. Attorneys will argue the document before judges. Creditors are going to ask for a copy of the document for their review. Long-lost family members looking for a handout are going to ask for copies.

And right there in bold letters is the part that is very embarrassing for the excluded family member for everyone to see.

But you may ask, so what? It doesn’t matter if the person is embarrassed! We need to know what does or doesn’t happen to the excluded family member!

And to that I say that you are inviting a whole lot more family drama into your life. Here’s what I mean.

The now-embarrassed family member is going to look for retribution. They are going to want to clear their name to the family, the law, and all of these other parties asking why he or she didn’t receive anything.

More specifically, the embarrassed and excluded family member is going to want to sue and bust up the will or trust to reflect what the excluded family member wants.

This is more drama, more costs going to attorneys, and more fights between loved ones.

My suggestion? Do not mention the excluded family member whatsoever. Do not give them $1.00. Do not mention their names whatsoever in the documents.

By the natural process of elimination, everyone will be able to tell who gets what under the will or trust. There is no need to put a specific name that is excluded from the estate. There is especially no need to state why you excluded someone.

Keep the will or trust to the point and without drama. That way, there is less of a chance that family will try to cause more fights after you have passed.