Many people make assumptions about their loved ones estate plan. If you assume that you will be getting an inheritance, you should think again. There are no laws in place that guarantee you an inheritance.
No Legal Right to an Inheritance, Even from Parents
You may assume that you will be a beneficiary of a love ones estate. However, being a close friend or relative doesnt guarantee that you will receive an inheritance. There are no laws that force an individual to leave assets to their family members, other than spouses in some states.
If Disinheriting Loved Ones, Explain Why While Youre Alive
When creating your own estate plan, its important to discuss your wishes with your loved ones. This will allow everyone to have a better understanding of the decisions that you have made. Loved ones have an opportunity to ask you questions and express concerns.
Often, resentment, hurt feelings, and family discord can be avoided through frank discussion.
If Disinheriting Natural Beneficiaries of Your Bounty, Explicitly Do So
Its also important to understand the importance of being clear in your estate planning documents. If you have the intention of disinheriting a loved one, you need to spell this out in your will or trust. If you dont, your loved one may contest your disposition.
In other words, specifically state that you are not providing for your loved one in your will or trust. Just not mentioning him or her is likely to lead to a will contest and your heir is likely to win, especially if he or she is a spouse, child, or grandchild.
Being Mean Always Backfires
You should also not leave a small amount of money to an individual with the intentions of being mean. If you decide to leave $20 to Susan, she will be upset, and may challenge your will. This will cost your estate money, leaving less for your loved ones.
In addition, your executor may have trouble locating Susan which means your executor may spend a lot of time and money searching for Susan. And, your other beneficiaries inheritances will be delayed.
Where to Get Help with Inheritance Issues
If you need assistance with inheritance issues and your estate plan, be sure to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.