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When you created your estate plan, you might not have thought about how your relationships would change over time. Yet, you may now find yourself on the outs with a beneficiary. No matter the reason for your rift or estrangement, you may want to disinherit them.
Disinheriting a beneficiary is not as simple as omitting their name from your will. Instead, you may need to rewrite your will – or add a codicil – to make it clear that you intend to leave them nothing. Otherwise, your disinherited beneficiary could claim that you left them out by accident. To avoid this outcome, you will want to work with an estate planning attorney to make sure your changes are valid and binding.
Keep in mind that after your will passes through probate court, it becomes public record. Once your will is filed, anyone interested in reviewing it can access a copy. Your disinherited beneficiary may decide to look it over and challenge it based on their findings. Yet, unless they have rights to inheritance, their challenge is unlikely to succeed.
Disinheriting a beneficiary named in a revocable living trust is easier than disinheriting one named in a will. This is because living trusts are private documents. If your estate plan includes one, it does not have to enter the public record after you die. Only the beneficiaries of your living trust are allowed to see its provisions and potentially challenge them. By amending your trust to remove a beneficiary, you will make it difficult for them to do either.
While no one hopes to disinherit a beneficiary, it is important to know the steps you must take to do so if you need to. By keeping these in mind, you can make sure your assets end up in the right hands down the road.
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