Can you legally leave your children out of your Will with no problems?

UPDATED: Jul 1, 2014

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Can you legally leave your children out of your Will with no problems?

Asked on July 1, 2014 under Estate Planning, Florida


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Children have no automatic right to inherit from their parents. So yes, a parent may leave their child out of their Will (i.e. they can disinherit them).

That having been said, it is important to include the name of your child in the Will (or Trust). It should include the names of all of your children, even those who may not receive any of your property. The fact is that, failure mention them opens up an argument that you simply “forgot” your child. And if you had actually forgotten them, they might convince a court to direct some, possibly all, of your assets to them even though you express the opposite in your Will. Then, after you’ve shown that you are fully aware of who your children are, you can leave your property to whomever you wish without fear that your wishes will not be carried out. Your attorney (or you if you draft your own Will, you) should include a statement to the effect that, “If I left [the name of your child/children] out of my Will on purpose.” Additionally, you should include a statement that any person who may contest your Will is not to receive any portion of your  estate.

At this point, you should consult with a probate attorney in your area; they will be well versed in specific state law as to this matter.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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