Does a child have any claim if they were excluded from her father’s Will?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Does a child have any claim if they were excluded from her father’s Will?

My mother-in-law moved in with her love. He was dying of cancer and put her as sole beneficiary in his Will stating that he wanted his daughter to have nothing. Now she says she has claim.

Asked on July 29, 2016 under Estate Planning, Arizona


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Adult children can be disinherited. A given state may have specific language that it may require to be put into the Will, so that the excluded child can't claim that their being disinherited was an oversight. Otherwise, a child need not be listed as a beneficiary in a parent's Will. That having been said, a Will can be contested on other grounds. For example, for "undue influence", "incompetency" of the testor (i.e. the person who made the Will) and the like.

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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