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Can I disinherit my adult children?

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In Florida, you do not have to leave any of your assets and possessions to your adult children if you do not want to. When making your last will and estate plan documents, you may feel like leaving one or a few of your children out of them.

Before you write anyone out of your estate plans, you should think about the damage it can cause. 

Many people believe that it is easy to disinherit someone. No matter what their reasons are for doing so, leaving someone like a child out of estate plans is not as easy as it seems. If they do not disinherit their kid properly, it could hold up the distribution of assets and settling of their estates in probate court. Inheritance disputes are often unavoidable when leaving out an adult child. To minimize the amount of conflict and hurt feelings that occur, you should consider the following: 

Make your intent known 

People who say they are disinheriting someone and do not include that information in their estate plans are putting everyone else's inheritance at risk. They may even inform their family members of their intent before they die.

However, if there is no written record of an estate plan or the estate plan does not state they are disinheriting certain individuals, the courts could end up awarding their assets to the wrong beneficiaries. All plans to disinherit someone should be in writing. 

You should specifically state in your estate plans the names of the individuals you wish to disinherit and the fact that you are excluding them from benefiting from your estate. It is not a good idea to include reasons because they can provide disinherited adult children with fuel to file disputes and challenge your estate plans and final wishes. Your reasons may also give them cause to harbor negative feelings toward their siblings and remaining relatives. 

Do not use disinheritance as a weapon 

If you plan to use disinheritance as a way to control your adult children and keep them on track, you could be creating problems that may cause them to rebel and destroy their relationship with you and the rest of the family. A better option may be for you to set up trusts to incentivize them. 

Before you disinherit anyone, reexamine your reasons for wanting to do so. Once you omit someone from your estate plans and the court executes those plans, you cannot take your actions back or fix the rift that it may create.

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