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Consider a trust when disinheriting a child

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Estate planning involves numerous steps and variables, and what works best for one family may be quite different from what would work best for yours. For example, while others may have easy decisions about who is to get their assets when they pass on, and when, you may have concerns about leaving part or all of your estate to children whom you may not fully trust.

Maybe your child struggles with a drug or alcohol addiction, or perhaps you simply do not believe he or she is responsible enough to manage a large sum of money or considerable assets.

Regardless of your reasoning, if you believe it is necessary to disinherit one of your children, or conversely, leave your children different amounts, you may want to consider creating a living trust.

Trusts and disinheritance

Without a trust, your executor and heirs may have to go through the process of probate before heirs can receive their portion of your estate.

During the probate process, your children may get the chance to contest the information in your will, meaning any disinherited children may be able to fight for a share of your estate. The same holds true if you decide to leave your children differing amounts - the child who receives less may decide to try and plead his or her case for more money during probate.

A trust, meanwhile, means your heirs can skip the probate process, so there is really no opportunity for your disinherited child to contest your wishes. Furthermore, avoiding probate can save your executor considerable time and expense, and it can also help keep the details of your estate under wraps, should you wish to do so.

If you stand strongly behind your decision to disinherit one of your children, creating a trust is a wise way of ensuring that your wishes are carried out. It is also a good way to avoid the often lengthy, public and convoluted process of probate.

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