3 questions to ask if you’re considering disinheriting a child

Disinheriting a child is a huge step to take. It means cutting that person entirely out of your will. They get nothing.

This is not something you should ever do lightly. There are situations when it may be the best decision for your family, but you must carefully consider it before acting. Never do it rashly or on impulse. If you’re thinking about it at all, here are three questions to ask first:

1. Are you trying to manipulate the child by threatening to cut them out of the will?

You never want to do this. The threat of disinheriting someone isn’t a way to get them to do what you want, whether that means picking a specific career or even a spouse. A child should only get removed from the will when absolutely necessary.

2. Are you willing to make it 100 percent clear that you meant to do it?

Just leaving someone out of the will technically disinherits them, but it is better to be clear and to actually write into your will that that specific person gets nothing. It may also be wise to have a face-to-face conversation to explain your decision.

3. Do you have any other options?

For instance, maybe you are thinking of cutting the child out of your will because you think they’ll waste the money. Another option could be putting the money into a trust, giving you a way to control how it is spent. You can set up an educational trust to pay for college, for example.

As you do your estate planning, especially if you’re considering such drastic measures, make sure you know all of the legal steps you’ll need to take.