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Think carefully before leaving a loved one out of a will


When they sit down to execute a will, most Washington residents are trying to find a way to provide for their family and to be fair to everyone. However, there are times when one might want to leave a potential heir out of a will. This can create a lot of conflict within families, and the testator must considered this very carefully.

People sometimes leave a child or a spouse out of a will because they do not get along. In many of these cases, the person whose will is at issue, known as the testator, comes to regret the decision and revises the will before passing away. In some cases, the feuding family members patch up their differences but the testator never gets around to revising the will. A scenario such as that is sure to create family conflict and perhaps even a formal will contest in probate court.

However, there can be legitimate reasons to leave a family member out of a will. Although this can at first sound heartless, one example is for a family member who is disabled. As this blog noted recently, a special needs trust can be a better way to provide for family members with severe disabilities than a will. In some cases, inheritance through a will could disqualify the disabled heir from receiving much-needed public assistance. A special needs trust can work around that technical problem.

Many of the will contests and disputes that pop up over inheritance can be avoided through careful estate planning. Washington residents who wish to ensure the well-being of their family with a simple and effective estate plan should get help considering as many variables as they can.

Source: Bloomberg, "You Want to Cut Your Kid Out of Your Will. Or Do You?" Lewis Braham, July 23, 2013

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