Disinheritance occurs when a person legally excludes someone from their will who would normally be considered an heir. This includes spouses, children, and grandchildren.

Drafting a will in which you disinherit a child requires an intricate knowledge of the British Columbia legal system to avoid the possible redistribution of your estate under the Wills Variation Act. It is imperative to seek legal guidance for disinheritance. You can contact DBM’s Sechelt, Langley, or Coquitlam lawyers here.

While you may have good reasons for excluding an heir from your will, it is also important to remember there can be serious familial and emotional repercussions. As such, legal disinheritance is something that should be thoroughly considered before being put into action. Ideally, the disinheritance should also be communicated in advance to those affected by it.

 

1. Estrangement

According to legal and social custom, children and grandchildren are considered heirs to your estate. However, if you’ve become estranged from your child and are no longer in contact or have a historically bad relationship, you may wish to exclude them from your will in favour of other beneficiaries.

Unlike divorcing a spouse, legally severing ties with a child is uncommon. As such, disinheriting them in your last will and testament is the surest way to make clear the estrangement in the eyes of the law. This helps ensure your estate goes to those recipients you choose, rather than those automatically considered a legal heir.

DBM’s lawyers help throughout the Tri-Cities and beyond navigate disinheritance scenarios such as this, with law offices in Sechelt, Langley, and Coquitlam. Lawyers specialized in wills and estates are available at all of our locations.

2. Lack of need

Even if you have a good relationship with your child or grandchild, you still may decide to disinherit them. This happens when, for example, a child has amassed a large estate of their own, and you’d like to split your estate among other beneficiaries who have a greater need for it.

You may also decide to have a lawyer help you disinherit an heir when a child has already received a large amount of financial support throughout your lifetime. Disinheriting them in your will can be a way to balance this financial difference among other heirs.

3. Increased need

Another reason you may choose to disinherit heirs with whom you have a good relationship is when one heir has a greater need than the others. This commonly happens when a testator has a dependent adult child who has disabilities and who will require financial support throughout their lifetime.

In this case, you may wish to create a trust for your dependent child, which will set out provisions for their future care, rather than disperse your estate equally among all your children. This means you must disinherit the other children in order to leave your estate to the one with the greatest need.

Whatever the reasons for disinheriting a child, it should be done under the guidance of a wills and estates lawyer.

 

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