Questions For Nick (Disinherit)

I don’t trust my daughter-in-law. She is irresponsible with money. Do I have to leave my son any part of my estate?

You have no legal obligation to name your son as a beneficiary in your Will. In New Jersey, only a surviving spouse has a legal right to the assets of the predeceasing spouse, even if that person’s Will specifically disinherits the surviving spouse. However, a child has no such protection.

On occasion, a parent will consider disinheriting one or more of their children. This is a significant decision and it should be given serious consideration before including such a provision in your Will. Many times a parent is upset with the husband or wife their child has chosen and fears their money will end up with this person. A less punitive estate planning tool is the use of a trust into which your son’s share of your estate is held. The trust allows your son and, if you choose, his children to access the money during their lifetime. However, your daughter-in-law would have no right to access the trust assets. Moreover, upon your son’s death, the remaining monies in the trust would pass to your grandchildren, or anyone else you designate in your Will, and not to your daughter-in-law.

Disinheriting your son is a drastic step and it will have lasting implications for him, his family and your other children after you have died. The trust discussed is just one method of ameliorating an outright exclusion of your son in your Will.

The questions and answers by Nicholas A. Giuditta, III, of the Law Office of Nicholas A. Giuditta, III, provided herein are for general information purposes only. The information does not, nor is it intended to, constitute legal advice and is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Online readers should not act upon this information without discussing the particular facts of their matter with an attorney.

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