March 07, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Disinheritance in California estate plans
Article provided by Burkley & Brandlin LLP
Visit us at http://www.burkley-brandlin.com/
A will is a very powerful tool. With a valid will, you can direct what happens to your assets after you die, ensuring that the people you love are well taken care of. Of course, the opposite is also true -- by leaving someone out of your will you can, in most cases, prevent them from recovering anything after you pass away.
Many people think of the decision to disinherit someone as the result of a fight or falling out. While this is certainly true in some circumstances, the decision to disinherit someone is more often born of very practical concerns. For example, you might have one child who has become independently wealthy and another who has struggled to get by. Or, you might want to direct the bulk of your estate to care for a disabled loved one. The possibilities really are endless.
However, as with any estate planning move, it is very important to talk with an experienced attorney before drafting a new will or making any changes to an existing one. Like most states, California limits how and when family members can be disinherited. Running afoul of these laws can prevent your final wishes from being carried out.
Disinheriting a spouse
Because California is a "community property" state, you cannot prevent your spouse from receiving his or her share of the marital community property. No matter what your will says, California law guarantees that your spouse will receive a certain percentage of your marital assets when you die. You can, however, use your willto prevent your spouse from inheriting anything from your separate property or from your share of the marital assets.
Disinheriting children and other relatives
Your ability to disinherit your children depends entirely on their age. In most cases, minor children cannot be disinherited. Adult children, on the other hand can be freely removed from your will.
The same goes for parents, grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews and other relatives. You are under no obligation to provide for any of these relatives after your death.
How to disinherit a relative
Technically speaking, you can disinherit a relative simply by failing to mention him or her in your will. However, to avoid any confusion after your death, it is better to include a statement in the will signaling your intent to exclude the relative from recovering from your estate.
However, it is important to think carefully before disinheriting a relative, especially if you are doing so because of a falling out. Even though you are angry now, you might reconcile later. If you don't change your will, your relative will remain left out.
If you are thinking of disinheriting a loved one, be sure to talk with an experienced California estate planning attorney. The attorney can review your situation to make sure your wishes will be carried out after you pass away.---
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