Do I Have to Include my Child in my Will?

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Perhaps you and your child have had a falling out. Or you simply haven’t spoken with them in years. Do you have to include them in your will? Sometimes parents wonder whether they have to include their children in their wills. Read this blog for more information regarding leaving your child out of your will and how to go about it.

Common Reasons to Leave a Child out of a Will

  • You have a large estate
    • Some parents fear that their children will simply live off a large inheritance rather than working for themselves and experiencing new things.
  • Your child has a disability and you worry they will lose their medical benefits
  • Your child struggles with addiction
  • You and your child do not speak

In each of these cases, you can set up a trust for your child, rather than excluding them from your will. For example, you can set up a special needs trust to ensure that your child is taken care of financially and does not lose any important disability benefits. To learn more about trusts, reach out to an estate planning attorney.

Can I Leave my Child out of my Will?

Yes, you can exclude your child from your will, as long as they are of age. If your child is underage at the time of your passing, or has a disability, you will need to make arrangements to ensure that they are cared for. There are laws in most states protecting children under the age of 18.

If you do wish to leave your child out of the will, it is not enough to simply exclude them. Instead, you will want to state that you are not leaving anything for your child and provide a reason. This is because if you exclude them without any explanation, the child can contest your will after your passing. They may argue that you forgot to include them or you were not of sound mind at the time of the writing. To avoid this, be explicit in your wishes and retain the help of an experienced estate planning attorney.

Can I Change my Mind?

Yes. It is important to remember that you can modify your will. If you exclude your child from your will and something changes, you can add them to the will. On the flip side, if your child is included in your will and you wish to remove them from the will, you can do that as well. Circumstances change and it is important to account for that when it comes to estate planning.

For help writing your will and planning your estate, contact us today.

Contact our Firm

If you or a loved one needs assistance creating an estate plan and wish to speak with an experienced attorney, contact the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC today.


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