Disinheritance In Texas
Anyone with any amount of wealth thinks about how their wealth will be distributed after they are gone. What usually happens is that once a person dies, the wealth goes to their legal heirs. But sometimes the legal heirs are disinherited.
What Disinheritance Means
You can use a Will or trust to indicate who will inherit your property, and to exclude people who would otherwise be legal heirs from inheriting your property. Excluding a legal heir from inheriting your property is called disinheritance. For example, when a parent leaves a child out of their Will, that child will be considered disinherited.
A parent may disinherit their child because the child received more gifts than their siblings during the parent’s lifetime. So, the parent disinherits the child to create a balance and avoid a conflict between that child and their siblings. However, a parent can legally disinherit anyone they choose in their Will or Trust.
However, for the disinheritance to count, the parent must be of sound mind or body when adding the disinheritance provision in their Will or trust. Other reasons why people disinherit others in their trusts or Wills include:
- A parent may disinherit a child that has no ongoing relationship with the parent.
- Ex-spouses may disinherit each other after divorce
- A parent may disinherit a child that they feel does not leave according to the parent’s values or principles
Children Can Disinherit Their Parents
Children can disinherit their parents for the following reasons:
- A child can disinherit a parent that did not actively participate in raising them or the parent was absent when they were growing up
- The parent and the child drifted apart and no longer talk
- The parent was violent or abusive when raising the child
- The child fears that the parent will misuse the inheritance
- The parent’s values and principles clash with the child’s values and principles, or the child does not agree with the parent’s lifestyle choices
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You Can Challenge Disinheritance
It can be shocking when you discover you were excluded from a Will or trust if you and your parent or child were on good terms before they died. This is one reason why conflicts erupt. Fortunately, you can take legal action if you feel you have a legal claim to the inheritance.
For example, the spouse of a decedent has a right to at least a third or a half of the decedent’s property, and should sue if they are disinherited. People sometimes disinherit their spouses if the spouses are wealthy and do not need the money. But since every state recognizes that marital property is owned by both spouses in the marriage, you cannot disinherit your spouse.
The only way to prevent your spouse from inheriting your property is by having a prenup or postnup. Children of the deceased can also challenge a disinheritance especially in a situation where the Will is invalid. A Will can be deemed invalid if it has vague language, contradicts itself, or the deceased signed it privately. Talk to an inheritance lawyer if you want to challenge a Will.