Do I have to leave each child something when I do my estate planning? 53 Answers as of May 28, 2013

I have 4 children, one disowned me, one threw me out on the street, out of my own home, one just is bad, so do I have to give them anything?

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Halloran & Sage | Vincent A. Liberti
No. It's entirely your choice of what to do with your assets. You can spend it all; give it all to one child; give it all to charity - whatever you wish.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 1/4/2013
SmartWills
SmartWills | Scott Pesetsky
California law allows you to give your property to anyone you want, but has protections for forgotten spouses and children. See a qualified attorney for help, or your children may be able to use statutory protections to claim a share of your estate.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/4/2013
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
No. You do not.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 1/4/2013
Asset Protection and Elder Law Center
Asset Protection and Elder Law Center | Shadi Alai-Shaffer
You do not have to give your children anything if you do not want. If you prefer a complete estate plan which includes a Trust and a Will you can designate who you want your beneficiaries to be and you can legally disinherit your children. If you pass away without a Trust/Will then more than likely your estate will go to your legal children equally under the law.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/4/2013
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
No, you are not required to leave them anything in your will.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 12/30/2012
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    No, you do not have to leave your children anything. If you want to do that, you should name them in your Will and state specifically that you are not leaving them anything. You do not have to give a reason and it is better legally to not give a reason.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Paul Nidich, Attorney at law
    Paul Nidich, Attorney at law | Paul Nidich
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 5/28/2013
    Tom L Cross, Attorney PC
    Tom L Cross, Attorney PC | Tom L Cross
    You are not required to leave any part of your estate to your children. If your plan is to "disinherit" your children then you must specifically identify the children in a will and specifically state that this child(ren) are not being left anything from the estate. If the children are not specifically identified then that child could claim pretermitted heir status and claim a portion of the estate under intestate succession.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    No, you can leave your estate to whomever you wish.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    DENKER & BUTLER, PLLC | RICK DENKER
    No. You can disinherit all of your children in a will or trust agreement.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    No. It is your property to do what you wish. Be sure you give all your property away, though. Be sure the will states you know you have children, name them, but you do not want anything to go to them. I always have the client state why. All that shows you did not omit them. Sorry your kids treated you that way. Unfortunately, you are not alone.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    The Legal Center | Richard Manwaring
    Your estate is your estate and you can leave it to whom ever you choose. You can disinherit any or all of your children if you choose. If you choose to not leave a child an inheritance it is best to specifically disinherit that child to avoid having a potential probate battle with the child or children you did not give anything to saying that you simply forgot to include them. Other option is to leave a nominal amount to that or those children stating that you fully realize you are leaving such a low amount.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    You don't have to leave anyone anything. Those are your possessions and you can do with them whatever you wish. However, be sure to leave a will (with someone you consider reliable), otherwise the courts will divide up your possessions according to Florida Statutes, and after the creditors are paid, your husband (if you have one) will receive his share, and your kids will divide whatever he doesn't receive; if no husband, your kids will divide the possessions with each receiving an equal share.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    You have no obligation to leave anyone, including children, anything. But if you do not have a will and use the will to leave your property to someone else, it is likely without a will the children would inherit by state law which applies when someone dies without a will. To make sure the will is done correctly to keep the children from inheriting you should consult an estate planning attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    A good lawyer can help you properly disinherit adult children.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    No. You can leave your assets to whoever you wish.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    No you do not have to leave something to each child. Some attorneys would suggest you do to avoid a contest. I strongly recommend working with an attorney who can completely and accurately address the reasons WHY are are disinheriting a child in your will or trust in order to help defend against any contest.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    You do not have to leave your children anything but there names should be stated in your will with your statement that you make no provision for them.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    No, but see an attorney to make it stick. You will have to have at least a will.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Nope. I do like to put a statement in the wills I draft that the testator chooses not to leave anything to the child. That way, there can be no claim that you forgot them. It is your money and your assets, you can leave it to whomever you want.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray
    Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray | Ronald D. Reemsnyder
    If you want to exclude your children you should have a Will. In your Will you should direct where your property should go. You may entirely exclude all your children or any of them as you wish.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    No, you do not. Make it clear that some of your children will not receive anything in the will.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Christensen Corbett & Pankratz
    Christensen Corbett & Pankratz | Craig L. Pankratz
    You are not required to give anyone anything in your will or other estate planning document. Give your property to whomever you want, even if he or she isn't related to you.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Kram & Wooster, P.S. | Richard H. Wooster
    You can distribute your property as you see fit. You do have to specifically mention the heirs you are not providing for in the will or they can challenge claiming they were inadvertently omitted. If you don't leave a will they may take a share under the laws of intestate succession.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Law Offices of Sherrie L. Davidson, LLC | Sherrie L. Davidson
    You do not have to leave anyone anything. However, each child should be specifically named to Show your intent that they receive nothing rather than saying nothing about them. This ensures your intent and not that they were mistakenly left out.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Lampton Law Firm LLC | Norman Lampton
    No! The law does not require you to give anyone anything. However if you fail to leave a spouse a proper amount a spouse can take against the will.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    The Law Offices of Tres A. Porter | Tres A. Porter
    Absolutely not. However you should absolutely contact an estate planning attorney in your area as soon as possible. If you die without having a will, trust, or estate plan in place in California a portion of your estate will go equally to all of your children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    No, you do not have to leave anything to a child but it is important to make it clear that you are intentionally not leaving anything to the child. If you do not do so, there is a legal presumption that you forgot that child and he/she will receive a share of your estate.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Robert E. Giffin | Robert E. Giffin CPA
    No, but make sure you disinherit any child through you will, by stating you remember them, but leave them nothing in the will.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Zahaby Law Offices
    Zahaby Law Offices | Jon A. Zahaby, Esq.
    If you do a valid Estate Plan you can leave your estate to anyone you wish. You may also not to leave anything to certain children. If the you will be disinheriting certain children it is important to avoid both probate (no Living Trust) and intestate succession (no Will).
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Timiney Law Firm
    Timiney Law Firm | Leigh Anne Timiney
    I am sorry to hear about your strained relationships with your children. To answer your question, no you absolutely do not have to leave any of your children anything in your will or your estate plan. There is no requirement that simply because you have children, you have to leave them any property or valuables. Your possessions are yours to do with as you wish, and as such, you are free to leave them to whomever and not leave them to whomever. I would strongly suggest you get with an estate planning attorney and create at least a will, so your wishes are known when you pass away. Good luck to you.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry | Charles R. Perry
    Nothing requires you to leave anything to any of your children in your will. You need to make your will absolutely crystal clear, however, that you do not intend to leave them anything. You would be wise to consult with an estate-planning lawyer as to how this can best be done.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    My practice is to leave each child 100 dollars, which shows that you thought about them when planning your estate. Or you could mention each one and specifically disinherit each child. You have to be very specific as to your intentions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Law Offices of Phillip Day
    Law Offices of Phillip Day | Phillip Day
    No, you don't. You can leave everything you own to charity if you like or to your next door neighbor. However, I'm a firm believer of using estate planning as a way to reconcile if at all possible since death is so absolute and there is no way to ever take back things that are said once you pass away. I encourage all of my clients to use estate planning as a way to tell your kids that you are upset and that if things don't change, then there is no reason to change the plans. For example, you can choose to disinherit your one of your children, and leave small percentages to two others and the vast majority to the one that is kind to you. Then you invite your kids to thanksgiving and talk to them about your estate plans and have them read what was signed. Some will be very upset and may ask why. Many of my clients are surprised that they ask why and as I always tell them that most of the times family disputes are simply miscommunications and that one party sometimes doesn't even understand or is aware of the problem. If you can air out your issues while you are alive, it gives everyone a chance to talk and at least come to peace with your wishes. Otherwise you could die and they would be terribly confused and point their animosity towards their siblings who may have nothing to do with the original dispute. So to answer your question, you can do what you want, but instead of using your will as a sword to strike the last blow, I would try to use it as a way to open up a line of communication and telling them that you can change the will if family harmony and peace is possible.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    No you do not. First, if you're over 65 and a child literally threw you out of the home you own, contact Adult Protective Services for your county. That's elder abuse. Second, you do not have to leave anything to your kids.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC | Darin Christensen
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/28/2013
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    No. Just leave them $1.00 and explain it as "they inherited during my life and must not inherit at my death".
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
    In Maryland, assuming you have no legal obligations to care for minor or disabled children, you do not need to include your children in your estate plan. "Disinheriting" children is an important reason why you would want to plan your estate to avoid intestate succession, the statutory "default" if you die without a will.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Law Offices Of Goldy Berger
    Law Offices Of Goldy Berger | Goldy M. Berger
    No you have no obligation to leave your children anything.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Woolley Wilson, LLP
    Woolley Wilson, LLP | William R. Wilson
    No, the disposition is up to you. If you fail to make a Will, however, they will all likely take through intestacy.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    The Law Offices of Ralph W. Flick, P.S.
    The Law Offices of Ralph W. Flick, P.S. | Ralph W. Flick
    There is no requirement to leave any assets to anyone, regardless of whether they are your children, unless you have made an enforceable agreement (called a will contract). Absent a will contract, you are entitled to do whatever you want with your assets in your will. Keep in mind a few other points: First, if you do not create a will and leave your assets to someone other than your children, the instestacy statute (which is a default will provided by law) will do just that.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Pingelton Law Firm | Dan Pingelton
    No, but you should consult an estate planning attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Law Offices of Frank D. Granato
    Law Offices of Frank D. Granato | Frank Granato
    You don't have to leave them anything; however, be sure you specifically state that in your will.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Vandervoort, Christ & Fisher, P.C. | James E. Reed
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/28/2013
    Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston | Edwin Fee
    Assuming all of the children are adults, you don't have to leave anything to them. A minor child is entitled to receive $2,500 from a parent's estate.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    No, you do not need to leave anything to any of your children. However, you must mention them in your will. Therefore, for example, "I have four children, namely A, B, C, and D. I give my entire estate to E and F." If you want, you could even throw in, "I give nothing to my issue." Don't put in your reasons.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    If your children are adults, you do not have to provide for them in your estate plan - you can leave your estate to whomever you choose; however, if you do not complete an estate plan during your lifetime, your children may be the statutory heirs of your estate. I recommend you consult with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your objectives.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq.
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq. | Neil J. Lehto
    What you can do with a will or trust or other estate planning belongs entirely to you. With a will, or a trust or other estate planning, your estate could be divided equally among your surviving children. Using the authority you have to punish or get even with one or more of your children may not be the best choice but it belongs to you. You cannot be put out of your own home. You need to consult an attorney about that immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    TrustCounsel | Gregory Herman-Giddens
    No, but your will should be drafted carefully to help avoid challenges by your heirs who are left out.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    No, unless a child is under 18. There are certain rules when a child is under 18. Aside from that, you can leave your assets to whomever you choose. However, you should mention them, so it is clear that you know you have children then disinherit the ones you do not wish to include.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Law Offices of Robert H. Glorch | Jeffrey R. Gottlieb
    No you don't. But anytime you disinherit an heir, you want to do it carefully and deliberately, and with the assistance of an attorney, to minimize the opportunity to contest.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 12/28/2012
    Winnick Ruben Hoffnung Peabody & Mendel, LLC | Daniel N. Hoffnung
    No. You will need a will that states that you intentionally did not leave anything to them.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 12/28/2012
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