If I exclude one of my sons from inheritance in my will, should I give a token amount to avoid disputes? 4 Answers as of March 04, 2011

If I exclude one of my sons from inheritance in my will, should I give a token amount to avoid disputes?

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Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
You can do it two ways. First, you can do as you mentioned and give the one son something as a token to cut down on the prospects of a Will contest. Two, you can deny him anything or almost anything and put a clause in the Will that if anyone disputes the Will, they lose their share, regardless of outcome. Third, just to be safe, you should have your Will signing videotaped so there is clear understanding as to why you left him out of your Will. You can actually say why during your Will signing or afterward. My office has been doing videotaping of all signings for years and we also give the client the opportunity to leave a last message on tape after we finish the signing so everyone understands situationsjust like this one. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 3/4/2011
Law Offices of Brian Chew
Law Offices of Brian Chew | Brian Chew
To effectively disinherit one of your children you need to specifically give them a token amount or specifically say that you are making no provisions for them. However this does not prevent them from potentially suing your estate and alleging that you did not have the capacity to disinherit them or you were under undue influence. You may want to incorporate a no contest clause into your will/trust and give that child an amount that will make them think twice before they challenge the trust. A no contest clause only discourages challenges if the child has something at stake. If they get nothing, they have nothing to lose other than attorneys fees.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/3/2011
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