If you want to leave someone out of your California will, it must be done in a certain way. The process, known as disinheritance, is a serious occurrence. It’s important to take the proper amount of time to really think about what it means before you decide to do it. In this post, we’re going to explore the concept of disinheritance with a California will and what you must do if it is a process you want to undertake.
What Does “Disinheritance” Mean in a California Will?
Disinheritance in a California will is exactly what it sounds like: you make the decision to purposefully not provide for an heir through your California will. You do not want to leave anything to a certain person. It might sound easy to do since it’s your estate, but it’s not.
California Law Places Restrictions on Disinheritance
You cannot just not mention a direct heir (such as a child). If you want to write someone out of your California will, then you must use specific language as required by California law. This language must be used regardless of whether you’re disinheriting someone from a will or your trust.
Use a specific and clear statement such as:
I have elected to forego any provisions to John Henry Doe Junior in the disposition of my estate.
If you do not use specific language, the court will assume that you forgot to include them. They will then be eligible to receive their portion of your estate as described under California probate laws.
Use a No Contest Clause in Your California Will
If you want to provide someone with less than they would receive under the law, you can also use a no contest clause. If the heir attempts to contest or object to your will, they would lose whatever it is that you leave for them in your will. There are restrictions for no contest clauses. It’s important to discuss those with an estate planning lawyer to determine whether this is a viable option.
Consider Providing a Gift During Your Lifetime
If you don’t plan to leave an heir a portion of your estate through your California will, you may want to consider providing them with a gift of some sort. This gift should have a stipulation that they cannot contest the will or they will lose the gift. The gift needs to be something that is large enough to matter to that particular person.
Talk with a Lawyer Before You Create Your Will
Before you create your will, schedule an appointment with a lawyer to discuss your desires. This can help you gain clarity on how you can best ensure that your estate is distributed in the way that you want.