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Leaving someone out of a will? It may not be that easy

One of the most important documents a person can have is a legal, current will. Some people avoid drawing up a will because it can be frightening or upsetting to discuss what will happen with their assets when they are no longer around to care for them. However, the importance of having an estate plan in place that includes a will cannot be overstated. Without a clear directional document on how to distribute assets and finances, a person's legacy may be left to be determined by strangers.

These days, people in and around Boston are being more creative and non-traditional with certain terms and conditions that are included in their wills. They may have very specific ideas not only when it comes to who should receive money, but who should not. There are many reasons that people choose to leave someone out of a will. Disinheriting a person in this way is not uncommon, but people are urged to do so clearly and with caution.

The important thing to remember when making the decision to disinherit someone is to do so purposefully and clearly. If a parent believes that one child is well-off and would rather have his or her assets be distributed amongst the other children, stating that can be helpful. Otherwise, a child may feel as though a parent has completely forgotten or dismissed him or her. On the other hand, if a person wishes to definitely cut someone out of their will, it may not do any good to simply ignore that person and leave his or her name out completely. This could be mistaken as carelessness or failure to update a will.

Without a clear and definitive will in place, an estate may be given to the closet relative if a person has no spouse or children. If this is not what a person wants to happen, they must draw up a will that specifically and deliberately forbids this.

Deciding to leave a person out of an inheritance can be just as important as deciding who to include. In order to make sure that a person's wishes are clearly understood and executed, it can be crucial to have a properly drafted will and estate plan in place.

Source: Reuters, "Disinheriting someone is not easy," Geoff Williams, Jan. 31, 2013

  • Our Massachusetts law firm works with people who want to develop an effective estate plan. For more information on how we can help, please visit our webpage on wills and trusts.

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