Disinheritance is a profound element of an estate plan. It can be triggered by a single, specific event, or result from the lifelong flaws of a relationship. For example, a parent may decide to remove one child as a residuary beneficiary under his or her will because of a heated dispute and subsequent estrangement.
Making the decision to disinherit someone from your estate plan is no easy task. If there is a specific event prompting the disinheritance, it should be identified. In fact, a recent Huffington Post article titled "What Happens When You Disinherit Someone From Your Will" recommends that you document the reasons behind your disinheritance decision.
As you can imagine, this is not just a quick phone call with your estate planning attorney. No, you really need to sit down with your attorney and make sure it is done correctly to avoid issues after you pass on.
The original article cautions that a will represents the last words of a person and is a lasting record of their intention to favor certain individuals over others. From an emotional standpoint, this can be critical. Intentional or not, the disinheritance of a child is like saying that he or she is loved less than the others who are still getting something in the will.
The article admits that there's no foolproof way to disinherit beneficiaries. When an individual decides to disinherit his or her survivors, there are commonly consequences. Sometimes a disinheritance—even when it shows the testator's true feelings—may not be worth the trouble of its emotional and financial impact.
Reference: Huffington Post (April 9, 2014) "What Happens When You Disinherit Someone From Your Will"