Excluding One of Your Children from Your Will

Law Blog

When drafting your will, you are essentially determining who gets what, whether it's a specific monetary amount, a certain physical asset (such as property), or a percentage of your overall estate. When you have children, the equality of the division is undoubtedly going to be a priority. And yet, it might be that the division deliberately excludes one of your children, whether they receive a lesser share of your estate, or are entirely omitted from your list of beneficiaries. Is this an appropriate and feasible course of action?

Your Reasons

Your reasons for excluding one of your children are entirely your own. You might no longer have a standard parental relationship with the child in question, and in cases of estrangement or general feuding, you may not want them to receive any portion of your estate. It can also be that your child has proven themself to be inept when it comes to managing their money, and so you don't trust their financial judgement. If the latter is true, total exclusion is unnecessary, and you might wish to appoint a trustee or administrator to control your child's access to their inheritance.

Disputing Your Reasons

When you wish to conclusively exclude your child from inheriting anything, you don't need to specify your reasons for doing so. Your child might dispute your reasoning, and you must concede that when the time comes, they might attempt to contest your will. It's their right to do so, but you can preemptively head off their efforts to circumvent your intentions.

Drafting Your Will

Certainly, you can use a DIY will kit to create a formal will, but this might not stand up to the scrutiny it will receive if it was to be disputed. Consult a specialised will and estate solicitor to draft your will, which will be solidified against any potential future disputes. Unless it can be proven that you were coerced into excluding them, your child has limited options in pursuing the matter. They might also need to prove that they are not financially independent and that in excluding them from your will, you have denied them financially necessary maintenance. By having a professional draft your will in order to make it as airtight as legally possible, your child's chances of successfully contesting your will are severely reduced.

Yes, it's possible to exclude one of your children from your will, but you need to be sure that your will has the ability to stand up to a potential dispute upon its execution.

For additional details, reach out to a local wills and estate solicitor.


28 July 2020

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