Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Can Your Parents Disinherit You?

Article Placeholder Image
By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on January 23, 2012 5:56 AM

Disinheritance. It's a common threat -- sometimes wielded as a joke, and sometimes said in complete seriousness. But what happens when your parents actually carry through? Can you legally be disinherited?

Outside of Louisiana, you have no legal right to inherit from your parents. However, you do have a right not to be accidentally disinherited.

What does this mean for you?

For starters, you can be disinherited. If a parent updates his or her will and includes a disinheritance clause, you get nothing. And if a parent leaves you $1, that's the extent of your inheritance.

That is, unless you can prove that the will is invalid. Or that someone (your unsavory siblings) forced your parent to disinherit you.

But what happens when you're simply not mentioned in the will. Have you been disinherited?

If your parent updates his will after your birth and does not mention you, you're in for a fight. Remember, you have a right not to be accidentally disinherited. In some states, this situation implies an intention to disinherit. In others, you are disinherited if the majority of the money is left to your surviving parent.

You're also disinherited if the deceased parent gave you a very large sum of money while he or she was still alive.

Now, if a parent's will was written before your birth, you're in luck. Omitted child statutes presume that you were accidentally left out. You'll most likely get to inherit!

With these facts about disinheritance in mind, it might be time to start taking your parents' threats seriously. Your parents can disinherit you, so why give them a reason to do so? 

Related Resources: