If you decide purposefully not to include people in your estate plan, it can be challenging to decide the best way to structure this and what you should communicate to loved ones about these choices, if anything.
Many people may not recognize the prominence of family member estrangement in our society. One study found that 27% of Americans had cut off contact with a relative intentionally. This included aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, children, siblings, and nieces and nephews.
These situations can create emotional challenges to begin with, but this becomes amplified during the estate planning process. Estrangement can be a significant factor in the decision of how to structure your estate, especially if you’re concerned about preventing arguments or claims of invalid wills in the future.
If you choose to treat children particularly in an unequal manner through your estate plan, it may be beneficial to have this conversation with them first. Intentionally having this conversation allows for the setting of expectations and for the possibility of explanations. This can help to decrease the possibility that someone will file an estate planning dispute in the future, which can further delay distribution of assets and only add to existing family conflict.
With your estate, you have the right to structure most things as you wish. Deciding on how to set this up can be confusing but can be customized to your needs by choosing the right lawyer to partner with from the beginning.
Although the loved ones you have chosen to disinherit or to receive a much smaller portion of your estate may still be upset at the way that you’ve structured things, knowing that it’s coming in advance can help to clarify things and avoid litigation. In order to decide the best course of action for you, find a Pasadena, CA estate planning lawyer to discuss your situation.