Last Updated on January 27, 2024 by David Harnold

Family members can have long-lasting disagreements. Some families have members that have varying levels of success. Usually, such factors are considered during estate planning. These are reasons somebody might wish to disinherit a loved one like a spouse or child. Before someone makes this decision, they should seek legal consultation to ensure they are doing the right thing. When Parents Disinherit a ChildThere are a lot of reasons conflicts and disagreements within a family can arise. Sometimes, the parents may not be able to condone a child’s behavior. In other cases, parents may not want to accept the fiancé or spouse of their child or feel that their child will only squander their inheritance. Parents are only prohibited from disinheriting their kids under special circumstances. For instance, parents must include their kids in their estate when required by a divorce court order. Sometimes, disinheritance is decided for a good reason. A child may have planned their financial future meticulously while their sibling lives paycheck to paycheck. As parents look objectively at the prospect of their children, they may realize that one child deserves more assistance than the other. In this case, they may leave more inheritance to this child than the other child. What to Expect When Disinheriting a Family MemberA person can’t completely disinherit their spouse in Pennsylvania. An exception is when there is a pre- or post-nuptial agreement in place. A surviving spouse could get an elective share of their spouse’s estate.  Generally, leaving a small amount of money to a disinherited child may be more problematic than it is worth, particularly if the estate needs to go through the probate process. Thus, if a parent wishes to leave almost nothing to an estranged child, they should consider naming this child beneficiary of a financial account that does not contain much. It is also important to keep in mind that when a parent dies without a valid will, the state will distribute their assets based on the intestate laws. Thus, the family member this parent wishes to disinherit may get part of their estate in the end.Disinheriting a Family Member the Right WayIf disinheritance is necessary, parents should ensure they are doing it right. They consult with a skilled estate planning lawyer to learn about effective options. An attorney can guide parents in making decisions regarding what happens to their assets during their lifetime and when they die.