Estate planning often requires you to make difficult decisions; however, to ensure the success of your plan these decisions must be made. One decision that no one wants to make is the decision to disinherit a child or grandchild. If you find yourself wrestling with this decision, know that you are not alone. The reality is that many people face a similar dilemma when they create an estate plan.
Years ago, families often referred to a “problem child” as the “black sheep” of the family. Sometimes this simply meant that the child didn’t conform to the family’s expectations; however, it may also have meant that the child had mental health issues, a drug/alcohol addiction, or spent the family money like it grew on trees.
While we don’t use that term as much these days, the same issues often apply to a child or grandchild that cause one to consider the wisdom in gifting the person a valuable gift.
Before you completely disinherit a child or grandchild, decide whether you really do not want the person to inherit anything at all or whether you are simply concerned about how the individual will manage the gift. If the latter is your reason for considering disinheriting a child, talk to your estate planning attorney about creating a trust instead.
A trustee can manage the inheritance and the trust terms can decide, in great detail if you wish, how the gift can be used by the beneficiary. A trust may ease your mind while avoiding the need to completely disinherit the wayward beneficiary.