WBIR: Has someone in the family gotten on your bad side!? Well…you could always disinherit them! Understandably, disinheriting an individual from your will can be a difficult decision. Should you? Could you? Certified Financial Planner Paul Fain joins us now to discuss this delicate topic and your estate plan.
HOW CAN A FAMILY MEMBER INTENTIONALLY OR EVEN UNINTENTIONALLY BE DISINHERITED IN A WILL?
It is not uncommon for a husband or wife to be excluded under their spouse’s will. This situation often occurs when:
- an estranged husband and wife are separated for a significant period of time,
- a couple is married later in life and each have children by prior marriages, or
- a spouse never updated their will after marriage.
SO TENNESSEE LAW ALLOWS THIS TO HAPPEN?
Yes but…while Tennessee law allows you to disinherit family members, including children, the law provides special protections for a spouse. The elective share allows for a spouse who has been disinherited, advertently or inadvertently, to claim a part of the deceased spouse’s estate. For example, if a couple was
- married for: 3 years or less the spouse may claim 10% of the estate;
- married for 3 but less than 6, the spouse may claim 20%;
- married for 5 years but less than 9, the spouse may claim 30%;
- and for a marriage over 9 years the spouse may claim 40% of the deceased spouse’s estate.
GIVE US SOME OTHER EXAMPLES OF DISINHERITING A FAMILY MEMBER:
A person may choose to leave someone out of their will because:
- they are very well off and any assets would be better utilized by someone else.
- the heir would not be capable to handling an inheritance due to some poor life choices.
For the most part, you have the ability to disinherit your heirs if you so choose and you are not obligated to document the reason why.
Always consult a legal expert before you change a Will or Trust document.
This segment originally aired on WBIR on 7/11/17.