Your estate plan is supposed to reflect your values, your hopes for your heirs and your final wishes – and that may mean leaving someone out.
Who you can disinherit (and how) depends a lot on your situation. Here’s what you need to know:
Can you disinherit a spouse?
Under Florida’s laws, your spouse is entitled to a minimum of 30% of your estate as their elective share – regardless of what your will may say. (If you die intestate or without a will, they’re actually due more).
However, you can take steps to minimize what your spouse receives through a combination of measures. This includes moving property into a trust for your other heirs, using a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement (if your spouse willingly agrees to forgo their share of the state) and the use of direct payments through beneficiary designations on retirement funds, investments and insurance policies.
Can you disinherit a child?
If your child is under 18 years of age and you own any real estate, you may not be able to totally disinherit them since the law requires you to leave your primary residence to either a surviving spouse or your minor children.
If your child is an adult, however, you are free to disinherit them entirely. You simply need to make sure that your estate clearly documents your wishes that your actions cannot be interpreted as an oversight.
It’s far from a perfect world, so don’t feel bad if your family isn’t exactly “picture-perfect,” either. Just make sure that your estate plans reflect your genuine desires. If you suspect (or know) that there will be complications, it’s wise to get experienced legal advice as early as possible.