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Can You Disinherit Your Children?


While in all 50 states and the District of Columbia there are community property and elective share laws in place to protect the rights of a surviving spouse who has been intentionally cut out of their spouse's Last Will and Testament or Revocable Living Trust, in all but one state you are completely free to disinherit your children.

Louisiana Law Protects Certain Children From Being Disinherited

Currently Louisiana is the only state that prevents a parent from intentionally disinheriting a child under the following circumstances:

  1. Children who are twenty-three years of age or younger can't be disinherited.

  2. Children of any age who, because of mental incapacity or physical infirmity, are permanently incapable of taking care of themselves or managing their finances at the time of the death of the decedent can't be disinherited.

What About Children and Grandchildren Born After Your Estate Plan is Signed?

A frequent concern of clients who have signed their estate plan and then afterwards have or adopt a child is whether or not the later born or adopted child is covered by their estate plan. The answer is yes, unless for some reason the parent consciously chose to disinherit later born or adopted children. This actually happened in Anna Nicole Smith's will, but since her son, Daniel, predeceased her, Anna's daughter, Dannielynn, inherited her mother's entire estate.

And what about after born or adopted grandchildren? Again, the answer is yes, unless for some reason the grandparent consciously chose to disinherit later born or adopted grandchildren.

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