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Do you need to disinherit someone with a dollar?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2023 | Estate Planning

You may decide that you’re going to disinherit someone as you write your will. The first thing to note is that they should be someone who already expected to be in your estate plan. Someone who normally wouldn’t have a claim, like a friend, isn’t being disinherited. This only applies to people who expect to inherit, such as your children or grandchildren.

The way that some people choose to do this is by leaving one dollar to their heir. What they are worried about is a challenge to that estate plan. After they pass away, their heir will find out that they received nothing. Will the heir then claim that it must be a mistake or an oversight? Will they claim that the will is fraudulent and that other beneficiaries must have removed their name?

Leaving the person a dollar means that they can’t claim they were merely forgotten. It was obviously intentional. Do you need to do this?

You just need to make your wishes known

No, you don’t need to leave someone a dollar or any inheritance at all. In fact, it’s usually best not to because it makes the estate administration process a bit simpler. 

All you really need to do is make your wishes clear. You can usually just spell out the facts of the case. A short clause added to your estate plan stating that you do not want to leave anything to that specific person will be fine. It doesn’t even need an explanation, although you are certainly allowed to explain your reasoning to your heir if you would like.

You don’t want to make any mistakes when making an estate plan, so be sure you know what legal options you have.