Disinheritance in Utah- Considerations and Pitfalls

Inheritance disputes are as old as the Bible — see Jacob and Esau. But now a broad, deep wave of acrimony is hitting the U.S. as 76 million baby boomers, born after 1946, inherit estates or die. According to one study by MetLife, boomers stand to inherit upwards of $8.4 trillion.

Figuring out who should inherit what, and why, has been a difficult subject from generation to generation. However, the more difficult subject has been who ought not to inherit anything, and why. In fact, disinheritance is probably a far more difficult topic, both for those planning for their estates and for families living out the ramifications of an estate plan.

How is “disinheritance” difficult? What should you consider before disinheriting a family member? This subject was the focus of a recent article in Bloomberg titled “You Want to Cut Your Kid Out of Your Will. Or Do You?

For starters, there are some very good reasons to support a total disinheritance. Petty differences or outright malice aside, you may choose to disinherit heirs who are well off in their own right. Consequently, more of the inheritance can be left to those heirs who are less well off.

More commonly, however, disinheritance is used due to parental displeasure or lack of familial contact. Before you decide to disinherit, be sure you will not have a change of heart later.  If you subsequently change your mind about the disinheritance but you have suffered some disability that reduces your capacity to make a will, you may not be able to make those changes and the disinheritance will remain in effect.

Disinheritance of a family member in Utah requires that the disinheritance must appear from the will to be intentional.  If the testator has provided for the omitted family member by transfers outside of the will such transfers are evidence of the Testator’s intent to disinherit.

Beyond your own decisions are the consequences to each of your heirs. Will it change relationships between those who inherited and those who did not? It is important to evaluate the cause and effect of your decisions on all concerned.

As in most estate planning, flexibility in dealing with heirs is usually the best procedure.  An in-depth conversation about the issues of disinheritance will provide your attorney with information to provide suggestions for flexibility for your estate plan.

Reference: Bloomberg (July 23, 2013) “You Want to Cut Your Kid Out of Your Will. Or Do You?

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