If you live in New York and have an estate plan in place, a time may come when you need to modify it or remove one of your beneficiaries. Circumstances can change over time, and at some point, you may second-guess your decision to leave some of your estate to a child because of drug use, irresponsibility or another reason entirely. At Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C., we understand that your needs with regard to your will may change as the years pass, and we have helped many clients who wish to modify their estate plans to reflect these changing needs.
Disinheriting one of your own children is a major decision that can impact you and your family emotionally, as well as financially. Before making such a weighted decision, understand that there are some possible alternatives that may fit your needs. For example, The Balance suggests that, rather than disinherit your child entirely, you consider creating a trust with specific stipulations.
If, say, you worry your child will blow his or her inheritance on drugs, you can instruct your trustee to not release any money until your child remains drug-free for a predetermined period. You could also, depending on your specific concerns, require that your child work full-time or complete college before accessing the inheritance.
Another option is to give someone you do trust, such as a spouse or another reliable relative, power of appointment to add the disinherited child back into your will if circumstances improve. For example, maybe you trust your spouse to determine whether your son or daughter has changed and modified his or her life enough to receive part of your estate and not squander it in your absence. Disinheriting a child has considerable repercussions, but these possible alternatives may help you avoid having to do so while still easing your concerns and fulfilling your needs. More about estate planning is available on our web page.