Making the decision to remove a family member from your will is tough. Yet, life is messy, and this sort of thing happens. If you feel the need to disinherit a family member, then the chances are that your reasons for doing so are warranted.
However, making changes to an estate planning document, such as a will, should not occur without attorney supervision. Even the simplest of mistakes could render your revisions ineffectual. Below is an overview of how to remove a beneficiary from a will. Nevertheless, we encourage you to contact an Austin estate planning attorney for help with these matters.
To totally disinherit a family member, a simple solution is to remove this person from your estate planning documents. For example, the majority of your assets will be transferred to your beneficiaries after you pass away. If your goal is to remove someone as a beneficiary, then you have two options. First, you can redistribute the inheritance among your other beneficiaries. Second, you can name a new beneficiary to take over that portion of your estate. Ultimately, this choice is up to you.
Rather than completely disinheriting a family member, you may find that invoking a partial disinheritance is a better option. In this situation, you may decide to leave a family member a smaller portion of your estate than your other beneficiaries will receive.
If this is the case, then it is a good idea to introduce a no-contest clause. No contest clauses essentially protect your decisions from disputation later. For example, if the partially disinherited family member tries to contest your decision, then they may end up forfeiting their entire share. Thus, no-contest clauses act as a strong deterrent for contesting wills.
Along with total and partial disinheritance, another option is to establish a trust instead of a will. With a trust, only named beneficiaries are able to contest its contents. Thus, if a particular family member is not named in the trust, then they cannot contest its contents.
In Texas, removing a spouse from your will is difficult. This is due to Texxas having a concept called “community property.” Unless you have a prenuptial agreement, both spouses share equally in earnings and property acquisitions. Therefore, your spouse is always entitled to half of your shared assets, regardless of what you put in your will.
At the same time, if you individually own some assets or property, then you will have more control over their fate. This means that you do not necessarily have to pass this portion of your estate on to your spouse.
Have you ever considered removing a family member from your will? Electing to do so is a difficult decision to make. However, there are certain circumstances that require it. In these instances, you will want an experienced Austin estate planning attorney on your side. Any small errors, or precautions not taken, may result in your final wishes being thwarted. For help with your estate planning needs, contact our Austin based law firm today. You can reach us by phone at (512) 355-0155 or through our confidential contact form.