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How you can disinherit a child

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2023 | Estate Planning

The decision to not leave an inheritance to a child is a major choice, and people make it for different reasons. For example, there might be a long-lasting problem in the relationship, like not talking or arguing a lot. Another motivation might be if the child has ongoing issues, such as substance abuse or a lack of financial responsibility.

Interestingly, the research site YouGov states that over 25% of Americans report estrangement from a family member, so such circumstances are not uncommon. No matter the reason, parents have the right to do as they wish with their estates. If a person wants to disinherit a child, there are steps to take to ensure compliance with one’s desires.

Oklahoma’s laws on inheritance rights

Oklahoma’s statutes on inheritance rights establish rules for passing on property when someone dies. If a person dies without a formal will, the property generally goes to their closest family members.

However, the specific distribution depends on the family structure. If there is no surviving spouse, children usually share the inheritance equally. In cases where there are both a surviving spouse and children, 50% goes to the spouse, and the other half goes to the children.

Stepchildren might not automatically inherit unless the deceased person legally adopted them. Additionally, Oklahoma law considers half-blood relatives (those sharing only one parent) equally with full-blood relatives in the inheritance process.

How to keep a child from inheriting any part of one’s estate

To make sure a child does not get an inheritance, a person can create a clear will stating this preference. Without a will, the state’s rules decide who gets what.

Additionally, a person can utilize trusts, naming different individuals to inherit property on a set schedule or with clear requirements. With estate planning, using the correct paperwork and following state laws is important. Otherwise, the disinherited child may find a way to successfully challenge the will.

Talking openly with one’s family and documenting the reasons for such choices can prevent confusion. Also, regularly reviewing and updating documents can ensure that an estate plan meets one’s wishes and provides an inheritance only to the appropriate family members.