Help! My Parents Disinherited Me

An executor’s role can be a lot simpler with the help of the tools like the Executor Plan and expert guidance, but sometimes an executor has to face hard questions from beneficiaries.  These questions can be just as hard if they apply to the executor as a beneficiary.

Is a parent allowed to exclude one or all of their children from their will?  

Movies and books contain themes of parents disowning children, but does this go beyond not speaking to a child and actively excluding the child from their will?  In a word, yes.  A parent can exclude a child or all of their children from their will if they so choose.  A parent can also leave different, unequal, amounts of the estate to each child, or simply leave a very small amount to one or more children.  All of this is up to the will-maker’s discretion. 

Is there any legal recourse for children who were left out of their parents’ wills?

Unlike protections for spouses left out of wills, there is no protection for a child left out of a parent’s will.  There is one situation, though, in which a child can petition the court for a share of the estate if they were not included in the will.  In the case that a will was written before the child was born, and possibly even lists other children who were born before the will was written, a child left out of a will could argue that the will-writer intended to include all children (but just forgot or was unable to update the will).

Get the estate attorney’s help.

If you are an executor faced with the situation of a child/children who are not in the will, rely on the expertise of the estate attorney in communicating with those individuals.  The estate attorney will likely have good advice on how to notify the child(ren) and what to do/how to respond if questions arise. will help any executor through the 100+ process of servicing as executor. The site is easy to use and will walk you though your duties on a step-by-step basis. You can try it for free – so take 5 minutes today to see how we can help you manage this difficult but important process.