I want to disinherit one of my children from my estate. Can this be done? – Estate Planning Attorney – Portland, Oregon

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The attorneys with Nay & Friedenberg discuss how beneficiaries can be addressed as part of your estate plan.

As a general rule, you may leave your estate to whomever you wish. The one exception may be your spouse who has statutory rights to a percentage of your estate called the spousal elective share (unless waived by the spouse in a pre- or post-nuptial agreement). For more information on the spousal elective share, click here.

You may choose, therefore, to leave your estate to all of your children, some of your children, or none of your children. You may treat your beneficiaries equally or in any percentages you wish. You may leave some or all of your estate to charity. You may give it to your friends or your pets in a pet trust. Just as with any gift during your lifetime, you determine the recipient and nature of the gift.

The will should identify the “natural objects of your bounty”; i.e., your spouse and children. In the event you do not name some or all of those “objects” as your beneficiaries, identifying them in the will indicates that you did not forget them; their omission as beneficiaries was intentional. You may wish to include a statement as to why your child was left nothing in your estate.

Since disinherited children tend to become upset at discovering that they are not named as beneficiaries, you can discourage a contest of your will by including a “no contest” clause (aka in terrerom clause). Such clauses are valid in Oregon. These clauses prevent a would-be beneficiary from receiving anything from your estate if a will contest lawsuit is filed. Thus, the would-be beneficiary loses incentive to file such a lawsuit.

To discuss your wishes for your estate planning, consult with an experiencedestate planning attorney. An attorney can advise you on ways to ensure your wishes are carried through. Contact the attorneys with the Law Offices of Nay & Friedenberg in Portland, Oregon at (503) 245-0894 to set an appointment.