After years of doing your best to raise a loving child, sometimes they do something that upsets you so much, you want to write them out of your will.
While you can disinherit a child in California, you need to be sure you want to. It is not a decision to take lightly, so give it some time before acting. There are other less final options, such as putting their inheritance in a trust with instruction to only pay out if the child meets specific criteria.
For instance, your child has gone off the rails, dropped out of college and started hanging out with the wrong crowd. You could set the trust up so that it only pays out if they finish college or avoid trouble with the police for ten years.
If you want to proceed, make it clear
If you do not mention one of your children in your estate plan, a court will assume you forgot and award them a share. If you mean to omit them, you need to clarify it is intentional.
Can your child contest it?
A disinherited child can try to contest your decision, but if you made it clear it was intentional, they have no grounds to do so. They also have no grounds for contest if you provided for them in some other way or gave most of your assets to their other parent.
When you die, you will not be around to see the consequences of your estate planning decisions. While you may have reason to disinherit a child, remember that doing so could make life difficult for other family members once you are gone. Finding out more about estate planning options can help you make appropriate choices.