There are many reasons a parent may decide to disinherit one of their children. They may have had a falling out with that child and no longer have a relationship. Their child may have serious issues, like substance abuse problems, that would make an inheritance dangerous.
A parent may also just recognize that their child does not need an inheritance to live a comfortable life and would rather allocate those assets elsewhere. Regardless of the reason why you want to disinherit a child in California, you need to take certain steps or risk them challenging your estate plan and inheriting from your estate despite your wishes.
You cannot just leave your child out of the documents
If you hope to fully disinherit a member of your family, simply allocating all of your property to other people isn’t enough. A child who does not receive an inheritance when other family members have could potentially claim they are an omitted child and ask for a change to your estate plan. The courts may alter your estate plan to include them despite your intentions.
The best way to prevent this from happening in your case is usually to explicitly discuss the decision to disinherit a family member in your will or other estate documents. By specifically mentioning your decision not to leave assets to that individual and possibly even briefly explaining why, you will eliminate the potential of them claiming to be an omitted child in court later.
Understanding the rules that apply to the probate proceedings in California can make it easier to create an estate plan that fulfills your wishes.