You may have heard of someone leaving one of their children or other relatives a dollar in their will. Why would they do that? Was it a joke? In many cases, leaving someone a token inheritance is not a joke. It’s actually a legal strategy that can help stop that person from contesting the will. It can’t prevent them from doing so, and it’s not necessary if you want to disinherit a person. However, it can tell your heirs (and the probate court) several things.
It Shows Consideration and Intent
If you cut a child completely out of your will, that child could make the case that they were left out accidentally. By leaving them a token inheritance, it shows that you did consider them and put thought into what they received. It clearly shows that your intent was for others to inherit the bulk of your estate. That goes a long way in showing the court that your will should be executed as written since they were not omitted.
You Don’t Have to Leave Money
Leaving a token inheritance doesn’t necessarily mean a dollar. It doesn’t have to be any monetary value at all. In some cases, the majority of an estate goes to one person while the only receives a few pieces of inexpensive jewelry or other personal items. However, that heir may feel as if they’ve come out better than the one who got most of the money. Sentimental value and family heirlooms, to the right person, mean more than anything else. It might look like an insult to others, but to the right person, it’s not.
It Can Dissuade Contesting the Will
Leaving someone a small amount of money or other assets, no matter how little, can make them think twice about contesting the will. They still can, and if the right evidence is presented, they may even win. However, they will also know that the fight will be more challenging since they weren’t completely omitted. Once they see how much time and money is involved in contesting a will, they may change their mind.
Are you ready to write your will? If so, you need to seek out a legal expert. Michael F. Kanzer & Associates can assist you with all of your estate planning needs. Contact us today for your free consultation.