Disinheritance – the final curtain.
Please consider these words very carefully. Disinheriting a child is a deep and hurtful pain that is never forgotten or forgiven. The act is a lowering of a final curtain, that can never be raised again.
So, take a long pause… and seriously consider if a total disinheritance of a child is in order. Not only will a disinheritance poison your child’s memory of you (something you may not care about), but a disinheritance can have a very serious ripple effect on your entire family- including that disinherited child’s relationship with his/her other siblings.
Here is something else to consider. Parents can be very forgiving of their children, no matter how great you think the divide is between you and your kid. Often, it just takes a child’s sincere and heartfelt apology to a parent, for that great divide to heal. So, ask yourself, how will you know how you will feel about your child on your deathbed? Maybe, before you die, there will be forgiveness and healing between the two of you. At that point, however, it may be too late to summon your attorney to change your estate planning documents. Just because you are at opposite ends of the earth with your child today, does not mean that will continue tomorrow or elsewhere in the future.
I am not saying that all inheritances should be equal (but see my blog post on that subject), or that disinheritance is never an option. What I am saying is that the decision to disinherit a kid needs to be approached with a tremendous amount of consideration, reflection, and foresight. Because, remember – inheritance is poison – and a disinheritance is some serious poison.