Estate Planning for Minor Children
West Palm Beach Estate Planning Attorney
There are situations where a parent may wish to disinherit a child, such as when the parent has been estranged from that child for years. Some parents may wish to "send a message" to a child by disinheriting him or her.
In Florida, if you wish to intentionally disinherit a child, it is typically better to leave the child nothing; do not state in the will, why you are leaving the child nothing and do not leave some nominal amount like one dollar. The reason being, under Florida law, any person included as a beneficiary in a will becomes an interested party and therefore is entitled to notice of the probate. This means that person must sign all consents, receipts and waivers regarding the estate.
Although minor children may be disinherited, Florida law otherwise protects their rights. Specifically, this homestead law prohibits the head of the household from leaving his or her residence to anyone other than a spouse or minor child. Under this law, a surviving spouse is given use of the property for the remainder of his or her life, commonly referred to as a life estate, and then the home passes to the minor children. This homestead law only applies to children who were minors at the time of the parent’s death.
There are alternatives to disinheritance. One such alternative would be to establish a trust for the child, which would allow a trustee to control the trust property and give the heir an allowance or other stipulations. For instance, a decedent could create a trust that requires the heir to attend a drug rehab program and be regularly drug tested.
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