The reasons people choose to leave someone out of their will are as varied as the families affected. Disinheriting a family member is becoming more common, but the law will not allow you to disinherit a spouse or minor children.
Since California law makes specific provisions for the inheritance rights of spouses and minor children, you will not be allowed to disinherit either one. Even if you attempt to write someone specifically out of your will, if it is a spouse or minor child, the court will disregard your instructions and follow the law of inheritance in California.
It is possible to disinherit an adult child, but the wording should be very specific. Simply neglecting to name them in your will is not enough; a court may find the omission was in error and allow that child to inherit. Experts advise that you name a disinherited person specifically and the reasons for your actions, in unemotional terms.
If you want to specifically disinherit a parent, you will need to specify that in your will and choose a different heir if you die without a spouse or children, since your nearest living relative would inherit in that circumstance.
You are not legally obligated to leave anything to your extended relatives, but if you die unmarried and without children, those relatives may inherit unless you state in your will that you have provided for everyone you wish and that anyone else left out is by your intention.
The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0042.