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Disinheriting a family member from your Estate Plan

For any number of reasons, you may not want a family member to inherit anything from your Estate if you should pass on before them.

Fortunately, in New York there are steps you can take to disinherit someone, even though family members are often the first in line to legally inherit assets.

Ultimately, the key is having the correct Estate Planning documents.

“No-contest” clause

Perhaps you don’t like a particular family member and don’t want to leave them anything after your passing, but you’re concerned that they might challenge your Will.

In an effort to prevent a challenge to your Will, you may include a ‘No-contest’ in the Will itself.

In substance, a “No-contest” clause states that if a family member, or other named beneficiary, challenges your Will, they will disqualify themselves from receiving anything from your Estate.

However, in order for a “No-contest” clause to have the desired effect, you should make some bequest to the person you think might challenge your Will so that if they do, they will have something to lose.

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements

In many cases, married couples either enter into prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that control what share of their spouse’s Estate they will inherit.

These types of agreements are critical for many married couples – especially when they are involved in a second marriage.

Indeed, under New York law, without an enforceable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, you cannot fully disinherit a spouse, and they may be able to claim approximately 1/3 of your Estate in the form of an “Elective Share” – even if you do not make any bequests to them in your Will.

These agreements constitute legal proof your spouse is not going to inherit anything from your Estate – other than what you specifically choose to provide for them – and extinguish their rights to make a claim for their “Elective Share” of your Estate.

If you’re looking to add precautionary barriers such as these to your Estate Plan, contact the experienced Estate Planning attorneys at Bashian P.C. so that we can help you craft a strong and effective Will.

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