Hell hath no fury like a disinherited child. Or, if not fury, then at least an appetite for litigation.
Many estate planners recommend against total disinheritance and instead couple a token distribution with an in terrorem clause. That way the disinherited child stands to lose something if he or she pursues estate litigation. Of course, that doesn’t always work. Especially if the risk is greatly outweighed by the potential reward – say giving up a sure $5,000 for a possible $1 million.
So, what else can a testator do to ensure that his or her intent to disinherit is upheld if there is litigation?
In In the Matter of the Probate of the Alleged Will of Joan Pennella, a recent case out of New Jersey, we see the value placed by a court on the testator’s own explanation of why she disinherited two of her children.Read More