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How does one keep an estranged sibling out of a will?

The family infighting that some Camden County residents experience during their lifetimes can become outright war after the death of a relative. Depending upon the relationships that decedents had with their immediate and extended family members, individuals may challenge the appropriateness of certain people collecting inheritance benefits from a decedent's estate. One way to prevent an estranged relation from becoming a beneficiary of a decedent's estate is to write the relation out of the decedent's will.

Not every relation may be written out of a will, or disinherited. Generally, a spouse may not be disinherited outright, nor may a dependent child be totally prevented from collecting from his or her parent's end of life estate. Other relations and non-dependent children may be written out with express language indicating the will creator's testamentary intent.

Express language of disinheritance includes naming the individual in question and explicitly stating that the named individual may not be a beneficiary under the estate. In some circumstances, the inclusion of a disinheritance clause may be made moot by the other provisions of a decedent's will; if the disinherited individual is so far down the path of intestacy that the estate is depleted before he would collect, then the disinheritance clause is effectively useless.

However, if an individual is adamant that a certain relation never collect from his estate, a disinheritance clause in a will can provide that security. Disinheritance clauses are sometimes challenged, and the inclusion of one in a will does not necessarily mean that it will be followed without more family fighting. To learn more about disinheritance and ways of keeping estranged relatives from benefitting from personal estates, consider working with estate planning attorneys.

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