• Carmen Zajicek

All You Need to Know About Disinheritance

No matter how much property and wealth one amasses during their life, no one takes it with them when they die. When an individual passes away, their belongings and property must be bequeathed to their legal heirs according to the law. However, this doesn’t always happen. Let’s talk about a common exception called disinheritance.

What is disinheritance?

During their lives, you can draft a will and decide who’ll receive your property and belongings. At the same time, you're also allowed to exclude anyone who would otherwise be a legal heir. Under the intestacy laws, this exclusion from the property is known as disinheritance.

Disinheritance can often come as a surprise to someone who was expecting to be included in the will. Many a time, the news surfaces after the decedent passes away, and if the will has been executed. This leads to conflicts and disputes because the court usually gives precedence to the decedent's wishes over the family member's wishes.

How to challenge disinheritance?

If you have been disinherited and feel like you have a legal claim to the inheritance, you can take the legal route. For example, if a decedent spouse has been disinherited from the property, the estate laws might still guarantee your right to claim anywhere from one-third to half of your deceased spouse's property. This exact value depends on the state laws.

Similarly, if you’re a deceased person's child and have been disinherited, the will might not hold any substance. If someone wishes to exclude their spouse from their will, they need to do so via a statement or clause. If they don't do so, the court might consider the omission an error. This way, you’d still be entitled to the inheritance.

You can also raise it with the court if you think the will is invalid in the first place. In order to be valid, the will must be in writing and signed and witnessed by two or more people. If the deceased signed it privately or has used vague or contradictory language, the court might declare it invalid. This way, you’d qualify for the estate under the state laws.

Need help?

If you feel like you were the rightful owner of the decedent's estate and have been mistakenly omitted from an inheritance, you can always challenge it. You can also challenge the will is not in line with state laws and regulations. A well-qualified probate lawyer can help you through the process. Mike Massey Law is offering estate planning services in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Get in touch.

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Mike Massey JD, MBA, MPA just might be the 195th most interesting person in Texas. He has 4 college degrees and he's working on a 5th:  BBS Accounting; MPA Master's in Professional Accounting; JD Law Degree; MBA Master's in Business Administration; BBS in Biblical Studies (in progress).

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