Can you Disinherit a Child?

You may not wish to pass on a portion of your estate to your children, but are you able to write them of your will? To answer this question, Prestige Tax and Trust Services asks: can you disinherit a child?

England and Wales

There are different rules for disinheriting a child across the UK. The Inheritance Act 1975 gives you the power to disinherit anybody, including your child, if you live in In England or Wales. However this doesn’t necessarily mean that your child won’t receive a portion of your estate.

The Provisions for Family and Dependants in the Inheritance Act 1975 allow certain parties to make a claim against an estate if they’ve been disinherited. This includes:

  • The husband, wife or civil partner of the deceased.
  • The children of the deceased or any parties that have otherwise been treated as a dependent child of the family of the deceased.
  • Parties that lived with the deceased for more than two years before they passed away.
  • Parties who were financially dependent on the deceased immediately before their death.

These parties have the legal right to make a claim against your estate in court. They may not be successful; the outcome of their case depends on a number of factors and could take years to resolve.

Scotland

The rules are different in Scotland. It’s not entirely possible to disinherit certain family members such as children under Scots law. However it’s possible to limit their inheritance rights, so they can only claim a share of your “moveable estate.” This includes assets such as money, shares and jewellery. They won’t be able to make a claim against your “heritable estate” e.g. land and buildings, if you disinherit them in your will.

Prestige Tax and Trust Services

We would warn you to think very carefully before disinheriting your child. If they decide to make a claim against your estate, it can inflict a significant emotional toll on everybody involved.  If you need advice, come to Prestige Tax and Trust Services. Our team have the experience in UK will law you need to ensure you understand the realities of disinheriting your child.

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