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Can you disinherit family members legally in Georgia?

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2022 | Estate Planning

People create or update their estate plans for a wide range of reasons. Maybe you recently added a new child to your family and want to name a guardian for them. Perhaps your family dynamics have shifted, and you want to reassess the way that you allocate your property.

For those going through a rough time in one of their closest relationships, removing a beneficiary from an estate plan may be their goal. Disinheritance can send a powerful message, but it can also lead to probate complications.

Can you legally disinherit your family members in Georgia?

Georgia allows more disinheritance than other states

In theory, you have complete control over what happens to your property when you die. In practice, Georgia state law has significant influence on what terms you can include in your estate plan.

For the most part, your decision to create an estate plan negates any right to inheritance that your family members would have under intestate succession laws. Those laws only apply if you die without having created an estate plan first.

If you die after creating testamentary documents, your wishes will be what guides the property distribution process. With the exception of a single year’s worth of allowance after you die, your spouse does not have a right to an inheritance. In fact, neither children nor parents can demand specific property from your estate simply by virtue of their relationship with you.

How do you disinherit someone?

The simplest strategy for eliminating someone’s inheritance is not necessarily the best one. Naming everyone else as a beneficiary except for the person you want to disinherit could actually backfire. Omitting someone’s name from your estate plan could lead to claims that you made a mistake or an omission by that individual.

It’s better to address the disinheritance in writing in your will. Some people choose to leave a single dollar or a piece of personal property without much financial value to specific individuals as a means of essentially disinheriting them. Others will create a trust so that their instructions and not probate laws determine what happens with their property.

Exploring all of your options while creating an estate plan will lead to documents that reflect your relationship and your volumes.