The desire to disinherit someone from a will isn’t always as negative as it sounds. While most times individuals are disinherited out of anger or pride, it isn’t unheard of to desire one person to receive more or less of an estate due to financial and personal need. However, there are certain rules and guidelines to take into consideration when distributing or withholding assets.
First, there are laws that protect a surviving spouse and minor children from having any assets withheld. Second, removing someone from your will completely may have been done years before your actual death. If this is the case, a judge might rule that the person you attempted to disinherit is actually entitled to the assets if he or she feels that the omission was done in error. Third, legally you do not have to leave anything to your parents under the assumption they will die first.
However, under the law, if there isn’t a spouse or children, and you have not identified in your will or trust, to whom your estate should go to in the event your listed beneficiaries pre-decease you, your estate will be given to the next closest relatives: your parents. The same can be said for extended relatives. There is no legal obligation to leave any assets to siblings, aunts, uncles, or cousins, but bear in mind that the next closest relative will inherit in the event of a failure of beneficiaries, as if you had not left a will or trust. Relatives can also contest a will if they feel they played a larger role in your life or if they claim you promised them something.