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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Monday, May 20, 2019

What to do When You Hate Your Daughter-In-Law - Estate-Planning Practical Guide

It is presumed that families may disagree, but that families will always love each other. However, does that presumption extend to in-laws? It may be common for some parents to dislike their son’s wife, but most parents learn to tolerate their in-laws. In some extreme cases, a parent may actually hate the daughter-in-law. In those cases, parents may choose to disinherit their in-law, and possibly their child. Before doing so, it may be wise to consult a California estate planning attorney regarding asset protection and estate planning options.

Disinheriting Your Child


Disinheriting your child is a serious step to take because of your animosity for your daughter-in-law. Your will may be subject to additional scrutiny because of the assumption that most parents bequeath their property to their children if their spouse has already passed. Therefore, your child or others may raise questions about whether the child was left out of the will by mistake.

If you choose to disinherit your son because you do not want your daughter-in-law to receive the benefit of the inheritance, the language used in the will must be specific and clear. You cannot leave any doubt about your intention to disinherit your child. An attorney can help you draft the will and other estate planning documents with language that reduces questions and challenges because you chose to cut your child out of your estate.

Asset Protection for Children and Grandchildren


Instead of cutting your son out of your will, you may want to work with your lawyer to devise an asset protection strategy that decreases the likelihood that your daughter-in-law receives money or property from your estate.

One concern for many parents is that their son inherits their estate and then dies or divorces his wife. In either case, the wife may receive all or a significant portion of the inheritance if the son commingled the inheritance with marital funds or did not have an estate plan that passed inheritance to a child or other blood relative.

A trust agreement allows parents to leave money and property to a son and grandchildren without allowing a daughter-in-law access to the funds. Because trust agreements are flexible, a parent can specify that the trust assets may only be used for the education, health, maintenance, and support of the beneficiaries. A trust can be extremely restrictive for the son’s lifetime, so that the grandchildren receive the bulk of the funds after their father’s death. Parents may choose to nominate an independent trustee to serve after their death to ensure funds are distributed only in accordance with the trust’s terms.

Contact a California Estate Planning Attorney for More Information

A comprehensive estate plan accomplishes many goals. By drafting and executing various estate documents, you can ensure that your final wishes are carried out after your death. You can also protect your family members and your property from creditors and in-laws. However, if a will or trust agreement is not drafted correctly, the document could be voided if challenged. Contact HorizonLaw today to help ensure your estate planning documents are legal and enforceable.

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