So are you disappointed with the way your kids turned out? Are they rotten, spoiled brats? Are they criminals in and out of prison (mostly in)? Did they marry the wrong, gender, religion, age, or political affiliation? Did they go to law school instead of medical school? Did they let you down to the point where you now disown them?
If so, then here are three ways you can fix their wagons by not leaving them your hard-earned fortune:
1. Use it all up yourself. Just let loose and spend every last cent just before you die. To drive the point home to your off-putting offspring, you could even leave them a little debt to deal with should they want to pursue your estate.
2. Leave your estate to a worthy charity. Find the cause that excites you the most, seek out the person responsible for capturing gifts and pledges for your philanthropic choice, and pledge away. You might even want to see if the charity will name a building, scholarship, or playground in your honor. (Wouldn’t that be a great reminder the little undeserving twits will have to remember you by?)
3. Of course, the method I would recommend is including an affirmative acknowledgment and minimal provision to the specific child(ren) in a will. In Texas, parents can choose whether or not to leave property to their children. In order to disinherit heirs, though, the only truly successful way is through a will. Under the Texas Estates Code, intestate distribution statutes may have property being passed to undesired heirs instead of those the parent would have chosen . . . or not chosen.
A will provides the testator the opportunity to affirmatively address and state to whom the testator wants to leave anything and everything. It also provides the testator the opportunity to affirmatively state what he does not want to give certain people. Hence, the testator has the sole power before he dies or loses the capacity to direct who gets what.
Carrying this a little further to those parents who have children that are born out-of-wedlock, the will is definitely the most secure place to identify such children and own them or disown them. Should the decedent fail to ever let surviving friends know about such out-of-wedlock children, then the door may be open for the illegitimate children to charge in and take control of the decedent’s estate. Now that could really be disastrous!
To be sure, I would suggest naming the illegitimate child, along with any other offspring that needed to be recognized, and state specifically what that child gets from the estate. I believe naming the child and the minimal amount of what it is the child receives upon your death may defeat any further control that child could have over your estate. But I would strongly recommend having an attorney prepare any will, particularly a will that disinherits legitimate or illegitimate kids. You don’t want your kids getting the last laugh after you’re gone, do you?!