First, what do I do? I specialize in trusts and estates, which means we do estate planning (drafting wills, trusts, end of life documents, etc), and administration (trust administration, probate, after-death planning). This means I’m really good at my area of laws (trusts, estates, and to some extent, taxes) and know very little about the others.
Also, I shouldn’t have to do this, but I’m a lawyer, and we’re all about covering our asses:
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Okay, so you’ve got a character who hates their brother, their son, their whatever. They want to disinherit them.
So do it. It’s not a big deal. We disinherit people all the time, for a variety of reasons: drugs, lack of contact, bad behavior, whatever.
I don’t even bat an eye when people tell me they want to take someone out of their will.
But universally, if someone is disinheriting a kid or a close family member, they feel the need to explain to me at great length why they are doing so. They’re justifying it to themselves, not to me, so I let them talk (my job as a lawyer is 50% drafting, 50% acting as a therapist).
And when people find out they’ve been disinherited? Well, sometimes they’re pissed, but very rarely does it come as a shock to them. I mean, they usually know that the rift is there long before they get a letter from me stating they aren’t getting anything from Uncle Joe.
In short, disinheritance = no big deal. I mean, I’ve seen cases where a guy with a multi-million dollar estate disinherited someone over a $5,000 loan that didn’t get paid back, but even that didn’t come as a shock to the kid no longer receiving the money.
Next time on Evil Esquire: Inheritances with strings attached
p.s. Happy tax day! This post was prescheduled because I’m probably slaving away with clients on last minute deadlines. Ah, the glamorous life of an attorney.