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Estate planning trap no. 3 – disinheriting a family member

By disinheriting we mean cutting them out altogether or leaving less than an equal share.

There may be good reasons for doing so: sometimes children become estranged from their parents; or perhaps a parent will give a child financial help during their life in lieu of a gift in their Will.

The trap here is the family provision laws in Western Australia that allow spouses, children and some others to challenge your Will.  The court may overrule the terms of the Will if the Will does not make adequate provision for the person making the claim.

How then to disinherit someone and get away with it?

One option is to give assets away during your lifetime.  Be very careful though – once given they usually cannot be reclaimed, to mention just one potential trap of making a gift.

Another option is to organise your affairs in such a way as to bring into account on your death the loans or gifts you have been made during your lifetime. 

You may also consider leaving a statement of reasons that explains why you have made your decisions.

Please do not embark on any of the above without first getting advice from an estate planning lawyer.  We can help.

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