Can I Disinherit Anyone I Want?

Benjamin LongDisinheritance, Estate Planning, Inheritance

Benjamin E. Long
Founding Attorney - Estate Planning and Probate Law at Schlagel Long, LLC, Olathe, KS

As a leading attorney specializing in estate planning and probate law, Benjamin E. Long's expertise extends to intricate matters like disinheritance, as showcased in his insightful blog post "Can I Disinherit Anyone I Want?" dated August 13, 2020. His proficiency lies not just in creating wills and trusts but in navigating the complex terrain of estate distribution, including sensitive issues like excluding heirs.

Benjamin's work emphasizes the importance of clear intent in estate planning. His article delves into the challenges and legal nuances of disinheriting an heir, underscoring the necessity for professional guidance. With a nuanced understanding of state laws and their variations, he provides tailored solutions to his clients, ensuring that their estate plans reflect their wishes accurately and legally.


Educated at Kansas State University with a B.S. in Biology, followed by a J.D. from Washburn University School of Law, Benjamin's background is as diverse as his legal practice. His legal acumen is further bolstered by his induction into the Order of the Barristers for advocacy and his notable recognition as a Super Lawyer Rising Star.

Ben's Approach

At Schlagel Long, Benjamin's approach to estate planning is holistic, focusing not just on financial wealth but also on intellectual, spiritual, and human assets. He empowers clients with clear information and choices, helping them protect their legacy in a manner that best fits their unique story and values.

Ben's Expertise

His expertise extends beyond estate planning to litigating in probate, property, and business matters, showcasing his versatility and depth of knowledge. As an adjunct faculty member at Washburn Law School and head coach of the Kansas State University Mock Trial Team, Benjamin is deeply invested in nurturing the next generation of legal minds.

Benjamin enjoys his life in Olathe, Kansas, with his wife, Dr. Andra Long, and their two daughters, balancing his professional commitments with his personal life. His dedication to his work and family exemplifies his commitment to the values he champions in his legal practice.

Benjamin E. Long - Estate Planning Attorney

Understanding Disinheritance and Its Implications

“So, you’ve decided that a family member won’t be getting an inheritance, after all. Maybe you have an ungrateful or irresponsible family member you want to cut out of the will.”

If there’s someone you believe is more deserving or needs more of your help, that may mean someone else in your life may receive little or nothing from you when you die. However, be careful—disinheriting an heir is not as simple as leaving them out of your will, explains the article “How to Disinherit an Heir” from smartasset.

The Challenges of Disinheriting an Heir

Disinheriting an heir means you’ve prevented them from receiving a portion of your estate, when you die. A local estate planning lawyer will know what your state requires, and every state’s laws are different.

Ensuring Your Intent is Clear in Your Will

One way is by leaving the person out completely. However, this could also leave your will up for interpretation, as there may be questions raised about your intent. A challenge could be raised that you didn’t mean to leave them out—and that could create stress, expenses and family fights.

You may also disinherit a person, by stating in your will that you do not wish to leave anything to this specific person. You might even provide information about why you are doing this, so your intent is clear. There could still be challenges, even with your providing reasons for cutting the person out of your will.

Working with an Estate Planning Attorney

The Importance of Professional Guidance

Disinheriting someone can be a tricky thing to do. It requires professional help. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney who has experience in will contests, may be your best choice for an estate planning attorney.

Identifying Potential Claimants on Your Estate

There are instances where relatives known and unknown to you are entitled to make a claim on your estate. An experienced estate planning attorney may suggest a search for relatives to ensure that no surprises come out of the woodwork, after your passing.

Legal Limitations on Disinheriting Family Members

Restrictions on Disinheriting Spouses and Children

There are some relatives who cannot be disinherited, even in a legally binding last will and testament. In many states, you may not disinherit your spouse or children. Most states protect spouses from being disinherited, and in some states, children are legally entitled to a certain amount of your property. However, in most states, you may disinherit parents, if they outlive you.

Disinheriting Parents and Other Relatives

There are many reasons you may want to disinherit someone. You may have been estranged from a child or a cousin for many years, or you may believe they have enough financial resources and want someone else to receive an inheritance from you.

Reasons for Disinheriting an Heir

Estrangement, Financial Resources, and Other Factors

Many high-profile individuals have declared that their children will not receive an inheritance, preferring to give their assets to charitable foundations or organizations working for causes they support.

Charitable Giving as an Alternative to Inheritance

Whatever your reasons for disinheriting someone, make sure you go about it with professional help to ensure that your wishes are followed after you die.
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