Do you need to leave an heir $1 to prevent them from contesting the will? 

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2021 | Estate And Probate Law |

Disinheriting an heir is the act of leaving them nothing in your estate plan. However, some people opt to leave that heir a single dollar. They may even think that they need to do this. 

The trouble is that a disinherited heir who is simply not mentioned in the will may claim that they have just been forgotten. They can then dispute the estate and drag the whole process out for a lot longer. If they win their case, they may even get some of the assets — despite the fact that the goal was to disinherit them. 

Leaving the person a dollar is a way of proving that they were not forgotten. They can still contest the will on other grounds — like saying it’s a forgery or claiming someone else used undue influence — but they can’t claim they were forgotten. Is this necessary? 

You don’t have to leave them anything

The principle behind this is sound: It does eliminate the option to claim that one was forgotten. But you do not need to do so. You can also just add a note to your estate plan or your will saying that you are intentionally leaving them nothing. You can tell them why or not, at your own discretion, but that note is just as much proof of your intent as leaving them a single dollar. 

Making your plan clear

What you should really take away from this is the importance of making your goals clear when drafting an estate plan. You want to leave no room for dispute and you want to give proper guidance. Be sure you know how to do this as you get your plan in place.