Can parents write me out of will - yes! Go Mom!
In our last three videos, we explained that in certain circumstances, there might be 30 ways to challenge an estate and those are being an omitted child, in capacity and undo influence. Today, we're going to talk about it from the perspective of mom who really does want to write you out of her last will and what she needs to do to make certain you are left out and that her wishes are honored.
First, remember that your parents money is their money. No matter how much you think you deserve their money, their money is not your money. There is no law in most states that grants a child an unalienable right to their parents' money. In other words, you just don't have a right to it. Now, if dear old mom or dad dies without a last will, then in most states, children do take a percentage based on a statutory plan or a statutory scheme. This is known as statutory intestate succession.
But what about if mom does everything correctly and executes a valid Last Will and Testament, then she can give her estate to whoever she wants to. I should also state that she cannot completely write out her spouse. In most states, a spouse has a statutory right to their share of the marital estate, but it depends on your state. So check with a local attorney.
Today, like I said, we are talking about mom writing her kids out of her estate. We're not talking about spouses here. We're just talking about kids and grandkids. There could be a very legitimate reason why someone might want to write you out of their estate. Mom knows, dads know, parents know their children better than anyone else and their reasons don't have to be nefarious.
Her children might be successful and don't need the money. Mom might want to give it to a charity or even to her grandchildren. The bottom line is it is her money. Since 1928, here in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has consistently held that an intentional omission to provide for mom's children or grandchildren must appear clearly within the four corners of the Last Will and Testament.
In other words, the last will must explicitly state that mom is omitting Johnny and Sally, individually, or as a group, such as I omit my children or my grandchildren. It might say something like I'm not providing for my children or their descendants. There must be language in the last will manifesting the omission as an intentional act. That is why you always hear in the movies or in TV shows, you know what I'm talking about?
When they're reading the last will at an attorney's office and there's all this fancy wood and rows of rows of stuffed chairs, stuffed leather chairs, and the attorney's at the front, and the attorney reads, and to my child, Johnny, I am intentionally disinheriting him, therefore, for the purposes of my will, Johnny and his descendants will be deemed to have predeceased me. You guys have seen that, right? Do you see what that statement just did?
Within the four corners of the document, Mom made clear that Johnny is out and it's not surprising to me after 20 plus years of estate planning, probate and trust administration when parents write their kids out of their estate. Like I said earlier, parents know their kids better than anyone and sometimes the kids just don't need or deserve the money.
Another big issue that I discussed with clients and that I've mentioned several times in this four part series is that mom's money is mom's money. Your parents' money is your parents' money. So when a couple comes in to speak with us about their estate plan, we also talk about what mom and dad want to actually do.
Remember, I always say we are entrepreneurs of our own lives. If mom and dad have always wanted to go to Italy, then they should go to Italy. If they've always wanted to take a cruise around the world, then they should do it, take a cruise around the world. It's their money. What I'm saying is spend your money. You earned it. You worked hard for it. Be happy and do the things that you want to do.
In our next video, I'll talk more about this. I know we all need to make sure we have enough money to live out our retirement, but if you do it right and you spend your last penny with your last breath, then that's all you need to do. For moms and dads out there, enjoy your retirement. It's your money.
For the children out there, pay attention to your parents. They can do whatever they want with their money, but if you are involved and active in their lives, then you are going to be able to more quickly realize when something is not right and it's just a little bit off. So pay attention. Don't wait until the end until it's too late.
If you missed our last three videos on getting left out of your parents' estate, then please go back and watch them and click on the link below. I'll put it in the description and in the comments to get a copy of the estate planning questionnaire that I use everyday to get you started on the right direction and to up your estate planning game even more, check out this video up here and this video up here. If you like this video, then please hit the like button and be sure to smash that subscribe button and share it with your friends. I would really appreciate it. Have a great day, and as always, have an awesome week. Thanks for watching.