Estranged Children and Estate Planning — Can I Disinherit a Child in Louisiana
Parents usually want what’s best for their children. As a parent, you’ll do anything for your child, even sacrifice most of your life just to ensure they’re safe, happy, and healthy. However, your child has a mind of their own, and you won’t always be on good terms with them.
There are times when a parent-child relationship can take a turn for the worse. You can drift apart, lose communication, and get estranged from your children.
For whatever reason they may have, your child can be incredibly disrespectful towards you and could end up verbally abusing you. Worst case scenario, and what is every parent’s nightmare, is that your child could turn violent against you.
It’s a situation that no parent wants to be in, but it does happen. Louisiana may be a community property state, but it’s up to you to decide how to best deal with your child. Disinheriting them could be an option for you, but it’s not always easy.
If you do decide to disinherit your child, you will have to abide by the state’s strict disinheritance laws. This blog will help determine if you can disinherit your estranged child in the Pelican State.
Louisiana’s Forced Heirship Law
In Louisiana, there is a law called forced heirship. This law requires that a certain percentage of your estate go to your children when you die, regardless of whether or not you have a will. This law aims to ensure that your children are taken care of financially after you’re gone.
Children under the age of 24 or children of any age who are mentally or physically disabled and cannot care for themselves are considered forced heirs. If you have forced heirs, you must give them a portion of your estate when you die.
The amount they’re entitled to depends on how many children you have. If you have one child, your child would be entitled to 25% of your estate. If you have two or more children, half of your estate is divided among them.
When Disinheriting a Child Is Considered Legal
There are a few circumstances where you can disinherit a child or forced heir in Louisiana. Here are a few:
A Minor Married Without Parent’s Consent
If your minor child gets married without your consent, you can legally disinherit them. It is generally presumed that if a child gets married while they’re underage, they’re not mature enough to manage their finances.
Lack of Communication With Both Parents for Two Years
If your child is over the legal age of 18 and they haven’t had any communication with both you and their other parent without justifiable cause for at least two years, you can disinherit them.
In this case, communication means more than just sending a text or an email. It means speaking to each other and trying to have a conversation.
An exception to this is if your child is on active duty in any of the military forces of the United States of America during the period.
Convicted of a Felony Resulting in Imprisonment
You may disinherit your child if they are convicted of a crime and are sentenced to life imprisonment or death.
Proven Guilty of Malicious Treatment Towards the Parents
If your child is proven guilty of abusing a parent, either physically or verbally, or has committed a crime against a parent, you may disinherit them. It is important to note that you must also have evidence to back up your claim.
Accused the Parents of Committing a Crime
If without a reasonable basis, your child falsely accuses you of a crime that is punishable by life imprisonment or death, that is a cause to disinherit them. It is important to note that the accusation must be proven false and that your child knew it was wrong when they accused you.
Plotted the Demise of the Parents
If your child has plotted or attempted to kill you or their other parent, you may disinherit them.
Other Important Things You Must Know
- In Louisiana, a grandparent can disinherit their grandchildren for any cause listed in Article 1621 except the sixth — the child marrying while still a minor.
- If a parent chooses to disinherit their child, it must be made expressly and for a just cause. If not, it is considered null. The parents must name the child being disinherited and state the reason in the will.
- The parent’s reasons for disinheritance are presumed to be true, but the child can contest them in court. The burden of proof is on the child to show that the parent’s reasons are not valid.
- If there is proof of reconciliation between the parent and child, the court may choose to nullify the disinheritance.
- If a child is too young or does not have the mental capacity to understand the impropriety of their behavior, the parents cannot disinherit them. This also applies if the parents prove the child’s behavior to be unintentional or justified.
You Need a Reliable Louisiana Estate Planning Attorney
Disinheriting an estranged child is a massive decision, and it’s not particularly easy to do it in Louisiana. You need to ensure that you understand your options and that your estate plan is created correctly.
The experienced Louisiana estate planning attorneys at the Law Office of Edward J. McCloskey can help you draft an estate plan that meets your specific needs and goals. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.