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Read this before disinheriting your kids

If you're thinking about disinheriting your kids -- cutting one or more of them out of the will -- you must not take this lightly. This is the legacy you're leaving behind. Consider the long-term ramifications of what you're doing, especially if you're going to cut some kids out and not others. Below are a few key points to consider:

1. This isn't a threat.

Don't try to manipulate your kids by saying you'll take them out of the will if they don't do what you say. This is not a healthy relationship.

2. You may want to leave a way for them to get back in.

Even if you do decide to go through with it and cut one kid out, you can leave a backdoor open so that he or she can get back in. For example, if you want to cut out a grandchild, you could give that child's parents the option to add the child back into the estate plan if they see fit. This is a good option if the parents agree with you and think it's best to cut the child out for now.

3. Trusts may be a better option.

One of the biggest reasons people disinherit their kids is because they think those children will waste their fortune. For instance, a child may have bad spending habits or a drug addiction. You don't want your money being thrown away.

Remember that you can use a trust to keep the child in the will and still control how he or she uses the money. For example, if you want it used for education, an educational trust allows it to be used for books, tuition, and things of this nature, but not for any other purchases.

You must take estate planning seriously and really look into all of your options. Always think about the big picture and what is best for your family.

Source: The Balance, "Things to Consider Before Disinheriting a Child," Julie Garber, accessed Nov. 18, 2016

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