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To cut off from an inheritance. To deprive someone, who would otherwise be an heir to property or another right, of his or her right to inherit.

A parent who wishes to disinherit a child may specifically state so in a will.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


v. to intentionally take actions to guarantee that a person who would normally inherit upon a party's death (wife, child or closest relative) would get nothing. Usually this is done by a provision in a will or codicil (amendment) to a will which states that a specific person is not to take ("my son, Robert Hands, shall receive nothing," "no descendant of my hated brother shall take anything on account of my death.") It is not enough to merely ignore or not mention a child in a will since he/she may become a "pretermitted heir" (a child apparently forgotten.) A spouse can be disinherited only to the extent that the state law allows. A writer of a will can also disinherit anyone who challenges the validity of the will in what is called an "in terrorem" clause, which might say "I leave anyone who challenges this will or any part of it one dollar." (See: heir, pretermitted heir, will, codicil, descent, descent and distribution)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


to deprive an heir or next of kin of inheritance or right to inherit. In some systems the testator may be restricted in the exercise of this right as in Scotland; see LEGITIM.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
Court of Appeal confined itself to determining whether the decision to disinherit was based on "true facts," as opposed to "inaccurate" facts, and "rational" in the sense that there was a logical connection between the reason and the act of disinheritance.
courts putting themselves in the place of a "judicious" parent and examining whether or not the reasons for disinheritance are justifiable.
The court found the disinheritance was largely due to the daughter manipulating her father into transferring his home to her, thereby excluding her brothers from inheriting any share.
Thus, I consider that it is appropriate to intervene, even if the testator acted on true facts and there is a logical connection between the decision to disinherit and those facts, if the result of such disinheritance would be inconsistent with an objective standard of what a judicious parent would do in these circumstances.
Taking into account the fact that the partible inheritance defends the heirs who are entitled to a portion of an inheritance not only against testamentary provisions causa mortis (legacy and disinheritance) that the disposer can do, but also against the donations that he made during his life, to the estate that will be calculated the partable inheritance there will also be brought the donations.
(1) Claim of disinheritance of legal heirs enclosed in a will is not available but in the limits of the disposable portion of estate (T.S.,s.civ., dec.no.1471/1973, in the Judicial Repertoire of Civil Practice between 1969-1975, p.