disinherit

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Disinherit

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.

disinherit

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.

disinherit

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
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