(redirected from disinheriting)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


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 ?
At least one court has assumed that a negative will implied "dislike" of the disinherited heirs, even though the will failed to say so; (79) perhaps model lawmakers who advocate giving effect to disinheriting provisions make the same assumption.
Hence, one can discover in the case law a disinheriting provision that reads, "I have intentionally omitted to provide herein for any of my heirs who are living at the time of my demise, and to any person who shall successfully claim to be an heir of mine ...
Now, suppose the will contains no contingency clause naming an alternative taker in the event that a beneficiary predeceases the testator; but the will does include a separate clause expressly disinheriting the descendant of a beneficiary who, as events unfold, predeceases the testator.
(89) Others have dismissed disinheriting clauses in this situation as intended only to override pretermitted child statutes.
I then examined each of those cases to determine the testator's motive for disinheriting the heir (or heirs), as shown either by the will or other evidence.
In so doing, the court observed "homosexuality is not a factor in today's society justifying a judicious parent disinheriting or limiting benefits to his child."
A prudent financial planner should point out that it is possible to protect the estate and accomplish the individual's goals without disinheriting the spouse.
Courts have faced a similar issue when construing disinheriting provisions that operate to override pretermitted heir statutes.
1946) (suggesting that disinheriting language should not be construed as intended to "inhibit any of [the] estate from going to ...
The study tabulates all cases in which a disinheriting provision for an heir appeared in the will, including those in which no partial intestacy ensued.
(99.) Such a rule would also afford courts an opportunity to take into consideration evidence of changes in attitude, as where a testator and beneficiary, alienated from one another at the time when a will containing a disinheriting provision was executed, subsequently reconciled.
1986) (disinheriting children "for reasons best known to me," but adding that if the testator and his spouse died in a common calamity, those same children would take the entire estate).