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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 ?
(141) But if the will expressly disinherits a child who predeceases, without also referring to that child's descendants, a majority of courts nevertheless have denied descendants the right to claim as pretermitted heirs.
If a testator harbors feelings of hostility toward an heir and disinherits the heir for that reason, it is entirely possible, albeit not certain, that those feelings would extend to the heir's descendants.
For example, though the will expressly provides for one child and disinherits spouses, the will confusingly refers to children and tax deductions for spouses: All of the property of my estate ...
Anna Nicole's will expressly disinherits her spouse and any future spouse.
The patriarch of an artistic North Country family disinherits his son in suspicious circumstances just before his demise.
Similarly, a will that disinherits an institutionalized spouse will also cause an ineligibility period for Medicaid purposes.
Anthony's grandfather makes a surprise appearance at one of their wild parties and, in disgust, disinherits him.
In the first, False Dawn, the young New Yorker Lewis Raycie makes a grand tour of Europe, buying pictures so far in advance of the taste of his time that his father disinherits him.
When his mother discovers his engagement to Lucy, a girl of inferior social standing, she disinherits him, settling her property on his younger brother, Robert.
But by only recognising Premier League titles, this totally disinherits the most charismatic United team of all time - the team of Best, Law and Charlton, and the team which was the first from England to conquer Europe.
The three are Corvino ("Raven"), who offers Volpone his wife; Voltore ("Vulture"), an advocate; and Corbaccio ("Crow"), who disinherits his son in favor of Volpone.
Corbaccio disinherits his own son in Volpone 's favor; Corvino goes so far as to offer his wife to ensure his goodwill.