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Disinheriting Your Daughter-in-Law: An Unexpected “Dear Abby”

published 12/31/2015

For generations, “Dear Abby” and “Ask Ann Landers” steered flustered folks toward sensible and socially savvy solutions for everyday problems. Most of those conundrums concerned love, neighborliness, and propriety. Occasionally, they’d tread ever so lightly in problems with the law.

We recently came across a “Dear Abby”-type column in Canada’s MoneySense magazine. Its reader asked a rather blunt question, and advice columnist Romana King responded with the kind of harsh humor we’d expect from Abby or Ann.

“Don’t like your daughter-in-law?” King asks. “Don’t leave her a dime.”Conflict between mother and daughter

Simple but effective advice for a mother who loves her son but can’t stand his wife.

The mother in question, it seems, is sitting on a pretty pile of money. She wants to leave a quarter million for her son without the daughter-in-law touching a single cent. King tells her to go ahead and make the gift but to write the daughter-in-law right out of it.

Is that possible here in the United States? More or less, yes.

As you can imagine, bestowing an asset to only one half of a marital unit can be a little tricky. After all, husband and wife share the same estate. But with careful drafting and a clear sense of exactly what you want to accomplish, it can be done.

The bigger point to be made here is that your estate plan can generally accomplish whatever you want it to accomplish. Have a lot of love for one relative but less for another? Your will and trusts can reflect that if you so desire. It’s important, though, to be careful and contemplative in your approach to these matters. To that end, we can help.

If you have a tricky or sticky family situation and want to craft your estate plan with specific goals in mind, get in touch with our office. We’re here to help you effect your intentions to a T.

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