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Norwood Estate Planning Lawyer > Blog > Estate Planning Attorney > Can You Disinherit A Child From Your Will In Massachusetts?

Can You Disinherit A Child From Your Will In Massachusetts?


An estate plan allows you to retain control of your property and assets. In Massachusetts, a person has broad discretion to organize his or her own affairs. While most people opt to keep their kids at the center of their estate plan, you have the right to disinherit a child—but, to meet legal standards, you should be specific when doing so. Here, our Boston estate planning attorney highlights the key things to know about disinheriting a child in Massachusetts.

You Can Disinherit a Child in Massachusetts 

In Massachusetts you are not required to leave property or assets for an adult child at your death and can thus can disinherit a child from your estate entirely.  Disinheriting a child is not effective by omitting the child from your Will, as you must specifically identify the adult child and state that you are intentionally disinheriting this child.   The reasons for the decision are varied and do not necessary mean an estrangement.   It may be that you are not leaving any assets to your adult child or children, as you have provided for them during your lifetime or that you would prefer to leave your assets to your grandchildren as your adult children are successful individuals who do not need your assets.   Regardless, you must specify that your intent is to disinherit.   A statement explaining your decision is not a requirement. 

Clear, Unequivocal Language is a Must 

When it comes to disinheriting a child, clarity about your intent in the Will’s language is absolutely non-negotiable. Massachusetts law mandates the use of explicit, unambiguous terms to ensure the testator’s intentions are beyond doubt. Vague or implied exclusions could result in major conflict over the implications of an estate. Remember, a child is in the natural line of succession in Massachusetts. If a parent wants to disinherit a child, they should leave no room for interpretation. 

Is Disinheriting a Child the Right Decision?

It depends. Deciding to disinherit a child is always a profoundly personal and sensitive matter. Most people leave their property/assets primarily to their immediate family—spouse, children, etc. Disinheriting a child is a major step. It is relatively unusual and it is not something that should be done lightly. At the same time, there could be situations where it is the sensible approach. For example, a parent may not want to leave any money to an adult child with a serious drug addiction. That could be grounds for disinheritance. Still, there are other estate planning options available as well. In that situation, using a trust with strict restrictions could actually be a better alternative.

The right legal representation is key. A Boston, MA estate planning lawyer can review the matter, and offer narrowly tailored, personalized guidance. Your attorney can ensure that your decision is fully informed, that aligns with your true intentions, and that it best achieves your goals.

Contact Our Massachusetts Estate Planning Attorney for Immediate Help

At Fisher Law LLC, our Boston estate planning lawyers are experienced advocate for clients. We help people find solutions to their estate planning concerns. For more information about your rights or your options, please do not hesitate to contact our firm today for a confidential consultation. We provide estate planning and probate law representation throughout the Greater Boston area.

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