How to leave everything to one child

If you want to leave everything to only one child and you want that will to be respected, speak to an experienced estate litigation and planning attorney. A wills and trusts attorney can help draft your will that can withstand scrutiny.

When you are a parent, the decision to leave everything to one child may be motivated by several factors:

  1. estrangement
  2. advanced inheritance
  3. lack of need
  4. dependent parent
  5. disabled child

You may have strained relations with some children for the longest time and have not talked in decades. Or you probably already paid for one child’s wedding or college tuition and you’d like to be equitable with your distribution, so you’re leaving more (if not everything) to the other child. Or you could feel that one child doesn’t need your wealth while the other is disabled and needs help for his lifetime. Or the parent might have been more dependent to one child in his twilight years and wants to leave everything to that child as a token of gratitude.

Whatever your reason, leaving everything to one child will most likely result to a will contest, especially when the estate is substantial. Other children will be dissatisfied with the provisions in the will and will allege that the will is not valid or a product of undue influence, fraud, or forgery.

A will contest will deplete estate funds because the nominated executor has to defend the will, and will use estate funds to pay for legal expenses. In case the objectant is successful in proving that the will is not authentic, his legal fees may be paid the estate because the objection to the will was beneficial to the estate.

Speak with your estate attorney about possibly leaving a memorandum with the will explaining why this one child is receiving everything and why the others are getting nothing. When everything is intelligently explained in a memorandum, the chances of a court declaring your will as a product of undue influence is minimized. To minimize the risk of will contests, a memorandum attached to the will explaining the reason for leaving everything to one child may be helpful. This will show the court that the disposition to the child and the omission of the other children was intelligently made, with reason, and free from undue influence.

If you would like to leave everything to one child, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. We have offices in New York City, Brooklyn, NY and Queens, NY. You can call us at 212-233-1233 or send us an email at [email protected].

Attorney Albert Goodwin

Law Offices of
Albert Goodwin, PLLC
31 W 34 Str, Suite 7058
New York, NY 10001

Tel. 212-233-1233

[email protected]

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