When someone is disinherited, it means that they are being left out of the will. This often happens when a parent and a child are estranged, for example. That parent may have other heirs, but they will deliberately leave nothing to the child that they are no longer close with.
A partial disinheritance, on the other hand, is simply an unequal bequest. It means that the child hasn’t been cut out of the will entirely, but they are still getting notably fewer assets than the other heirs and beneficiaries. For instance, two children may get 45% of the parent’s wealth each, while the final child only gets 10%.
Are there positive reasons to do this?
People do usually assume that this is something negative. In the above example, the parent and the child have had a falling out and they’re now estranged. It is seen as a punishment.
But it doesn’t always work like this. In some cases, there are positive reasons. Perhaps two children are struggling financially, and they need as much money as they can get. The other child is very financially successful and doesn’t really have any needs. The parent understands what will help the children the most, and the child who is partially disinherited may be fully onboard with this, unconcerned that they aren’t getting more money that they do not need.
But it can definitely be a contentious and complicated process. In some cases, it will lead to an estate dispute, especially if the child who is receiving less thinks it was done through undue influence. That’s why it’s important for all involved to understand their legal options.