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Why would you leave your heir a single dollar?

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2021 | Estate planning |

Have you ever heard someone say that they left a single dollar to one of their children in their will? If so, it may have sounded odd. What good is one dollar, and is it just intended to be an insult?

It’s not supposed to be an insult in most cases, but it’s just a way that people will disinherit someone. It’s not necessary, but it’s a tactic that many people believe they should employ all the same. 

Why do they do it?

The reasoning is that someone who is surprised not to be in the will may contest that will. They may claim they were just left out or forgotten on accident. Since the writer of the will has passed away and cannot be asked, the court has to decide. 

Leaving one dollar makes it so that it’s clear they were not forgotten; their parent honestly did not want to leave them anything. They’re being disinherited. They can’t say it was a mistake if they got something, and they can’t claim it was an oversight. 

What should you do?

As noted, you absolutely do not have to do this to accomplish your goal. You can, but all you really need is an acknowledgment that you are intentionally cutting that person out of your will. If the will states this directly, there is no room for a contest on the grounds that the person was forgotten. They still get nothing, and the will dictates that you wanted them to get nothing.

If you’re setting up your estate plan and it includes complex issues like this, be sure you know what steps to take to make sure that your estate plans line up with your wishes.