9th Nov 2021

This blog series is using the Estate of M. Richard “Dick” Robinson, Jr., an owner and officer of publishing company Scholastic, to explore interesting estate topics.

You can click and read here more about the details of the estate and the need to have a plan. You can click and read here the last post about considering non-relatives in an estate plan.

One of the reasons this estate is getting attention is that Robinson reportedly disinherited his children and favored instead a non-relative – his “longtime romantic partner.”

Disinheriting Children

In Oklahoma, someone making a Will or other estate plan can completely (or partially) disinherit their children.

The key is to make it clear. If a Judge or Jury finds the disinheritance was not “intentional”, but perhaps an oversight or error in making the document, the children will take as if the parent died intestate or without a will.

Disinheriting a Spouse

In Oklahoma, someone making a Will or other estate plan cannot completely disinherit a spouse. Even if this is attempted, a spouse can always make elections to take a certain part of the estate.

However, a plan can limit what a spouse receives. Either with or without the cooperation of the spouse. And those considering marriage can look at planning items such as an antenuptial agreement or prenup before marriage

Why Disinherit

Disinheriting a spouse or child is an extreme measure that is not appropriate in many estate plans. However in certain plans it may be a necessary hard decision.

If you are considering or dealing with disinheritance issues, you should know the law. But you may also want to look at other options such as trusts or other agreements or arrangements that might be able to address some of the issues in a different way.

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