Can a Child be Disinherited from a Will in Florida?

This article contrasts the laws regarding disinheritance of a child in a Florida will with our earlier article regarding disinheritance of a spouse. Florida law has some of the strongest legal protections for minor children who are left out of a will.

While a Florida resident is entitled to disinherit their adult children, they cannot completely disinherit their minor children. Florida’s Constitution contains homestead laws which prohibit the head of a family from leaving his or her residence to someone other than their surviving spouse or minor child if either is alive. Under the homestead laws, a surviving spouse is given use of the property for their remaining life and then it passes to the minor children. Therefore, if decedent attempts to devise their Boca Raton home at death to a friend, the homestead laws will prevent this devise. The house will go first to decedent’s surviving spouse, if any, for life and then to their children who were minors at the time of the death. The homestead restrictions provide protection for the decedent’s family by ensuring that they cannot disinherit their dependents.

Additionally, Florida law gives relief to minor children who were born after the execution of a will. Under Florida law, if a child is born to or adopted by a Florida resident after the execution of their will and the will does not provide for a child, that child is deemed a pretermitted child and as a result is entitled to a share of the decedent’s estate. That share is roughly equal to their intestate share which is what the child would have received had the decedent died without a will.

Finally, if a decedent did intend to disinherit either their minor or adult children it should be clearly stated in their will. If it is not clearly stated, than this disinheritance may be grounds for a probate litigation proceeding. The will can be attacked on the grounds that the testator was not of sound mind or was unduly influenced when he or she drafted the will and left out the child(ren).

If you or someone you know lives in the West Palm, Fort Lauderdale or Miami-Dade area and believe they were improperly disinherited from a will or not given their rightful share, the probate litigation team at Chepenik Trushin will help you obtain the proper legal relief. Please feel free to contact us for an initial first consultation.