There are many older Washington, DC residents who are living either on their own or in an assisted living facility. Many of those elderly people are not regularly visited by their children. Right or wrong, when this happens, elderly parents may decide to cut-out those children when they are doing estate planning.
Of course, every person has the right to give, or not to give, his or her assets to whomever they please. Many parents who disinherit their children do so because they are hurt by the fact that their children don't spend more time with them. It has nothing to do with whether they love the child they disinherit because the motivation is not a lack of love -- often it is the opposite.
The problem can arise when the elderly parent passes away and the will is probated. There is often tension between the children since one child was cut out. Children who weren't disinherited often feel guilty especially if there was reconciliation before the death of the parent. The quandary then becomes whether to honor that's parent's last wishes.
There is always an element of emotion involved in estate planning. However, making decisions regarding disinheriting an adult child that are based on a sometimes temporary hurt can have lasting repercussions. Even if there was a change of heart after the creation of the will, unless that will is changed, the instructions are supposed to be followed. Elderly Washington, DC residents may want to take a little extra time to consider a decision to disinherit a child and to make sure that it isn't being done for the wrong reasons.
Source: Bloomberg.com, "You Want to Cut Your Kid Out of Your Will. Or Do You?" Lewis Braham, July 23, 2013