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Remarried? Follow These 3 Steps to Avoid Disinheriting Your Children

The term “unintentional disinheritance” may be foreign to some, but I can assure you it is an all-too-common action seen quite frequently by financial and woman holding hands looking at a form unintentional inheritance HFG Trust

What is it?  

Unintentional disinheritance is when your will, trust, or estate is set up in a way that disinherits your intended beneficiary. For example, if you have children and you want them to receive your estate, but they are unknowingly left out. That is unintentional disinheritance.

Let’s go over a real-life example.

The Case of Bob

85-year-old Bob was married to his third wife, Mary, and wanted to make sure she was taken care of. However, he also wanted to ensure that his two children, John and Jane, receive the remaining proceeds of his testamentary trust.

Bob’s will was drafted so that a trust was created upon his passing with Mary designated as the income beneficiary, leaving Bob’s two children as the remainder beneficiaries.

When Bob passed away, all of his probate assets were moved into the trust. However, we discovered an open bank account.

Bob had opened a joint tenant with right of survivorship (JTWROS) account at the bank with Mary listed as the joint owner.

What happened to the $1.2mm JTWROS bank account upon Bob’s passing?

You guessed it: unintentional disinheritance. Mary ended up with the $1.2mm dollars, and Bob’s two children received nothing from the account. In the end, Mary’s child ended up with the funds. As you can imagine, this is not what Bob had intended.

What can you do?

The first step is to make sure you have a solid estate plan in place. At a minimum, that includes a last will and testament, and if needed, a trust. It is also helpful to work with a team that knows the details of your plan—your attorney, accountant, and investment advisor, for example.

In the future, if you decide to change, amend, alter, or create a new account, it is best to understand how those funds will be transferred should you pass away. Talk it over with your advisor, down to every last checking and savings account, to ensure you understand the transfer process.

HFG Trust would be happy to sit down and discuss all of the plans in place for your estate. And if needed we can help begin the estate planning process.

HFG Trust is a State of Washington chartered Trust company. We at HFG Trust will continue to provide wealth and portfolio management, and for those clients who require trust services, we can satisfy that need as well. Please contact us if you would like more information or want to consider establishing a trust for your estate planning needs.

Mike Tallman, CFP®, CTFA®

Senior Trust Officer


This memorandum expresses the views of the author as of the date indicated and such views are subject to change without notice. Community First Bank, HFG Trust, and HFG Advisors have no duty or obligation to update the information contained herein. Further, Community First Bank, HFG Trust, and HFG Advisors make no representation, and it should not be assumed that past investment performance is an indication of future results. Moreover, wherever there is potential profit there is possibility of loss. This memorandum is being made available for educational purposes only and should not be used for any other purpose. The information contained herein does not constitute and should not be construed as an offering of advisory services, banking services, or an offer to sell or solicit and securities or related financial instruments in any jurisdiction. Certain information contained herein concerning economic trends and performance is based on or derived from information provided by independent third-party sources. Community First Bank, HFG Trust, and HFG Advisors believes that the sources from which such information has been obtained are reliable; however, it cannot guarantee the accuracy of such information and has not independently verified the accuracy or completeness of such information or the assumptions on which such information is based. This memorandum, included the information contained herein, may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or posted in any form without the prior written consent of Community First Bank and/or HFG Trust and/or HFG Advisors. HFG Advisors, Inc, is a wholly owned subsidiary of HFG Trust, LLC. HFG Trust, LLC is a Washington state-registered Trust company and wholly owned subsidiary of Community First Bank.