With the single exception of Louisiana, the United States provides no legislative protection against the disinheritance of minor children by their parents. This position is distinct from most other countries in the world, which require parents to provide for their children at death. Freedom of testation, a distinctly American value, is at odds with another value Americans hold dear: support and protection of one’s family. This Note argues that the balance between these two discordant values has tipped too far in the direction of testamentary freedom, to the detriment of minor children. Non-custodial children are disproportionally affected by this lack of protection because they are the most likely group to be disinherited. Rather than rely on courts to inconsistently and arbitrarily protect children against disinheritance, this Note suggests that states should adopt forced heirship legislation to ensure that children are supported after the death of their parents.
Disinheritance of Minor Children: A Proposal to Amend the Uniform Probate Code,
B.C. Third World L.J.