Can a parent disinherit a child?

September 24, 2017 bscott

Question: I am an adult biological child who along with my 2 sisters were left out of my fathers will.  We had limited contact with him since our parents divorced when we were children.  My step-mother did everything she could to keep him away from us.  Do we have any rights to his estate?  What I have been researching tells me that in Louisiana you can’t leave biological children out of the will without “just cause.”  Is that true?  If so, I can’t imagine what just cause would be in our situation and I may be interested in pursuing the matter.

 

Answer: Louisiana does have forced heirship laws that limit a parent’s ability to disinherit a child.  However, the forced heirship laws only apply to specific situations. Unless you fit into one of these categories, you do not have a right to receive anything from your parent’s estate if he had a valid last will & testament when he passed away.  To qualify as a forced heir under Louisiana law, you must:

  • Be under 24 years of age, or
  • Any age, but have a physical or mental impairment that renders you incapable of caring for yourself

If either of these circumstances are present, you may qualify as a forced heir and regardless of what your parent’s will states, you would have a right to receive a portion of the estate.  Otherwise, if either of these circumstances are not present, your parent’s last will & testament will determine who inherits his estate.  If that is the case, the only option you would have is to look into whether there are any issues as to the validity of the last will and testament.  If for some reason the last will and testament is invalid, then the laws of intestacy would apply, and likely result in you and your siblings receiving his estate.