If you want to ensure that your children receive the property you want them to receive after you die, you must create a last will and testament with proper estate planning. Only by creating a valid will can you ensure your wishes are met after you die. However, there are other ways to ensure your property passes to your children apart from creating a will.
If you die leaving behind property and want to pass that property along to your children, you can state in detail how you want that property distributed in your last will and testament. As long as you meet your state’s requirements for creating a will, you can choose any manner of distribution you wish. With limited exceptions, there is no requirement that you leave any property at all to your children.
Because state law does not require you to leave any property to your children, you can effectively disinherit any or all of your children through your will. However, if you intend to disinherit your children it is probably best to specifically state this in your will as remaining silent about your children may cause problems and could lead a court to determine that your will is not valid.
If you die without leaving behind a last will, known as dying intestate, your children may inherit property under your state’s laws of intestacy. These laws typically divide property to your closest relatives, such as your spouse and your children. How much your children stand to receive if you do not have a will differs between states.
If you want to ensure that your children receive as much property as possible before you die, one of the best ways to do this is by creating a trust. By creating a trust you transfer ownership of your property to the trust itself and can choose to allow your children to receive the benefit of that property. Once you die, all property placed with the trust is not subject to the probate process because you technically no longer own it.