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disinherit

v. to intentionally take actions to guarantee that a person who would normally inherit upon a party's death (wife, child or closest relative) would get nothing. Usually this is done by a provision in a will or codicil (amendment) to a will which states that a specific person is not to take anything ("my son, Robert Hands, shall receive nothing," "no descendant of my hated brother shall take anything on account of my death."). It is not enough to merely ignore or not mention a child in a will since he/she may become a "pretermitted heir" (a child apparently forgotten). A spouse can be disinherited only to the extent that the state law allows. A writer of a will can also disinherit anyone who challenges the validity of the will in what is called an "in terrorem" clause, which might say "I leave anyone who challenges this will or any part of it one dollar."

See also: codicil  descent  descent and distribution  heir  in terrorem clause  pretermitted heir  will 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications

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