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Some use estate planning to get even with disappointing heirs

Among the many entertaining things to be seen on the internet, web surfers may run across articles detailing the unusual messages people have left in their wills. While estate planning is generally a serious endeavor, some in Oklahoma may use their wills to leave a humorous statement in order to ease the grief of their loved ones. Others, however, see their wills as a way to take a parting shot at someone who has hurt them. Many estate planning experts agree that this is a bad idea.

While it may be the stuff of movies, it is not unheard of for people to leave clear and hurtful messages in their wills. Denying an inheritance to their children and leaving their wealth to a pet is one example. However, while disinheriting someone is a personal and civil way to express one's disappointment with potential heirs, some desire to use their wills to leave cruel or crass messages to their families.

Including a spiteful statement or hurtful bequest in a will may feel good at the time the will is written, but it may have regretful consequences. Often, despite a lifetime of goodwill, a person can tarnish his or her legacy by using estate planning to get even with someone or to have the last word. This may sometimes make for hilarious internet reading, but to family members, friends or acquaintances, such actions can bring unintended hurt, embarrassment and bitterness.

When considering estate planning in Oklahoma, it is always helpful to have advice from someone with experience and knowledge of the laws and practices within the state. Using a will to get even with a family member may not have the results one is seeking. An attorney with estate planning acumen can guide one in making a plan that will satisfy one's wishes with dignity.

Source:, "Don't settle scores in your will", Christopher Yugo, June 4, 2017

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