American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys

The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys was established in 1992. Mr. Holmgren has been an active member since 1995. Click here to visit his Academy website.

Long Life in Okinawa

Take a moment to watch this video from CNN on the amazing health and long life of Okinawans.

Seinfeld Has An Answer for Everything

In this classic Seinfeld episode, Jerry and Kramer discuss living wills. Although humorous, it makes a great point about the importance of this key document.


Utah's New Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT)

Effective May 2013, the DAPT statute (or DAPT law) provides a powerful way to protect assets from various creditors and especially from lawsuits.

CLICK HERE for full, printable article.

Disinheriting Family or Loved Ones
Posted on Dec. 14, 2012

From time to time, a client asks me, “do you think I’m a terrible person if I want to leave a child of mine nothing in my Will or Trust … he hasn’t spoken to me for 20 years … he never writes or calls, not even on Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas … we had a disagreement a long time ago, and I’ve forgiven him but he says he’ll never forgive me.”

Sometimes people want to disinherit a child, grandchild, parent or other person, and they have their reasons.  There is no law that says that you can’t disinherit a family member (although there are laws that protect a spouse from being totally disinherited).  However, to make sure your wishes are followed and no litigation arises to invalidate your wishes, careful steps and planning need to be followed.

I just finished a case where a client’s father had left his entire estate to my client – and disinherited 2 other children.  Sure enough, the disinherited children wanted their “fair share” from the estate and they filed a lawsuit to have the father’s Will and Trust invalidated.  They made several accusations such as: 

  • father was not of sound mind;
  • father was unduly influenced by the son who was not disinherited;
  • that son coerced ‘feeble old dad’ into leaving everything to him;
  • father had mentioned to them that even though they’d had no contact with him for 20+ years, he was forgiving them and planning on changing his Will and Trust to divide the estate “equally.” 

Well, father never made the changes and there was a considerable amount of evidence showing that he never intended to make any changes.

Although I was not the attorney who prepared the Will and Trust, in hindsight I could see many precautions that the father could have taken to protect the integrity and validity of the Will and Trust, but didn’t.  For example, the Will and Trust should have contained a provision that read: 

“This Will and Trust are the final expression of my intentions.  It can only be changed or amended by a written amendment signed by me.  No verbal expressions that I may ever make, or that I may be accused of making, indicating an intent to change my Will or Trust, shall have any legal significance.”

There were also other precautions that could have been taken, but because they were not significant and costly lawsuit ensued that took a long time to resolve. In the end, the son who was included in the inheritance gave more than a third of his inheritance to the other two children in order to end the lawsuit and “buy” peace.

The moral of the story?  Disinheriting someone is legal and possible, but it must be done very carefully and the legal documents need to say more than “I disinherit you.”

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About Randy


I help clients prepare for their unexpected death or disability. Using legal documents such as Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorney, LLCs and more, we can ensure that your hard-earned assets go to the right people, at the right time, and in the right way–and are managed by someone who is competent, skilled and trustworthy.

I also help clients identify their non-monetary legacy (values, wisdom, principles, beliefs, life experiences, family name and a commitment to certain charitable causes) and how to effectively pass that legacy on to family and others.

Take time to consider the value of your life to others. Don't miss opportunities to leave a greater legacy than just money.

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