Essay on Will Inheritance

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Write a 300-word essay on the following topic: Courts in the United States have little power to change the terms of a valid will, even if some of its terms seem unfair to people who would normally expect to inherit assets. Do you think that it should be legal to disinherit your spouse or children, and should courts be able to change the terms of a will that they decide is unfair? Why or why not?

Submitted: January 13, 2017

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Submitted: January 13, 2017



The last monetary mark that most people will leave on this world is through their will. Whether their assets are to be given to spouses, children, or nonprofit organizations, I believe that the person who creates the will should be the sole determiner of where the money will go. The will serves as the legal embodiment of the deceased wishes and should be respected. In addition to this, the will was created when the benefactor was still alive. The United States Court system has no justifiable say in what a living person can or cannot do with their resources. Why should one’s last living document be subject to tampering because a relative feels slighted?  

The issue of “fairness” is a far more convoluted matter. However, it seems odd that an outside party should have any say in what is most likely a complex and personal affair. This is essentially what a Court is doing if it became legal to rule against the will. The Court influences the legality of marriage between individuals, not the acts that occur during marriage (excluding abuse or murder). The acts and emotions that occur during the marriage or between family members most likely determined the will’s recipients. So yes, I believe that it should be legal to disinherit spouses or children, even in cases deemed “unfair”. There are no laws against people being “mean” or vindictive to one another and it would go against the First Amendment free speech if there were. Disinheriting your spouse or children when they lack any other means is undoubtedly cruel, but should it be illegal when during life disowning them is perfectly permissible?

The United State Courts have influenced a great many practices in the United States since founding. Most landmark decisions regarding the Supreme Court System pertain to whether certain groups deserve certain rights or certain treatment. While the expansion of civil rights in cases like Brown v. Board of Education or Roe v. Wade have undoubtedly expanded rights, a ruling that changes someone's will would not. Changing the terms of a will would not only be an infringement on but also an infringement of the person who created the wills rights.


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