Parents usually hope that their children will grow up to have the same religious faith as the parents. It seems like grandparents often having even greater hopes for this for their grandchildren. We all know that it does not always happen, but that does not stop some people from trying to use their estate plans to make sure that their wishes are known and carried out.
Some people insert clauses in their estate plans that disinherit a child or grandchild who marries outside of the deceased’s faith. Consider what this is likely to lead to if a child or grandchild does want to marry someone of a different faith. Undoubtedly, it would lead to hurt feelings and family fights. It is likely to lead to a legal fight as well as cost a great deal of money. One thing that it probably will not do is to make the child or grandchild hold any different religious beliefs.
Courts are divided over whether these clauses are valid. Some states have allowed them while others have struck them down as a matter of public policy. Talk to an estate planning attorney about what the law is in your state before you create an estate plan that attempts to make sure your children and grandchildren stay in the faith.