Mention Your Next of Kin in the Will
Excluding a close family member (like a spouse or child) can be used as grounds for contesting your will. If you aren’t going to include a close family member in your list of beneficiaries, consult with your estate attorney as to how to mention the exclusion as deliberate. When you specify that you are knowing excluding specific people, the will is less likely to come under scrutiny by a probate judge.
Excluding a close family member can be seen as a sign of dementia or coercion. Regardless of the actual reason behind the exclusion, the family member who has been cut out of the will can claim that you were clearly not in your right mind when you signed the will. A probate judge with little knowledge of your family history might be willing to nullify the will based on a simple exclusion.
You don’t have to worry about every aunt, uncle, nephew, and cousin contesting the will. Generally, the family members who are legally considered your next of kin should be mentioned in your will regardless of what they receive as beneficiaries. Consult with your estate attorney to determine who the court would deem as your legal next of kin.
Once you know who the courts would consider as having legal claim to your estate, you can include their names in the will even if you don’t give them any of your assets. You can simply say something like, “I am knowingly excluding my daughter, Grace, from the will.” No explanations necessary.