You are not obligated to include anyone in your will or leave them any assets at all — but, if that’s your goal, you need to go about it in the proper manner.
To some degree, you could consider just failing to mention the person entirely. Your will states who is supposed to get your assets. Even if someone hoped to get something, if the will doesn’t say that they do, then that can be enough to cut them out of your estate plan.
Why doing this without a specific disinheritance clause is a problem
The issue with cutting someone out of the will this way is that it may cause a dispute when you pass away. They could dispute the will, for example, on the grounds that they believe you simply forgot about them. If they had expected to inherit, they could also challenge that undue influence was used to alter the will. That’s not to say that either of these allegations would stand, but they are examples of how these disputes begin.
And that is why using a disinheritance clause is so important. It clearly defines what you’re trying to do. You want to remove that person from the will and you do not want them to inherit anything. The disinheritance clause names them specifically and simply states your wishes.
The end result is the same as if you didn’t leave them anything. But taking this extra step drastically lowers the odds of a dispute because it will be very clear what you really did want. This is just one reason why it’s so important to understand all of the legal steps you can take as you create your estate plan.