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Apropos of this news article, in which, apparently, Elon Musk's transgender daughter wants to sever ties with her father:

  1. Hypothetically speaking, if Elon Musk wrote her out of his will, could she challenge the will and claim part of his estate despite stating that she wants to "sever ties" with him?

  2. If, on Elon Musk's death, he does not write her out of his will, could one of Musk's other children challenge the will, claim she severed ties, and distribute her part of the estate to the remaining beneficiaries, leaving her with nothing?

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Legally, an announcement by one adult that s/he wants to "sever ties with" another has effectively no meaning.

Presumably in the case mentioned the daughter intends to stop interacting with Musk, or significantly limit such interactions. She is free to do so. That has no legal effect on Musk's will. It might cause Musk to change his will, but that is his decision. He is free to leave money, even lots of money, to a person who has "severed ties" with him if he so chooses. So is anyone else. (Of course most people don't have as much to leave as Musk presumably will.)

If Musk does choose to leave money to this daughter, her announcement of negative feelings towards Musk would not be grounds to challenge the will or to disinherit the daughter. There are various grounds on which a will may be challenged in US law. Perhaps the most common are undue influence, and lack of the needed mental competence. Announcing an intent to "sever ties" would not be a usual way to obtain undue influence over a person, and nothing in Musk's reported actions shows the kind of lack of mental competence which would render a will void.

In short, the only way in which this or any similar announcement might change Musk's will is if it first changes his mind.

As for the daughter challenging the will, she would have no more and no less rights to do so than if no announcement had been made. There are various legal grounds on which a will may be challenged, depending on the state. They are all fact-dependent, and can be done only if certain sorts of facts are alleged in the challenge. There is no way to know, now, if any such facts will be true when Musk dies. But the announcemt on its own will not matter.

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    Even if the announcement were an "undue influence", it would presumably be considered an influence against their receiving an inheritance. So it would be hard to challenge that they received the inheritance as a result, unless the court considers it an extreme form of reverse psychology
    – Barmar
    Jun 22 at 14:04
  • It's my understanding that children are legally entitled to inheritance even if they are left out of the will, in that children who are left out of their parents' wills can challenge the will. Is that the case, and, in this case, if Elon were to disinherit his daughter, could she challenge and would such a challenge be successful given these circumstances?
    – Ertai87
    Jun 22 at 15:33
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    @Ertai87 That is true in some, but not in most, US states. In most of those states the testator can still leave out a child by leaving a very small legacy to that child, say $10. The details verry by state. I am not sure where Musk's legal residence is. and of course no one can know where it will be when he dies. The law of the state of domicile at the time of death normally controls on such matters. Jun 22 at 15:38
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    @Ertai87 I have added a response to the first part of the question to my answer. Does it satisfy you? Jun 22 at 15:43
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    @Ertai87 This isn't true. In all U.S. jurisdictions, children may be disinherited with or without cause by any competent person. The will must expressly state that a child is disinherited in many states to demonstrate that this was not an accidental omission of a child, but that is all. In contrast, in some jurisdictions in Mexico, a child may only be disinherited for good cause.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 22 at 23:22

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