Equal and fair are not necessarily synonymous.
You are reviewing your finances and assets.
You know you will likely be leaving some sum behind.
You have more than one child.
How should you divide the inheritance pie of assets?
According to a recent Ladders.com article titled “More parents are leaving unequal inheritances to their adult kids,” equal may not be the best choice.
It is not merely theory.
The IZA Institute for Labor Economics found those who actually left unequal amounts through wills more than doubled from 1995 to 2010.
Will this not cause conflict among siblings?
Managing expectations will help.
If you explain your estate planning and the underlying reasons for your decisions, your children will be less inclined to blame your or each other.
What are common reasons for unequal division of an estate?
One is the number of grandchildren.
If a person has more children, many parents see this child as having a greater need for funds.
Another reason is the amount of care provided.
If a child serves as the primary caregiver for an aging parent, this individual may deserve a greater inheritance for the sacrifices of time, energy, and finances.
Sometimes stepchildren are left less than adopted or biological children within blended families.
Sometimes they are not included at all.
However, if you are not careful, stepchildren may inherit everything and your children zippo.
If this possibility caught your attention, consult with an experienced estate planning attorney without delay.
In addition to a difference in sum, you may consider a difference in disbursement.
You may have responsible and capable children who can receive an outright inheritance.
You may also have minor children, children with disabilities, or children with addictions, or children with an undesirable spouse who require more complex and protective planning through a trust.
Do not leave your estate plan as a surprise.
Get the family together and explain your wishes so everyone is on the same page.
Surprises are fun when it comes to birthday parties, but less so when it comes to inheritances.
Reference: Ladders.com (March 25, 2019) “More parents are leaving unequal inheritances to their adult kids”