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Leaving Unequal Inheritances In A Will

Estate Settlement Lawyer

When establishing a will, many people decide to divide their assets easily amongst their children. It seems like the easiest and fairest way to do it. However as explained by our friends at Carpenter & Lewis PLLC, sometimes it may make more sense to give unequal inheritances. Unfortunately, this can cause hurt feelings and resentment in your children. It may even result in litigation.

Why Some Parents Choose to Leave Unequal Inheritances

There are several reasons why a person may decide to give unequal inheritances to their children. For example, a parent may decide to give a larger inheritance to a child who is not as financially stable as the other children. The adult child may be able to use that inheritance to get back on his or her feet.

Another reason why a parent may choose to give unequal inheritances is if one child provided more care for the parents during life. The parent may feel appreciative that one child sacrificed and chose to be a caregiver.

A parent may also decide to give a larger inheritance to a child that has special needs. The child with special needs may require more care that costs a lot of money.

How to Discuss Unequal Inheritances in Your Will

If you are planning to leave unequal inheritances to your children, you may feel nervous about how they will react. You may feel that it will cause anger and tension. However, if you plan ahead, you may be able to minimize tension. Here are a few tips to consider.

  • Talk about your plan with your children. As uncomfortable as it may be at first, you may want to discuss your plan with your children ahead of time. You do not want them to be surprised later on and wonder about your reasoning. Talk about the subject in a quiet and calm setting, such as inside your home. Thoroughly explain to them about your decisions. For example, if you plan on leaving a large inheritance to a child who has always struggled financially, you should discuss that at your meeting. If your children understand the reasons behind your decisions, there may be less anger and resentment. Encourage them to voice their questions and concerns.
  • Consider distributing property outside your will. If you have reason to believe that your children will not understand the unequal inheritance in your will, it may be best to distribute your assets outside your will. For instance, you could set up a living trust, which lets you control the distribution of property to your children over a period of time instead of receiving it all once you die. A trust is private, so your other children will not know what is in it. Another thing you can do is name one of your children as a beneficiary of your life insurance policy or other asset that is not in your will.

If you need assistance with your estate plan, you schedule a meeting with an estate settlement lawyer as soon as possible.