For many families, treating all children equally is the right choice. It certainly makes things easier after there's been a death -- there are fewer hurt feelings, and it makes it simpler to divide up money or possessions that are left. But that's not always appropriate. If you have children with vastly different needs, or vastly different agendas, your estate plan will need to take that into account.
When it comes to our children, we want to equally divide our time, love, and attention the best that we can. And when we think about our estate plans for our heirs, equal division may be the first thing that comes to mind. But it’s not always the best solution as not all heirs are created equal in terms of their needs.
This subject was taken up by Business Insider in a recent article titled “Not Every Good Estate Plan Treats Its Heirs Equally.”
Sometimes you can divide everything equally and everyone is happy. However, sometimes the “even-Steven” approach may not be the best approach in every situation. For example, the recipients may have very different needs, some may be more deserving than others, or the estate assets may not be subject to easy division.
Have you ever marveled at how children who grew up under the same roof and eating at the same table can be so different? It can be as simple as the differences between two individuals: one adult child is wealthy while the other is a starving artist; one child is disabled or otherwise needs medical aid while the other is as healthy as a horse.
Then, there are the other kinds of inequities. For example, one child has received financial help from you over the years while the other toughed it out. The list of differences can go on and on, but it’s worth a look at the selection pulled together in the original article before taking a good look at your own plans and family dynamics.
Life can be complicated, and family can be complicated with it. When it comes to planning for your estate, you might need to proportion and tailor the inheritances responsibly. Be sure to seek competent legal counsel to help you plan for each unique child.
Reference: Business Insider (October 26, 2012) “Not Every Good Estate Plan Treats Its Heirs Equally”