The most common estate plan today will leave assets equally to all of your children. In some situations, however, equal distribution is not desired nor does it make sense for your family members.
Parents frequently have logical reasons for leaving behind differently-valued inheritances for their children. For example, a younger child may still have a responsibility to pay for education while the parents may have already paid for the older child’s education. Another child might make significantly more money leaving others with a greater need for the inheritance.
A child with special needs may need to have a trust articulated in order to account for their disability needs without compromising eligibility for government assets. In some situations, however, a parent may wish to partially or completely disinherit a child who is estranged. Unequal inheritances to children, however, can cause sibling disputes, hurt feelings and will contests.
Considering your unique family situation and scheduling a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney is strongly recommended. A trust is often the most important vehicle to avoid fighting among your children over the inheritance amount.
This is particularly true when you are leaving vastly different inheritance amounts between your children. If you use only a will and pass away with assets in only your name, these assets will go through a court proceeding referred to as probate. If you use a trust instead of a will, you decrease the chances of family conflict over the inheritance. Consult with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer today to learn more.