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Should you consider leaving unequal bequests to your children?

On Behalf of | Oct 9, 2023 | Estate Planning

You may have always assumed that you’d ultimately leave everything you have to your adult children and let them divide it equally.

However, as a parent, you probably already know that “equal” isn’t always fair. It can make a lot of sense to leave your children unequal inheritances.

When is it appropriate to leave different amounts?

A lot of people do this simply because it’s the conventional thing to do, and it can prevent conflict. However, there are several reasons that can justify doing something else, including:

  • Differing financial needs: Often, one child is doing better financially than the other(s). Another may be struggling financially. One child, for example, may have led a “charmed life” and be well-off, while another may struggle with medical issues (and medical bills) or other financial problems outside of their control.
  • Ensuring a disabled heir’s financial future: If you have a disabled adult child, you may want to put the lion’s share of your assets into a special needs trust for their care. Your able-bodied children, who can provide for themselves, may easily understand this decision.
  • Rewarding the help of an adult child: If one of your children has significantly altered their life in order to care for you in your later years, leaving them more than you leave their siblings may feel like a fair “reward” for all they’ve done for you.

Ultimately, whatever you decide to do, you need to make sure that your estate plan is clear and legally valid. Getting sound egal guidance as you do this can help you make certain that your wishes are upheld.