Unequal Inheritance? Plan Ahead to Avoid Disputes Among Your Children


There are many reasons why you may wish to gift unequal inheritances to your loved ones, but this can cause unnecessary conflicts and disputes among your children if they don’t know in advance. You may be interested in thinking about how to treat your children fairly, while keeping in mind that fair does not always mean receiving equal assets.

Particularly when your family dynamics are complicated, you may need to do advanced planning with the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer. You may determine that unequal inheritances are more appropriate, such as paying back a child who has helped you through numerous medical issues, or a child who may not have as many financial opportunities as the others. Equal inheritances have actually become far less common than in the past. For example, between 1995 and 2010, the number of parents who reported treating their children unequally in their estate planning increase from 16% to nearly 35%.

While it may be simpler to evenly split your assets among beneficiary children, you might have different intentions. Prevent conflicts by explaining your wishes, adding a deterrent such as a no contest clause that says that anyone who attempts to contest the will may not be eligible to receive their assets, or setting up a trust in addition to your will.

A spendthrift trust, for example, can give you peace of mind that money will be managed more effectively by a child who may not otherwise be capable of handling it. Working with an estate planning attorney can also increase your chances of proper estate planning in line with your individual needs.

If youโ€™re not sure what to do with your own estate plan, you can use the guidance of a lawyer to help you select the right tools, timelines, and people to help accomplish your goals. Contact our Pasadena office to get further support with your California estate plan.

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