Is “Equal” Always Fair When It Comes to Inheritances?

Posted on Mar 03, 2013

When parents create estate plans, some must wrestle with dividing assets between their children. They may struggle to find a fair solution. Some parents wish to divide their assets equally among all their children. But some circumstances may warrant a different distribution plan, according to a recent analysis in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Sometimes good reasons exist for unequal divisions. For example, a parent may have made a large purchase for one child, such as a graduate school education, when another child did not receive the same benefit. Sometimes, one child has made a fortune while the other child struggles with money problems. Parents who have created blended families must also consider both their children and their stepchildren. Finally, one child may suffer from a disability that impairs the child’s ability to earn a living. Parents may worry that a child with a medical disability will face greater needs and have more limited resources later in life. These reasons may drive parents to make an unequal division of their assets. And, as circumstances change, parents must revisit their asset distribution plans.

Parents who plan to divide their assets in a way that leaves one child with less should consider their children’s feelings. While a child may indicate that he is fine with a parent leaving more money to a sibling, the child may actually resent the situation. This can lead to problems between the two siblings or between the parents and the child. Yet, if a parent does not share his or her intentions ahead of time, the child may experience hard feelings after the parent is gone. This can lead to fights between siblings and even lawsuits between siblings.

Contact our Anaheim estate planning lawyers for more information about dividing your assets between your children. You may reach us by calling (714) 459-5481 or by filling out an online contact form.

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James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm