Things To Consider When Leaving Your Children Unequal Shares Of Your Estate

Not all inheritances your children will receive from your estate have to be equal because, let’s face it, equal isn’t always fair.

While it is natural for parents to want to treat their children equally in their Estate Plan, there are some circumstances in which a parent might want to leave their children more or less shares of their estate.

Why Would A Parent Leave Unequal Shares?

Below are some factors that can help influence why a parent would consider adjusting a particular child’s share:

  • If one child is providing all the caregiving, the parent might want to reward that child.
  • If one child is substantially better off than another child, then the parent might want to provide more for the child who has a greater need for the funds. 
  • If one child has special needs.
  • If there is a family business that only one child wants to run.
  • The parents have already provided more for one child during their lifetime – maybe by paying for graduate school or helping them buy a house, etc. 

Whatever the reason for leaving your children unequal shares, if you plan to provide more (or less) for one child in your Estate Plan, preparation is important – and it might not always be so easy, depending on your family dynamics.

What You Need To Do In These Cases

Among the important things you may need to do is to discuss your reasoning with the children. This would involve sitting down with them and explaining your decision-making process.

While your children may be understanding of your decision, this may not always be the case for everyone. If you feel like the conversation could be difficult and contentious, you could hire a mediator to help facilitate the discussion. 

How You Can Prevent A Child From Challenging Your Will

If you are worried about one child challenging your Will after you die, you may want to take additional steps: 

  • Draft your Will and Estate Plan with the assistance of an attorney and make sure it is properly executed. To avoid accusations of undue influence, do not involve any of your children in the process. 
  • Explain in detail your reasoning in your Estate Planning document and make it clear that it is your decision and not the influence of the child who is receiving more. 
  • Include a no-contest clause (also called an “in terrorem clause”) in your Will. A no-contest clause provides that if an heir challenges the Will and loses, then he or she will get nothing. You should leave the heir enough so that a challenge is not worth the risk of losing the inheritance.

How The Law Office of Antoinette Bone Can Help

Whether looking to begin your Estate Planning or update your current Estate Plan, it’s highly advisable to consult with an Estate Planning attorney. There are many ways to configure an Estate Plan and it’s important to find a lawyer who can help you in creating and executing the ideal plan for you and your family.

At the Law Office of Antoinette Bone, we understand that no two family or personal situations are the same – that’s why we take a personalized approach with all of our clients. We look forward to helping you customize an Estate Plan that fulfills your unique needs and considerations. Click the link to book an appointment or call us at (817) 462-5454 to schedule a meeting with Antoinette Bone in our Euless, Texas office.

To comply with the U.S. Treasury regulations, we must inform you that (i) any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this newsletter was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any person for the purpose of avoiding U.S. federal tax penalties that may be imposed on such person and (ii) each taxpayer should seek advice from their tax advisor based on the taxpayer’s particular circumstances.

Nothing in this message is intended to provide legal advice.  This message is for educational purposes only.

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