Deciding how to divide up your property in your Will can often be difficult to do. Especially if you have several children and they have varying needs, or you believe that one of them deserves more/less than the others.
When it comes to trying to decide who should get what without causing a massive family rift, it is not easy to do.
Here are a few things to think about.
Fair Does Not Always Have To Mean Equal.
Many times clients struggle with making sure that the legacy each child receives is “equal.” However, sometimes leaving each one of your children the same amount of money (for example) may be equal, but it is not always “fair.”
How can that be, you ask?
Well, consider this example: let us say that during your lifetime you loaned one of your children $50,000 or $100,000 to put a downpayment on a house and that loan is not paid back by the time you die. Is it fair to leave that child the same amount of money that you leave the others if you did not loan them any money at all?
But what can you do if you want to be fair to all your children?
You could consider including language in your estate plan that addresses the loan given to that child and how it will affect this child’s inheritance if it is not paid off by the time you die.
Everyone Has Different Needs.
Another thing to consider is that each person has different needs.
For example, some children in a family may have a history of drug or alcohol addiction, gambling or other debts, and criminal records, while the other children in the same family are sober, law-abiding independent adults.
Should you leave the same amount to the child with addictions/debt as you do to the others?
Again, probably not.
What you could do instead is create an estate plan that addresses the concerns you have with this child and which explains why you are leaving him/her a smaller inheritance.
Or, you can set up a trust that requires the difficult child to reach certain personal, educational or professional milestones before they can get their share of the estate.
On the opposite extreme, you may have one child who has a disability or “special needs” who may need more help and care than his/her siblings. In this case, because this child needs more than the others, you could create a “Special Needs Trust” tailored to this child’s needs to ensure that they are taken care of when you are gone.
Making an estate plan requires careful thought. At Esser, Bradley and Khalsa, we take the circumstances of each client into consideration and develop a Legacy Estate Plan that reflects your choices and fits your needs.
Talk to an Estate Planning Attorney!
If you have questions about your estate plan, call us. We offer creative solutions to your personal situation through our Legacy Estate Planning process. We have offices in Sedona, Arizona but we serve Verde Valley and all of Arizona. We offer FREE consultations and we can help you with your estate planning needs. E-mail us here or call 928-282-1483 to set up your free appointment.