That said, an equal inheritance makes the most sense when any donations or financial support you've given to your children throughout their lives have been minimal or substantially the same, and when there isn't a situation where a child has provided most of the custodial care of an older parent. The standard advice among experts is to divide your estate equally among your children. For most older parents, it's easier to leave each adult child the same inheritance. But is equality always equitable? For many, the answer is no.
And as the pandemic prompts people to write or update their estate plans, the more they face that question. For many families, treating all children equally is the right choice. It certainly makes things easier after there has been a death, there are fewer hurt feelings, and it makes it easier to divide the money or possessions that remain. If you have children with very different needs or very different agendas, your estate plan will need to consider that.
An equal inheritance is a good idea for your family if all your children are in a similar situation in life. Everyone has similar salaries or incomes. Everyone is an emotionally capable and responsible person. All children have received the same financial support from their parents, whether it's college tuition, their first car, or perhaps to pay for their weddings or invest money for a house.
If your children do not need immediate financial assistance and everyone is responsible with money, then it makes sense to divide their estate equally among themselves. Should the inheritance be distributed equally between siblings? It is generally recommended that your estate be divided equally among your children, according to experts. A majority of respondents said that children who take on the role of primary caregivers of older parents deserve to inherit more than other siblings. Should the inheritance be distributed equally among siblings? The standard advice among experts is to divide your estate equally among your children.
Two-thirds said that a child who intervenes as the primary caregiver of an aging mother or father deserves to inherit more than other siblings. He recalled a situation where customers wanted his help in distributing ownership of the prosperous family business. Matching gifts can be documented in an estate plan, as heirs may need to be reminded of parental generosity at an earlier date. An Ameriprise survey, for example, found that among siblings who fought for money as adults, 70% of fights involved problems with parents, such as how an inheritance is divided.
Probate lawyers say some parents want to leave something extra to an adult child who is the primary caregiver, such as greater cash distribution, life insurance income, or perhaps the house if the child moved into the house. Kardasis mediated a case in which the father asked two successful children how they would feel if he left a larger inheritance to a third child, who had financial and health problems. But the study also found that the longer the relationship, the more likely it is that a parent will leave a stepchild an inheritance equal to that of a biological or adopted child, possibly reflecting a strengthening of “trust” and bond. Unequal inheritances can trigger sibling fights after the death of one parent, some of which end up in court, especially if a child thinks one parent was being too influenced by the sibling who ended up with the larger inheritance.
If you have a child who plays games, gets into trouble with credit cards, has never seen an investment he can pass up or a taste for extravagant online shopping, he may not want to leave him an inheritance directly. At the same time, the study also found that the longer the relationship, the more likely it is that the father will leave the inheritances of stepchildren the same as those of a biological or adopted child. If a child needs government assistance, leaving that child an inheritance directly will disqualify them from receiving such assistance (such as health insurance or disability supplemental payments) until they have spent all the money they have left. A home can be left in a trust or will, with instructions for the sale of the house and all assets divided equally.
In general, if your sibling dies without a will, you will only inherit if your sibling has no living spouse, domestic partner, adopted child, grandchild, or parent. If your daughter is the CEO of a public company and your son is an artist, you may not want to leave them an equal inheritance because they have very disparate financial needs. Below are answers to some of the most common questions from readers about 7 reasons why your children shouldn't always receive the same inheritance. If there are no surviving siblings, then the surviving nieces and nephews of those brothers receive inheritances, divided equally between surviving nieces and nephews.
Usually, that takes the form of the family home, increased cash distribution or life insurance income. . .