Brandon Will and Trust Lawyer: Should You Leave Different Inheritance Amounts To Your Kids?

It is pretty common for parents to distribute their assets equally among their children when they pass away.  As a Brandon Will and Trust Lawyer, I see this often. However, this is not always the best choice for families. In some circumstances, the fair thing to do is not always equal shares for all.  If any of these circumstances apply to you, then you might want to consider leaving more to one child than the others.

  • Do you have a special needs child?If you have a child with special needs or disabilities, you know that there is a cost for getting them the treatment and help they need. In many cases, parents with special needs children leave a larger portion of their inheritance to that child in a Special Needs Trust to ensure there is enough money to provide a lifetime of care. These are expenses that other siblings will not be faced with and a very common situation where fair does not mean equal.
  • Is one or more of your children already financially established? – If you have children that are in great shape financially, it may not make sense to leave them a large inheritance when another child is not similarly situated.
  • Does one or more of your children have trouble handling their financial affairs? – If you have a child that is not capable of properly handling their finances, you may choose to leave the money in a trust with detailed instructions for when and how the money should be distributed. You may not need to do this with your other children who are capable of handling their finances.

Unfortunately, we have also seen situations where parents unintentionally leave a larger portion of their estate to one child. If you name one of your children as a beneficiary on your life insurance or retirement account, only that child will get the money. Those accounts bypass probate, so they go directly to the person (people) named as beneficiary even if your will states that you want all money divided equally.  This is the result of NOT planning properly rather than intentionally choosing to leave your children different inheritance amounts.

Deciding how to divide your estate is a very personal choice. Every day here at The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, we guide people through the options allowing them to make the best choices for their family. If you haven’t created your estate plan yet, call us at 813-438-8503 to schedule your consultation where we can help you work through these sensitive issues.