It’s standard for Anchorage parents to use their estate planning to divide their assets equally among the children. But this is not always the best way to handle giving out inheritances.
Reasons you might leave different amounts to your heirs
Everyone who distributes their estate unevenly has their own reasons. Here are a few examples:
- One child has a stable, high-paying career, while the other has struggled with keeping a job
- You have provided a lot more financial support for one of your children, and consider that money an “early inheritance”
- One of your children has a disability that prevents them from being financially independent
- One of your children might have sacrificed to care for you during an illness or in your final years
- Your relationship with one of your children could be strained to the point that you rarely see or speak to them
As the testator, you have the right to dictate how your assets get distributed according to your final wishes. But legal rights aside, it can be emotionally difficult when your heirs find out about your plans. There is always the risk that a child’s unhappiness over the size of their inheritance can lead them to challenge the validity of your will in probate court.
Letting your loved ones know
A family fight over the will is the last thing most people want. One way to help prevent this from happening is to tell your family ahead of time. While it can be a difficult conversation, it gives your children time to let the news sink in instead of being blindsided after you pass away. If they knew about the terms of your will for years before you pass, they will be less likely to file a lawsuit out of anger or shock. You can tell your children as a group during a family meeting or individually if you prefer.
If you would like to leave more for one or more of your children, working with an estate planning attorney can help you minimize potential strife in the future.