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Should Each of Your Children Receive an Equal Inheritance?

Should Each of Your Children Receive an Equal Inheritance?

Dividing up your property and assets amongst multiple children can be an impossible situation. Some solve the problem by avoiding the estate planning process it entirely, but not having a will is not the answer. It is a task that must be faced.

The most obvious answer is an equal division of assets among the children. Equal division may at first seem like the right choice for most cases, however in some families, providing each child with an equal inheritance may not make sense. For some, rather than an “equal” inheritance, an equitable inheritance could be more sensible. While an equal inheritance means each child receives the same amount, an equitable division means that each child receives an equitable amount or what is fair in their circumstances.

The choice you make regarding how to divide your assets amongst your heirs is essential and depends entirely on your specific situation.

When Dividing Your Inheritance, Consider:

  1. Divvying up your estate equally amongst your children can make sense, but usually only when their histories and their individual circumstances already create an even playing field.
  2. An equal division may help minimize family conflict about fairness or “playing favorites.”
  3. Equal distribution of assets may not provide your heirs with an equitable inheritance, particularly when some of the children have been blessed with financial prosperity throughout their lives, and other children have not.
  4. If your estate includes real estate or other tangible assets, take into consideration their current market value and projected value when determining the division of assets.
  5. Depending on family dynamics, it may be necessary to consider leaving an equal inheritance to avoid the costs of conflict (emotional and financial). From a litigation standpoint alone, consider whether or not you have a child who is likely to drag the estate though litigation.
  6. If you have a special needs child or a child who is not able to provide for themselves, you may need to discuss the possibility of setting up a special needs trust to provide for that child’s care. In this case, if the majority of your estate will be used to fund the special needs trust for one child, it is usually a good idea to discuss the situation with the other children, so they are not surprised at the time of your death.

There are many more issues to consider when deciding how to divide your assets. If you need to discuss your situation with an experienced and knowledgeable Florida estate planning attorney, contact Elder Solutions Law Firm today.