It is generally considered that treating children equally in a will is going to prevent the chance of disagreements among one’s children. Therefore, in most estate planning situations, Florida parents will leave an equal amount of money to their children. However, this might be a mistake. If maintaining good relationships among siblings is the goal, parents will want to consider their unique situations when deciding how their estates will be inherited.
Parents who have given lots of money and gifts to one child, for example, may want to treat the other sibling with a higher inheritance upon death. Conversely, parents might want to give more money to the less affluent child because that child is most in need of money. Whatever parents decide, though, their decision has to make sense from a perspective of fairness and they need to explain it well to all their children.
That said, the same is true for the equal distribution of an estate. Parents may need to explain this kind of distribution to their children in case one child believes that he or she needs or deserves more. Again, it is essential that parents explain to their children the way that they are distributing their assets ahead of time, and that the distribution makes sense. This is the best way to ensure a family stays together following the death a parent.
In most cases, explaining inheritances to children is a great way to minimize the chance of disagreement. Explaining one’s plans to children like this provides children the chance to offer their own ideas and participate in the matter. Although it is awkward to talk about these issues, a little bit of awkwardness now is far better than a sibling rivalry that could last a lifetime.
Source: Greenbaypressgazette.com, “Fair doesn’t mean equal in estate planning,” Carissa Giebel, April. 27, 2015