Many Ohio families have problems, and parents sometimes develop a closer relationship with one of their adult children than they have with their other offspring. When it comes time to create an estate plan, a parent may decide to take family disputes and hostilities into account when deciding how big each child’s inheritance will be.
Recently, a woman wrote to the Moneyologist about her father’s decision to make her the sole heir of his estate, cutting her two younger sisters out of the will. The woman understood her father could do what he wanted to do with his money, but she felt like the estate plan was unfair to her sisters. The woman asked how she could make sure that her sisters received a fair share of the $150,000 estate while abiding by her father’s wishes.
People who receive an inheritance that they want to share with other relatives is free to do so if they want to. As long as the heir’s lifetime gifts combined with their assets do not exceed $5.45 million, they won’t be subject to gift or estate tax. It is also possible to give gifts of up to $14,000 each year to an unlimited number of people without incurring gift tax.
Some parents’ wills leave unequal shares to their adult children for other reasons besides family conflicts. A parent may leave more money to one beneficiary because the beneficiary has children to care for or a great deal of expenses related to a medical problem. An attorney can often help parents to create an estate plan that provides for the specific needs of all of their children.