Most of the time, parents try to be fair to their children — even after those children are grown. Therefore, it’s natural for parents to be concerned about how to divide their assets in their wills for their adult children.
However, “fair” doesn’t always mean “share and share alike” when you’re talking about your estate plan. Unlike when your children were small, dividing things up fairly isn’t the same as it was when you cut a piece of cake into equal shares for each child.
Here are three reasons you may want to leave your children different amounts in your will:
A special need
When you have a child who is healthy and able to function normally in the adult world and a child who isn’t, you naturally have more concerns about the child with special needs. That may mean leaving the bulk of your estate to that child while leaving more modest gifts to your other child (or children).
A good deed
What happens if one of your children puts aside their personal dreams in order to care for you or your spouse in your golden years? That sacrifice shouldn’t be treated as insignificant. You may justifiably want to leave that child more in your will than you do your other children — not out of spite, but out of heartfelt recognition for what that child has given up.
If one of your children has made life choices that lead you to believe that your hard-earned assets would go to waste in their care, you may want to reconsider how much you leave that child — or, at least, how much access to those assets you give that child. Some examples include children with gambling addictions, drug addictions and alcoholism.
Whatever your concerns for your estate, let your attorney know during your estate planning sessions. There may be options you can explore that will easily meet your needs.