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Estate planning — should inheritances always be equal?

| May 20, 2020 | Estate Planning |

The assets listed in one’s estate plan might not seem like anything more than just things, but each item — whether tangible or not — carries a much deeper meaning. By leaving behind specific assets for their children, parents in Lake Charles are also sending a message even if they don’t realize it. Without careful estate planning, parents could be setting up their children for resentment and animosity in the future.

Giving each child an equal inheritance usually seems like the most obvious solution, and in many cases it is. The problem here is that “equal” does not always mean “fair.” Heirs can easily misinterpret their parents’ attempt at showing love equally as disregard for their personal financial situations. Equal inheritances split among siblings with vastly different incomes can feel unfair to those with less wealth.

Leaving behind unequal inheritances can be a good idea for parents of children with different levels of wealth. Unfortunately, this is not a surefire way to prevent problems either. A wealthier sibling might feel that he or she is being penalized for being successful. Unequal inheritances can also reignite old sibling rivalries about who mom or dad loved more.

Although discussing money and end of life matters is never easy, it is still very necessary. Lake Charles parents might be surprised to learn that their children are comfortable with splitting things unequally, or that they would still prefer equal inheritances even though one sibling outearns the others. While the final decision still rests with the parents, having these tough conversations can make some aspects of estate planning a little easier.

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