Estate Planning: Treating Your Loved Ones Fairly or Equally?
Depending on your parenting philosophy, you will have to decide whether you want to treat your children or grandchildren equally or fairly in your estate plan. Treating your loved ones equally means that they all receive the same amount; treating them fairly means that your loved ones receive money and property according to their individual needs and situations. The answer to the “equally or fairly” question will depend on your unique circumstances and intentions and may take some soul-searching.
Some people believe it is crucial that everyone in the same generation (children or grandchildren) be treated the same (i.e, equally) to prevent family conflict. Others believe that because everyone is different, each person in a generation should be provided for in a way that gives them all the same access to opportunities and advantages in life (i.e., fairly). One child may make more money than a sibling, or one grandchild may have special needs while the other grandchildren do not. These differences might require different amounts and types of inheritances.
Creating a comprehensive financial and estate plan with the help of experienced advisors, in addition to having an honest and open conversation with your loved ones about it, are two of the first steps to overcoming the fears that arise about sibling rivalry and equality. Also, discussing your philosophy about money with your loved ones will allow them to know what to expect after you are gone instead of being left in the dark.