Are you wondering whether it would be held against you if you didn't leave your children with equal portions in your will? Read on and discover some circumstances under which it may be acceptable for you to distribute your estate unevenly among your children.
Past Loans and Gifts
You may decide to give a particular child a smaller share of your estate if you gave that person a loan earlier on and they didn't pay it back. Previous gifts given to the different children could also influence how big the portion of each child may be when you are writing your will. For example, a child who has received more monetary gifts from you may be assigned a smaller share of your estate than another child who got fewer gifts.
Planning for Grandchildren
You may also end up giving your children unequal shares of your estate if you want to cater for your grandchildren as well. For example, a child with more children may end up receiving a smaller share if you have also included each of that person's children in your will. Another way to handle this issue would be to avail an equal amount of money or property for the benefit of the grandchildren born to each of your children. The grandchildren from a child who had many children will end up with a smaller fraction of that joint inheritance when compared to those from a child who had fewer children.
Did one of your children forego his or her profession to take care of you or your spouse during a lengthy illness? Such a child may deserve a bigger share of your estate to compensate for that lost earning capacity while they were taking care of you. Similarly, a child with a disability may receive a bigger share than other children to ensure that the person with a disability can have a comfortable life after your demise. Similarly, adult children who are already established in their careers may get a smaller share than a child who is still in school and needs a lot of support before becoming independent.
As you can see, several factors can form the basis of one's decision to divide his or her estate unequally among the children. However, care must be taken when drafting such wills. Get help from an estates lawyer so that you can forestall legal challenges to your last will.