Parents who are considering leaving their children unequal inheritances often struggle with the notion that those children will believe they are not loved equally as a result.
Parents have many good reasons for wanting to leave one child a larger inheritance than another child. The most common reasons are that one child needs the money more or that one child has been given more financial support than the other previously.
Recently, Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary discussed these reasons and others in an article. She receive some pushback from readers, which she discusses in another column reprinted in the Ventura County Star as "Michelle Singletary: Will does not equal parental love."
Singletary's readers pointed out that children who receive a lesser inheritance than others often come to believe that means their parents loved them less or that they have done something wrong.
Sometimes the unequal inheritances even lead to bitter family disputes.
Singletary responds with a plea to those who inherit less. She encourages them not to assume they were loved less by their parents, but to consider the valid reasons for inequality.
While that debate is interesting, there is another thing that needs to be pointed out. A lot of the problems unequal inheritances cause can be avoided. Parents can discuss their estate plans with their children before they pass away and let the children know why there is a disparity.
Consult a qualified estate planning attorney to help you through this delicate process.
Reference: Ventura County Star (Oct. 12, 2016) "Michelle Singletary: Will does not equal parental love."
Many people struggle with the question whether it is better to leave their children an inheritance or not. It is not an easy question to answer.
Recently, FOX Business reported on a survey that found some 23% of retired Americans would prefer to spend all of their money and not leave their children an inheritance in "Should You Leave Your Kids an Inheritance?"
They asked Dave Ramsey for his opinion on the subject. Ramsey suggested that if you have bad kids, then, leaving an inheritance for them just rewards their misbehavior. He went on to say that if you have good kids, then not leaving them an inheritance teaches them money is evil. However, that is not the entire story.
It is understandable why a parent would not want to leave an inheritance to a child who has an unhealthy lifestyle. No parent wants to give a child money that would just fuel a drug habit, for example.
With good estate planning, however, a parent can actually leave an inheritance that encourages the misbehaving child to straighten up and does not give the child funds for bad behavior.
Another possibility is to skip the child with bad habits or behaviors and instead give the inheritance to grandchildren or other relatives.
There are several options for estate planning around a misbehaving adult child.
Visit an estate planning attorney to learn more about them and how you can use them.
Reference: FOX Business (Oct. 12, 2016) "Should You Leave Your Kids an Inheritance?"