How can I handle giving an unequal inheritance?

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2020 | Probate & Estate Administration |

As a parent, you want your children to be happy with the inheritance you leave them. Although ideally, children would receive an equal share, there are many reasons why this might not be possible. If you have reasons to leave unequal inheritances to your children, you may wonder how you can prevent bad feelings among your children if you do so. 

Family dynamics vary from family to family, so what works for one family may not work for another. Still, it may help to think about why a mother or father may want to leave more money or assets to one child than another. Kiplinger explains these reasons as well as actions parents may take to explain these reasons to their children. 

Why parents divide inheritances unequally 

Some children put aside their own careers to care for their parents. You might receive help or assistance from a son or daughter in your older years because of health issues. Since your child put off earning income to help you, you may want to leave more money to your child. 

Also, some parents have issues with their children. You might have a child who borrowed money from you and, although your child could pay it back, is slow to do so. You may feel that the unpaid amount should come out of the child’s inheritance. As a result, you award that child less money. 

How parents may address unequal inheritance 

While these may be sound reasons to leave unequal inheritances, your children may still have problems with your decisions if you do not explain them. It could be startling for a child to read about your intentions in your will for the first time after your death. Discussing your choices with your children while you are alive may prevent discord among them later on. 

If you are not able to discuss your wishes with your children in person, you may at least leave a letter with your executor describing your inheritance decisions in more detail. The executor can give out copies of the letter to your children following your death.