The idea of sitting down to execute a comprehensive estate plan can understandably prove to be a somewhat daunting proposition to many people. That's because it not only forces them to take a serious look at their assets and liabilities, but also address the prospect of their own mortality.
As much as this is the case under normal circumstances, consider how much more difficult the process can prove to be if a person is seriously considering making an unequal distributions among their heirs.
In particular, consider those circumstances where a parent is looking to leave one or more of their children significantly less than their siblings.
While many people's reaction to this idea is to automatically assume ill intentions on the part of the parent, there is actually a long list of non-nefarious reasons as to why a parent would consider unequal distributions.
For example, it could be that they have children from a first marriage and want to ensure that all assets they earned before their second marriage go to them, or it could be that one child is seriously disabled while the others all have viable careers.
While it's understandable then why some parents would want to pursue unequal distributions in their estate plan, experts have compiled a few basic tips for them to keep in mind:
- Be willing to take the necessary time to consider the decision in order to ensure that it's what you really want and, if so, what you think would be a fair distribution scheme.
- Be prepared to discuss it with your children, as letting them know your decision and your rationale ahead of time can prevent resentment -- and even potential court battles upon your demise.
- Be certain you are incredibly specific in your estate plan so that there is no way a court could conceivably misinterpret your intentions.
- Be open to the possibility of revisiting your estate plan, as circumstances may change such that you want to alter its terms.
If you have questions or concerns about estate planning, or the estate administration process, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can provide the necessary answers.