VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

When people want to leave their children different percentages

In some Florida families, an aging parent will have a strained relationship with one child and a close relationship with another child. The parent may want to leave a larger percentage of his or her estate to the child with whom he or she is closer and a lesser amount to the other child.

When parents want to leave larger shares of their estates to one child, they should take steps to reduce the likelihood their wills or trusts will be deemed invalid if the other child contests them. An interested party may contest a will or trust's validity based on allegations that the parent was mentally incapacitated at the time the document was drafted and signed.

In order to avoid a successful challenge, a parent may want to make certain the reasons for leaving different amounts to the children are clearly stated in the document. He or she may also want to make certain all of the conversations he or she has with an attorney regarding the estate plans are also thoroughly documented.

People who believe their family members may end up fighting about the assets of their estates may want to discuss their concerns with their estate planning attorneys. An attorney may help by making certain the person's mental capacity is thoroughly documented. A lawyer may also make certain that the documents contain language indicating the person's reasoning for leaving different percentages to the children. In order to avoid probate court, people may want to consider using living trusts to pass their assets to their children. Trusts do not go through the probate process, helping family members to avoid an expensive and protracted process.

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