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Is equal distribution between children essential in estate planning?

When you begin to think about distributing your assets after your death, it can be challenging to know which assets to leave to whom. Discussing this with your family before developing an estate plan can make matters more complicated. While your loves ones may have interesting perspectives, they may also have conflicts of interest.

Here’s what you should consider as you decide how to distribute your assets among loved ones.

Your choices are your own

There are reasons to consider making unequal distributions to your children. Over time, relationships can change, and some relationships may change drastically.

Children can go from having a close relationship with you, to becoming estranged, and then back again – all for a variety of reasons. You may decide to give more to a child who has given you extra emotional support during your lifetime or to another who has fallen on hard times.

Fair vs. equal

Ultimately, what you decide is a fair distribution may not be considered an equal distribution. Some of your assets may have more meaning to certain children. One child may find great value in your collectibles, while another may view them as useless items.

While it would be unfortunate if a loved one pressures you to disclose the reasoning for your distribution, it may help to consider why you want each child or loved one to receive specific assets as you make those estate planning decisions.

Decide, then discuss

If you are unsure how your loved ones will handle your decisions about the distribution of your assets, talk to them after making those decisions. Pay particular attention to how they receive the information and determine whether it would be beneficial to outline the reasoning behind your choices as they relate to your estate plan.


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