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Pros and cons of equal estate distribution

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Estate Administration & Probate |

Adult children often assume that a parent’s estate is going to be split up equally. For instance, if someone has three children and $300,000 in the bank, those children may assume that they would all get $100,000. If two of them only got $10,000 and the other child got the remaining $280,000, they may be very surprised.

Technically speaking, though, parents can make any plan that they want to leave their assets to the next generation. They do not need to split things up equally. They just need to consider their unique case and the pros and cons. Below are a few examples.

An unequal split may be fair

In some cases, parents will split up an estate in an unequal fashion because they think it’s actually a bit more fair or useful to the beneficiaries. Often, they are just considering the needs that their children have. If one person has a lot of expensive health concerns and a low-paying job, while the other is in good health and is a high-earner, parents may be more likely to leave a greater portion to the first child. It will actually be more beneficial to them.

Increased odds of an estate dispute

One of the problems with unequal bequests, though is that they make estate disputes more likely. If someone doesn’t get as much money as their siblings, they may claim that those siblings used undue influence. If someone is unexpectedly left out of the will, they may challenge it on the grounds that they have been forgotten and that it wasn’t intentional.

The estate planning and probate process can get very complicated in situations like this, and those involved need to be well aware of their legal options.