Heirs often expect to get the same amount of assets from their parents. For instance, maybe you have three children and you’re going to be dividing up $750,000. If the children know that you have this money as part of your estate, it’s likely that they would all anticipate getting $250,000.
But are you obligated to do this? Do you have to create an estate plan that gives them all the same exact amount of assets, whether those are financial or tangible?
You can use unequal bequests
You are certainly not obligated to leave the same amount to everyone. You can use unequal bequests, which means that you’re leaving different totals to different individuals. In fact, you’re even allowed to disinherit certain people by leaving them out of the will, and you could leave all of your assets to one person if you wish.
The reason that people don’t do this is that unequal bequests tend to cause more estate disputes. Even so, however, statistics show that they’ve been used more often in recent years. While many people still do divide up their assets perfectly evenly, don’t assume that you have to. The decision is yours to make, based on whatever you think would be best for your family.
Setting up the plan
Have you decided you want to use unequal bequests? To reduce the odds of a dispute, it’s best to set this plan up well in advance and talk about your intentions with your heirs. Be sure you know exactly what legal steps you should take during this process.