Preventing conflict when not giving an equal inheritance

Aug 28, 2019 | Estate Planning

Depending on your situation, you may not choose to split your inheritance equally among your children. In an equitable inheritance, you decide how to split your inheritance fairly while considering more factors than just monetary value.

This split differs from an equal inheritance, where each child gets an inheritance of the same monetary value. Instead, each child gets a different amount based on other factors.

An equitable inheritance can make sense for a few reasons. You may choose to split your inheritance more favorably to a child who took care of you. Or you may have already given a large amount of money to another child and want to factor that amount into your inheritance.

Blended families are also a reason for an equitable split. If your stepchildren have other parents to provide financially for them, you may choose to give them less.

How to prevent conflict

While an equitable inheritance may make sense to you, children do not always understand. Here are a few tips to prevent fighting among your children after you pass away:

  • Talk with your children – Let your children know what’s in your will. This lets you explain your choices before you go. It also prepares them for the outcome, instead of shocking them after your death.
  • Avoid “undue influence” – Don’t involve your children in the writing of your will. If one child is present while others are not, the ones not there may contest the will based on undue influence.
  • Avoid “lack of capacity” – It may be necessary to have a doctor present when you sign your will to confirm you have full mental capacity. Your child can try to contest a will if they feel you were not mentally fit to sign.
  • Consider a no-contest clause – If you feel your children will want to challenge your will, consider adding a no-contest clause. If any of your children contest the will and lose, they will receive nothing. This may seem harsh, but this clause can prevent your children from contesting your choices.
  • Follow the proper legal steps – To make sure you execute your will correctly, contact an attorney. A properly executed will helps prevent your children from contesting your decisions.

When you write your will, you will want to split your inheritance on what seems fairest to you. Taking the proper legal steps and preparing your children will reduce the chance of conflict.

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