Having children often results in parents having to find creative ways to ensure that each child receives his or her fair share. These shares could relate to minor things such as treats or toys to more significant property as the kids grow older. Most often, individuals want to leave their children equal portions of their parents' estates in their wills, but that tactic may not always be fair.
Many Massachusetts residents may own a significant amount of land to leave to their heirs. When addressing such an asset, equal division may not lead to each heir receiving a fair share. In some cases, dividing land evenly is not always easy, and though the land may have a certain value at the time the will was created, real estate changes could result in that value altering later on.
Valuation changes could be particular messy if some kids were given land while other kids were given a seemingly equally valued amount of other assets. For instance, if the land was valued at $1 million and an individual had $1 million in other assets, equally dividing the land and assets between the heirs may seem simple and fair. However, if that land value drops over time, the individuals inheriting the other assets may still receive the expected share while those with the land would receive less.
Because valuations and other factors often need to be taken into account during estate planning, individuals may need assistance when creating their wills. Luckily, legal professionals can help interested parties create the documents needed to achieve their intended goals. Massachusetts residents may wish to utilize reliable local resources to gain more information.
Source: Forbes, "Why Your Estate Plan May Divide Assets Equally, But Not Fairly", Mark Eghrari, April 30, 2017