The common advice when crafting an estate plan is to make the distribution of inheritance equitable. Essentially, make sure that all of your children get roughly equal parts of the pie. This is generally good advice to help lessen the chance that one of your children will try to challenge your estate.
However, not all parents wish to distribute their estate plans evenly. According to Considerable, however you decide to divide your estate, it is good to be clear about your intentions prior to death in most instances.
What are reasons to divide unevenly?
Many parents focus on the needs of their children. For instance, if one child ends up becoming a well-to-do banker and the other child works in the public school system, some parents may wish to award the lower-paid teacher with a higher inheritance. In some situations, a child may struggle with addiction, and the parents may worry about what will happen if they leave this child a large sum of money.
In other instances, one sibling may step up and engage more robustly in elder care as compared to other siblings. In this instance, the parents may want to leave the child who was more involved with elder care a larger inheritance.
Do I always have to disclose?
While being clear about your intentions to your beneficiaries is good insurance against one of them claiming that you were the victim of undue influence, this is not always the best choice. If you anticipate that your children will heavily push back against your uneven division, it may be best to keep your intentions between yourself and your lawyer. Much depends upon your independent family dynamics.