A thorough Massachusetts estate plan is a valuable tool to help you protect your assets now and for your beneficiaries in the future. When creating your plan, it is beneficial to avoid bias. Favoritism can tear even the most tight-knit family apart after a loss.
Here are some things to consider to help your family keep the peace after your passing.
Equal vs. equitable inheritance
In some cases, the easiest way to avoid favoritism in estate planning is to leave each beneficiary an equal amount. For example, if you have $400,000 to divide and want to share with two children, each would receive $200,000. Equitable inheritance, on the other hand, provides beneficiaries with different amounts based on individual circumstances. If you have helped one child financially in the past more than the other, you may want to leave more to the child who has received less. You may feel that a child who has acted as your caregiver deserves more for their selflessness or you may want to leave more to a child with special needs who requires care. If you believe your beneficiaries will not agree with what you deem equitable, having a conversation now might help you avoid hurt feelings down the road.
If you discuss your estate plan with one child or beneficiary, it may benefit you to discuss it with your other beneficiaries, as well, to avoid accusations of undue influence. Additionally, you should create your estate plan now while you are of sound mind to prevent contestation issues during probate.
Being mindful of favoritism in your estate plan can promote peace and help your family process their grief after your passing.