Should Inherited Money Be Equally Split Between Family Members?
Unequal Inheritances: A Source of Conflict Among Family Members
Explaining the Reasons Behind Unequal Inheritances Can Help Mitigate Conflict
Balancing Out Unequal Support: A Reason for Unequal Inheritances
Unequal inheritances can trigger sibling fighting after a parent dies, some of which end up in court, especially if one child thinks that a parent was being overly influenced by the sibling who ended up with the bigger inheritance.
Parents need to explain their decision to each child, individually and as a group, or even seek mediation. Many estate planning attorneys encourage a family meeting, where everyone is in a neutral location, to discuss the parent’s wishes and estate plan. In some cases, the children understand when one of the siblings is disabled or has a lower earning potential.
Documenting Equalization of Gifts in Estate Plans Can Help Avoid Resentment Among Siblings
Caregiving Children: Should They Receive More Inheritances?
Siblings' Disagreements Over Caregiving Children's Inheritances
Blended Families: Complications in Inheritance Planning
Longer Relationships Increase Likelihood of Equal Inheritances for Stepchildren
Tax Planning and Inheritance: Impact on Equal Distribution
IRA and Tax Deferred Accounts Should Have All Children as Equal Beneficiaries
Generally speaking, IRA and other tax deferred accounts should have all children as equal beneficiaries. These accounts are usually outside of the probate estate. A house may be left in a trust or the will, with directions for the house to be sold and all assets divided equally.
There is no way around it—inheritances are seen as a proxy for love, and any unequal distribution will be felt as such, even by the most rational of people. Speak with your estate planning attorney to learn how to avoid these scenarios and consider holding a family meeting to make sure your intentions and the reasons behind your intentions are made clear to all concerned.