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The pros and cons of unequal bequests to your heirs

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2021 | Estate Planning

The money and assets that you leave your heirs in your estate plan are known as bequests. Many parents make these equal so that all their heirs get the exact same amount of money. There may be some difference in heirlooms and other unique assets, but things are generally even. 

More and more often, though, parents are leaving unequal bequests to their heirs. Is this wise or not? 

It could lead to estate disputes

The biggest issue with unequal bequests is that they may lead to disputes. A sibling who got less may feel that the will is unfair, that the other siblings used undue influence, that the will is a fake or something else along these lines. This is especially true if they expected things to be equal and were surprised that they were not. 

Even if there is not a legal dispute, this could lead to hard feelings between siblings. There are cases where relationships break down for good. 

You get to do what you really want

The upside to unequal bequests is that you get to truly do what you want with your money. For instance, maybe you know that one of your heirs needs more financial assistance than the others. You want to help them in every way possible, even if that means giving them more money and risking upsetting other heirs. This is your estate, after all, and the final say comes down to you. 

What you ultimately decide to do is up to you, but it’s important to consider both sides carefully. Then you can learn exactly what legal steps to take to make it possible.