Leaving different estate shares to different children

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2016 | Estate Planning

It is not uncommon for Nevada parents to want to leave disproportionate shares of their estates to some of their children while leaving less to others. This may be because a parent has a closer relationship with one child and a strained relationship with another. It may also be because one child may be in better financial shape than another, and the parent wants to help the child who has less.

Regardless of a parent’s reasoning, leaving shares in different percentages may result in bitter disputes between the children after the parent passes away. The child who receives less may end up challenging the parent’s will or trust, claiming that the parent was mentally incapacitated at the time of signing the estate planning documents or that the parent was unduly influenced by the child who receives more.

A parent who plans to leave different amounts to the children may want to clearly explain why he or she is planning to do so. If communication is not a possibility, the parent may want to include clear language outlining the reasoning in the document itself.

People who do want to leave different shares of their estates to their children may want to discuss their wishes with their estate planning lawyers. Legal counsel might suggest that an inter vivos trust could have a few advantages. At the outset, such a trust would allow the settlor to explain the wishes for unequal distributions in the document itself, which the children would be made aware of prior to the settlor’s death. Another reason for using such a trust is that it would avoid going through probate, which is a public process that can sometimes be both lengthy and expensive.