When is unequal inheritance acceptable?

Giving equal inheritance seems practical, but life can take unexpected twists and turns. If that’s the case, you and your spouse may make adjustments to your estate. Sadly, this could create conflict if tensions already run high.

However, there are some instances where giving one child more inheritance of the other can make sense. It can seem unfair, but sometimes it’s necessary.

When unequal inheritance makes sense

In a perfect world, couples would split their assets evenly. However, as every family’s situation varies, these are a few reasons unequal distribution may make sense:

  • The child provides for the parents in their old age: If one child primarily cares for you and your spouse in your old age, they likely took substantial time away from work to care for you. If that’s the case, it makes sense that they from the inheritance to make up from the lost wages.
  • The child takes over the family business: In some cases, you may have one child taking over your family business after you die. However, this could complicate matters if the business accounts for a majority of you and your spouse’s assets.
  • The child has a disability: While most adults receive some form of disability compensation through programs like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), it’s never a bad idea to leave behind more money for a child with a severe physical or mental ailment. However, you may want to give them that money in the form of a special needs trust so that it doesn’t get taken away.

Successful estate planning starts with clear communication

Making changes to your inheritance can be a daunting task, especially if you and your spouse are close to the end of your life. Luckily, some professionals can help you and your family deal with the complexities of the estate planning process.