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Should you leave your kids equal shares of your estate?

Dividing up your estate between your children seems like it should be easy. After all, you've always tried to treat them equally.

But "equally" doesn't always equate to "fairly" when it comes to estates. There are a lot of situations where it simply is fairer or more sensible to leave more of your estate to one or more children than the others.

Here's are some things to consider:

  1. Have all of your children found their footing in the world? Kids don't magically become responsible adults when they turn 18. If two of your children have already gotten through college and started establishing their own families while a third is at home, you may want to set more of your assets aside for that third child so that they benefit from your generosity and care the same way their older siblings did.
  2. Do you have a child with special needs? If one of your children has health problems or an intellectual disability, they may have needs that they cannot easily meet on their own. If your other children are self-sufficient, it's reasonable to set aside more in your will for the child with the disability.
  3. Is there some tangible asset that one child particularly loves? Maybe your middle child deeply loves the family home. If you know that in advance, you could leave the home to that child and spread your remaining wealth out more heavily toward your other two offspring.

Estate planning is often filled with complicated questions like these. An experienced attorney can help you learn more about your options.

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