Most estate plans leave assets to spouses and the testator’s children. When multiple children are involved, a significant number of estate planners choose to distribute their assets equally amongst them. This isn’t a requirement, of course, and many individuals feel justified in creating an estate plan that unevenly leaves assets to their children.
This may be especially true when adult children are involved. In fact, a recent study found that about two-thirds of Americans think that an estate plan that unevenly distributes wealth among adult children may be warranted under certain circumstances. In fact, this type of estate plan is increasingly popular. So what do people see as good reasons to unevenly split wealth through estate distribution?
There are a number of circumstances. For example, many individuals think that adult children who have children of their own should be entitled to more estate assets than other adult children who have no children of their own. Blended families can also see an uneven division, with step-children oftentimes seeing fewer estate assets headed their way than biological children do. Each adult child’s income and earning capacity could play into the decision to apply unequal distribution of assets.
An estate plan that unevenly divides assets can lead to family disputes, which turns many individuals off to the idea. However, as we have mentioned many times before on the blog, estate planning is a customizable process that can be tailored to meet an individual’s needs. For example, another approach that may be helpful in these situations is equally dividing assets but utilizing different distribution methods to control how and when assets are released. Trusts can allow an individual to place conditions on the release of trust assets, which can be pivotal in ensuring that the assets are protected, the beneficiary is cared for, and things remain fair. To learn more about one’s estate planning options, Arizonans can reach out to a legal professional who is experienced with these matters.