Your Will: How to Give Children Unequal Amounts

9 Year Mortgage Discusses Ways to Distribute Your Will Unevenly to Heirs

We’ve all heard the stories of the disgruntled children who have received nothing from a deceased parent’s will or they were only given a smidgen of what they expected. The decision of who should get what, in terms of your will, is something everyone must decide someday; for many this is easier said than done. In many cases parents want to leave a larger portion of their estate to one child over another, but there are hurt-feelings and legal issues that end up thwarting their plans. 9 Year Mortgage understands that there are numerous reasons for leaving uneven amounts to inheritors and we’d like to give you pointers on how to do this without your will causing family-drama or possible legal fees.

Tips for Distributing Your Will Among Your Children

For many parents, the decision of how much to leave each child and if it should be in equal amounts is one of the hardest to make. Not one family member is like another, each face their own individual trials; actually the situation each child is in is often a determinant of how an estate is divided. However, nowadays having an unsatisfied recipient take the will to a judge to contest the decisions of its creators is not uncommon. So how can you avoid hurting feelings and having a judge have the ultimate say on your belongings and their distribution? 9 Year Mortgage has some suggestions just for such a situation…

The desire to help your children is not one that goes away over time. When one child is financially secure while another is struggling to meet ends need, it is hard to give each of them an equal amount. Others feel obligated to give more to their one child who has helped take care of them through their elderly years, sort of as a repayment. Some parents offer assistance to one child in the way of paying for tuition, putting a down payment on a house for them, or paying for a grandchild’s private-schooling; which in turn makes them ineligible for a larger sum of the inheritance in the parents eyes. The options are endless as to why an unequal disbursement is necessary. 9 Year Mortgage advises you to talk to your children about the decisions you have made concerning your will. In detail, tell them why you have made these decisions. Depending on your family structure, your children will see reason and understand your decisions, or they may have a conniption fit. If you feel the latter will be a certain reaction to your will, you may consider writing a letter or making a video for each child that will be given to them upon the reading of your will. 9 Year Mortgage warns you to put extreme detail, reasoning, and your thought process for your decisions in each letter or video. Remind your children that these are your decisions to make – and yours alone.

Pay Attention to Detail

9 Year Mortgage - Will and Testament9 Year Mortgage would like to point out that the more detail and explanations given for your decision will provide little room for misinterpretation of your will and estate. Don’t forget to include family heirlooms, jewelery, antiques and photos in your decision making process and explanations – seeing as these are the most fought over items in wills. As childish as it sounds, to many love and money are representative of one another. Many children believe if they receive less of a parents estate than another child it is because they were less loved. In order to skip these feelings of inadequacy, 9 Year Mortgage suggests that you flat out tell each child that you gave different amounts to them all because of their different financial needs, and that it doesn’t indicate that you love one child more than another. If you are just giving more money to one specific child because of their financial situation, keep in mind that today’s economy is unstable and just because one child is financially stable right now, doesn’t mean that will be the case five years down the road. Asses each of your childrens career paths and determine if they are in an industry that will continue to make jobs, if not you may want to re-think how to distribute your inheritance.

Give Gifts or Sign a Contract

If you are worried about giving your beneficiaries unequal amounts, try giving the extra money to them while you are still living. The current gift-tax exclusion is $13,000  so giving them an annual gift is a great option; Paying for tuition or health care is an acceptable gift. Or if you are concerned about making up for what one family has sacrificed in order to be your care-takers, consider drawing up a contract with them to pay them for their care-giving. Another option 9 Year Mortgage suggests is to leave 25% of your estate in a trust as your children’s emergency fund, and distribute the remaining 75% equally among your children. Remember to make an independent third-party the trustee, who is unrelated and unbiased, who can distribute the funds to the beneficiaries fairly.

Prove Your Mental State

Regardless of the precautions you take, it doesn’t always ensure that your decisions won’t be protested by a child who receives less. Many times, the excuse used is that you weren’t of sound mind when you made these decisions. In order to protect yourself from such an accusation, with no way to prove this is false, 9 Year Mortgage suggests that you have your lawyer test your capacity using standard tests, like the Mini-Mental State Examination. Or even better, see a doctor to determine your mental state. 9 Year Mortgage cautions you on video taping your actual will and trust signing due to the fact that if a forensic psychologist is hired, they could take a remark or unintentional move of yours as a sign of your inability to make sound decisions.

Serial Wills

9 Year Mortgage - Contesting a WillThe last tip that 9 Year Mortgage has for divvying up your will in unequal amounts, with little rebuttal afterwords, is to become a participant in serial wills. Serial wills consist of drafting new estate-planning documents every couple of months or years. Each new draft should have something a little different, which sets it aside from the previous draft. The changes from draft to draft should not be significant, rather minor changes over time. Although this seems a little time consuming, participating in serial wills shows that you did not make an irrational decision on a whim in terms of your estate distribution. If your will is contested after you pass away, the challengers would have to dispute every single draft of your will and find all  of your decisions invalid (which is a time consuming and expensive process). Using serial wills is one way to ensure that your final decisions of how your estate should be distributed among family will stay that way, regardless of beneficiaries disagreements.

9 Year Mortgage Wraps it Up

Creating a will and determining who gets what is not usually a simple task, especially if you think you want to distribute your estate in unequal amounts. In order to protect the beneficiaries feelings, remember that 9 Year Mortgage highly suggests writing letters to each of them that tells them, in great detail, how you came to your decision and why you made it – reinforcing the fact that loving someone more than another is most certainly not the reason. Using an nontraditional method of leaving a set amount of your estate as an emergency trust fund or revising your will on a regular basis are other ways to ensure your money is distributed how you want it. Even after all of these methods are considered or applied to your situation, and you are still worried about unhappy beneficiaries, 9 Year Mortgage reminds you that you can include a “no-contest” clause. This will actually disinherit those heirs who attempt to challenge your documents. Most of the time, those heirs who deem your will “unfair” would rather get what you gave them rather than nothing at all, which will stop them from contesting your will. Remember that you worked for what you have and ultimately it is only you and your spouses decision on what will happen to it once you pass away.

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