One of the “basic rules” of estate planning is to divide the estate as evenly as possible among beneficiaries, particularly if the beneficiaries are adult kids. After all, it is very easy for hard feelings to appear after the death of a loved one, particularly if one adult child has a larger inheritance than another.
However, more and more Americans are setting up unequal wills. According to Considerable, common reasons for having an unequal will include involvement in elder care and the lifestyle of beneficiaries.
Many estate planners believe that a sibling who is actively involved in caring for aging parents should receive more in the way of inheritance as compared to siblings that are not as involved. It is also not uncommon for the executor of a will to also get a larger portion of the inheritance due to the additional responsibilities associated with functioning in this role.
Sometimes, one adult child will make more money than another. Some estate planners are choosing to give more money to adult children that do not have big paychecks. For example, if one adult child is a public school teacher and the other adult child works in banking, the parents may decide to give the teacher a bigger inheritance than the banker.
Struggles with addiction and overspending also may lead to parents creating unequal wills. In this instance, even if the amount of money the adult siblings receive is the same, the parents may decide to have the addicted child receive money through a trust to provide additional overhead for the funds.