Paul Sullivan (The New York Times) has recently published an article entitled, “How a Will Treating Children Differently Can Still Be Fair” (July 29, 2016). Provided below is a brief summary to the article from The New York Times:
How a Will Treating Children Differently Can Still Be Fair
How parents leave inheritances that are unequal but fair, or at least understandable, to their children and how those children deal with it can be challenging – and may require some difficult and open conversations.
“When you think about how parents treat children, they don’t treat each child equally,” said Suzanne L. Shier, chief wealth planning and tax strategist at Northern Trust.
He recently suggested a client talk to her two children about her plan to leave everything to her daughter, a teacher, and nothing to her son, a successful doctor.
While she loved both children equally, she told him, she reasoned that her daughter needed the money more.
“She came back two weeks later very upset,” Mr. Forster said. “Her son said, ‘I’ve done everything you told me to do. I got into a good school, became a doctor and now you’ve disinherited me?’ She ended up not disinheriting her son but left more to her daughter.”Lawyers and advisers said that in most cases where no malice or lack of love is intended, a conversation can solve a lot of the problems. But there are plenty of instances when uneven inheritance happens by accident or on purpose and nothing has been said ahead of time. Leanna Johannes, vice president and senior wealth strategist at PNC Wealth Management, said bad planning and a misdirected desire to avoid having the will sent through the probate process could lead to one child receiving more than the others.”
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