ARTICLE: When Fair Shares Aren’t Equal, Communication is Key

When Fair Shares Aren’t Equal, Communication is Key

Estate planning means getting your affairs in order and planning for the future. One goal of estate planning is to promote family harmony after you’re gone. But what if the way you want to allocate shares to your children isn’t equal? That may sound like a formula for disharmony. How can you make an unequal allocation and still promote family harmony?

Why unequal shares may make sense.

In many cases, what feels fair to parents as they consider dividing their property among their children is not equal shares. Every family situation is unique, but some circumstances that may contribute to an unequal distribution plan include:

  • a child with special needs
  • a succession plan that leaves one child the family business
  • children with disparate income potential
  • significant differences in education costs
  • a local child steps up as caregiver to you and your spouse 
  • an estranged child

Start the conversation now.

So, while an equal distribution may seem like a common-sense approach to dividing your assets, some family circumstances warrant a closer look. If you decide that what is fair for your family is not equal, consider communicating your allocation plan up front with your adult children. 

The main benefit of this strategy is that it provides the opportunity for two-way communications. If you talk with your children in person, you have the benefit of seeing and responding to their reactions. Some kids will understand your rationale no questions asked; some kids will need to ask questions and be assured of your intentions. 

It’s not an easy conversation to have on many fronts. But if—for your situation—an unequal allocation seems to be the fairest way to divide your property among your children, then tackling the topic head-on may be just the strategy to promote family harmony in the future.

Contact a Corning New York Attorney

Our experienced legal team is prepared to guide and support you through the entire estate planning process. Roth Elder Law PLLC provides the utmost in professionalism. Call us today to schedule an initial meeting at 607-962-6162 or complete this intake form and we’ll be in touch.

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We at Roth Elder Law, PLLC, believe in providing services in a way that clients can easily understand and meaningfully participate in designing and maintaining their estate plan for their loved ones, as well as be assured that their plan will be administered according to their wishes.