Myrtle Beach area residents who are working through their estate plan must often decide where they should leave their assets. Many people have children and dividing the assets equally among the children is a common action for most. But, do children need to be treated equally in an estate plan?
Although most people divide their assets evenly among their children, this is not required. One school of thought is that assets should be divided equitably, where each child receives their fair share, depending on their circumstances. Equal amounts given to each child makes sense when the children are: under the age of 18; when each child has similar needs and is similarly situated in life; when the children received equal amounts of help from the parents; and when each child is mentally capable and responsible.
However, many families have more complicated scenarios. One child may be their parent’s caregiver, spending a lot of time and money caring for their parent. Or, one child may have received more from their parents over their lifetime, such as college money, paying for a wedding, or donating money for a down payment on a house. All of these situations could have resulted in parents giving a large portion of money to one child and not another, which can be a good reason to adjust the amount the children receive in a will.
A legal professional who specializes in estate planning understands that each family is unique. An attorney can help their client work out an estate plan that makes sense for their family and their unique needs. An attorney can make sure an estate plan honors their client’s wishes and adheres to state and federal laws.