In Most Cases, Equality Is Equitable
Updated: Oct 6
If you are considering how to leave property to your children, it is advisable to divide everything equally. That is usually the straightforward choice when all your children are doing equally well.
But if not – if, for example, your son is a starving artist with mouths to feed and your childless daughter has made millions on Wall Street – you may be tempted to leave more to him than to her.
That decision, however, can have unintended consequences. There’s a good chance that your daughter might feel hurt. Favoring one child over another may cause some friction and resentment that you did not want.
Also, estate planning is about considering the long term. Even if your daughter has no children of her own now, she may have them in the future. If you leave her nothing, both she and her children may have nothing to keep your memory alive or pass down to their children.
These days anyone’s financial situation can take a sudden turn for the worse. Illness, injury, or natural disaster can strike. Marriages can split. Investment decisions might fail. Assets can be lost or stolen. Credit may dry up. While hopefully none of these gloomy misfortunes will befall your daughter, it may be wiser to provide some cushion.
If you still want to leave your son more than your daughter, sit down with your children and explain why you’re doing that. Even if your daughter might be unhappy to hear it, at least she would have less reason to blame your son later. And you never know. We have seen people in your daughter’s position freely agree. Open communication now can help prevent hurt feelings and unintended friction between family members later. Love and generosity, on the more-advantaged child’s part, can make everybody happy.
We hope you found this article helpful.