“Be Fair” to Your Kids

Its not fair"According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, one definition of fair is ‘marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.'"

Are you planning to design your estate plan to make sure your adult kids are treated fairly? What if one child has never been good with money, while the others are completely independent? This post from New Jersey 101.5, "Being fair in estate planning," says there are options.

While there's no easy answer to the question of what is fair, treating the children equally can be fair. But so can unequal treatment.

Let's look at how a parent treats a minor or young adult child. There are times when a parent simply needs to spend more on one child. The reason may be apparent—for instance, if one child has a disability or serious illness. But it can be more muddied when one child participated in costlier school-age activities, went to a more expensive college, or planned a more expensive wedding than the other kids. Even so, provided each child was given equal opportunities, the unequal financial support may not be a problem. Nonetheless, some parents believe that it's important to keep everything as equal as possible.

Continued parental support can be tougher when a child becomes an adult. Consider why an adult child is having financial problems. Is it because of poor work habits, a gambling or drug addiction, a divorce, or a disability? There are lots of situations with a multitude of factors, and each needs to be reviewed and handled differently based on that specific family's dynamic.

Most parents feel their children should inherit equally, but this assumes each child has similar needs and circumstances, has received similar support in the past from mom and dad, and has proven to be a responsible and capable adult. If this isn't the case, an unequal inheritance may be fair.

Providing additional financial support to one adult child over another via the parent's will should be within a parent's discretion. If so, parents need to let each child know their plans. This will help avoid surprises or hard feeling at the time of the parent's passing. Hopefully, the other adult children will not feel slighted if they understand the rationale.

Problems can still arise, even with parents' best intentions. Talk with your estate planning attorney about potential issues. It's important to note that if you die without a will, state law will dictate how your assets will pass. Where the split isn't equal among the kids, make sure to state your wishes in a professionally drafted and legally valid will with the assistance of a qualified estate attorney. He or she can help you minimize any bad feelings between siblings and avoid potential fights down the road.

Reference: New Jersey 101.5 (January 4, 2016) "Being fair in estate planning"


Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment


We have a LOT more where that came from!

We hate spam too. We will never share or sell your information.

Call Now ButtonCall Us Now https://jsfiddle.net/7h5246b8/

Request a free consultation

We hate spam too. We will never share or sell your information.

We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
  • Please continue to follow the directives of our local, state, and federal agencies. For your health and in consideration of our team who is assisting you, if you’ve scheduled an office appointment or planned to drop off paperwork and are experiencing a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care doctor for guidance and then our office to reschedule.

Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.