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Bequeathing assets unequally but fairly

Some Ohio parents may not want to leave their children equal inheritances in their will. However, just because a parent chooses to leave one child more money than another child does not mean that the parent wanted to be unfair. There are many different reasons for not splitting assets equally that have nothing to do with favoritism.

Not wanting to create conflict, some parents choose to split their assets equally between their children regardless of their children's financial needs. While doing this may be the best way to avoid sibling disputes, it is not always in the best interests of the heirs. In some cases, it may be better for a parent to leave one child more money than their siblings because they have a greater need. For example, one heir might have more children to take care of or may have a disability that causes great expense. If one child is a doctor and one child is a schoolteacher, it could make sense to leave more money to the one who earns far less money.

If parents have decided to divide their estate into unequal portions, it is important that they make sure that the heirs understand their reasoning. During the estate planning process, a letter can be created to accompany the will that explains why beneficiaries received the assets that they did. That way, if the beneficiaries have a dispute over the will, the letter may help to resolve it.

While parents are determining how to divide assets in their will, they should consider the tax consequences of various scenarios. There will be different tax implications when certain assets are cashed in or sold, and an estate planning attorney can provide insight in this regard.

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