As a Houston will and trust lawyer, I can confidently say that estate plans are not one-size-fits-all. Just because most of the people you know have divided their assets evenly between their children, does not mean that is the right decision for you. To some, it may seem unfair to leave unequal amounts or different instructions to children after you die, but it may be necessary in your family and it is important for you to do what is right and best for your heirs.
For example, if you have a child with disabilities, it would make sense to leave them a larger inheritance to ensure that they receive proper care for the rest of their lifetime. Other times, we have seen clients with one financially established child that does not need a large inheritance while another child has not fared as well in life (possibly suffering a divorce, spousal death, or bankruptcy) and requires a little financial “help”. We have also had cases where the client’s child was unable to properly handle their finances, and the parents preferred to set up a trust with specific instructions on how the funds should be distributed to protect this high-risk child from themselves. While these situations may not be “apples to apples,” it is clear that equal is not always best in such circumstances.
This choice to leave your kids an unequal inheritance is NOT to be confused with cases where parents unintentionally leave more money to one child than the others. This is a danger and a huge reason for working with a Houston will and trust lawyer to ensure that your estate is properly distributed when you pass away. For example, if you have only one of your children named as a beneficiary of your life insurance or retirement account, that money will only go that child – even if you have a will saying otherwise. Worse, that child is not required to share the money with his or her siblings. This is because life insurance and retirement accounts are distributed outside of probate court and your beneficiary designations are the final authority as to what will happen with such funds.
Here at Hegwood Law Group, we help families stay in complete control of their assets during their lifetime, and help people uniquely divide assets according the family’s needs once they are gone. If you would like the peace of mind knowing that the distribution of your assets is a result of careful consideration and choice, call us today at (281) 885-8826 to schedule your consultation.