For older adults in New York who are thinking about estate planning, it is important to consider the impact on their children. Whether the inheritances for each child are unequal or perfectly equal, there can be arguments and resentment.
Estate planning for the future
Children often differ in ways that can affect a fair distribution of assets. For example, if there is a large difference in income or wealth between children, the parents may want to give more to the children who have less. However, the children may perceive this as unfair. Other cases might be parents who want to give more to the child who helped them the most as they aged, or give less to children to whom they provided recent financial support. Even a perfectly even distribution can seem unfair if the children feel that they did not all contribute equally to the household or are not all deserving of the same amount.
There are more advanced concerns that make estate planning with children harder. For example, if the estate includes substantial illiquid assets, it will be hard to divide efficiently and fairly. This is most apparent with housing and real estate. Another example is an estate where a substantial part of the value is in a family business. The parents may want to designate one or more children to run that business, which could leave other siblings with less wealth or less control.
Estate planning needs to be done carefully when there are multiple children who stand to gain. Any actual or perceived disparity can lead to hard feelings between siblings.