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Estate Planning FAQ 4

What Is Child Inequality Monmouth County?

Nothing arouses passions and jealousies more than feelings of injustice within families. Grown children, sometimes with grandchildren of their own, remember real or imagined slights from 40 or 50 years ago. Even after parents are gone, such feelings can be unleashed from a Will. It can represent a last act of parental love and acceptance or disappointment and rejection. Writing a Will can therefore be a real challenge. One must not only face mortality but also deal with the very real circumstances within ones own family. For that reason, many people opt for equal shares to their children. But is equal always equitable? There are no pat answers to the question of how to divide property; life is too complicated for that, and each situation is different, but here are some thoughts to consider:

There is a common misconception that each child must be left something – one dollar, five hundred dollars, something. This is because the law treats the failure to mention a child, whether natural or adopted, whether born in or out of wedlock, and whether or not recognized as the child of the deceased person, as an unintentional oversight, allowing the omitted child to claim the same share of property he or she would have received had the parent died without a Will. All children should be named in the Will and any disinherited children should be specifically noted. Providing a reason for the disinheritance is not required. A statement in the Will that the maker intentionally make no provision for his or her son or daughter should be sufficient.

In addition to leaving out a child entirely, there are some situations where unequal treatment may nevertheless be fair and appropriate. Sometimes that inequality may involve giving more or less to one child. Other times it may mean that one child receives his or her share without restriction while the share for another child is paced in a trust. One example of a circumstance which might lead to different treatment for children might include a circumstance where one child received substantial assistance during his or her parent’s lifetime while another may not have. Should the extra amount one child received be treated as an advance against inheritance? Another example might involve a family with a physically or developmentally challenged child. This child might need more or less than an equal share of the parent’s assets to provide that child with quality of life. A further possibility might be of one child who has acted irresponsibly or in a way that merits a parent feeling disappointed or aggrieved by the child’s behavior? Each of these situations presents difficult decisions for parents which may be addressed by leaving a greater or lesser share to one child or another or by leaving one child’s share in trust for him or her with certain restrictions on use and distributions while distributing the share left to another child directly to him or her without such restrictions.

Call (732)-972-1600 today to speak to one of our skilled Estate Planning Attorneys. Located in Manalapan (Monmouth County, NJ), Cranford (Union County, NJ) and Midtown Manhattan (New York, NY); Drescher & Cheslow represents clients throughout the State of New Jersey & New York including but not limited to Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Essex, Somerset, Morris, Hudson and Ocean counties.

Ten Frequently Asked Estate Planning Questions
First: What happens if someone dies without a Will?
Second: What is probate and how much time and money does it cost?
Third: What are the different ways property can be owned and what problems can these different forms of ownership create?
Fourth: Must a parent treat all children equally?
Fifth: How should property be left for someone unable to manage it?
Sixth: Who should be named Executor or Trustee?
Seventh: What about taxes?
Eighth: What about lifetime gifts?
Ninth: How can clients safeguard their affairs in the face of physical or mental infirmity?
Tenth: How are health care decisions to be made if a person becomes unable to express his or her wishes?

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