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Why equal estate distribution among kids might not be fair

When you sit down with your estate planning attorney to draft your will and other estate documents, you may go in with the presumption that you will leave each of your children an equal share of your estate. However, equal isn't necessarily fair.

There are many reasons why you may determine that it's appropriate to leave some children more than others. For example, you may choose to leave one child more money, property or other assets if that child has:

-- Taken a larger role in caring for you and/or your spouse as you've gotten older

-- A larger family to care for or has had to struggle more to make ends meet

-- Special needs that require caregivers and/or other treatment

-- Participated in building a family business, perhaps for little pay in the early days

-- Received more financial help from you over the years than the others

Sharing your wealth with your children doesn't have to wait until you're gone. If you've got enough saved up for your own retirement and care, you may choose to disburse some of your funds to your kids earlier.

You may start out with an equal amount designated for each child, both during your life and as an inheritance. If one child needs money earlier, you may choose to provide them some of that allotment sooner rather than later.

Every family is unique. It's best to discuss your wishes for your adult children and their needs with your California estate planning attorney. He or she can help you determine the best way to fulfill your goals for your family.

Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette, "Dividing your estate: Equal isn’t always fair," Carissa Giebel, Sep. 26, 2016

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