You know that you want to be fair when you leave your money to your children. But does that necessarily mean leaving them equal amounts? This is one of the biggest questions that parents have to ask themselves.
For instance, one couple had three children. One of those children had done very well financially, to the point that they had enough money for expensive extras like a vacation house. The next child had not done that well, but did have enough to live without worry and to put money aside to retire.
The third child, however, had not done very well at all. They were employed, but every paycheck mattered. This child did not have extensive savings, could never consider something like a vacation home and had actually been given $25,000 by the parents just to make ends meet over the years.
Initially, the parents figured they would leave the same amount to all three, keeping the amounts equal. They even thought about giving the child who had borrowed money $25,000 less to make up for it. However, they started having second thoughts, wondering if they should really give that needy child more money to help with financial problems that the other two simply did not have.
While that would feel "fair" to the parents, would the fact that the distribution was unequal cause problems between the children?
This is a delicate question. It is one parents need to consider carefully, perhaps sitting down with their children to have a discussion about their decisions. As you do this, make sure you know all of your legal options.