When planning their estate, many people believe the best course of action is to divide their assets equally among their adult children. However, there are times when this is not the best solution or the most practical solution. It is at these times that you need to know the differences between equal and equitable inheritance.
What Is Equal Inheritance?
Equal inheritance is when each of your adult children receives an equal share of your estate. Of course, this will only happen when both of their parents have passed on. This option is the best solution for families that have children where the needs of each child are the same or you have provided similar support to the children. Each of the children must also be finically responsible and emotionally capable of handling their inheritance.
It is important to note that when you have real estate and other physical assets, you will need to determine the value of each asset to ensure that all children receive an equal amount. One of the primary benefits of an equal inheritance is that it will help avoid any disputes. These disputes can be costly to your children and take an emotional toll on them.
What Is Equitable Inheritance?
There are times when an equal inheritance is not the best solution. These cases could be when one child has taken on the role of caregiver to an aging parent or to compensate them for any lost wages and time. Equitable inheritance can be used when the amount of support given to the children by the parents during their life is different. This support could be for a wedding, a down payment on a house or educational expenses.
Equitable inheritance should also be used when you have a child with disabilities or special needs. These children will need more financial help in the future in regards to their living and medical expenses. However, it is important to place these funds in a special needs trust to ensure that they do not have direct access to the funds.
Equal and equitable inheritance are two different solutions that you need to consider when planning your estate. Equal inheritance ensures that all of your children receive an equal share of your estate. Equitable inheritance will provide certain children with more than the others based on a number of factors such as the amount of support provided while the parent was alive and if they have any special needs.