Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Treating Your Kids Unequally


Sometimes treating your children equally when it comes to inheritance isn’t the best decision.  Here are some situations that may call for an unequal distribution:

  • Children with different means.  If one child has significant wealth but the other child struggles financially, you may want to give more to the latter.  But be sure to include an explanation of your decision.
  • Poor money managers.  If you have a child who is always in debt, consider a spendthrift trust over an outright inheritance.
  • Possible divorce.  If you have a child with a history of bad relationships, consider establishing a trust to shield assets.
  • Special needs.  Use a special needs trust to preserve government assistance if you have a child with special needs.
  • Pre-existing loans.  You may want to consider significant loans as an early inheritance.
  • Estranged children.  Be very clear in your plan if you wish to intentionally disinherit a child.  Do not simply omit them from your plan.

See Kimberly Hanlon, Treating Children the Same Isn’t Always Best in Estate Planning, Kimberly M. Hanlon, LLC, Dec. 26, 2013.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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