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Treatment of Children in Estate Planning: Sometimes Inequality is Best

It is natural for parents to want to treat their children equally when it comes to inheritances. However, equal treatment is not always the best course of action when it comes to gifts and estate planning. Here are some situations that call for unequal treatment:

Naming executors - while your first instinct may be to name all your children as co-executors of your estate, estate planning experts recommend you choose the child who is most capable and trustworthy for managing estate responsibilities. In some circumstances, you may want to name another relative, family friend or professional.

Incapacity - if you have a child with special needs, or one who struggles with drug or alcohol abuse, giving money or assets directly to that child may not be in their best interests. In the case of a special needs child, bequeathing assets directly can result in their disqualification for important government benefits. Instead, consider using a trust to leave assets and name a qualified trustee to oversee distributions.

Gifting - gifting to a child with substance abuse or creditor issues is not usually a wise choice. Instead, if you are gifting for an education or to pay medical bills, you can pay educational and healthcare organizations directly for that child's benefit. You can also consider a trust to equalize your gifts among all your children.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0042.

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