Estate planning attorneys work with you to understand what your goals are with regards to protecting your family and building your legacy. We can then help you to take steps — including making use of the right legal tools — to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself.
Many people who work with estate planning attorneys indicate they want to make sure they are fair to their heirs or beneficiaries. For example, people may want to provide all of their children an equal inheritance. Under these circumstances, the assumption usually starts out with the premise that providing the same amount of money and property for each heir is the best approach. However, it’s important to consider the big picture, including the current financial situation of each of the potential heirs or beneficiaries who you want to be fair too.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can help you to look at the big picture, decide how best to structure an inheritance, and take steps to achieve that goal. To find out more about the ways in which our legal team can help you to provide a fair inheritance for the people who you love and wish to provide for, give us a call today.
When is an Equal Inheritance Unfair?
To determine if an equal inheritance would be fair or not, you need to consider the current life circumstances of each of your potential heirs or beneficiaries so you want to provide an inheritance to. You also need to consider what contributions you may have already made to each of these heirs or beneficiaries.
For example, consider a situation where you have two kids and you want to give them each an equal inheritance. If you split up the money equally, then each child would end up with the same amount — in theory. But, what if you had already paid $50,000 for your oldest child to attend college but your younger child was still in high school. If you had a $200,000 inheritance to split between your children and you left each child $100,000, your high schooler would likely end up much worse off. Your child who was still in high school would have to spend $50,000 of the inheritance to get the same educational opportunity as his or her older sibling — and the older child would be able to keep the entire $100,000.
In circumstances like this, you may decide that the goal is to make sure you give your younger child the same opportunity as the older child. However, you also do not want to advantage your younger child unfairly either. For example, if you gave your younger child an extra $50,000 but he or she then got a full scholarship, that child would end up with a larger inheritance.
In such circumstance, you could use appropriate legal tools to make certain you are truly being fair. You could, for example, create a trust and set aside $50,000 into that trust to provide for your younger child’s college education costs. You could then divide the remaining $150,000 that you have left equally between the two children. When you create the trust, the trust document could contain detailed instructions specifying that the money is only to be paid for qualifying educational expenses. Any remaining money in the trust that is not paid out for a child’s college education could be divided among both children.
This is just one of many scenarios where legal tools and advanced estate planning techniques — in this case, the creation of a trust — could help you to make sure you are providing for your loved ones in the most appropriate way possible.
How Can Estate Planning Attorneys Help You To Provide an Equitable Inheritance?
To find out more about how to make use of legal tools to achieve your goals for leaving a legacy, you should join us for a free seminar. You can learn all about the different services our estate planning attorneys can provide that are personalized to your situation.
If you are ready to start making your own estate plan so you can determine what happens to your assets and provide detailed instructions on how best to provide for your loved ones after you are gone, give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online to today.