When it comes to estate planning, there are about a half dozen different ways you can go with doling out your assets to your heirs. You could do an unequal distribution, whereby some heirs get more than others, or a completely equal distribution, where all heirs get the same amount or fairly close to the same amount. There are certainly some benefits and drawbacks to each of these two approaches, as you will see.
Equal Estate Disbursement
The benefits of equal estate disbursement to all heirs are clear; nobody gets more than another or is upset that somebody else got more. Additionally, heirs that feel that they received equal parts of your estate and assets are less like to pursue lawsuits against each other and less likely to challenge your will in regards to the terms you set forth therein. If your ultimate goal post-mortem is to prevent fights between or among your heirs, equal disbursement is a good option.
Of course, there are drawbacks to this approach. You may decide to disinherit someone, or an heir may pass away before you do. Then, what was so neatly divided into thirds, fourths, fifths, etc., is now left as a larger amount to try to split equally among your remaining heirs. The more heirs you have, the more difficult this becomes. There is also the rare possibility that you and one or more of your heirs die in the same car crash, fire, etc., and then you have to have some sort of addendum in your will that dictates where the assets will go next.
Unequal Estate Disbursement
Centuries ago, the eldest son inherited everything. All other children had to marry up into wealthy families if they expected to find a life of comfort and ease because they would leave the family home after the passing of their father with nothing in their pockets and no place to sleep. While it is unlikely for you to make this type of antiquated choice in disbursing your assets, unequal disbursement can still give your eldest a larger portion than the others.
The remaining assets can be split equally or unequally among the remaining heirs. The biggest problem with this, of course, is that they probably will fight over what is fair and there may be many legal battles and challenges of your will. Your estate planning attorney can help you make the will rock solid and airtight so that challengers of your will cannot take more than what you left them.Share