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Discussing inheritance equity while drafting a will

For many Georgia residents, estate planning is not a high priority. For some, openly discussing details surrounding the topic of death is uncomfortable. For others, indecision on various topics makes it difficult to begin the process of drafting a will. For those who have multiple children and are uncertain how to divide their inheritance, the following tips may provide a measure of assistance.

The first place to begin is by deciding whether to divide assets equally among all children. For some families, simply leaving behind equal portions is the best way to go, and all parties are aware that this is how the inheritance will be structured. For others, however, the topic is a bit more complicated.

For example, there are cases in which one child has already benefited from the generosity of his or her parents, such as having been put through college, given a down payment for a home or had a lavish wedding paid for. Other children may not have had the same level of support, either because they have not yet reached the age where such expenses were necessary, or for other reasons. In such a case, the parents may decide to hand down assets in a disproportional manner, to ensure that all children receive an equal share of financial support.

In other cases, one child may be doing quite well for him or herself in her career, while another may be struggling financially. Parents may decide to provide more inherited wealth to the child they perceive as "needing" the money the most. In those instances, it is important to discuss those decisions with everyone involved, in order to prevent sibling rivalry over inheritance issues.

As with so many family subjects, the best way for Georgia residents to address issues related to their will and estate planning is to be as open and honest as possible. By talking things through in advance, all parties will have a chance to have their voices heard on the matter. They can also have the time and space needed to come to terms with matters, which can help prevent familial discord down the road.

Source: Time, "Half of Americans Don't Have a Will. Here's How to Fix That for Your Family", Kerri Anne Renzulli, Nov. 30, 2016

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