There are individuals who like to play it close to the vest when it comes to their financial affairs, and this can include their estate planning efforts.
While there is nothing particularly wrong with this it is wise to ask yourself how your decisions will be received by the people that you will be leaving behind.
Let’s say that you have a daughter who is a very successful physician. You have one other child, a son who has always had a passion for music.
Financially your daughter and her husband are doing phenomenally, but your son has struggled as he has pursued his musical dreams. He has always wanted to start a studio, and after his years of honing his craft it would seem as though he could be successful.
It would not be entirely unreasonable for someone who is in this situation to provide a larger inheritance to the son than to the daughter.
Whatever your reasoning may be, if you are going to leave behind unequal inheritances you may want to communicate your choices to your children. It is very likely that the more affluent child will understand your decisions completely if you explain yourself with full sincerity.
On the other hand, if someone feels slighted and hurt after receiving an unpleasant surprise at the time of your passing it could cause resentment among siblings, and you probably want your family to come together to provide one another with support.
In fact, an estate challenge could come about if a child was to feel as though you were not of sound mind or unduly coerced when you created your estate plan.
In many cases some simple, honest communication can ensure a harmonious family relationship even if inheritances are not all completely equal.