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Inheritances: “Fair” does not mean “equal”

Uncategorized Aug 28, 2013

When preparing a will or a trust, many times the creator (the client) wants to treat beneficiaries equally.   Take, for example, a mother or father with three chidren.  “I want my estate to go in three equal shares, to each of my children.  That’s the fair thing ” the client says.  But “equal” is not always “fair”.  And “fair” does not always mean “equal.”  Consider a loving, doting child who assists the parent with everything from shopping to household chores and who shares holidays together.  Contrast that child with a sibling who is distant, both geographically and on a personal basis, from parent.  Is it “fair” that the doting child receive an “equal” share as the child who has no interest in the parent’s life?