Carmel estate planning attorneys can provide you with assistance creating a personalized estate plan that allows you to best provide for your family members. There are a lot of different issues that you may wish to address when you make an estate plan. An experienced attorney can help you to determine the key factors that you need to take into account when you make plans to provide for heirs or beneficiaries and can provide assistance using the right legal tools to provide the type of inheritance that you hope to offer your loved ones.
Frank & Kraft has provided estate planning help to people in many different situations with all different kinds of goals for their legacy. One situation that is very common, however, occurs when someone wants to make sure the inheritance that they leave behind is fair to all of their heirs or beneficiaries. When you are making plans for leaving a fair inheritance, at first glance it may seem like leaving an equal inheritance would be the most equitable. However, this may not always be the case.
When is it Inequitable to Divide up an Inheritance Equally?
You have the right to determine exactly how your assets are distributed among your heirs or beneficiaries and, while there are laws protecting a spouse from being disinherited in most circumstances, there is no rule that says you must treat heirs or beneficiaries equally. However, many people do wish to ensure similarly-situated heirs or beneficiaries receive an equal inheritance. For example, if you have two children, you may want to leave them each an equal share of your assets.
If your goal is to provide a fair inheritance for heirs or beneficiaries, you need to look at the big picture — including the circumstances of each potential heirs or beneficiaries current situation. For example, say you had two kids and you had paid for the college education of one of your children already but the other child hadn’t yet gone to school.
In this circumstance, if you had $300,000 and you wanted to leave a fair inheritance to each child, you may start with the premise that each child should receive $150,000. However, while this might seem fair, the child who had already had his or her college education paid for would be able to use his entire $150,000 for any purpose he wished, such as a downpayment for a home perhaps. But, the child whose education hadn’t yet been paid for might be forced to use a big portion of the $150,000 inheritance in order to pay for school.
If the child whose education had not yet been paid for was forced to use $50,000 to pay for college, that child would be left with just $100,000 for other purposes while his or her sister had $50,000 more.
In these circumstances, you may wish to create a trust and set aside a designated amount of money for the younger child’s education. If you wanted to set aside $50,000, for example, you could transfer this $50,000 into a trust and you would then be left with $250,000 that you could divide up equally among the children. You could specify in the trust document that the money is only to be use for the younger child’s education to ensure the younger child does not end up with a windfall if the child gets a full scholarship to college or otherwise does not end up needing to pay for college with the funds you provide.
By setting aside money for the younger child’s college, you would ensure that you paid for that program just as you did for your older child and that your children received an inheritance from you that was truly equal.
This is just one of many examples of circumstances where an equal inheritance isn’t always equitable — but where legal tools can allow you to do what is fair for all of your heirs or beneficiaries.
Getting Help from Carmel Estate Planning Attorneys
Carmel estate planning attorneys at Frank & Kraft can provide the personalized help you need to leave the legacy that you desire. We can assist you in evaluating the big picture, determining the best course of action for providing for heirs or beneficiaries, and making use of effective legal tools, such as trusts, to accomplish your goals.
To find out more about how our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team can help you, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at 317-684-1100 or contact us online at any time for personalized one-on-one help.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.
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