Should I share equally?
Parents struggle with leaving one child less than another. But what you leave should depend on circumstances as much as equality.
Take the case of Jane and Mark. They have 2 children. Their first child is a medical doctor and doing quite well for herself. Their second child has a learning disability and barely made it out of high school. He went on to trade school and works as an electrician. He makes a fair living, but nothing like his older sister. Should mom and dad split everything equally? Should mom and dad “favor” the younger child and give him more than the leave his sister? Is it really favoritism to give the child that doesn’t have as much more than the other? Or is it really equity?
Those are hard choices for parents to make. Often parents don’t want to make that choice and will split everything equally, even if one child could use the inheritance more than another.
The harder choice is when one child has special needs and is receiving benefits from the government like SSI or Medicaid. Many parents want to leave those children completely out so their benefits will continue. However, with the proper planning up front, that child can have the benefits of an inheritance without losing their access to government benefits.