"Fair vs. Equal" Inheritance

Fair vs. Equal InheritanceIt’s not surprising that children don’t always like what parents decide about inheritance. It pits the concept of meritocracy against the idea of parents loving children equally.

When siblings learn the contents of their parents’ will, they often replay their childhood scenarios, when they judged whether their sibling received a gift that cost more, got a larger slice of cake or was allowed to stay up later. They expect their parents to give them an equal share of the family inheritance.

When it comes to writing a will, parents are often caught in the middle. For example, a couple has two sons. The older son is a successful doctor who worked his way through medical school. The other, a high school dropout, aimlessly moves from place to place with no plans for his future.

The parents decide to leave the older son less money and put the younger son’s share into an incentive trust. He can’t get his money if he doesn’t change his behavior. However, they’re wondering if it’s fair to, in effect, punish the older brother for being successful while rewarding his younger brother for lack of ambition.

On the other hand, would it be fair to give them both equal shares, without restricting one from squandering his inheritance?

The bottom line is that siblings are less likely to battle it out in court if they know in advance the reasoning behind their parents’ decision.

  • Money

    Talking about money can be a touchy subject for families. But it’s never about the money itself. It’s about how money shapes thinking about other things like relationships, power, rules, love, fairness, and a host of other expectations and attitudes. 

    Money Love & Legacy gets to the heart of these concepts and helps you navigate through these mindsets to get conversations going with love and respect.

  • Entitlement

    Entitlement is a one-way mindset that focuses on what we are owed instead of acknowledging that we have obligations in a relationship. Children raised with a sense of entitlement believe the world revolves them and their needs. 

    Money Love & Legacy helps parents understand that an inheritance reflects the quality of a relationship. It is not a legal obligation in the United States. Knowing that helps parents see with more clarity how they want to handle the distribution of their estate. 

  • Inheritance

    Inheritance often serves as a final report card for siblings. Childhood hurts can be revived and sibling relationships destroyed when heirs are faced with unequal portions of a parent’s estate. 

    Money Love & Legacy explores these difficult decisions faced by parents. The book shows you how to analyze and honor your deepest feelings about your inheritance plans.

  • Forgiveness

    Forgiveness is intentional. It’s a solo act and it is always possible. The end result of forgiveness may not be reconciliation which often is not achievable. However, deciding to forgive on your own can help ease pain through acceptance of the past. 

    Money Love & Legacy explores this concept in depth through the author’s own story. It provides guidelines for understanding your wound and provides the questions you need for healing it. 

  • Legacy

    We create legacy by how we live, not how we die. Our legacy is shaped by the values we hold, and how those values are reflected in the life we live. Most of all, it is about how we want to be remembered. 

    Money Love & Legacy shares stories of people who created their legacy by their connections to family and community. It will show you how to transmit your values through the decisions you make at the end of life. 

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Conversations between parents and children about money