Proceed carefully when planning to leave unequal shares to your children or your decisions may be challenged.
You may have reasons to leave unequal shares to your children when planning your estate but it might be wise to move forward with caution, according to the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog in “Some Considerations To Keep In Mind When Making Non-Equal Estate Distributions.”
Sometimes a child has greater needs than other children and sometimes those reasons vary from caring for a disabled child to previous distribution to behavior. However, giving a child an unequal portion of an estate can cause problems as the child given a lesser share might seek to challenge the estate. One way to help prevent this is to give the child something and insert a no-contest clause in the estate plan that states if the child challenges the plan, he or she gets nothing.
The far better way is to speak with your children beforehand and let them know your plans. Let them know why you want to give them unequal shares and give them a chance to respond.
Challenges are less likely if your children know your intentions beforehand and know that you had good reasons for making the decisions that you did.
An estate planning attorney can guide through the process to meet your needs.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (May 3, 2016) “Some Considerations To Keep In Mind When Making Non-Equal Estate Distributions.”