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Consider each child's needs in estate planning

Delaware parents strive to provide for their children both before and after death. During estate planning, many parents struggle with ensuring that they treat each child fairly, and for many people, fair means equal. Unfortunately, equal does not always adequately provide for every child.

Parents may want take a realistic look at each child and determine how to best serve the child's interests. For example, if a child tends to spend money extravagantly and without regard for the future, giving that child his or her inheritance outright might not be the best option. In the alternative, if a child is going through tough financial times or a divorce, a direct inheritance could end up with creditors, an ex-spouse or tax authorities.

Most Delaware parents understand the need to create trusts for children with addictions, special needs or mental issues, but might not consider the two scenarios above. Trusts allow parents to control how and when distributions are made to a child. When it comes to a child with special needs, a trust allows assets to be set aside without jeopardizing the child's access to government benefits and programs he or she needs.

One of the major benefits of estate planning is that it allows a plan to be tailored to the needs of the parents and the child. Furthermore, changes can be made as necessary if a parent or child's situation changes. Taking the different needs of each child into consideration instead of simply making things "equal" better serves each of them in end and often provides greater peace of mind to everyone.

Source: Wicked Local Westwood, "Five (good) reasons to treat your children differently in your estate plan", Suzanne Sayward, Jan. 9, 2017

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