Assets are not always divided equally in estate planning

Every Delaware family is unique. This means that any estate planning done by individuals needs to be tailored to the particular circumstances of each family. In many cases, this could mean that assets are not going to be divided equally among heirs and beneficiaries.

Take, for example, a family with a special needs child. Providing for that child often requires a trust since leaving any assets in the child’s name could jeopardize the receipt of government benefits such as SSDI and Medicare. That child might also require a larger portion of a parent’s assets than another child might. Therefore, the distributions to another child or other children could end up being less.

In other cases, sometimes a rift develops between the parents and a child. A parent might choose not to provide an inheritance to that child at all. It is important to expressly disinherit that child since a case could be made that the exclusion was merely an oversight and not intentional.

Of course, parents can still choose to divide their assets equally among their children. Many spouses will leave the bulk of their estate to the surviving spouse, and the children might not inherit until after that spouse passes away. If there are children from a prior relationship, they could be provided for in such a way that they do not have to wait for an inheritance until after his or her current spouse dies.

Regardless of the circumstances, estate planning can be structured in a way that achieves all of an individual’s goals. There are numerous options available, and all of them can be explored. An estate-planning attorney can help structure a plan that meets a Delaware resident’s expectations.


Source:, “Estate Planning: Unequal distributions that are fair“, Dennis Fordham, May 14, 2016



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