I have given a lot of thought to my estate planning. I would like to leave more funds to my daughter than to my son, as my son has an excellent job and doesn’t need the money. In addition, at the beginning of my son’s career, my husband and I lent him money to start a business, which worked out well. Any general advice?
– Peacemaker on Pomona
Dear Peacemaker on Pomona:
This is a very personal decision. As they saying goes, “The Most Important Things In Life Aren’t Things.”
I get questions like this a lot. It is very important to be sensitive to people’s feelings and how they will react to the decisions that you have made in your estate planning.
People often say to me “I don’t care … I will be dead!” The problem is that the rest of us will be here and I DO want to see your kids / loved ones get along for the rest of the time they are here!
If you want to leave a different amount to your son and daughter, but you believe that your son would always wonder why you made this decision, you could consider writing a private note (to be opened at your death) explaining your reasoning. This way, if you don’t want to put the reasoning in your actual trust AND you don’t want to tell him now, he will at least have the benefit of knowing WHY you did what you did in your trust.
There is no one solution to this question. But, a side letter is one way you could keep your son from spending the next twenty years wondering why you did what you did (and from taking this out on his sister)!