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Leaving unequal inheritances doesn't have to cause conflict

It is common for people in Nevada to interpret estate planning decisions as expressions of love. Regardless of what a parent's reasons were for dividing their estate unequally, the beneficiaries who receive smaller shares may feel hurt. Not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings, people may decide to leave equal bequests to their children even if doing that doesn't make sense.

Parents may want to consider talking to their family about estate planning decisions rather than leaving the details of their will or trust a surprise. If unequal shares are explained, adult children and other beneficiaries may be more willing to accept them. Families that go to probate court over will disputes often end up there because the information in a will came as a surprise to them.

Parents might be more willing to leave unequal inheritances to their beneficiaries if they understood how the younger generations view monetary gifts. A Merrill Lynch survey found that while almost 70 percent of baby boomers see gifts of money as expressions of love, millennials view monetary gifts much differently. About one-third of millennials believe gifts of money are used to exert control over them, and most think an estate should be divided based on factors like financial need. Almost all people over age 50 think dividing an estate equally is the most fair estate plan, but only one-third of millennials agree.

A person's estate may be divided unequally if there is a family member with special needs or one with several children. An estate planning attorney will often suggest that the client have a family meeting that will allow the beneficiaries to understand why certain decisions were made.

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