These are difficult questions, and adults often delay creating or updating a will to avoid answering them. As we wrestle with these questions, keep the following in mind:
- During their lifetimes, parents often give unequal amounts to children based on different needs – but they hesitate to leave unequal bequests, for they don’t want their last words to seem to convey unequal affection.
- If you do plan to leave unequal bequests to your children, talk to them while you are living: explain what you are doing and why.
- You can treat children and family members fairly without providing for them in the same way. For example, a prudent way to provide for a family member who is unsophisticated with money is through a trust from which the family member will receive regular income but have limited access to principal of the trust.
- Your Christian values can be a part of your estate legacy. By including Christian ministries in your estate plan, you set an example to your family and community of your commitment as a Christ follower.
Richard Carnes is president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, PO Box 436389, Louisville, KY 40253; www.KYBaptistFoundation.org
The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.