Writing a Will – How to Treat Children Fairly

Hi everyone! I’m in a bit of a dilemma and I wanted some feedback to see if maybe others had a perspective that could help straighten everything out for me.

We’re going to see an attorney next week to file a will in case my husband and I die at the same time or close enough before another will can be filed. And we will die one day. Probably not at the same time because we usually avoid each other as much as possible, but there is still a chance. Very morbid, I know. I don’t really think about it very much.

Basically, we’re trying to figure out how to treat the children fairly in the event that we both die at the same time. Let’s say TOMORROW to be very morbid. (Because if circumstances change significantly later, of course we would adjust for that in our will).

The children are:

One daughter, 11 years old – Has 1 father + 1 mother as parental figures.

One son, 21 years old – Has 1 father + 1 mother + 1 stepmother as parental figures. Already has a college education paid off and 1 vehicle fully titled.

The easiest option is to split my husband and I’s assets equally between the 2 children, 50/50. The only dilemma is that the son will additionally be the sole beneficiary of his mother’s assets as she is not remarried and has no other children. The daughter will have no other inheritances.

The son is already “spending” the inheritance that he is expecting from his mother, by telling us that he plans to use it as a down payment on a house (or to pay off a house) and for travelling. Which is fine and none of our business really.

Just, the daughter won’t be included in any of that.

Also, the mother is in ok health and there is no reason to expect her to pass anytime soon.

So what would you all consider to be fair in this scenario? The 50/50 split knowing that the son will also have future opportunities for inheritance? Or an unequal split to help compensate the daughter for NOT having a similar future opportunity?

I don’t know, what do you all think would be fair? And this is just using the information we have TODAY and if we die very soon. Because if life events change significantly, yes we would accommodate that.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

4 Replies to “Writing a Will – How to Treat Children Fairly”

  1. Good question. I don’t know.

    I really need to make a will for myself… I have no children, so I don’t know who will get my earthly assets. I’ll probably give a few chunks to certain charities and other causes and the rest to my parents, if they’re still alive when I die, or my brother if they’re not. But I still need to get that in writing legally.

  2. I have 5 children, 4 adults between the ages of 18 and 21 from my first marriage, and a 6 year old with my husband. In the event of our death, our assets are divided in half. 50% is to be split between all 5 children. The other 50% goes into trust for the care of our youngest child.

  3. I’m no expert, but if ‘fair’ is what you’re looking for, then it makes sense to me to give the son 1/4 of whatever is your total estate, and your daughter 3/4. Explanation: Your son gets half of his dad’s assets and all of his mother’s. Your daughter gets half of her dad’s assets and all of her mother’s.

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