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Dividing an Idaho Estate Unequally

We have helped parents with children in Idaho for over 70 years create a basic Estate Plan that divides their money and property among their children. As we do this, these parents often ask about how they should divide their estate among their children. Additionally, a question that is becoming more common is whether the parent can divide their estate unequally among their children. We have found that this question comes up for many reasons. Some parents have children with more economic needs than their other children. Other parents have a child with drug or alcohol addictions. Additionally some parents have a child that lives close to them and provides more help, and care for the parents as they age.

While each of these scenarios is different the result is that a parent may consider whether they should divide their estate unequally among their children. Our team of experienced Idaho Estate Planning attorneys includes partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson together with attorneys Nathan Palmer and Dave Bagley who have each received the highest ratings for their legal abilities and ethics. Out team has helped countless clients who are parents create an Idaho estate plan that divides their money and property among their children in the way that they want. If you are considering dividing your estate unequally among your children, there are three specific things that you should consider. These three things are:

1. You can Divide Your Estate any way You Want

The first thing to understand is that your estate and all the assets, money and property that are in it, are yours. You are free to choose how you give away your estate. You can give any item of property or any amount of money that you own to any person you choose, including your own children. This can be done while you are alive, and it can be done after you die. After you die this is accomplished through a written Last Will and Testament.

The most important thing for you to know is that there is no law that requires you to give any property or money from your estate to any particular person. This includes your children. If you choose to completely disinherit a child from your estate you have the ability to do so. Likewise, if you have a particular circumstance or if your children’s lives appear to you to merit an unequal distribution of your estate to them, you are free to make this choice and to do it in any way that you choose.

2. You Should Talk to Your Children

The next thing for you to think about is talking to your children about your estate plan. Part of a good Idaho estate plan is that is eliminates or lessens the chances that your family will fight and bicker against each other after you are gone. Your death should be a time when your family comes together and strengthens each other. It shouldn’t be a time of fighting and hard feelings. If you do decide to divide your estate unequally among your children, then we advise that you talk with your children about it while you are alive. If you don't talk to your children about this, the child receiving less may believe that the child who is receiving more convinced you, or influenced you to make the distributions unequal. This could result in hard feelings between your children.

When you talk to your children about the way you decided to divide your estate, you make it clear that the decision to divide your estate unequally is yours alone. The child who is receiving less has the ability to ask you questions that you can answer. By doing this you are being proactive and you are dealing with the emotional results of dividing your estate unequally. This lessens the likelihood that your children will feel badly towards each other or blame each other after you are gone.

3. An Estate Planning Attorney can Help You

The final thing to consider is that you should consult with an estate planning attorney. If you have chosen to divide your estate unequally you will need to use specific language in your Last Will and Testament about the money or property you are leaving to each of your children. The language that you use in your written Last Will and Testament will control everything, including the details of the unequal division of your estate to your children. If you attempt to do it alone and you use the wrong words, or you make it unclear or confusing this could lead to a legal fight between your children about what your intentions actually were. By utilizing an Idaho Estate Planning Lawyer, these problems can be greatly lessened or avoided completely.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our Idaho Estate Planning lawyers are parents themselves and know the importance of having a plan for their children that considers every circumstance. Our team is here to help you. Whether you are seeking your own customized Estate Plan or would like to help a family member, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation. You can also email us directly at We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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