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The Living Trust Advisor by Jeffrey L. Condon

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CHAPTER 16 The Accidental Unequal Inheritance Or, If You Think You Have Treated Your Children Equally by Leaving Them Equal Inheritances, I Have Some News for You!

You have three children. Your Living Trust leaves all of the assets to them equally. With the preservation of family harmony in the inheritance arena being dependent on equal treatment of your children in your Living Trust, you have done your job. It doesn’t get more equal than one-third apiece.

However, from your children’s perspective, you have not treated them equally in your Living Trust if you made unequal gifts to them during your life.

I know this does not make sense, because, from your viewpoint, the gifts you make to your children during your life have nothing to do with the inheritances they receive after your death. And you are correct. By all objective standards, the money you give to your children has no direct connection to or correlation with the bequests you leave to your children.

In the inheritance arena, though, objectivity becomes secondary to perception, whether or not the matters perceived are real or imagined, reasonable or unreasonable. And as unreasonable as it may seem, your children will perceive a connection between lifetime gifts and Living Trust bequests.

When you make a gift to a child, you are not keeping a scorecard. You simply help a child who needs financial help. A wedding. A car. College tuition. A down payment on a house. Seed money for a new business. A medical payment. Whatever. ...

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