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Situations when leaving unequal inheritances makes sense

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2023 | Estate Planning

Children typically expect that their parents will leave them equal shares of their estate. Although many people take this route, high net worth families in Missouri may have good cause to grant unequal inheritances to children or other heirs. Multiple scenarios justify this choice, and it is not necessarily unfair to apportion your estate differently among your heirs.

Special needs

You may have a child or stepchild that depends on government assistance due to disability or chronic illness. To avoid transferring assets that would eliminate those government benefits, you need to approach estate planning with the goal of preserving access to disability funds and government health insurance.

Business succession

One child may have assumed a large role in running your family business. You plan to hand the reins over entirely at some point. For this reason, you may find it preferably to leave all or most business assets to that person. You can leave other types of assets or funds to other heirs.

Financial disparity among heirs

One of your heirs may already be highly successful whereas another heir works for a modest salary. In this situation, you might leave the heir with fewer financial resources more money. This would have a more meaningful impact on that person’s life than giving a large amount to someone who has already achieved financial independence.


It is not unusual for one family member to assume the role of primary caregiver to an ailing parent or grandparent. Caregiving requires a substantial sacrifice on the part of the caregiver that frequently involves forgoing work and other social and financial opportunities. As a result, you may choose to reward that person with a larger inheritance.