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A will or trust may not always allow equal distribution

When people in Tennessee begin to consider the distribution of their estates, they may think the easiest thing to do is to divide their assets evenly among their beneficiaries. While this approach may simplify the process for the individual or couple making the plan, it may actually complicate the lives of the beneficiaries. There are some family situations that require more careful thought when making decisions concerning a will or trust.

Families who own businesses should consider how dividing a business equally among beneficiaries might affect the business and the people involved. One child who has embraced the family business may not be able to buy out the others who are less interested but inherit an equal portion. Forcing beneficiaries to become partners in a business may damage those relationships or put the success of the business at risk. While passing this asset on to particular beneficiaries may seem inequitable, it may be the only solution for safeguarding family harmony.

Another situation that might require uneven distribution of assets is when one child's special needs qualify him or her for government assistance. An inheritance that changes the financial status of that child may also change his or her eligibility for necessary programs or benefits. Additionally, there may be children who are likely to mishandle an inheritance to their own detriment. In both of these cases, the estate plans may call for trusts to control the assets for those beneficiaries.

Taking the time to plan an estate carefully by keeping in mind the situation of each beneficiary may seem complicated, but it may save one's heirs much frustration and expense. When people in Tennessee consider estate planning, they often begin by contacting an attorney. An experienced attorney can help people examine the individual needs of their families and reflect those needs in carefully a constructed will or trust.

Source:, "Wills: Can't always divide estate equally", Michael Mass, July 3, 2016

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