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Will an unequal estate plan hold up in court?

On Behalf of | May 25, 2021 | Probate & Estate Litigation |

The standard advice for creating a will is to split everything equally between beneficiaries, assuming the beneficiaries are the deceased’s children. Failure to do so might cause animosity between the siblings and destroy family relationships.

However, a growing number of Americans are deciding against evenly split inheritances for their children. According to Considerable, nearly two-thirds of surveyed Americans reported that they believe some situations warrant an unequal distribution of inheritance between siblings.

Why might a parent choose to do this?

There are multiple reasons why a parent might decide on an uneven split in the estate plan. For instance, many Americans believe that an adult child with children should get more inheritance as compared to an adult child without. If one sibling is in a higher-paid profession like finance and one in a lower-paid profession like education, some Americans believe that the teacher should get a larger slice of the pie than the banker. If one sibling steps in and engages in elder care while other siblings do not, many Americans believe that the caregiver sibling deserves more of the inheritance.

Additional factors matter as well, such as whether a child suffers from addiction or is a compulsive overspender. Some parents are wary of sons- and daughters-in-law if their child is in a rocky marriage.

Is this legal?

In the state of Georgia, the law does generally uphold no-contest clauses. This means that if your parents set up an unequal will with differing inheritance amounts between your siblings and a no-contest clause exists, there is a good chance of it holding up in court. However, this is not the case in all instances; overturning a will is always a possibility depending on mitigating circumstances.