Lois and Jack* have three children, all of whom are healthy. Their two boys are professionals and have promising careers ahead of them. However, their daughter struggles intellectually and is unable to financially support herself.
Issues and Challenges
Lois and Jack believe they need to provide more financial support to their daughter, but want to make certain their sons do not feel slighted in the process.
In situations like this, communication is key to a successful outcome. First, we recommended they complete an ethical will. An ethical will is not a legally enforceable document — it simply addresses the matters of the heart and should be used in conjunction with a legally enforceable Last Will and Testament. In this example, the ethical will helped their two sons understand why they believe their daughter should receive a larger portion of their inheritance.
They updated their Last Will and Testament to reflect their concerns and allocated one-half of their estate to their daughter in trust. The boys will each receive 25% outright. We held a family meeting with their three children, and Lois and Jack read from their ethical will and described their thoughts and concerns. At the end of the process, their sons understood why their parents made the decisions and were fully supportive.
*Lois and Jack are not actual clients, but their story is based upon actual client experience.