Should you divide everything in your Will equally?

by Sarah Ashcroft

Knowing how to split your wealth is one of the greatest challenges when writing a will, regardless of how many children, relatives and friends you have.

One reader of the Independent has written to the newspaper's resident advisor on personal issues to explain that she is currently weighing up how to leave her assets to her two children.

She noted that of her two daughters, one currently lives a far more comfortable life than the other. Indeed, while one of her offspring is happily married and earning good money as a dentist, the other is a single mother.

It has therefore crossed her mind to leave more of her estate to the daughter who is finding life tougher, as she knows that she will benefit from it the most. However, the reader's partner - who is not the father of the women - said that this is sure to cause bad blood between the two sisters when their mother passes away.

The advisor responded by saying that while giving more to one child might make sense on paper, the one who is left out of a Will or given less will almost certainly not see it like that.

"She has done well in life, got herself qualified and settled, and might reasonably expect a bit of a pat on the back from her mother. Instead, she will see the reward going to her less successful sister," the advisor wrote.

Her best tip is simply to divide everything straight down the middle between children, as it's not anyone's role in life to work out how in need of money different people are. What's more, if the woman in question does this, she may leave behind a legacy of discontent between the surviving sisters.

Of course, it goes without saying that the money and other assets belong to the woman, so as with any Will she is entitled to do whatever she pleases with them.

Published on: February 5, 2014

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