Providing Comprehensive, Hands-On Legal Help When You Need It

Why and how to distribute assets unequally

If you are creating an estate plan, you should be realistic about family dynamics and needs. It is not uncommon for Delaware parents to split an inheritance unequally among their children, but the best time for their children to find out about this should not be once the parents die and the children read the will or other estate-related paperwork for the first time.

Reasons for unequal inheritances

There are a number of reasons you might consider dividing their assets this way. For example, one beneficiary might already have substantially more assets than the other who may need the inheritance more. You might wish to leave more to a child who has played a more significant role in end-of-life caregiving. There may also be situations in which one beneficiary is already more involved with the asset than the others. For example, if one child already has a role in the family business while the others do not, it might make sense to leave the business to that child.


Ideally, you should discuss the estate plan and the reasons behind the distribution of the inheritance with your beneficiaries. This can help reduce the likelihood of conflict or legal disputes later.

A realistic approach

In some cases, it can be tempting to try to heal family bonds through your approach to estate planning. You may think that your instructions would lead your children to work together productively for a change. However, it is better to make plans based on the existing dynamic rather than a hoped-for outcome.

Thinking about and discussing end-of-life matters and estate planning can be difficult, but it is also important. It can reduce the likelihood of unpleasant surprises and help loved ones understand why you made the choices that you did in your estate plan.