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Have a favorite child? Be careful: It could cause problems for your estate

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2021 | Estate Litigation

When parents are asked whether or not they have a favorite child, the natural answer is, “No. I love them all equally.” But is this true? 

Just like people feel a special kind of chemistry with certain friends, co-workers and other family members, it is also possible to have a special bond with a child that is stronger than the bond they share with their other children. Psychology Today reported that years of research demonstrate that most parents do have a favorite child. 

Why do parents have a favorite child?

Imagine that one child has been in trouble with authority all of their lives. The other is obedient, kind and helpful. When there are stark differences in character, personality and ethics it is only natural to prefer the “easier” child. 

Sometimes, a parent’s preference is just a matter of having more in common with one child over another or compatible personalities and temperaments. This can be a source of guilt for parents and a source of pride or jealousy for the children. 

How could this affect the outcome of your will and probate after you’re gone?

Sibling rivalry is a common problem, and a parent’s favoritism (real or perceived) can be a factor. When a favorite child receives more money, better assets or special attention in their parent’s will than others,  the sibling rivalry can come to a crisis point.  

Sometimes it makes sense to leave your children unequal inheritances — but that can still cause a lifetime of resentment and jealousy to boil over and turn into a contested will and a complicated situation.

When undergoing estate planning, it is important to consider the effect that an unequal distribution of assets can have in the probate process. No one knows their children better than a parent — so make sure you carefully consider the consequences of your estate plans on your family.