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Are Unequal Inheritances Fair?

It’s not very often that I see an estate plan that treats children unequally. When I do, it is usually because a parent is estranged from one child and leaves him or her nothing. In estate planning, “equal” isn’t necessarily the same as “fair.” Recently, a client I’ll...

Vow of Simplicity Not Really So Simple

Last week we explored one type of money belief, an unconscious vow of poverty that can lead to self-sabotage and harmful behaviors around money. But what about those, like members of some religious orders, who consciously make vows of poverty? Does that also lead to...

Why Are Bequests to Charity So Rare?

Based on my experience, American societal money scripts around estate planning appear to be “Good parents leave everything to family,” and “The more money I can leave my kids the better off they will be.” It’s not surprising, then, that estate...

Conscious Bequests: Inheritances That Help, Not Harm

One of the biggest conundrums of estate planning is considering how, or even if, you can give money or property to your heirs in a manner that will help them. How can leaving money to someone not be helpful? Research shows that receiving a lot of money can certainly...

Leaving Money Wisely To A Spendthrift Heir

A common estate-planning question is whether it makes sense to leave inheritances with strings attached. My typical answer is “it depends.” It’s natural to want your legacy to be used wisely, but trying to control from beyond the grave can have...