December 2022

Lawyer for Life. Keeping your family healthy, wealthy and wise.

Tis the season of giving and gifting, but should everyone on your list receive the same gift? You weigh different factors, and think about their needs, but what is the right choice?


If you have more than one child, you should be asking yourself the same questions as you build your estate plan. Should you leave each of your children the same amount in your will or trust?


Just like shopping on Black Friday, leaving all your children the same amount can feel like the best approach at first, but there are some instances where it might not be the wisest strategy, or even the fairest.


Factors you might want to consider include:

  • One child earns considerably more than your other children
  • One child has several children of his or her own, while another child does not
  • One of your children serves as your caregiver, runs errands or helps you in other ways much more frequently than your other children

Sadly, you may have to ask yourself another, more troubling question: Has one of my children disappointed me so often, or behaved so irresponsibly in the past, that I feel like I must disinherit him or her entirely?

In cases where one of your children suffers from drug dependency or severe mental illness, inheriting money may actually do more harm than good.


We understand that this is a tough decision, made all the more difficult by the fact that unequal inheritances can lead to hard feelings and even challenges to your will or trust. If you believe that the best approach is to treat your children differently with regard to inheritances, here are some ways to avoid potential problems:

  • Take the time to talk to your children about your will (or trust) and its contents. While this can be a hard conversation, explaining your decisions to your children will help them understand why you have made them in the first place. Such a conversation can go a long way toward lessening any shock and the potential for disputes that might occur if your children first learn about the contents of your will or trust after you are gone.
  • Consider compensating your children who are “there for you” when you need help around the house or running errands while you are still alive. Similarly, if a child is going through a difficult time, such as the loss of a job or a divorce, consider offering financial assistance now instead of later.
  • You can add various clauses to your will in order to reduce the potential for litigation. For example, you could stipulate that any disputes after you pass away must be mediated rather than litigated. Or a no-contest clause can stipulate that a beneficiary forfeits his or her interests if the will is challenged.
  • Perhaps most important of all, make sure that you take the necessary steps when you create your will to show you are of “sound mind.” Such steps can include getting an evaluation from a doctor, as well as a psychiatrist, shortly before your documents are signed. If you are making changes to your existing will or trust, this precaution is even more important.

If you are struggling with the idea of unequal inheritances for your children, we can assist you with making these difficult decisions and help ensure that your wishes will be carried out.


Did you know that December is the most popular month to propose around the world? According to The Knot Global Wedding Report, December is overwhelmingly the most popular month to propose.


So, let’s say you decide to pop the big question this month, and your partner says, “YES!” First, breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the moment. Make sure you embrace the feeling before you dive into all the planning to come: the guest list, the invitations, the reception, the band, the cake, the honeymoon… the prenup?


While it is hardly the most glamorous aspect of planning a wedding and a life together, many couples should at least discuss creating and signing a prenuptial agreement. Why? A prenuptial agreement can protect you from financial loss in case your relationship breaks down—no small concern when you consider that half of all marriages end in divorce.


Is a prenuptial agreement a good idea for you and your intended spouse? Probably, especially if any of the following scenarios apply:

  • Either of you has children from a previous marriage
  • You own a business or are involved in a family-run company
  • Either of you has significant assets that you want to keep separate
  • One of you is concerned about the other party’s debt
  • You are giving up a lucrative career to get married

If you think a prenuptial agreement makes sense in your situation, the next question is when the topic should be broached, and documents prepared. The truth is—the sooner the better.


Even though it may sound like a strictly financial decision, asking for a prenup is obviously a delicate situation. The person who brings up the subject may be seen as lacking trust in his or her partner. That’s why we recommend discussing a prenuptial agreement well in advance, so you and your intended spouse have plenty of time to discuss the subject at length and come to an understanding together.


Think about it, as uncomfortable as it may feel, discussing this topic ahead of time will be infinitely more preferable than, say, approaching your beloved a few days before the wedding and saying something like “Oh, by the way darling, my lawyer says I need you to sign this.” In addition to the shock involved in such a last-second approach, there are sound legal reasons for broaching the subject as soon as possible. Chief among them is that it avoids the appearance of coercion, which renders some agreements null and void.


We highly recommend that your prenuptial agreement be signed, at the very latest, one month before the wedding, and before any invitations are sent out. Also, each party should have his or her own attorney involved in the design and review of the prenuptial agreement.


The prenuptial agreement will then serve as a powerful element in you and your spouse’s estate planning strategy. This formal agreement will allow you to maintain the control you want over your assets and can serve as protection against state laws that may otherwise dictate estate distribution upon your passing.