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Treating Children Equally in Estate Planning Is a Mistake

Gifting to children with substance abuse issues or creditor problems is also a challenge. Unlike your other children it is probably better if you do not gift to them outright. Instead, you can do a variety of things to equalize the situation:
  • 1. Pay certain bills directly to medical or educational institutions
  • 2. Fund a 529 college savings plan for their children for college with yourself as the account owner
  • 3. Consider a trust.
  • The point is if you give one child $13,000 outright you can still give your child an equivalent economic benefit without giving them the money outright.

    Remember treating your children differently does not mean you are treating them unequally or that you love them any less. In fact, treating them differently in order to protect them shows you in fact do love them and are thinking of their best interests.

    --by Michael Maye

    Michael Maye is the founder and president of MJM Financial Advisors (, a registered investment advisory firm in Berkeley Heights, N.J. He is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and has been a speaker covering tax topics at NAPFA's national and regional conferences. Maye has also been a frequent contributor to the Star Ledger of New Jersey's "Biz Brain" and "Get With the Plan" articles. In addition to NAPFA, he is a member of Financial Planning Association, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, New Jersey State Society of CPAs and the Estate Planning Council of Northern New Jersey.
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