When it comes to estates, treating all the relatives equally is safest. If you do anything else you risk someone getting angry and challenging your wishes. Defending your ideas while you are alive is easy enough, but after you are deceased it gets tougher. So special gifts while you are living could be more appropriate.Safest for who? If it's my money, then I get to decide who gets it after I am gone, and if someone is angry that I didn't give them enough, that seems to say that I was right anyhow.It is for this reason that we have everything in a trust as it is much more difficult to contest the terms of a trust, which are private anyhow, than to contest a will.As to charities, special friends, even pets, I doubt that your heirs would object to modest contributions. Major ones should not be a surprise. Discuss them. Defend them. Make your wishes clear.Once again, I don't see why my heirs get to decide where my money goes, or how much of it they should get. And that's a big reason why we have everything in trust.Right now, our kids will get everything when DH and I die, but they know we don't intend to purposely leave them with a large inheritance, and that we expect to spend what we have saved. If they have both predeceased us and do not have children, we would then leave some to my brother and some of DH's siblings, but not to all of his siblings, and that is all set up in the trust.We are in the process of reviewing our trust and estate planning docs now, and do expect to make some changes now that the kids are much older. At some point down the road, I expect we will also be leaving more to charity as well, but worrying about who might be hurt of our siblings because of what they do or don't get when we die is of no concern.
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