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Do parents actually have favorite children?

Children often like to brag to their siblings that they are the favorite child. It’s often done in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, as a lighthearted way to poke fun at those who are not “the favorite.”

However, when it comes to estate planning, this is important to consider. Children often really do feel like one is the favorite when compared to his or her brothers and sisters. This can create rivalries. It can breed distrust. It can make siblings feel like they are always working against one another.

As such, these rivalries sometimes lead to estate disputes. If the “favorite” child appears to get all of the best assets or gets more money than their siblings, that seems to solidify the other siblings’ ideas about who their parents preferred. Again, they’ll work against one another, and they may start legal disputes over the validity of the will.

Do parents actually have a child who is the favorite? Most will quickly tell you that they don’t. However, psychologists have studied it, and they say that parents actually do in many instances. The children know it, or they can at least sense it. The parents may not even do it consciously, but it’s hard for them not to treat the children differently when it’s easier to connect with one than the other or when one child is constantly in trouble and the other is not. It just happens.

To limit disputes, parents who worry about this may want to work hard to make the estate plan as even as possible.

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