The "estate" of most individuals is worth more than just money. A family business, a summer cabin on the lake or an antique car collection may be part of a legacy, rich with family history, that your client wants to pass on to his or her children and grandchildren. The challenge is to develop a plan that satisfies your client's desire to pass along specific assets to certain individuals, while making sure each family beneficiary is treated fairly and equitably.
Individuals are often unaware of what the potential planning needs are and may not see the hidden stresses involving distribution of family assets, both tangible and intangible. These assets may not be easily dividable, may have fluctuating values and lack liquidity, as well as potential tax liabilities. The goal of an estate plan that involves estate equalization is to balance the desires of the parent(s) making bequests to certain individuals and the desire to maintain an equitable value to each heir.