How your personality might affect your estate planning

On Behalf of | May 5, 2023 | Firm News

A carefully crafted and effective estate plan should reflect the testator’s goals and their family’s needs. Thus, no two estate plans in Charlotte are exactly alike.

Still, given how official and somewhat dry the language in your will, trust and other estate planning documents can be, it could be that your personality is buried within the text. A new study suggests that certain personality traits can predict how a person handles estate planning.

Personality traits that make unequal inheritances more likely

As reported by Think Advisor, the study was based on data collected in 2016 by the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Survey series of 20,000 Americans aged 50 and above. Its authors focused on respondents with at least two children. About 83 percent of respondents said they planned to leave equal shares of their estate to their children; the remaining 17 percent said they intended to leave unequal bequests. Based on personality information collected about the respondents, the study proposes:

  • The more a person demonstrates openness, extraversion and/or neuroticism, the more likely they are to divide up their estate unequally among their children in their estate plan.
  • The more conscientious and/or agreeable a person is, the more likely they are to split their assets equally between their children.

Common reasons to disinherit a child or leave them less (or more) than their siblings include need. One child may have struggled more financially during adulthood than their brothers or sisters, or might have a disability that prevents them from supporting themselves. Other parents choose uneven legacies because their relationship with one of their children is strained or they have lost touch completely. Finally, some parents decide not to bequeath as much to stepchildren or adopted children.

Tailoring your estate plan the right way

Your estate planning decisions might be based on your personality as well as circumstances and logic. You have a lot of freedom to shape your plan as you see fit. But to make sure you did not miss anything important or fail to follow North Carolina law, consider working with an experienced estate planning attorney.