We often struggle with the concepts of equal, equitable, fair, and adequate when it comes to the distribution of our assets among our children. Understanding the meaning of each term helps us make the decision that most closely reflects our intention.
Adequate: the minimum level of money for children to survive. Raising our children to be independent and reasonably assured their situation will not turn to dependency meets the definition of adequacy.
Equal: the same amount of financial value to each child. Our focus as parents changes from meeting the needs of our children to simply dividing our assets equally, regardless of each child’s station in life.
Equitable: receiving the same financial opportunity to reach a specific objective considering current personal conditions, but without regard to how those happened.
Fair: morally equal — a non-discriminatory attitude regardless of personal conditions, but with regard to how it happened. If one child chooses not to work and is still living at home, and one child works and is living independently, leaving the house for the non-working child to live in may be equitable (each having a place to live) but not fair (in a way, penalizing the working child).