While some New York parents may wish to split their assets equally among their children, there is no requirement to do so. For instance, a parent may decide to give one child a larger share that the others will be receiving. This could be because a child played a bigger role in caring for a parent or simply had a closer relationship.
Although the other children may be upset and threaten legal action, there isn't much that they can do. An executor or trustee cannot generally face legal action for carrying out the instructions in a valid legal document. Individuals also generally don't have the right to view these documents prior to an individual's death even if that person is a parent. However, it may be possible that a beneficiary or another individual faces charges of tortious interference.
This is a claim that a person close to the settlor of a trust or the testator of a will had undue influence in how the document was written. For instance, one child may claim that another child who was closer to the parent somehow tried to exert his or her influence for a larger inheritance. However, as long as the document is valid and the creator was in sound mind at the time, someone else being unhappy with its terms is generally not enough for a legal challenge to be successful.
Comprehensive estate plans are valuable tools, and they can incorporate other types of documents besides those that deal with the distribution of assets after death. An attorney might suggest, for example, that a trusted individual be named as agent under a power of attorney that would cover financial decisions if the principal became incapacitated and unable to make them.