In addition to causing animosity and hurt feelings, wills that favor one heir over another can create an environment rife with legal challenges if executed improperly. However, some situations call for leaving different amounts of money and assets to individual heirs, making it crucial to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken.

There are various ways to leave uneven amounts to heirs. For instance, one could include a no-contest clause in a will, stipulating that any heir that attempts to challenge the will is instantly disinherited. However, Florida and other states may not uphold such clauses, making it a risky solution.

Another tactic is to draft serial wills, slightly revising one's will several times over the periods of many months or years, but retaining the same general intent. If an heir attempts to challenge one's will, the court will see that the testator reviewed his or her will several times, ultimately coming to similar conclusions with each iteration. In order to have the will reversed, a challenger would need to prove that each of the documents are invalid, costing them a large amount of time and money.

Experts recommend including a statement explaining one's decision to bequeath assets unevenly in the will itself. For instance, one could leave more money to an heir that needs more financial support, explaining that the difference in inheritances does not indicate a difference in affection. Wills are also less likely to be challenged if the testator provided the heirs with support while alive. For instance, one could give yearly gifts or pay for expenses like tuition or medical treatment costs.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Wills: How to Give One Child Less," Rachel Emma Silverman, Sept. 10, 2011