Those who do wish to include grandchildren in the will, typically give them a specific dollar amount off of the top, leaving the bulk of the estate to children. Alternatively, one may set up educational plans for grandchildren such as a 529. This will alleviate the probate delays engendered by naming a minor in one’s will. An added benefit of the 529 plan is that the assets contributed to the plan are removed from the grandparent’s taxable estate. This is a valuable benefit for those who have estates in excess of $1.0 million, which is the current New York State threshold.
Another concern that may arise is the desire to treat grandchildren, or children for that matter, differently. For example, I may be particularly close to a certain grandchild or I may have a daughter who has greater financial needs than the others. In my experience, the best way to bestow an unequal gift upon a loved one is to do so outside of the will. It is very easy to set up an ‘In Trust For’ or ‘Pay on Death’ account at a bank or brokerage house. I can thus give my special designee an extra gift while at the same time preserving the ‘equal distribution’ under the will.