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Noob wondering if it's ok to ask Dad how much I stand to inherit
Old 08-17-2008, 03:59 PM   #1
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Noob wondering if it's ok to ask Dad how much I stand to inherit

Hello all...Cuzz here, really glad to have found this forum. I'm 55 and my Dad is 86. I've never felt comfortable asking my Dad specifically about my inheritance, but on a couple of occasions he has said something like "you will be a very rich man when I pass". My very first question to the forum: is it too tacky/undiplomatic/rude to ask him how much I stand to inherit, or is this a reasonable question in the context of "estate planning"? Thanks much for your replies...I welcome any and all feedback from knowledgeable folks like those on this forum...Cuzz
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:09 PM   #2
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Assuming you're not a Yalie writing to Dear Abby, the short answer is, "Yes!," and the long answer is, "he doesn't know."

If you read today's posts on this forum, you will see that for financial planning many here use a drop dead date of 105 or 120. I would suggest that you contemplate the possibility that he may outlive you.

That said, welcome. How close are you to FI if you receive a zero inheritance?
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:14 PM   #3
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It might be reasonable to ask if he has all the paperwork in place and where to find it.
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:17 PM   #4
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Only you know your father and what is or is not appropriate in your family culture.

Or wait until dad says "you will be a rich man" again and ask "why do you say that?" or "What do you mean?"

Or, better yet, "dad, you are 86 years old and you are in pretty good health. But we need to make sure things are in place if you should become ill and can't take care of your affairs. Do you have a power of attorney? How about a health care directive? Do you have something written so that we will know where you keep your accounts and important papers?"

Maybe that will start a discussion.
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:20 PM   #5
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"You will be a very rich man when I pass" ...hmm. What he thinks is a lot of money might not agree with your thinking. I'd have my own finances in order just in case.
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:31 PM   #6
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"You will be a very rich man when I pass" ...hmm. What he thinks is a lot of money might not agree with your thinking. I'd have my own finances in order just in case.

Or maybe he says that because you are already a very rich man (by his standards), tell us more, Cuzz.
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:37 PM   #7
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Just had a similar discussion with my Dad. He has an "in case of death" file and has taken me thru it. He has asked me to be executor. I have a rough idea of what he has but more importantly where to find things. I agree that you should have the chat as suggested by Martha and others but again don't be surprised if his idea of very rich is not the same as your own...

good luck with it, and do it as tactfully as possible.

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Old 08-17-2008, 04:46 PM   #8
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Or.

If I wasn't well off. I was worried about people taking care of me. I would lie my ass off to get people to care for me till the end.

Just another angle.

That goes for blood or water. Either can be thick as the other
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:58 PM   #9
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FATHER: One day, lad, all this will be yours!
PRINCE HERBERT: What, the curtains?
I know my mom has some money.. but I also know I certainly can't start counting any chickens because who knows what sort of care she may need. Several years of aggressive treatments or a decent nursing home could wipe out even what might seem to be a large nest egg.

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don't be surprised if his idea of very rich is not the same as your own..
Yep. Since my mom thinks $50 is an unconscionable sum to pay for shoes, her idea of what $X can really buy today is mildly warped. I see this happening to me, as well, as I try to get my head around the fact that a modest hunk of cheese can cost $5-10.

I would rather assume little and be pleasantly surprised, than start counting on something that might vanish due to the marketplace or due to your father's needs or spending choices in the interim. You also have to ask yourself if the answer would change your own life plans significantly.. how and to what extent?
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Old 08-17-2008, 06:54 PM   #10
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The contents of the will matter. FIL used to say the same to DW. When he died, he left business assets and a few others to BIL, DW got the rest. While DW'ssahare was nothing to sneeze at (6-digits), Bil got 80%.
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Old 08-17-2008, 07:11 PM   #11
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Only you know your father and what is or is not appropriate in your family culture.

Or wait until dad says "you will be a rich man" again and ask "why do you say that?" or "What do you mean?"

Or, better yet, "dad, you are 86 years old and you are in pretty good health. But we need to make sure things are in place if you should become ill and can't take care of your affairs. Do you have a power of attorney? How about a health care directive Do you have something written so that we will know where you keep your accounts and important papers?"

Maybe that will start a discussion.
Martha's post is wonderful advice, in my opinion.

If it is consistent with your family culture, you might ask your father if he would like you or someone else to go over his finances with him and become familiar with them, in order to possibly assist should he become physically or mentally incapacitated.

No matter what you find out about your father's assets and his stated intentions, I believe it is unwise to count on inheriting anything until the time if/when it happens. One never knows what could happen. I would advise that you do your ER planning based on what other assets you will have, because those who expect nothing are never disappointed.
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Old 08-17-2008, 07:40 PM   #12
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..... because those who expect nothing are never disappointed.
I thought this line was worth quoting.
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Old 08-17-2008, 10:55 PM   #13
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I would never have asked my parents, and I wouldn't answer my daughter if she asked me--because I don't know. The truth is, an oldster can wind up needing a lot of care and $$ in the final years. And it is his money. If he wants to give every dime to the Humane Society, that's his business.


Enjoy your time with him, and ask about financial info when he brings it up, and in the context of wanting to help get things straightened out as soon as possible after he dies. Starting with "how much will I get" is probably not productive.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:20 AM   #14
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Martha's post is wonderful advice, in my opinion.

<snip>

No matter what you find out about your father's assets and his stated intentions, I believe it is unwise to count on inheriting anything until the time if/when it happens. One never knows what could happen. I would advise that you do your ER planning based on what other assets you will have, because those who expect nothing are never disappointed.
Agreed. My mother once expressed concern about leaving an inheritance, and my response was "Spend it, Mom. You've paid your dues. None of us are wealthy, but we're all making it just fine."

She didn't owe us anything.

As it happened there was an inheritance but certainly not enough to ER on. It could just have easily been entirely consumed by medical care in the last two or three years of her life.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:26 AM   #15
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Have you thought of what you will say if his response is: "How much do you think you should get?"

I don't think the question should be asked as bluntly as you put it in the title of this thread. It's OK to think ahead in terms of estate planning if he's amenable to doing and so long as done with the full knowledge of any other siblings and parents - but you shouldn't count any unhatched chickens into your own financial planning.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:30 AM   #16
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My fist thought was NYOB and a few other choice, not complementary comments - but after a cup of coffee, I will subscribe to Martha's advice.

BTW Cuzz welcome to the forum.
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Old 08-18-2008, 08:09 AM   #17
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It might be reasonable to ask if he has all the paperwork in place and where to find it.
I agree. I have a folder with a will and all pertinent data in a fire proof vault that I have shown to my nephew.(not the data just where the vault is located) If something happens to me, he has everything he needs to handle my pitiful little estate. I see no reason why he should know anymore than this at this point. Now if I make it to 80 or more, I'll probably discuss more with him.
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Old 08-18-2008, 11:22 AM   #18
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I think the answer would ineviteably be "I don't know". He could live 1 year or 20+. My parents(who are only in their mid 50's) just made out a detailed will and went over everything with me and my brother. They made sure we knew about insurance policies, all accounts, ect as I would expect every responsible parent to do as they reach retirement age. Although you should know what there is, that still doesn't tell you what you will inherit. Exact dollar amounts don't need to be disclosed but you should know where the money is and how to get to it when the time comes.
I expect to inherit nothing as genetics in my family are such that it is more likely that my mom will inherit from me than me from her. All the women live well past 90 where as the men live to between 55 and 75.
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Old 08-18-2008, 11:47 AM   #19
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Cuzz, at your and your father's point in life, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask your father if he would be willing to discuss it. It sound to he as if he has hinted that he might want to talk about it. Of course, take "no" graciously if that's the answer.

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Old 08-19-2008, 12:03 PM   #20
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I think an 86-year old's perception of "rich" needs to be run through the "Great Depression funnel"............
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