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Old 10-11-2013, 02:11 PM   #21
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Transfer the investment to executor 14K each year, and have her reinvest as you did, and send you the dividends? No one can force you to gift each child equally, so I believe you would be on good ground doing it this way.

I think no matter what course you choose, you're going to need legal advice.
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:32 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by RitaR551 View Post
Fast forward to the present. Difficult child married unstable, controlling person, who has total disdain for us and 98% of both my family and DH family. Spouses family is golden. Thus, our adult child has adopted the same attitude. Trust me, we worked hard to resolve and make sense of it all and walked on eggshells until DH and I thought WE were the crazy ones. There has now been no relationship with this child, spouse or grandchildren for close to seven years. They have no relationship with our other child. To say our hearts have been ripped out is an understatement.

Now for the financial issue. I inherited a goodly sum from my parents and I have been able to grow the amount even larger. I have never viewed this money as mine, but as my parents, since they worked so hard and were frugal. I am simply the caretaker of the principal. Might sound crazy, but that is how I feel in my heart about it.

Is a will ironclad enough?
No, a will is not good enough, especially for a troubled family member. A trust is mandatory in these situations.

You don't say how old the grandchildren are. It is possible those children, once they are older, might want to have a relationship with you and be receptive if you reach out to them. Their view of you is certainly colored by the one parent and if they come to see and know you in a different light everything could change. If that were the case you could consider designating a share of the estate to them, ignoring and skipping the one individual in between.

Edit - just saw the comment that you intend to give them some funds. More reason for a trust.
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:34 PM   #23
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I would strongly urge you to talk with a lawyer to set up trusts to handle this. It could cost a few thousand dollars to set up. It is worth it.

I am in a somewhat similar situation, except I am the "good son executor" and my fathers estate will be largely gone when he passes. My numerous half and step siblings will never believe that, because when my fathers previous wife died, her 3 children received substantial inheritances. Those children are expecting another inheritance from a trust when my father dies, and my half sister (same father as me) is expecting a double dose because we didn't inherit anything when the third wife died. The reality is dad's forth wife has a spending addiction that has largely drained the excess wealth. She's a very nice lady, but she couldn't manage a lemonade stand.
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:36 PM   #24
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I like your plan. I too would want to bypass the child who has rejected you and especially his spouse. But the grand kids are not at fault. A trust makes sense and an independent executor. Why have your close child embroiled in a fight. I also like the idea of transferring wealth to the good child before you die. You need not spend only the dividends, you can transfer some and tap some of the remaining principle. The less left to fight over the better. Also, in that case you might end up leaving a larger portion of the final pie to the grand kids in trust. That would weaken any argument that your will doesn't wasn't fair.
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:44 PM   #25
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.... I would not like to be your Executor if implementation of your wishes escalates family conflict. This might be a situation where getting an independent executor is worth it, for the sake of your "good" child. ....
Lots of good advice, but I want to weigh in that I strongly agree that you should do this, and do it soon, independent of any other decisions.

Having the 'good child' as Executor and dishing out possible bad news to the 'difficult child' is nothing but trouble all the way around. Hire a third party for this task.

Regardless how well the 'good child' performs their duties as Executor, it is very likely that the 'difficult child' will find problems, imagined or otherwise. Do not saddle the 'good child' with this. Much better to have the messenger be a disinterested third party.

-ERD50
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:47 PM   #26
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If my parents were in my shoes, they would probably divide equally. Something inside me just resists that. I feel like I would be rewarding bad behavior.
I would feel the same as you.
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:55 PM   #27
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Lots of good advice, but I want to weigh in that I strongly agree that you should do this, and do it soon, independent of any other decisions.

Having the 'good child' as Executor and dishing out possible bad news to the 'difficult child' is nothing but trouble all the way around. Hire a third party for this task.

Regardless how well the 'good child' performs their duties as Executor, it is very likely that the 'difficult child' will find problems, imagined or otherwise. Do not saddle the 'good child' with this. Much better to have the messenger be a disinterested third party.

-ERD50
Speaking as a "good son executor", I really agree with this. Dealing with my dad's estate in 10-20 years is my biggest nightmare.
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:57 PM   #28
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I'd split it between the kids and not give it another thought.
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Old 10-11-2013, 03:09 PM   #29
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+1 on an estate attorney.

IMHO - Treat each family the same. You never know what your children will, or can do after your gone. Im just learning about relationships DF had cut off, due to a perceived unfairness in his DM estate. What an injustice he did to our families.

If it goes to the one generation it should be equal percentages. If you want to skip a generation, do it the same.

You can only help make it possible for families to heal, by doing no harm.

MRG
I agree with this - divide it equally. Life is too short and you sound like you love this child despite the behavior. At least you will go to your grave following your heart. This may be the lesson that your child needs.
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Old 10-11-2013, 03:20 PM   #30
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I agree with this - divide it equally. Life is too short and you sound like you love this child despite the behavior. At least you will go to your grave following your heart. This may be the lesson that your child needs.
Another possiblity would be the spendthrift trust run by a bank, that would provide some income to the child, but leave the bulk of the estate to the grandchildren at some age. Again a good estate lawyer would know how to handle this.
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Old 10-11-2013, 03:27 PM   #31
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Forget the comments by others.

You need to see a good estate lawyer in your jurisdiction. . In the last jurisdiction in which we lived there was legislation in place that dictated equal division among children. It was possible to get around this, but it meant having the will drawn up by knowledgeable counsel.
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Old 10-11-2013, 03:31 PM   #32
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Now for the financial issue. I inherited a goodly sum from my parents and I have been able to grow the amount even larger. I have never viewed this money as mine, but as my parents, since they worked so hard and were frugal. I am simply the caretaker of the principal. Might sound crazy, but that is how I feel in my heart about it.
Just want to let you know that I have the same caretaker feeling about the money DW and I inherited from our parents.
Now the disbursement of the remainder of the cash will be done in a much more subjective manner. Sounds like a veiled threat doesn't it..?
It is.
Good luck!
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Old 10-11-2013, 04:01 PM   #33
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I agree with the advice about getting an estate lawyer. Estate laws vary from state to state so don't assume a will is all you need.

You are the only one who can determine what to do with your daughters.
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:03 PM   #34
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Lots of good advice here. Thanks to those who agreed with and also those who didn't. I wanted to hear from both sides for a fresh perspective. I will go the Trust route. My DH was a non-relative guardian for an elderly lady who had two dipsticks for sons. The lady's husband set up a nonrevocable Trust. The boys still tried to get their hands on the money before she died, but to no avail. DH was also executor, but doggone it if she didn't outlive her boys. Her church got what little that was left. 😄
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:26 PM   #35
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Since you don't plan on spending the money you inherited from your parents on yourself, why not start disbursing that sum to the close child? That way, close child and family can start enjoying the money now, and there will be less money left to fight over when the time comes.
+1

In addition, from what you written, it doesn't seem like you're being the least bit vindictive. It seems to me that you've bent over backwards and done everything you can do.
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:48 PM   #36
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Just a thought, but do you know if your problem child even wants or would accept the inheritance money?
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Old 10-11-2013, 06:13 PM   #37
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Fire'd and LoneAspen are right on. Start gifting money NOW to the good child and his/her spouse. No one has to know. CHeck out the maximum you can give. They sound like they would help you if you ever needed it so don't worry about running out of money ....

Unfortunately, these "kids" are also "people" with all the foibles people have. They have a choice to ignore you and treat you as if you don't exist....so YOU have such a choice as well. They will get the message some day. There is no rule that you have to leave ANYTHING to your kids.....



Good luck. And start gifting TOMORROW. Before it's too late.
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TOD accounts?
Old 10-11-2013, 06:36 PM   #38
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TOD accounts?

Note: I edited this as I missed the post that money was definitely going to the non-relationship grandchildren. So TOD accounts are not useful for this case. Leaving the original post for other people that may want to use TOD accounts instead of a trust.

--------------------

A trust is certainly a good thing - DW and I have ones. However, if you only want one beneficiary, I believe TOD accounts can transfer a lot of assets (IRA, 401Ks, investment accounts, etc) with less work.

You basically put the main beneficiary as your spouse (since most likely DH and you will not die at the same time), then the secondary beneficiary would be the DD. The money transfers immediately and I believe can't be contested since it is not part of your will.

There are tax reasons to do this with retirement accounts rather than putting them in the trust. A beneficiary can choose to take out money on a expected lifetime basis instead of in a lump sum or 5 year period.

Putting property in the trust can be a bit of a pain. I believe a house will need a new deed, if you have lots of different assets, each one will require forms and possible notarized signatures, etc.

So if giving everything to DD, one alternative would be to use TOD for all the retirement/investment/bank accounts and a will for the house/cars. Non-relationship child could possibly contest, but there may not be much to fight over depending on the house/cars/household contents. It might be a lower cost, easier alternative to a trust. You do want to make sure that DD or your transferred assets have enough liquidity to pay your funeral expenses and other estate expenses as the estate will be cash poor.

Of course, if you want more control over whether/how it goes to non-relationship grandchildren, then a trust would be better.

I certainly am not an expert in taxes or the law so I might be all wrong on this. You would definitely want to discuss this with your lawyer.
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Old 10-11-2013, 08:02 PM   #39
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+1 on an estate attorney.

IMHO - Treat each family the same. You never know what your children will, or can do after your gone. Im just learning about relationships DF had cut off, due to a perceived unfairness in his DM estate. What an injustice he did to our families.

If it goes to the one generation it should be equal percentages. If you want to skip a generation, do it the same.

You can only help make it possible for families to heal, by doing no harm.

MRG
RitaR551 I tend to agree with MRG although it is your decision. I know first hand how not treating your children the same or at least in their eyes the same leaves a legacy they will never forget, never outlive, foster disharmony and basically nails the coffin shut for any coming together later on in their lives.

What kind of relationship do you hope your sons will have with each other when they are older, you are gone and they have only each other as biological family? Do you want what you leave them to be a factor in how all that plays out.? Only you have the answers for this. Perhaps their relationship will never be close.

My mother left everything equally between us 4 siblings. The Unified Tax Credit amount was immediately distributed and the rest put in a marital trust for my father. When he died, all of her assets in her trust were distributed equally. I was trustee.
Not so my Dad. While the assets in my mother's trust were distributed equally, his assets were not. My older sister was executor, got her hands on the will and had changes made and had my Dad sign. He had Parkinsons and cancer and the changes were made within 6 months of his death. No one contested it although there were pretty hard feelings that to this day remain.

I thought to myself then it was a cruel legacy to leave. We will never know if he fully comprehended what he was doing. Needless to say, older sister made out like a bandit. (pun intended)

Consequently, my mother is more respected than my Dad. One thing we always say is, "at least Mom was fair". We view Dad as the one creating disharmony both in life and in death.

That said, you could certainly set up a different trust for "good son" that stacks the decks you want or you could make him a co-owner on some assets or use the Transfer On Death designation. Regardless I believe all of your assets will have to be listed on an accounting and your other son is entitled to a copy so he may see it anyway.

But I definitely understand why you want good son to get more.
Lastly and specifically in your will I would do these two things if you choose.
1) Specifically state that good son has been left more than other son because of the care he has granted you all of your life, etc. This way the courts will know it was not an oversight on your part and that these were your wishes and intentions. Other son shouldn't feel bad about this particularly if it is the truth.

2) State that if anyone contests the will only your good son will inherit under your will.

Then go to a good estate lawyer.
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Old 10-12-2013, 04:17 AM   #40
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The spirit of that weatlth, established by your parents, seems "use if you need, otherwise pay it forward". This is what you have done.

I would consider a trust with conditions saying next generation gets money only if they achieved an educational goal and only enough to suppmement them to a $75000 standard of living, for example. Otherwise hold for next generation. Don't know how much of this is executable.


As far as getting respect you deserve, you tried. Your parents probably had no "respect conditions", so neither would I.
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