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Old 10-12-2013, 06:39 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by JOHNNIE36 View Post
No! IMO, a will doesn't cover this issue 100%. A will can be contested in court and in your situation, child #1 would probably have every legal right to half your assets regardless of how you feel. IMO, a trust is more ironclad in terms of honoring what you want to do with your assets. I did this very thing to avoid lawsuits by those that may contest our wills. There may be other avenues to fit your needs and maybe some good legal minds out there can chime in. Also, your state of residence may determine your best course of action. Good luck.

I do not know why you would think that the other child would get half.... it has been many years ago, but I have seen where children have been left out of a will and it stood up in court....

And why do you think a trust is safer It can be challenged just like a will.... even after you die...
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Old 10-12-2013, 06:54 AM   #42
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After reading all the posts and suggestions....

I am in the camp of not leaving anything to someone who does not have any contact with you.... heck, I would rather leave money to a close friend than a child who has willfully abandoned spouse and me....

I do think that the beneficiary designations on your accounts are better than a will...

As to a trust.... that can be some work you do not want to do.... one idea is to set up a trust but do not fund it.... have your will leave all your assets to the trust....

No matter what you do, it can be challenged in court... there is no way you can set things up to prevent it....
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Old 10-12-2013, 07:03 AM   #43
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Just a thought, but do you know if your problem child even wants or would accept the inheritance money?
That's a thought...especially since the last gift sent to the grandchildren were checks that were never cashed. That was at least five years ago, so guess I can stop looking for it to be deducted from my checking account ;-}

I think, however, the amount of inheritance would make the difference in his decision to accept. I'm sure he would take the money.
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Old 10-12-2013, 07:06 AM   #44
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+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.
Thank you. Believe me, we have bent over backwards, done a great deal of soul searching, reached out, prayed, cried and finally went on with our lives.
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:51 AM   #45
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Is it possible that your estranged son doesn't know what you are worth? If so, gift a huge chunk to your other child while you are still alive and forget about it. Just tell him to keep his mouth shut. That way, no one in the family will know. If asked, he can always say I guess mom and dad left it all to charity.
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:51 AM   #46
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I'm somewhat in the "good child" position of this, though my mother's relationship with my brother (mainly his wife) was more just difficult rather than irrevocably broken.

Her desire, mentioned to me over and over, was that I would get her parents' house when she died. However, my dad apparently very forcefully argued that her estate be divided equally, and eventually the trust was set up that way. I have had two of mom's friends tell me that she talked to them during the writing of the trust, distraught, that she wanted me to have the house but Dad wasn't allowing it to be set up that way.

Her trust says that my brother and I get x amount, in cash or in kind. I've decided to take the house, and thankfully there isn't any argument from him. (After all, he knows he'll get to use it, and won't have to deal with the upkeep!)

On the other hand, my brother really came through during my mother's illness, and also in the aftermath in terms of organizing the various memorial events. And his kids are/were absolutely beloved by my mom and dad, so it's a different situation. But if he had fought me over that house, I might be a lot less generous in my thoughts about how it all came out, especially toward my dad, who so clearly beat back my mom's wishes.

Now, if it were me in your shoes, and there were no contact at all, I'd do just what you are talking about doing, though I'm not sure I'd do equals halves to good child/other child's kids. But the advice to get an attorney and set up a trust is a good one.
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:40 AM   #47
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Not trying to hijack the thread, I just have to get this off my chest...

I think it's criminal that people cannot stipulate in their wills or trusts what they want to happen to THEIR money when they die, and not have it contested.

I should have an inviolate right to stipulate what happens to my money and my property upon my death, and those instructions should be followed to the latter, no matter what other people think, including family members.

If I knew there was going to be an outcry, and lawsuits, etc, after my death, I'd just liquidate everything into cash, and start dropping it anonymously into the donation boxes at local churches. That way, NOBODY got anything.

A person should have the right to choose what happens to their estate after they die, without question. It's sickening to me that those rights aren't respected, and can be overturned.
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:07 AM   #48
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That's a thought...especially since the last gift sent to the grandchildren were checks that were never cashed. That was at least five years ago, so guess I can stop looking for it to be deducted from my checking account ;-}

I think, however, the amount of inheritance would make the difference in his decision to accept. I'm sure he would take the money.
I suggest you have an attorney contact your problem child on the pretense of information needed for your will and see if he is even interested. Seriously, he may not even feel right taking the money considering your strained relationship, and might turn it down or give it to charity anyway. If that is the case, then you might as well give it to your other child, skip a generation and have it go to his kids, or give it to a charity of your choosing. You son may be well enough off he may not even need the money and would rather see it go to his sibling.

You are trying to solve a problem before you have determined if there is a problem to solve. He is not taking your money now. Maybe the amount wouldn't change his feelings.
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:28 AM   #49
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Well, here's a different perspective. I was the good son, brother the evil one. Parents had a not insignificant stash that father had in a revocable trust that I was co-trustee on. When he passed, brother never even knew what went to me (100%).

On the personal side I could write reams about what went wrong between parents and brother over last 2 years of mother's life. Tales of things that had happened when told by parents were totally opposite of what brother told. I
ASSUME parents were more correct, but to this day am somewhat questioning. Have pretty much lost contact with brother, and that's ok. Am happy to say that our two children are terrific, and it's equal between the two. It seems all families (well, most?) have some dysfunction somewhere in the tree.

And, FWIW as I saw the relationship deteriorate with brother and parents, I warned him there was money that he was likely removing himself from consideration for. Don't think it mattered that much to him. All quite in the past now.
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:36 AM   #50
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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.
+1

Plus you never know what may happen going forward. That child may get divorced and/or mature and have a change of heart. You never know.

An unequal division of money will definitely ensure fostering disharmony.

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Old 10-12-2013, 12:43 PM   #51
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I was intrigued by the TOD option. I took a look at the form on my brokerage account. It could well be the thing to do specifically with my inheritance from my parents. A previous poster mentioned that it's possible estranged child has no idea how much we have. Quite true. Another said that he may not even want anything from us. Don't bet on it. There's not a doubt in my mind he (at the wife's goading) will be front and center to be sure he gets his assumed share.
So, what is there to keep a child from knowing what the value of an estate is other than a zipped lip?
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Old 10-12-2013, 01:17 PM   #52
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I was intrigued by the TOD option. I took a look at the form on my brokerage account. It could well be the thing to do specifically with my inheritance from my parents. A previous poster mentioned that it's possible estranged child has no idea how much we have. Quite true. Another said that he may not even want anything from us. Don't bet on it. There's not a doubt in my mind he (at the wife's goading) will be front and center to be sure he gets his assumed share.
So, what is there to keep a child from knowing what the value of an estate is other than a zipped lip?
I have the same understanding of TOD. It sounds like your best first option, particularly for the inheritance.

A trust will have reporting implications. For example, if one spouse dies and the trust activates, you have to send a copy of it to all parties. That may cause a copy of the trust to go to the "bad guys" while one spouse is still alive. On the other hand, trusts don't have to report everything as publicly as wills, which may limit their knowledge of the estate's value. Hopefully your attorney can navigate those problems.
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Old 10-12-2013, 01:44 PM   #53
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And why do you think a trust is safer It can be challenged just like a will.... even after you die...
Trusts do hold up much better in court.

With a will, all parties that are excluded, but would normally inherit based on the states default rules, must be notified by the executor/trustee, that they are excluded. And they usually receive a copy of the will as part of this notification. Laws may vary based on your state of residence. When my great aunt died, my grandmother received a copy of the will from the law firm handling the estate for just this reason. She had to sign some things stating that she would not contest. Wills beg you to contest them. Will go through probate, trusts do not. So the mechanism for challenging wills is set up and ready to go.

With a trust, notifications like that do not occur. The left out party should know nothing about it unless it holds something like property that they already know about and they start asking questions. If it's just money and liquid assets that are not public knowledge, I doubt any legal issues would even come up, because no one would know to raise them. One major reason trusts are used is to keep things private.
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Old 10-12-2013, 01:47 PM   #54
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I understand entirely why you would not want to leave equally and I think it is also entirely your decision.

You mentioned borderline personality disorder and I don't know if you mean an actual diagnosis. If you do, then this is a genuine mental disorder so that would weigh on my somewhat and I could see leaving a smaller amount to this child or leaving a smaller amount to the grandchildren on that side (or even half if you want).

All of that said, I would strongly recommend that you see a good estate estate attorney in your state regarding your options.
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:04 PM   #55
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I was intrigued by the TOD option. I took a look at the form on my brokerage account. It could well be the thing to do specifically with my inheritance from my parents. A previous poster mentioned that it's possible estranged child has no idea how much we have. Quite true. Another said that he may not even want anything from us. Don't bet on it. There's not a doubt in my mind he (at the wife's goading) will be front and center to be sure he gets his assumed share.
So, what is there to keep a child from knowing what the value of an estate is other than a zipped lip?
A revocable living trust is a private matter. Its holdings pass outside your will. Others can not access information about its value.

Take care, however, if some one is mentioned in the trust or will they are entitled to a copy but not a listing of its holdings. [State laws may vary.]

Have you considered setting up an education account (Cloverdale ESA) for each of your grandchildren? You are the owner of the account, I think you can make the trustworthy son the owner should you pass before it is used (preventing the one son from converting it). If they are in college, or have completed college (or trade school) you could set up a trust whose assets are disbursed to the extent that your grandchildren bring proof of outstanding/paid school loans at your passing. The remainder in the trust could be directed to be spent on higher education for the great-grandchildren. Might take some fancy lawyer writing but at least you are passing your parents $ mindful of the adage that it is better to teach a person to fish that give them fish.
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:12 PM   #56
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I was intrigued by the TOD option. I took a look at the form on my brokerage account. It could well be the thing to do specifically with my inheritance from my parents.
I had a big battle over this in a probated estate for a sibling. The brokerage TOD was challenged in court. Also on bank accts titled the same way. Biggest help was time, make sure you title these accounts early so the intent can't be questioned as a "last minute choice". Surprisingly in my case, having a lawyer witness and fax over beneficiary paperwork was called into question. Legal statements from the brokerage were interpreted that faxing wasn't considered the correct delivery process. They brought up hand delivering the papers as a battle issue.

I should mention my will has a clause that any party (beneficiary or otherwise) that chooses to contest will be treated as predeceasing me, so they get nothing.
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:58 PM   #57
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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.
It doesn't always go this way. A "secret" gift rarely stays as secret as you plan. If you do decide to do something like this, consider what will happen when word gets out, as it most likely will. If you had bad will between siblings before, this will likely make it worse.
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Old 10-12-2013, 05:14 PM   #58
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Not trying to hijack the thread, I just have to get this off my chest...

I think it's criminal that people cannot stipulate in their wills or trusts what they want to happen to THEIR money when they die, and not have it contested.

...
I understand where you are coming from, but there are cases where someone was manipulated and/or coerced by an evil relative or 'friend' into making changes to a will. If there was no method to contest a will, there would be no recourse.

It's tough to leave an opening for those cases, and not leave it open to other issues. Hopefully, the courts do the right thing.

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Old 10-12-2013, 05:31 PM   #59
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I am in awe of the knowledge of those giving definitive advice. A family therapist, who knew directly everyone involved would likely be much more careful and very probably refrain from giving any suggestions.

We are certainly polymaths.

Ha
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Old 10-13-2013, 12:24 AM   #60
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I am in awe of the knowledge of those giving definitive advice. A family therapist, who knew directly everyone involved would likely be much more careful and very probably refrain from giving any suggestions. We are certainly polymaths. Ha
Well, she did ask, and she thanks people in the thread, so hopefully she found some value in the responses.
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