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Old 03-31-2015, 10:44 AM   #21
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Yeah, I guess I sort of asked for these responses.

Am I selfish for thinking about such a possibility?
IMHO, Absolutely not. Quite normal for your age.

Not to kick a dead dog, but as others have said many things can and will change. My DF/DM had always said we had 4 children our leftover assets get split equally 4 ways.

At the end DF had severe dementia. Sister had POA and a letter from his doctor stating he was incompetent. Despite that in the state he lived in his attorney claimed if he witnessed a "moment of clarity" DF could change everything. DF's sick brain had decided none of his children cared enough, and he'd give all his assets to the church and United Way. Now that never happened, but it could have. DW and I had decided years prior that despite any promises made by either parents we would not count on 10 cents.

FIL had always said how much he had, retired at 42. At one time he was worth quite a bit, but blew most of it trying to buy happiness. You never know what the future will bring.

Make your plans for zero inheritance, anything that you receive is gravy. I do agree with running YOUR plan by your parents seeking their advice. If they bring up inheritance, be grateful, smile, but let them know it's their money and you want them to enjoy their lives.
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Old 03-31-2015, 10:50 AM   #22
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Here's another bite of food for thought. When your parents see you've followed in their path and pulled off FIRE in your 40's, imagine the smile on their faces. It was more like a **** eating grin on my dad's face.
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Old 03-31-2015, 11:03 AM   #23
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I would NOT initiate a conversation that involved talking to them about THEIR money and what you may or may not be left as an inheritance. As a parent, if my kids did that, my response would probably be along the lines of "it is none of your business" (perhaps a bit more gentle than that). Nor would I appreciate the fact that "they" would be telling me it is a factor in how they lead THEIR lives, expecting to get something.
Second, it is not wise for you to count on it. All sorts of things can happen. Gosh forbid, something happens to one of your parents and the other remarries. There are numerous stories from friends of mine where the 2nd wife/husband (or the girlfriend/boyfriend) got it all or at least a huge chunk. Other things can happen as well.
Couple of stories: (1) My mom was sick for a few years prior to passing. She ordered a new Lexus. My older sister became furious telling her "she was spending her inheritance". The rest of us told her to spend it, it was HER money and to enjoy it. The GREED radar came out in spades and continued for many years. (2) When my mom passed, my Dad started giving money to anyone that would spend time with him or who he thought needed it more than his children. He also set up a trust for his church and funded it, gave to various causes, etc. He bought one lady a new car, sent her child to a private school, etc. No one knows to this day what he did or how much he gave away. It was HIS to give.
3) Illness. I have a cousin whose father spent years if not a decade or more in a nursing type home. It was more than assisted living. It took all of his money.

You are to young to have an eye out for our parents money at this point. I know you don't mean for it to sound that way, but actually that is what you are doing. Sorry but you are and I hope that doesn't sound too harsh. For your parents, it is not necessarily a straight shot to the grave or an easy one. Consider yourself fortunate that it appears your parents may have the financial means to fund their later years including perhaps illnesses. Some do not have that peace of mind.

As others have said, do your planning and if anything comes your way later, it will be gravy and a pleasant surprise.

Oh and congrats for thinking about this at your age, for saving and planning, etc. You should do well thru the years!
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Old 03-31-2015, 11:57 AM   #24
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My parents have made frequent annual "gifts" to us <$10,000 recently, which I believe they plan to continue to do in the future, so it seems somewhat relevant.
Consider letting them know what you've done with such gifts, i.e. what it was spent on, or how it was saved/invested. When during their later years my parents gifted me a few times, I invested it via a completely separate account. After a few years I showed them the account statements, "Thank you so much for your generous gift, look how it has grown. I'm investing it separately, if you ever need it just let me know, it will be here waiting."
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Old 03-31-2015, 12:36 PM   #25
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While I don't think it's a good idea to talk to your parents about what you may inherit, I do think it's a good idea for people to share information and help make things easier to administer. My father passed away last year, and he had all the normal estate documents (will, POA, health proxy etc), but he also prepared a couple of long letters that he gave us to review before he died.

He listed information on all this financial dealings (not the account values, but what accounts he had, where statements were located, relevant benefit plans from work and contact phone numbers). He also described details about an old family house including details about deeds and relevant info about his Mom's will, useful info that would help my Mom about the lawn service, home heating and furnace info. He described where to find info re military benefits, discharge papers, and anything else he could think would be useful.

He gave some simple investment advice (basically the low cost index fund approach) that might be helpful to my Mom.

He wrote out all this info and gave it to us in advance so we could ask any questions. This information has been exceptionally useful since his passing, and I'm thankful he took the time to put all this information together in a useful format. When he first gave us this info, none of us wanted to consider the possibility that he wouldn't be here with us, but now we're all appreciative of his efforts.
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Old 03-31-2015, 12:56 PM   #26
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I love my parents of course and think they should enjoy their earned retirement. But the INTJ/planning part of my brain is always thinking long term and how I can optimize things, so this is where my thinking on this subject comes into play.
Ultimately there are too many variables to actually optimize this. It is money that you can't truly count on, so you have to plan your finances assuming that it will not materialize.

What you can do though, is think about a plan for using any large windfall intelligently, whether it be from inheritance, extreme employment success, or extreme market largess. Frankly, most of the planning around here involves worst case scenarios, and those seldom come to be. So there is a strong chance that many of us are going to end up with large amounts of excess money at the end. Plan for that contingency.
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Old 03-31-2015, 01:30 PM   #27
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I can understand why the planning part of your brain is trying to figure out the implications of a possible inheritance, but I agree with the others that it's really too early to know what effect it will have on your own finances. With luck you could have one or both parents around for another 30 years and a lot can happen. One near-certainty is that you won't be trying to take care of them financially in the future and you should be grateful for that. My own parents are in their mid-80s and most likely won't outlive their money but after whatever is left over s split among my 4 siblings and me I don't expect to get much!


DH and I have had "the conversation" with DS and DDIL and I also recently put together a letter with instructions on what to do if I get run over while out bicycling. It lists accounts and account numbers and contact names/numbers but no logon information. It does include balances. I have a revocable trust and I explain how that would work and provide the name of the attorney who put it together. DH, DS, DDIL and my brother who would be the trustee all have a copy.


Do your parents take vacations? That might be a good starting point for a conversation. "Every time you go on vacation DW and I realize we wouldn't know where to start if something were to happen to the two of you. What information do you think we might need?"
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Old 03-31-2015, 02:50 PM   #28
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I am likely substantially younger (25) than the average poster here, so I think you all can give me some good advice or feedback.

As it stands now with my nest egg and savings rate, I am looking at being FI by my mid 40s with very conservative estimates.

My parents are in their 60s and FIRE'd with about a $4m net worth, with about $3.2m in investable assets. They are very conservative and practical with their money yet they've been generous with my sibling and me by providing us with UTMAs. My parents annual expenses are around $100k or less based on what they've told me and they do have a FA that I believe has done fairly well for them. I'm fairly sure that he's doing well for them because my parents have made many big ticket purchases this year that I don't think they otherwise would have purchased. And, they've also alluded to the fact that they're "one time" purchases.

I know part of my parent's plan is to leave a sizable inheritance to us, yet money is often a taboo subject in our family. My parents make random comments about their finances and plans to leave inheritances to us, but haven't had many "official" talks with us, and me and my brother know that mom and dad are "set" but no serious convos have been had.

My point in posting all of this is to ask for your advice on how I should handle the inheritance that my parents want to leave us, talking/starting a convo to my parents about it, and (most importantly) how I should live my life given all of the above?

I know everyone says to not plan for an inheritance, which makes sense and I can agree with.

But inheritance aside, I am slated to be FI at a young age (mid 40s) from the UTMA and own savings. If I factor a sizable inheritance on top of that, I could see a day where I have more money than I may ever need (possibly double the annual FI income than I'd actually need) still at a young age, and I may look back on my 20's, 30's, and 40's and wish I'd have lived them differently (whether it be travel more, take a different career path, stress out less, start my own business, etc etc).

If you were me, how would you approach life and your goals (be it professionally, socially, etc.) given the above? Also, do you think I should instigate a convo with my parents about finances and my goals?

Sorry if this is a long and deep post (maybe I have the Monday blues), but often I still find I'm searching for meaning and direction in life that corporate America leaves me yearning for, despite padding my 401k and providing a comfortable lifestyle. Then comes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and rinse and repeat each week!


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Stop daydreaming about your future inheritance and assume it might not happen.

Because life happens and your 2 million might not happen.

Your 25 and already dreaming of early retirement in your 40s?

Sounds like you would have been better off not knowing about the $4 million.

As you build your own wealth your perspective will change in your early 30s.
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Old 03-31-2015, 03:32 PM   #29
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"An inheritance isn't an inheritance till the money's in the bank"

I don't think you're selfish and in fact understand your situation (been there, bud). This is a fairly common issue with multi-generational wealth.

You also seem to be a good planner so again I can understand your interest in making the most of what you might glean of the future.

In my family, one sure way to NOT get your inheritance was to ask about it! Beware.

Take your trust fund and live your life; gravy coming.
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Old 03-31-2015, 04:06 PM   #30
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When it comes to inheritance I would just always assume you will get nothing and not think about it. I definitely would not make any plans that hinge on it.

You never know what will happen. So don't count your chickens before your eggs hatch.

Here is one anecdotal story for you.

One of my grandmothers became ill and died when my grandfather was in his late 70s. He had been married his whole life and was lonely after his wife passed away. So he ended up getting married again about a year latter.

This marriage caused a rift in the family as his children found it hard to accept.

Anyway long story short, when he passed away a few years latter it ended up that his wife's kids got all the money and his own children got nothing. They were only married for like 4 years, but anyway that is basically what happened.

So again you are better off not counting on any inheritance. Besides, its morbid to think about it.
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Old 03-31-2015, 06:33 PM   #31
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My parents are also doing quite well in retirement and I expect there will be some sort of inheritance, but beyond that, I'm living as if it will never come. I'm retiring next year on my own dime anyway, so I'm already "set"...anything that comes later is just gravy and of no concern today.

My only request was to be sure that all the necessary information is readily available in the event that they suddenly pass, and that has been taken care of. I have a copy of instructions, wills, account numbers, etc., and they also have copies in their safety deposit box.
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Old 03-31-2015, 07:58 PM   #32
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My parents are also doing quite well in retirement and I expect there will be some sort of inheritance, but beyond that, I'm living as if it will never come. I'm retiring next year on my own dime anyway, so I'm already "set"...anything that comes later is just gravy and of no concern today.

My only request was to be sure that all the necessary information is readily available in the event that they suddenly pass, and that has been taken care of. I have a copy of instructions, wills, account numbers, etc., and they also have copies in their safety deposit box.

A will shouldn't be in a safety deposit box since banks won't let anyone on to get the will once they are notified of the death without a court order from a probate judge.
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Old 03-31-2015, 08:27 PM   #33
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A will shouldn't be in a safety deposit box since banks won't let anyone on to get the will once they are notified of the death without a court order from a probate judge.
IANAL, but Canadian law permits the executor to open the safety deposit box for the purpose of getting the will. The bank then lists the other contents, which are retained until probate has been obtained.

Estate Law Canada: What are the executor's duties?

Estate Planning: Safety Deposit Box

My original will is in my safety deposit box. There is a second copy at my lawyer's office and a third in my home safe. A scanned copy is on my hard drive. I also have a document for my executors, listing all my account numbers and other assets, where to find them and whom to contact. My bank had a very helpful template.

YMMV.
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Old 03-31-2015, 08:31 PM   #34
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IANAL, but Canadian law permits the executor to open the safety deposit box for the purpose of getting the will. The bank then lists the other contents, which are retained until probate has been obtained.

Estate Law Canada: What are the executor's duties?

Estate Planning: Safety Deposit Box

My original will is in my safety deposit box. There is a second copy at my lawyer's office and a third in my home safe. A scanned copy is on my hard drive. I also have a document for my executors, listing all my account numbers and other assets, where to find them and whom to contact. My bank had a very helpful template.

YMMV.

That works if the executor knows they are the executor and they have a certified copy of the will. We only recently convinced my 82 yo FIL to get his will out of his safety deposit box. No one had a copy or knew who he chose as executor. It was a headache waiting to happen.
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Old 03-31-2015, 08:39 PM   #35
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Thanks for all the responses. I was hesitant to post this given the somewhat self centered aspect and morbidity.

I guess my reasoning for posting was more now focused "how should I live life now...." Given the assumed inheritance. I agree with the conservative approach you all are taking (assume that I won't get it) but I guess that isn't necessarily the viewpoint I have taken, whether I want to believe that or not.

Look at me ranting on about my indecisiveness. Can you tell I'm a 20 something millennial? :-p

To give myself credit, I think I'm still fairly "old school" for being a millennial, given that I have chose stability and pay (corporate America) despite my attractive financial situation (inheritance aside).


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Old 03-31-2015, 08:39 PM   #36
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A will shouldn't be in a safety deposit box since banks won't let anyone on to get the will once they are notified of the death without a court order from a probate judge.
There is only a copy of the will in the safety deposit box. I'm also the executor and have access to the original, so access is no problem. They don't really need a copy in the safety deposit box, but they like to have copies of all their important papers "just in case".
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Old 03-31-2015, 08:43 PM   #37
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^^^^ although, that being said, I do enjoy things in life. Meals/nights out with friends, vacations, shopping, etc.

Id say compared to the typical poster here, it seems that I don't "lybm" as much but still manage to save about 15-17% of my gross income so my savings rate is still fairly high for my age.

If I attempted to be more frugal, the marginal savings wouldn't have a huge impact on my long term FI plans given that my nest egg generates more returns In a year than my own contributions, so I view it as a partial trade off of living in the now somewhat. Plus, it's harder to maintain a social life as a 25 year old that doesn't go out to dinners with friends or to the bars .


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Old 03-31-2015, 08:43 PM   #38
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My dad and I talked finance, but not details. He let me know he was doing retirement planning well before he retired, and that was one of the reasons we didn't have all the new toys/vacations/cars that many of our neighbors had. He and my mom both retired at age 62. They had plenty of money for travel and for my dad's hobby of 4wd'ing down in Baja.

My dad let me know he would run out of money at age 100 - and then would be on our dime. He didn't live that long - but I appreciated the heads up. He didn't give me details about his balances... just that he was OK. I knew he was doing better than ok when he started flying business/first class on the big overseas vacations. I encouraged him to spend it while he could.

Money is weird and can cause a lot of family friction. I like the previous suggestions to talk to your folks about how to manage YOUR money so that you are as successful as they were.
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Old 03-31-2015, 10:20 PM   #39
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I don't think it's a good idea to count that inheritance. My 24 year old is still busting her butt creating her business. They know in the back of their mind there will be some money left but they are not actively counting mine yet.


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Old 03-31-2015, 10:50 PM   #40
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My father is in his 80s and ailing. We discussed his finances the other night and he confirmed that my siblings and I stand to collect a decent inheritance from him. I asked him why he didn't spend more of his money and enjoyed life more. He said he has had a good life and there was nothing else he really wanted to buy. He was proud to leave a nice financial legacy. Sure, I would appreciate the inheritance, but I wish he had spent more of the money on himself and my mother.


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