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Old 09-08-2014, 05:42 PM   #41
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ScraBbler - too funny about the gainfully employed part of the will. My dad had a similar line in his trust. The inheritance wasn't enough for me to retire on alone... but it did move my retirement date closer a few years. I always considered that Dad trying to control his kids from the grave. (He was very much a control freak.)
The part of the will I mentioned (about employment) which I got deleted was not anything my dad asked to have included. It was part of the standard template the lawyer had which he gave to the 3 of us to review. My dad knew full well about my ER plans in 2008 so he would never have suggested such text be included to begin with.
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:48 PM   #42
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This would be the reason I would have refused any inheritance. My mom is very controlling. If she had money to leave to her children, she would have used it to control them.
Your mention of your Mom made me think of something a bit controlling my own Mom did about a year and a half ago. She went off on one of her tangents about taxes, the government getting too much money, and so on, so she asked Grandmom if it was okay to transfer a little bit of money to the three of us...Mom, my uncle (Mom's brother) and me. Grandmom was okay with it, and Mom, who has access to Grandmom's checking account, wrote each of us checks for $10,000. I told Mom that if she really wanted to avoid taxes, she should have written them for the maximum allowable amount, which is like $13K or $14K?

Well, I don't know what Mom did with hers. I used mine to pay down on the HELOC. My uncle put his into an MM account that wasn't paying squat. Then he pulled out $1000 when he needed it. Then he pulled out another $2000 to lend to a friend who was in worse shape than him (but miraculously, she paid him back...I figured that money was gone for good). The final $7000, he ended up using as a big down payment on a new car.

Needless to say, Mom got pissed at both of us. She said that we were supposed to just put that money aside, into something safe, in case Grandmom needed it later on. Umm, would have been nice, Mom, if you would have told us about those strings BEFORE you distributed that money!

I told my Mom that in paying down my HELOC with it, it was like getting a 3.5% ROI on it (more if interest rates go up), and said that if I had to, I could always pull it back out. At least, I can until March 2015, when the draw period on the damn thing runs out...forgot about that little detail! They wanted me to jump through enough hoops to either refinance or open a new HELOC that I just said screw it...I'm letting it go to a 20 year mortgage.

Chances are, even with what Grandmom has left, she's not going to burn through her savings before she dies. But, if she does, I can always get that $10K back from something else. And my uncle, even though he's not as well off as me financially, could as well.

Oh, yeah, the other day Mom did ask me how much I had saved up. I had actually told her, about two years ago. But it's considerably more, now. I sidestepped it by saying simply "If I died tomorrow Mom, you'd never have to work another day as long as you live!" Mom retired 3 1/2 years ago, with a nice pension.
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:15 PM   #43
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I guess I am weird but if I had a ton of money and my brother didn't then I'd be pushing my parents to give most/all of it to my brother. If they didn't do so I'd give my inheritance to my brother.

Anyway both me and my brother have done fine money wise. Neither of us is rich. I'd say we are both lower middle class as we are both IT worker drones.

What I always tell my parents is they should spend more of their money now while they are healthy (Dad is 67 and Mom is 65). I encourage them to spend it all and donate whatever is left to charity. My brother does the same.

My parents paid for my college education. I consider that my inheritance.
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:27 PM   #44
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We have a strong imbalance between the wealth and income of me and my brother, and between DW and all of her siblings.

My parents try to split things equally, even to the point of my dad giving me $7000 when I was 20 or 21 when I bought my first condo. He said they had paid for some of my brother's trade school tuition in an amount greater than the small bit they paid for my college tuition (I paid most of my own way through undergrad through work and scholarships). They had also given my bro a bit more in a small UTMA investment account, so that $7000 they gave me was to put us siblings on par.

Fast forward 13 years. I just retired early, and my side of the family is fully aware. DW and I considered it might lead to us getting cut out of the will. I'd normally get half of an estate worth maybe $1-3 million today whenever my 61 yo parents shuffle off their mortal coils. My brother screwed around during and after HS and hasn't had a stable employment history. We thought my parents might feel sorry for him and favor him in the will. Hey, we don't need the inheritance money, so no big deal. I'd feel a little slighted at being punished for being successful, but it's my parents money, not mine.

In the last few months, my parents have decided to write HIM out of the will (he's being a monster of a D-bag right now). His half of their estate will go directly to his kids (my parents' grandkids). I'm supposed to get them hooked up with a new will (and maybe trusts) when I get back from vacation in a couple weeks.

I could have hid my ER status from my parents, but it wasn't worth it just to avoid the slight chance that I'd be written out of the will.

On the other hand, my DW's family doesn't really have a clue about my ER. They live just up the street and think I'm "just unemployed" or "taking time off work to take care of our young children". DW's mom keeps asking if I've found a job or if I'll go back to work after the 2 year old enters kindergarten. 3 out of DW's 4 siblings and her parents are nearly destitute (a $10,000-$20,000 emergency would bankrupt them unless they could tap into the one house in the entire family). They all know we are the financially responsible ones. They just don't know quite how financially responsible we are.

We struggle with how much information to share with DW's family since they are having a pretty rough go at life right now. They see us taking long vacations pretty often, always having financial security. I don't work, DW works but takes off months each year now and can work from home whenever. We aren't worried about the inheritance (it'd be 1/5 of a $140k house, and we might even disclaim the inheritance to give a little something to her other siblings who are good people, poor money management notwithstanding).

We are worried about being the family bank for her side. Or her parents' retirement plan (if SS doesn't cut it). We could help out some without busting our ER plans, but it would be hard to explain why we can't touch more than 3.3% of our very low seven figure portfolio. "Yeah but you'll still have a million in there, why not share more??". It goes without saying that we could exhaust our entire nest egg by buying each sibling a modest house and a modest car or two.

For right now, I'm "working from home on the computer some" and not making much money at it. It's true.
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:46 PM   #45
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My parents have been very successful. I would hazard to guess that their estate is probably north of 5 million - it could even be double that, but they are LBYM types, so it's hard to know for certain, and I haven't asked, nor will I.

They have told me in no uncertain terms that I will receive exactly half of the estate, my sister the other half. This is despite the fact that I have been far more successful financially than my sister, who is an idealistic dreamer type, who works sporadically, whereas I have been a career driven creature for the past 24 years. When I informed my folks I would be "retiring" this year at 42, I think it was the first clear indication to them as how well I have done. We have talked a bit about financial matters relating to my quitting work, and it is very clear that they have no desire to decrease my share of the estate. They simply do not see a need to reduce my share because I have worked hard and saved diligently, sticking to a 10 year plan to get to FIRE in my early 40's.

Great people, my folks.
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:47 PM   #46
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This is really metaphysical, but if you look in your heart, I believe it is your ego that is hurt, that your kids weren't treated equally. Try to let it go. Pray, meditate go for a long bike ride or whatever you do to find inner peace.

Your mother's made up her mind. Let it go, and enjoy the rest of her time with her, knowing you are there to help her.

I know this isn't a easy solution, but in my experience it gives me the best peace of mind.


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Old 09-08-2014, 08:49 PM   #47
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Sounds like there are many well-off people on this board & that is great. Although I retired it wasn't early (did so at 63). Because we, friends/families, don't discuss finances I guess I'm doing ok with only a pension, no debt other than mortgage and a little money in my TSP. I often wonder what the average net worth is of someone in their mid 60's is.....sometimes I want to go on Suze Orman's "How am I Doing" segment. OP, thanks for sharing!

Cheers, Cassie
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:00 PM   #48
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I guess I am weird but if I had a ton of money and my brother didn't then I'd be pushing my parents to give most/all of it to my brother. If they didn't do so I'd give my inheritance to my brother.
As the OP I just want to clarify a bit. I told my mother I would support her decisions on her will (and even act as executor) even though I really think my perfectly healthy brother should man up and go get and keep a job and stop letting his wife take care of him and their 6 yo son. She is NOT a 6 figure a year professional. She makes about 50k per year managing fast food restaurants.

I think I would feel more of the equanimity that you profess if there was a legitimate reason my bro was broke. Like disability, mental issues, etc. But the guy just isn't very motivated and isn't frankly very competent. Why dies this earn him more free rides from our mother?

More to the point, what really bothers me is that IF HE DIES his son would get what is left. Not me, my sister, or any of the other 5 grandkids. It would all go to my brother's one 6 yo son, because mother is assuming he'll also be a deadbeat.

Frankly, barring disaster, my kids will be fine. But that's not the point. The point is why are they or their 3 cousins not on equal footing with the deadbeat bro's son?

Anyway, I have made a case about the grandkids to mother but as the process has move forward, she has become steadfast.

It is not about money, but about something else.

Oh, well! Be happy! :-)
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:10 PM   #49
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In keeping with the thread's theme, both a response to the OP and 'relationship-affecting':

Response to the OP:
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Originally Posted by AnIntentionalRoad View Post
Since my brother and sister live 2 hours away, I am her main support person when she needs rides to doctors, help around the house, and I manage all her administrative needs, finances, taxes, etc.

We are now working with an attorney to create a new will and trust. When it came down to answering how she wanted assets distributed she wants me to be the executor of the estate and she wants all the assets put into a trust for my younger brother who is a nice guy but also a never-do-well who can't hold a job.
This is a situation I can personally somewhat relate to (taking care of someone 100x more than anyone else in the family, yet not really ever having that acknowledged). I imagine the most frustrating thing OP is going through is that the very person who is selflessly helping to take care of mom, taking time to take her to the doctor, watch over her investments, taxes, etc. is the ONLY one who is completely disinherited in all ways!

OP didn't retire early for the sole purpose of being mom's slave. For OP to take all of that time, effort, and concern is quite admirable (and some of these things you can do from a distance, if one of the other siblings ever cared to help out).

And it's likely the root of the feelings: why should OP go out of their way to do all of this with their FIRE freedom, when siblings don't appear to offer anything in the way of any help or concern or care? (just a guess, given lack of any details in the OP)

And as another poster noted, I surely would not want anything to do with being an executor or trustee of financial assets that ONLY benefit someone else at my 'expense' of being disinherited - not only from the likely headaches of challenges and arguments and distrust, but also purely from the continued self-sacrificial slaving away for someone else's complete benefit at your expense and effort.

Now, if it was a dear friend who asked me to be a trustee for their estate and their family because they knew no one and had reason to trust me and my knowledge, and I didn't have any familial relationships, then I would view it differently.

But I would simply start to help mom understand that you are going out of your way to be there for her, unlike her other siblings (unless they have done heroic actions for her in the past), and simply say that you are unable to fulfill her wishes as an executor/trustee, and simply recommend that she hire a service (perhaps Vanguard) for her estate and trustee needs. And then have her start going to H&R Block or a local CPA for her taxes next year - yet another item that you shouldn't feel compelled to take upon yourself. You are already doing volumes of great deeds for your mother.

You can still oversee everything and review everything - but don't feel compelled to continue to take on everything yourself.


"Relationship-affecting situation"

While other posters have commented on end-of-life issues, mine is more at the other end: while approaching FIRE in the not-too-distant future (hopefully!), I'm still dating and trying to find "the one". There have been a few other posts over the years about single members of the forum and their challenges to keep a low profile and protect themselves, while also finding someone that has a variety of characteristics.

I've only vaguely referenced the concept of possibly pursing early retirement "with my wife, if we're willing to really sacrifice and push for it" a handful of times to a few women I've dated. Once was a big mistake (but I already had started to develop a wonder about whether she was just 'bad news', and part of the reason for bringing up ER was to help flesh out a few more indicators that helped me realize she was truly mentally unstable).

Usually, I would only bring up the vague concept of ER either if she mentions retirement dates or ages first, or if things were that far enough along that I knew her spending/saving habits fairly well, and wanted to bring up a discussion about retirement).

Otherwise, I use a variety of indicators to both observe and indirectly ascertain what her spending/lifestyle habits and attitudes are like, since at least somewhat similar fiscal attitudes is one of the main important criteria I'm looking for.
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:26 PM   #50
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I forgot to tell the story of how my errant father mentioned above (asking to borrow 300K from me) once called me about 10 years ago (when he was still married to the ex-wife who has his house hostage) telling me he was creating a will and would be naming me executor....but that he wanted me to know in advance that he would not be leaving any money to me or my sister, he would be leaving it to the kids of this ex-wife (3 of which are losers). Hahaha Who does stuff like this? I didn't tell my sister as I knew she would flip out.
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:31 PM   #51
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I forgot to tell the story of how my errant father mentioned above (asking to borrow 300K from me) once called me about 10 years ago (when he was still married to the ex-wife who has his house hostage) telling me he was creating a will and would be naming me executor....but that he wanted me to know in advance that he would not be leaving any money to me or my sister, he would be leaving it to the kids of this ex-wife (3 of which are losers). Hahaha Who does stuff like this? I didn't tell my sister as I knew she would flip out.
Wow, that's unbelievable.
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:38 PM   #52
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Well, this beats even my old man. From the time I was about 8 or 9 years old he would hit me up for "Five or ten till payday". I thought everybody's father did this. Until I got older.


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I forgot to tell the story of how my errant father mentioned above (asking to borrow 300K from me) once called me about 10 years ago (when he was still married to the ex-wife who has his house hostage) telling me he was creating a will and would be naming me executor....but that he wanted me to know in advance that he would not be leaving any money to me or my sister, he would be leaving it to the kids of this ex-wife (3 of which are losers). Hahaha Who does stuff like this? I didn't tell my sister as I knew she would flip out.
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:50 PM   #53
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Wow, that's unbelievable.
I know! He is sort of odd. My parents divorced when I was in HS, he was a philanderer. He married a few other women after that, and each time he sort of adopted their kids as his kids (once almost legally), while having zero contact with us. There was no reason for this, we were good kids, no fighting with my mom or anything about seeing us. He just lacks social skills in this area.

Also, when I went to his state to bail him out of this situation with the ex - he had signed a full legal POA naming the ex and her daughter to handle everything for him. When I asked him why he would do this (name her daughter in second place instead my sister or I) he went on and on about how great she is, what a nice person she is.

So this ex has 4 kids, 3 of which are sort of losers. They seemed to like one of the grand kids more than the others (6 total) and they took the one they liked on all kinds of trips to Europe and Hawaii, things like that. Her other kids complained, and my dad explained to me that it was there prerogative. He has ZERO contact with his real grandkids of greatgrandkids. Before he became ill, he used to come to the Boston area to see friends, be here for a month, and never call or see us.
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:56 PM   #54
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My sister was disabled in a car accident and has no income since then. My parents have two houses and planned to leave the better one for her, the other one to me, after they pass away. But I told them that I do not want the house and my sister can have both. In fact, I paid about half of the price when the better one was purchased and supported my sister financially from time to time.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:00 PM   #55
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He has ZERO contact with his real grandkids of greatgrandkids. Before he became ill, he used to come to the Boston area to see friends, be here for a month, and never call or see us.

Sounds to me like he was actually doing you a favor. If only more dysfunctional family members would make themselves scarce.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:03 PM   #56
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I have a couple of quick thoughts...

First, it only affects your relationships with relatives if you let it. Second, be thankful that your kids wont get a handout. They, like you, will earn their livelihood and have more self worth for it.

Don't sweat the things you can't control. Move on and be happy that your mother FEELS she is doing the right thing.

Similar situation destroyed my mother's relationship with her siblings over an insignificant inheritance.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:11 PM   #57
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If I had disabled sibling, I would give everything to their care. Bless you for being so kind.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:14 PM   #58
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Sounds to me like he was actually doing you a favor. If only more dysfunctional family members would make themselves scarce.
You are right! After we got over the hurt, it was just comical to us. We still do the right thing though, got him set up in assisted living, etc. His entire family was like that. His parents were each married 5 times to other people, his sister married some odd guy after her divorce and left her kids (in HS) to join this guy in Idaho (kids lived in SF Bay Area). Lots of dysfunction.

He seemed normal to us when we were growing up though. Normal dad.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:15 PM   #59
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My dad sometimes jokes when he has to spend some money on costly dental work, "There goes some more of your inheritance!" My brother and I get a good laugh from it.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:57 PM   #60
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Interesting topic.

If I inherit anything from anyone I'll be grateful. If I don't or if other members of my family get more, I'm going to be 100% OK with that, especially if it looks like the reason is an attempt to help another relative they see as having a hard time. I didn't earn the money in question, they did and I'll let them do what they want with it for whatever of their own reasons they choose when they die without hard feelings from me.
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