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Old 09-09-2014, 01:13 AM   #61
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There is another Awkward Wealth Moments thread active right now. Consider this a thread for when revealing wealth becomes more than just awkward, like affecting relationships.

When I retired it was a year after selling a company. I made enough from the transaction and my previous savings to be FI and retired a year later (though I call it a sabbatical to all but my closest friends and family).

Here's the problem. My mother knows my net worth. She is currently undergoing cancer treatment and her prognosis is uncertain. 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.

Then upon his death, if there are any assets left, they should be distributed to my brother's son (currently 6 yo) as if the son is destined to also be a never-do-well.

If the son and grandson are not alive, then the assets would go to my sister's kids, and if they are not alive, to my children.

She says that this is because I and my children don't need the money. I agree I don't but my children are not me. It hurts because it reinforces all the insecurities I carry about mine and my children's "rank" in the family. I actually lobbied her to put my children equal with the other grandkids in the will (not me, my children) but she wouldn't hear of it.

Of course it is totally her call and I told her I support her doing whatever she thinks is right, and I am upholding that, but it feels bad and I'm afraid it may cause lingering resentment.

What situations have you faced where your FI status has affected close relationships?
If you truly have enough wealth to take care of your own kids what difference does it really make? Its her money. Your family doesn't need it?

She is a mother trying to lookout financially for her whole family.

Its a act of love to help the grandkids who financially need it.

Just let it go and respect her wishes. It will make her happy.
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:44 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by AnIntentionalRoad View Post
There is another Awkward Wealth Moments thread active right now. Consider this a thread for when revealing wealth becomes more than just awkward, like affecting relationships.

When I retired it was a year after selling a company. I made enough from the transaction and my previous savings to be FI and retired a year later (though I call it a sabbatical to all but my closest friends and family).

Here's the problem. My mother knows my net worth. She is currently undergoing cancer treatment and her prognosis is uncertain. 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.

Then upon his death, if there are any assets left, they should be distributed to my brother's son (currently 6 yo) as if the son is destined to also be a never-do-well.

If the son and grandson are not alive, then the assets would go to my sister's kids, and if they are not alive, to my children.

She says that this is because I and my children don't need the money. I agree I don't but my children are not me. It hurts because it reinforces all the insecurities I carry about mine and my children's "rank" in the family. I actually lobbied her to put my children equal with the other grandkids in the will (not me, my children) but she wouldn't hear of it.

Of course it is totally her call and I told her I support her doing whatever she thinks is right, and I am upholding that, but it feels bad and I'm afraid it may cause lingering resentment.

What situations have you faced where your FI status has affected close relationships?

Your mom seems to be playing favorites and it affects your relationship with her and with your siblings. I don't think she realized this at all.

She isn't doing anyone any favors by doing this. She enables the brother who can't hold a job and leaves out you and your sister. It is doubly bitter because you are doing all the work and will be executor, which is even more work. Try not to be bitter. It would almost be easier if there was nothing to inherit...

I worry that this will affect your relationship with your siblings and also the kids and their cousins.

One thing you can legally do is be compensated for the time you spend on power of attorney and executor matters. This is perfectly legal. If mom is going to treat you like a mere employee than you have every right to compensation. Even personal can be compensated.

Any legal website will tell you this. The amount you will be compensated as executor will be determined by the probate court, but is usually a percentage if the estate, from 2-5% according to one website. Check it out.


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Old 09-09-2014, 07:46 AM   #63
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Had an uncle with a different perspective. As his adviser, I had gently asked why he was only willing a much smaller amount to one of our less fortunate family members while leaving a lot more to those with more resources.

"They have no real money" I argued.
"Well, then, to them it (that small amount) will seem like a lot! Why give them more!?" was his answer.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:43 AM   #64
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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.
I think it would depend on the circumstances. For instance, my Mom is a lot better off financially than my uncle (her brother). She probably has about 4x more saved up than he does. My uncle is bad with money; he freely admits it. Grandmom's will is set up to go 40% to my uncle, 40% to my Mom, and 20% to me, the only grandkid.

My Mom doesn't need the money. And I don't, either, although what I get could potentially put me a year or two closer to retirement. My uncle, though, while he would benefit greatly from the money, wouldn't know how to manage it. He would end up like one of those rags to riches to rags lottery winners you hear about.

So, splitting it up this way, at the worst, he would potentially only blow 40% of grandmom's estate. Whatever Mom got would most likely get put into something low risk/low return. Whatever I got would most likely be invested, more risk, but more return. So, 60% of the estate would remain intact and even grow, hopefully. And my Mom and I would be able to use that money to help out my uncle, if he got in over his head.

Of course, a plan like this only works if the well-off relatives are willing to help out the poorer one...not all families are willing to do that.

In my family's case, for example, that 40/20/40 split also includes Grandmom's house. My Mom keeps worrying that my uncle won't be able to afford the upkeep, utilities, etc once Grandmom is gone. But I keep reminding her that, on top of the house, there's whatever money that he would get from Grandmom's estate. Plus, his own 401k and IRA. And I also reminded her that she and I could help him out, if need be, to pick up a utility bill, help with the property taxes, etc.

We've both decided that neither one of us wants him actually living WITH us. Right now, having him at Grandmom's house across the street is close enough. At one time, I would have considered getting a house with an in-law suite...either in the basement, attached on the side, or separate. But I've come to the realization that having my family that close would drive me crazy, so when the time comes, I'm thinking about just helping him get a small, cheap condo or townhouse somewhere close by.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:13 AM   #65
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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.
So I am not the only one. Of course my father never paid me back and borrowed ever larger sums of money. When my mother found out, she told me to tell her and that she would pay me back. Course when she passed away during my teenage years, the loans became permanent transfers of money but by then I had a job which made it possible to support his need for "loans" and give me a little spending money.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:53 AM   #66
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Some heavy and dysfunctional family stories, I feel so lucky now.

I just have an estranged father (by his choice) and a work-shy sister.

Some wealth in the family (nothing wild) but never really influenced relations as far as I can tell.

We screwed it up all by ourselves ..
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:56 AM   #67
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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.
Wow. You are far more forgiving than I would have been. If my father had treated an ex's kids better than his own kids, and been so dysfunctional, I would have cut off all contact, and never spoken to him again. He could have spent the rest of his life homeless and living in a ditch.

I'm funny about those things, and definitely hold a grudge (I get that from my Mom, who was the same way). Once somebody treats me dirty, it's over. Doesn't matter to me if it's family or not.
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:26 AM   #68
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Some heavy and dysfunctional family stories, I feel so lucky now.

I just have an estranged father (by his choice) and a work-shy sister.

Some wealth in the family (nothing wild) but never really influenced relations as far as I can tell.

We screwed it up all by ourselves ..
Work-shy....that's a new one. I like it. I have one of those brothers.
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:36 AM   #69
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I'm funny about those things, and definitely hold a grudge (I get that from my Mom, who was the same way). Once somebody treats me dirty, it's over. Doesn't matter to me if it's family or not.
I'm the same way. Push me too far, and there are consequences. Have you noticed though, that when people do this to you, they like to try to spin it around and put the blame on you? For instance, when I was a kid, and I would bring up something bad my stepdad did to me, she would get mad at ME for not letting it go!

And at work, they even came up with this mantra of "you can't change the past". Which, of course, people would take it and run with it...do something bad, and then when you bring it up "hey, that's in the past!"

Management tried to bring up that slogan one day to me and I left them stuttering when I responded with "you can't change the past, but if you don't learn from it you're a blathering idiot".

Sorry, but treat me like crap enough, and eventually, I'll make it so you won't have me around to treat like crap anymore...
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:14 AM   #70
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My sister and I will each get 1/2 when Dad dies. He would never think of doing it any other way. But he does things like slipping me cash for my birthday and says, "don't tell anyone" which makes me a little uncomfortable. He and I think the same way about money and LBYM and saving and spending.

My sister went through many years of being a bottomless pit of need, usually involving retail therapy and lots of keeping up with whoever she thought had more or better than her. After a divorce, plenty of "I deserve it" spending leading to a bankruptcy she married DH#2 who can provide for any amount of anything she wants for the rest of their lives.

She's much happier now, and a lot less needy, thank goodness! But Dad learned a lot about her watching her history of bad financial decisions. He would never trust her with handling his things and won't talk to her about any of his finances.

Except for the birthday cash , he'd never treat us unequally.
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Old 09-09-2014, 03:20 PM   #71
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Very interesting topic. I don't think about it until I read something like this or talk to Mom. Being honest with myself, I do feel the bad choices and disappointments to Mom should affect the amount she gives them. Mom seems to feel similarly.

I told her to leave everything to her husband, then to the church to keep the peace of the 4 of us. She insists on "gifting" me something now to make her happy.

She will likely leave the house to the youngest brother, nothing to the oldest brother and maybe a little to sis... We'll see.
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Old 09-09-2014, 03:38 PM   #72
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Except for the birthday cash , he'd never treat us unequally.
Perhaps he used to secretly slip your sis some birthday cash and tell her to keep quiet about it too?
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Old 09-09-2014, 04:01 PM   #73
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Work-shy....that's a new one. I like it. I have one of those brothers.
Isn't the whole point of this forum that we're all a bit work-shy?
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Old 09-09-2014, 04:07 PM   #74
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My sister and her family weren't in the poor house, but not nearly as well off as mine. When she passed after an extended illness, I encouraged Mom, who had already been helping her family financially throughout the illness, to leave a disproportionate amount, not all, to her family members. And she changed her trust and did. The amount wouldn't have changed my life, but it certainly helped them. They still don't know, and won't, why she distributed her funds that way.
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Old 09-09-2014, 04:29 PM   #75
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OP - I wish you the best. I read these stories and am so thankful for my family!

My mom's parents didn't have any money, so nothing there. My my dad's mother passed, everything went to my dad and his sister. Split 50/50, no issues.

My parents and my aunt (dad's sister, who has no kids) all have wills that leave everything 50/50 to me and my sister (when the second parent passes, of course). My sister and I grew up in this LBYM family and we both (with our DH's, of course), save a bunch and are successful and don't need their money. We tell them all the time to spend more on themselves.

My sister adopted 2 kids 7 years ago, and I never asked my parents if they were going to set up college funds for them or anything. Hmmm...I probably should do that. Their answer would probably be that then the money would go disproporionately to my sister's family instead of me (we are DINKs), and they wouldn't think it was fair. But I honestly wouldn't mind. OTOH, if they gave money to their kids and not my kids (if I had any), I might feel differently.
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Old 09-09-2014, 04:41 PM   #76
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We never, ever discuss our financial situation with anyone-including our adult children. There is really no need for anyone to know anything other than we are comfortable. Any knowledge past that point can only bring us grief. Most especially from the n'er do wells. It only breeds resentment, envy, and a few other unpleasant things. So why enable that? We prefer to keep our mouths shut and our eyes and ears open. on.
I disagree with this approach. Depending on the age of one's children and the level of their maturity, I believe it is appropriate the share finances and anticipated bequests. We have two children, ages 29/31 who are responsible adults. We want our children to know our financial situation, where to find appropriate records if necessary and possible inheritances. Unless we had a disabled child or grandchild, I can't see splitting our estate any other way than 50/50.
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Old 09-09-2014, 04:54 PM   #77
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There is another Awkward Wealth Moments thread active right now. Consider this a thread for when revealing wealth becomes more than just awkward, like affecting relationships.

When I retired it was a year after selling a company. I made enough from the transaction and my previous savings to be FI and retired a year later (though I call it a sabbatical to all but my closest friends and family).

Here's the problem. My mother knows my net worth. She is currently undergoing cancer treatment and her prognosis is uncertain. 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.

Then upon his death, if there are any assets left, they should be distributed to my brother's son (currently 6 yo) as if the son is destined to also be a never-do-well.

If the son and grandson are not alive, then the assets would go to my sister's kids, and if they are not alive, to my children.

She says that this is because I and my children don't need the money. I agree I don't but my children are not me. It hurts because it reinforces all the insecurities I carry about mine and my children's "rank" in the family. I actually lobbied her to put my children equal with the other grandkids in the will (not me, my children) but she wouldn't hear of it.

Of course it is totally her call and I told her I support her doing whatever she thinks is right, and I am upholding that, but it feels bad and I'm afraid it may cause lingering resentment.

What situations have you faced where your FI status has affected close relationships?
The whole thing is crappy. I would tell your Mom to just make your younger brother the executor and be relieved completely of the mess. The other family members can also step up the the plate and help out, too. You don't need to be shouldering all the responsibilities. I have been there, too.
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:12 PM   #78
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DH has a disabled sister and DH told DMIL to give any and all of his portion to his disabled sister but is concerned that bad vibes will be the result from other 2 sisters. DBIL also in a position to disclaim /redirect any inheritance from his mom to the disabled sis and I think he would. Any money to the sisters would be significant to them. It would be nice to take that money to pay off debts/mortgage to get to his ER or put towards a LTC policy for him but it's DH's call. I keep my mouth shut about it , I know she could use the money way more that we could but she also has a high risk of blowing it all. I hope DBIL is listed as the executor and can dole it out to her as she needs it.
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:35 PM   #79
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Your mom seems to be playing favorites and it affects your relationship with her and with your siblings. I don't think she realized this at all.
IMO, it may not be a "favoritism" at work here. Rather, I read it as the mom trying to take care of a child with financial (and other) issues vs one that is already well off. I'd like to believe it is motherly love at work. I have/had 3 siblings and it was the one with most financial issue I tried to help the most. And I can tell you that he wasn't my favorite sibling at all, a black sheep of the family.
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:50 PM   #80
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Yes. OP's mom needs a trusted friend and confidant to help her do what she wants to do for her children and, apparently, that person is OP. Leaving unequal amounts of material possessions to children and grand children is NOT a ranking or ordering of a parents love for those children. It's an expression of the parents desire for all her children to be safe and happy in life. If one is well off and exceptionally able to cope in the world, he might get less. If another has coped less well and is threatened by circumstances, he might get more. But the parent isn't rank ordering love and affection. In fact, the parent may love and appreciate the capable one more for not being the one causing the worry and anguish but, of course, can't say so.........

As a parent, providing unconditional love to all your children while shouldering worry over their well being (some more than others) isn't an easy thing. OP, help your mom and be proud that rather than being a worry or concern to your mom, you're a benefactor and there for her when she needs you.
I share this view, have tried to live it and urged my parents to do the same. It isn't easy, as parents and children we are all flawed, but it really is a blessing to be able to provide reassurance or comfort to another when both know it is motivated by love and compassion and not in exchange for a reward or future compensation.
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