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Your will and your children
Old 12-27-2007, 03:51 PM   #1
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Your will and your children

Just curious about this dilema, I have two children, one is very successful, the other has been trouble all his adult life. If I leave money to him there will be lawyers standing in line to get paid. I have stopped giving him money and he is very distant to my wife and I now. He thinks of no one but himself, is lazy, and druggy. He now mouches off other relatives and took every dime he could mouch off his grand parents until they passed on. Now mouches off my rich brother and lives with him. Brother bought him two new vehicles this year and many expensive items, watches his child, so he can go out and drink. My brother registered the vehicles in his name, because son cannot legally get drivers license, and cannot get insurance. (d.u.i. multiple times) Got girlfriend pregnant and instead of paying child support has my brother watch the child while he goes out to work and play. I gave him a business because he was unable to support himself or find a job and was to lazy to go to college, which I offered to pay for. Now he has ran the business in the ground because he's to lazy to work hard and doesn't need the money because he lives at my brothers for free. He has stolen from me and owes me a large sum of money which he will never pay back. He wouldn't help anyone ever.

On the other hand my daughter is an angle, with a good job, nice children, a nice husband, big house, and would do anything for us. Has never asked for money and owes no money. They pay cash for everything. Children in private schools etc.

I am leary of leaving my son much of anything in my will, what's your thoughts on this?
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Old 12-27-2007, 04:06 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by lynxville View Post
Just curious about this dilema, I have two children, one is very successful, the other has been trouble all his adult life. If I leave money to him there will be lawyers standing in line to get paid. I have stopped giving him money and he is very distant to my wife and I now. He thinks of no one but himself, is lazy, and druggy. He now mouches off other relatives and took every dime he could mouch off his grand parents until they passed on. Now mouches off my rich brother and lives with him. Brother bought him two new vehicles this year and many expensive items, watches his child, so he can go out and drink. My brother registered the vehicles in his name, because son cannot legally get drivers license, and cannot get insurance. (d.u.i. multiple times) Got girlfriend pregnant and instead of paying child support has my brother watch the child while he goes out to work and play. I gave him a business because he was unable to support himself or find a job and was to lazy to go to college, which I offered to pay for. Now he has ran the business in the ground because he's to lazy to work hard and doesn't need the money because he lives at my brothers for free. He has stolen from me and owes me a large sum of money which he will never pay back. He wouldn't help anyone ever.

On the other hand my daughter is an angle, with a good job, nice children, a nice husband, big house, and would do anything for us. Has never asked for money and owes no money. They pay cash for everything. Children in private schools etc.

I am leary of leaving my son much of anything in my will, what's your thoughts on this?
Sounds like you have made up your mind.

Personally, I would probably see an estate lawyer to check into the possibilities of leaving him money in a trust, with the daughter as administrator of the trust. But then, I also think you have every right to leave it all to your daughter if that is what you want to do, and it seems like that is how you are leaning.
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Old 12-27-2007, 04:23 PM   #3
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You could leave him nothing. Which sounds more than reasonable under the circumstances. Or you could leave him something in a spendthrift trust to protect the assets from his creditors. Or you could leave his child something in a spendthrift or some other kind of trust. Or do some combination. Given the facts you stated, I sure would have lots of strings on that trust.

Too bad your brother is continuing to enable him. I trust your brother knows that he could get sued if your son has a DUI with one of those cars in your brother's name and hurts someone.
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Old 12-27-2007, 07:52 PM   #4
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Want2Retire and Martha make good points and sense. However, I would not involve the good daughter in any dealings with the bad son, such as being the administrator of the trust. Why disrupt her life to deal with him? I would pay the extra money and let an attorney handle that. (I do not know much about those kind of details, but you will get some advise about that kind of thing from the other fine folks on these boards).

Personally...I would connect with your daughter and husband while you still have a sound mind and discuss "gifting" them money each year...up to the IRS limits or more? At least you will be doing something positive for them...while you are alive and can see them enjoy life a little more. (They did not get where they did easily, I suspect).

Like martha and W2r said...A trust of some sort must be done for the son, (or his children), which controls how the money, (if any), is handled. At least YOU are smart enough not to keep throwing money his way!

Hopefully, you may get some better advise/ideas from other folks on this forum. Those are some tough decisions and time may change them, also.
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:01 PM   #5
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You might leave your son a nominal amount so there is no basis for a suit -- just a guess. I agree, a lawyer would be best able to give you your options.
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Old 12-27-2007, 11:16 PM   #6
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Want2Retire and Martha make good points and sense. However, I would not involve the good daughter in any dealings with the bad son, such as being the administrator of the trust. Why disrupt her life to deal with him? I would pay the extra money and let an attorney handle that. (I do not know much about those kind of details, but you will get some advise about that kind of thing from the other fine folks on these boards).

Personally...I would connect with your daughter and husband while you still have a sound mind and discuss "gifting" them money each year...up to the IRS limits or more? At least you will be doing something positive for them...while you are alive and can see them enjoy life a little more. (They did not get where they did easily, I suspect).

Like martha and W2r said...A trust of some sort must be done for the son, (or his children), which controls how the money, (if any), is handled. At least YOU are smart enough not to keep throwing money his way!

Hopefully, you may get some better advise/ideas from other folks on this forum. Those are some tough decisions and time may change them, also.

Yeh, what Redbug said. Makes a lot of sense.

I don't think I would leave anything to son. Unless it was a clearly stated $10 just to make clear that was ALL you wanted him to have, and shortcircuit him making any challenges to your will. If you worry for his child, some kind of trust for that child with perhaps the child's "mom" as trustee might work to help the child and keep the son out of it.
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Old 12-28-2007, 12:47 AM   #7
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an excellent friend of mine was dying. he had a lot of money. his survivors included his mother, a sister who adored him and a sister who, not as bad as your son sounds, but who was bad with money and nasty to him. he was going to write the bad sister out of the will, leaving just his mom and the good sister.

i advised him otherwise. he liked what i had to say and i think he died satisfied. what i said to him was this: when you die, you are going to be dead for a long time. but your sister will be alive for a long time. why make her feel bad for the rest of her life when you can make her feel good and there's an added bonus because she won't be able to thank you. you'll have done good by her and made her feel guilty for the rest of her life for having treated you so badly.

it's always better to go out with a grin.

by the way, if you go a similar route, i totally agree with above posts on trusts. better to protect him then to enable bad habits.

ps, as to my moniker, i'm really only lazy when it doesn't count. but don't tell anyone (they might expect me to actually work at something).
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:22 AM   #8
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My estate planning doesn't have your angle but I have one child to whom a significant amount has been lent/given to start a business and another who is a very successful professional. She told me that she doesn't need anything from our estate. I told her that one cannot predict the future and if she doesn't need her share after her Dad and I pass she can renounce it to the benefit of her brother.

Your 'good' child could choose to do something similar but things could get complicated if she died before you and her children inherit.
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Old 12-28-2007, 02:27 AM   #9
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I'd do it so the bad son wouldn't even know you gave your good daughter anything. That would protect her in the future from the slim bag. Like stated above, start giving her money now, when you get really old put your house in her name too. Then when that's all done, revise your will to say you're giving all your money to charity (which by then only have a few grand left in a checking account). Then, at your funeral, have your daughter act pissed that she didn't get anything either.
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Old 12-28-2007, 04:08 AM   #10
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I would leave something to the child in a trust with it in payments to his mother until he is 18 then to the college and college bookstore only until he is 22 then to him in increasing amounts so he can have a good life if he chooses.
You never know how kids will turn out so giving the child too much too soon might have it all gone just when he matures and could have better used the money.
Mostly like the others I would leave it to the good child and some before you go.
My dad gave us each some about 5 years before he died so could see what we did with it.
As for the loser son anything you give him will be a total waste spent on alcohol and lawyers to fight the DUI's. Your brother is dead wrong to enable him to drink and drive and drive with no license.
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Old 12-28-2007, 06:16 AM   #11
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Spend it all, good daughter does not need it and bad son should not get it. Simplifies everything and you could enjoy it.
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Old 12-28-2007, 07:42 AM   #12
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Spend it all, good daughter does not need it and bad son should not get it. Simplifies everything and you could enjoy it.
Agreed!

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Old 12-28-2007, 08:48 AM   #13
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Sounds like a prickly mess........... However, I would do neither and make a charity/charities of your choice. As you eloquently stated, one child does not need your money, the other will squander it.

I doubt the needy son could contest a will that leaves things to worthwhile charities. As far as I know, there's NO LAW that says you are obligated to leave your kids anything............
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:27 AM   #14
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If you chose to disinherit him, make sure your will is done professionally and all the bases are covered. I suspect that the most typically will contest lawsuit is when one child inherits nothing while other children take mom and dad's estate. Even if he has no $$ to hire an attorney, some attorneys will take a will contest on a contingent basis. Make sure your attorney understands this possibility and takes all steps to safeguard against it. An ounce of prevention can go a long way.
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:46 PM   #15
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Great suggestions from everyone. All I can add is to talk to your daughter and get her input. She will probably tell you to spend your money or set it up a trust for the grandkids. I will share from my experience. DH and I have always earned our own way and have never expected or asked for help. We both have siblings that have made different choices/decisions in their lives. We have seen both sets of parents and grandparents help out (ex. bought new vehicle, downpayment on home, paid off debt, etc.). Most of the time it doesn't bother us - but there are times when it does. Even if your daughter doesn't want/need inheritance - at least tell her how proud you are that she had made her own way in life. That's worth more than $.
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Old 12-30-2007, 12:03 AM   #16
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My Dad and I have been talking over this same issue. My sis is in a messy living situation, and Dad is hesitant to leave anything to her for fear her estranged DH will use it on drink, drug, and untoward ladies of the evening...

I told him he should consider a trust for her. I also remember being given advice to leave $1 to each of my "legal heirs" in my will, and then distribute the rest as I saw fit. That way, there is no worry of legal challenge to the Will. I also agree with having a lawyer as executor. We are relatively comfortable, but sis has a hard life, and has an accusing personality. I would hate to see my Dad's hard-earned and hard-saved estate squandered fighting a legal battle with the blacksheep of the family. Timely topic though. I'll discuss these ideas again with my dad for his reference.

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Old 12-30-2007, 07:26 AM   #17
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I would vote for not leaving your son much of anything. However, as others have stated, if you do leave something, don't leave it directly, do it thru a spendthrift trust. It sounds to me like you've done what you can for him during your life. You don't owe him anything in death.

By the way, on the subject of children and wills, I think that just because your adult child desn't need the money doesn't mean there isn't a lot of emotional baggage wrapped up in how you get treated in the will. There's always temptation to take care of the "neediest", but that could also cause some pretty hard feelings between siblings where one feels stiffed by the others irresponsible or less economic choices in life.
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Old 12-30-2007, 08:30 AM   #18
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By the way, on the subject of children and wills, I think that just because your adult child desn't need the money doesn't mean there isn't a lot of emotional baggage wrapped up in how you get treated in the will. There's always temptation to take care of the "neediest", but that could also cause some pretty hard feelings between siblings where one feels stiffed by the others irresponsible or less economic choices in life.
There is a HUGE amount of emotional baggage, even when the children are mature, intelligent adults and the decisions are logical.

It's not the money - - it's that the money is all that is left, once one's parent is gone. It is a symbol of love, and life. One's grief gets all wrapped around it.
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Consider this as a way to GIVE to children
Old 12-30-2007, 08:41 AM   #19
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Consider this as a way to GIVE to children

I wrote before about this...I just did this myself...I used my denomination, the ELCA, and setup a charitable trust. What this means is that when I die my wife will receive 6% a year for living. When she dies the kids will get 6% a year for 20 years (in essence they get their inheritance over 20 years) and then the money will go to help others as you name in your trust. For example you could feed children, help social agencies, give to a church, give to a college, give to world relief, etc. You can even set aside some of the money that your kids could then decide who should receive it. It is a great way to give your kids an inheritance and help others. Just an idea!

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Old 12-30-2007, 10:22 AM   #20
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Since yours is an extreme case, what I'm going to say probably doesn't apply. But here's my take away message based on my Mom's will (she's still around, but showed us kids the will).

My general recommendation: Divide it all up equally.

I told my Mom that I didn't want or need any money at all. For the other siblings, Mom wrote the will so as to distribute the modest amounts according to each sibling's needs.

The problem here is that (1) needs change and (2) it's hard to evaluate the true need, and (3) it's complicated.

(1) Let's say you leave most of your money to son 1 since he has no job. But before you die, son 1 gets a good job and son 2 loses his job.

(2) Unless you're going to do a full audit, can you really be sure of the needs of the different kids?

(3) Perhaps daughter 1 has less money than daughter 2, bit it's because she's chosen not to work hard. Daughter 2 may have slaved day and night, and her reward is to not inherit any money.

Dividing things equally is defensible and less likely to cause bad feelings.
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