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Old 07-18-2017, 09:17 AM   #101
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Bamaman,
Sorry to hear your plan didn't work out with your girl. I was thinking when you wrote you bought her a house it was a noble gesture. Hope she gets the care she needs. Psychiatric problems are a bear.
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Old 07-18-2017, 09:37 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
How does that work? "Mom and Dad, I hope you enjoy your money while you are still alive. Spend it or give it charities. If you die with no money left and leave nothing to me, I won't be upset. I don't care how much Las Vegas got, or how much the Salvation Army got. The only "who got what" I care about is that no-account sister of mine--I'll be sore if I get less than she got. So, spend it on the ponies, don't give it to Sis."
I regularly encourage my parents to enjoy their money while they can.

One can do that while at the same time think that it's a bad idea to leave more to someone who is irresponsible. Maybe you think that's greed...I certainly don't.
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Old 07-18-2017, 10:15 AM   #103
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Bamaman, Your post made me cry. I'm not a parent but what you are having to do, has to be one of the hardest parts of parenting. Hoping things work out for your family.
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Old 07-18-2017, 10:23 AM   #104
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I think it is about a feeling of entitlement. If the parents decided to burn all their money in the fireplace, or give it all to the Red Cross, isn't that up to them? Would the kids still be mad/resentful? I think they would, even though they got treated exactly equally . . . they all got nothing, and no sibling got unfairly rewarded. Nope, it is all about entitlement.
There are a few issues in the quote above. I'd like not to look at the kids being treated equally, but only the question of entitlement.

Now, I'm not sure "entitlement" is the issue. I think the issue might be one of expectation--but not expectation in a greedy, self-indulgent way. The concept of inheritance has been around for a very long time--from inheriting a kingdom, a farm, a sword, family photos, etc. I think in some cultures a brother inherits the widow of the deceased brother's wife. That's the way it has worked. So, looking around me and seeing that parents of others have left them stuff (including money), but that my parents decided to burn their money in the fireplace or give the money to the Red Cross, I would feel unloved by my parents and, yes, I'd also feel mad and also think that they were crazier that I thought they were. So, yes, I would have expectations, but they would be based on history and what I have observed around me.
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Old 07-18-2017, 11:22 AM   #105
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I'm surprised by those who think they will be getting an inheritance years or decades in the future.

Unless those funds are already in an irrevocable trust managed by an independent trustee no matter what was said the giver(s) still can change their minds, or lose the funds to divorce, scams, illness, etc (several examples already posted)
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:00 PM   #106
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How does that work? "Mom and Dad, I hope you enjoy your money while you are still alive. Spend it or give it charities. If you die with no money left and leave nothing to me, I won't be upset. I don't care how much Las Vegas got, or how much the Salvation Army got. The only "who got what" I care about is that no-account sister of mine--I'll be sore if I get less than she got. So, spend it on the ponies, don't give it to Sis."
I think you're missing something. It isn't always just about the money, but what that money can (and cannot) do.

If the 'no-account sister' gets a stash, it likely means she will just blow it and never learn any responsibility. It is an enabler. The more she gets the more it hurts her. Just like all the stories we hear of celebrities and sports stars - get a big $ amount, but have no idea what that really represents and it's gone.. The bigger the stash, the faster it goes, it seems endless.

I wouldn't be sore if my parents 'invested' lots of money to attempt to make one of my siblings self-reliant, but instead they 'wasted' money, effectively training him that no matter how much he screws up they will bail him out. And he learned the lesson well, he feels there no consequences to his actions, and well, for most of his life there hasn't been. 'Blowing' the money at Vegas would have been better than using it to train him to be irresponsible.

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Old 07-18-2017, 12:25 PM   #107
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I regularly encourage my parents to enjoy their money while they can.

One can do that while at the same time think that it's a bad idea to leave more to someone who is irresponsible. Maybe you think that's greed...I certainly don't.
I agree that leaving money to a person who has been intentionally irresponsible could be a mistake, an enabler.

However, there are other very legitimate reasons to leave unequal inheritances. One that comes to mind is the case of leaving more to the child who was there for you. The child that cared enough to call, visit, stop by, run errands and whatever as you aged and needed/appreciated the help. It always seems sad when one child devotes years to helping the folks stay in place comfortably and safely and another, who couldn't stand the sight of his/her parents and who was seldom even in touch, get equal inheritances.

When the caregiver-child is rewarded, the "I'm too busy" child often whines and expresses feelings that what the caregiver child did was "nothing." "Gee, spending a few hours a day at mom and dad's place was probably fun for her. Why should she get rewarded for it?"
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:31 PM   #108
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I agree that leaving money to a person who has been intentionally irresponsible could be a mistake, an enabler.

However, there are other very legitimate reasons to leave unequal inheritances. One that comes to mind is the case of leaving more to the child who was there for you. The child that cared enough to call, visit, stop by, run errands and whatever as you aged and needed/appreciated the help. It always seems sad when one child devotes years to helping the folks stay in place comfortably and safely and another, who couldn't stand the sight of his/her parents and who was seldom even in touch, get equal inheritances.

When the caregiver-child is rewarded, the "I'm too busy" child often whines and expresses feelings that what the caregiver child did was "nothing." "Gee, spending a few hours a day at mom and dad's place was probably fun for her. Why should she get rewarded for it?"
Yep, what he said.
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Old 07-18-2017, 01:30 PM   #109
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Perhaps mom has a limited power of appointment over the remainders, giving her the ability to decide within the limited class. Of course, this is much different than a "no contest clause."
Yes, my mother has limited power of appointment for the QTIP trust, and there is also an In Terrorem clause. Here is a decent article on such clauses:

In Terrorem clauses

Hopefully my quarrelsome step-brothers will be unfamiliar with the limitations of such clauses.
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Old 07-18-2017, 01:35 PM   #110
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I think you're missing something. It isn't always just about the money, but what that money can (and cannot) do.

If the 'no-account sister' gets a stash, it likely means she will just blow it and never learn any responsibility. It is an enabler. The more she gets the more it hurts her. Just like all the stories we hear of celebrities and sports stars - get a big $ amount, but have no idea what that really represents and it's gone.. The bigger the stash, the faster it goes, it seems endless.

I wouldn't be sore if my parents 'invested' lots of money to attempt to make one of my siblings self-reliant, but instead they 'wasted' money, effectively training him that no matter how much he screws up they will bail him out. And he learned the lesson well, he feels there no consequences to his actions, and well, for most of his life there hasn't been. 'Blowing' the money at Vegas would have been better than using it to train him to be irresponsible.

-ERD50
+1

I have an Aunt and Uncle that were upper middle class, with two kids, one was very successful and the other a blue collar workers. The Aunt and Uncle passed within weeks of each other. The reading of the wills left everything to the blue collar worker and nothing to the more successful one. Both are good people. It ended up tearing at the kids apart and they do not speak much if at all anymore. The one that got the money used it to buy a new house for cash and it made life much easier and allowed for semi-retirement. The more successful of still works long hours and still does well. If the parents sat the two down and said this is what we are doing and why we are doing it, if may have worked out better... Instead the successful one found out at the reading of the will and left believing that their parents only cared about the blue collar worker and the blue collar worker threw it a bit in his face in the immediate aftermath.

I believe the more successful of the one would have been fine if an explanation was given beforehand by the parents. My guess is they died younger than expected (60s) and never got around to it.

My advice, never leave unequal amounts to your kids unless you sit them all down together and tell them why you are doing it.
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:23 PM   #111
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+1

I have an Aunt and Uncle that were upper middle class, with two kids, one was very successful and the other a blue collar workers. The Aunt and Uncle passed within weeks of each other. The reading of the wills left everything to the blue collar worker and nothing to the more successful one. Both are good people. It ended up tearing at the kids apart and they do not speak much if at all anymore. The one that got the money used it to buy a new house for cash and it made life much easier and allowed for semi-retirement. The more successful of still works long hours and still does well. If the parents sat the two down and said this is what we are doing and why we are doing it, if may have worked out better... Instead the successful one found out at the reading of the will and left believing that their parents only cared about the blue collar worker and the blue collar worker threw it a bit in his face in the immediate aftermath.

I believe the more successful of the one would have been fine if an explanation was given beforehand by the parents. My guess is they died younger than expected (60s) and never got around to it.

My advice, never leave unequal amounts to your kids unless you sit them all down together and tell them why you are doing it.
I think this is the greatest danger, more so than the potential for rewarding prodigality. Even with an explanation, the disturbing suspicion that the will is an analog for the parents' affection can haunt the survivors for life. Whether it is untrue, won't matter.
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:29 PM   #112
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+1

My advice, never leave unequal amounts to your kids unless you sit them all down together and tell them why you are doing it.

+1

Sums it all up pretty nicely. And simple to do. Personally, I can't imagine leaving differing amounts to my kids. I love them equally. Why would I want my last act to convey otherwise? For those more unusual circumstances, then sitting all involved down to walk through it in advance makes good sense. I don't want my death to bring disharmony to my family. Can't imagine a worse outcome than that.

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Old 07-18-2017, 02:37 PM   #113
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My advice, never leave unequal amounts to your kids unless you sit them all down together and tell them why you are doing it.
This is what my FIL did around his hospital bed as he was dying. Told all three and the reason. It will end up being about 50/25/25%. The other sister is still miffed even though she is quite wealthy in her own right. Tough.
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Old 07-19-2017, 05:36 AM   #114
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+1

Sums it all up pretty nicely. And simple to do. Personally, I can't imagine leaving differing amounts to my kids. I love them equally. Why would I want my last act to convey otherwise? For those more unusual circumstances, then sitting all involved down to walk through it in advance makes good sense. I don't want my death to bring disharmony to my family. Can't imagine a worse outcome than that.

Muir
Here's the thing, IMO as long as money is involved it's going to bring disharmony. I've had situations where all the siblings got equal and of course there is the sibling that never visited, never helped out with mom and dad, just pretty much did the bare minimum obligation and now there are hard feelings.

for me the problem is folks saying if you "love" your kids than they automatically get equal. my brother was a crack head, my parents loved him immensely. there was no way my parents were going to leave him hundreds of thousands of dollars to blow on drugs.

So by your reasoning if you decided to give your money to charity you're children would feel you didn't love them? I find that concept so sad.

but I totally agree, luckily my late husband and I pretty much have told the kids what will happen to our wealth should we die early from the time they were in their late teens but we don't believe in leaving money to people so it's never been a big expectation in our family.
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Old 07-19-2017, 07:00 AM   #115
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This thread makes me very happy we only have one (very lucky) daughter as heir. We help them a lot and expect to leave a sizeable legacy, although that certainly isn't a primary objective. Practically, it's very difficult to spend it all down without annuitizing it all. Even then there would likely be some real estate state to liquidate on demise.
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Old 07-19-2017, 07:12 AM   #116
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Here's the thing, IMO as long as money is involved it's going to bring disharmony. ...
I don't think that is true. And the converse is not true either, as if there is no money in the family, everything is rainbows and unicorns? Plenty of disharmony among families with no money.

Do families fight over money? Sure, sometimes, and sometimes not. You probably don't hear about the latter, as there isn't anything to hear - just like you don't hear a news story about the houses that didn't burn down today, or the many, many airplanes that landed safely.

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Old 07-19-2017, 07:15 AM   #117
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Here's the thing, IMO as long as money is involved it's going to bring disharmony.

So by your reasoning if you decided to give your money to charity you're children would feel you didn't love them? I find that concept so sad.

Bclover,
That's not my reasoning. I realize there might be unusual circumstances as I stated in my post. Having a sibling drug addict fits that imo.

I disagree that by definition as long as money is involved my death must therefore bring disharmony. Not if it's handled right with my kids. And it's not about if my kids feel I loved them. It's about me. My love for them.
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Old 07-19-2017, 07:20 AM   #118
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...
So by your reasoning if you decided to give your money to charity you're children would feel you didn't love them? I find that concept so sad. ....
I think what MuirWannabe was saying, is that the problem in that case was announcing the unequal distribution on their death bed. They can do what they want with their money of course, but as some have said, if it is going to be unequal, it could be better to let people know ahead of time, and explain the reasons why.

I wouldn't be surprised if the reasons assumed by the heirs were different than the reasons the donor had in mind, but it was too late to convey this.

edit/add: I cross posted with MuirWannabe

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Old 07-19-2017, 07:47 AM   #119
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I think what MuirWannabe was saying, is that the problem in that case was announcing the unequal distribution on their death bed. They can do what they want with their money of course, but as some have said, if it is going to be unequal, it could be better to let people know ahead of time, and explain the reasons why.

I wouldn't be surprised if the reasons assumed by the heirs were different than the reasons the donor had in mind, but it was too late to convey this.

edit/add: I cross posted with MuirWannabe

-ERD50
thanks! I totally came late to the party and misunderstood.
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Old 07-19-2017, 08:06 AM   #120
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My Mom died last year at 99 and my sister's and I each received $4,000 and an umbrella . We received an umbrella because My Mom had quite a collection of them in her closet when she died . I put the $4000 in the bank but that umbrella I carry everywhere . Last week I couldn't find it and I was so sad . My daughter will inherit a lot more from me but I hope a personal item means more to her than any amount of money .
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