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Old 08-13-2011, 12:55 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,492,863 times
Reputation: 29076

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lenora View Post
My children are not perfect, nor am I. I have no intention of either "rewarding" them or "punishing" them. After all, I AM the one who raised them. They will share equally in my estate. I love all three of them, no exceptions. YMMV.
Brava!
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:55 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,502 posts, read 62,199,370 times
Reputation: 32187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
It would then be up to her to have the estate equitably distributed to my children and hers when she went.
There is a middle ground.

A common arrangement is where the surviving spouse has the security of and the income from the estate for the rest of their life --the assets being held in trust without actually transferring title to her-- and the assets later being distributed to the children or others as you see fit (including dipping into the principal if needed to provide for her).

Waiting until later to set out the terms... is treacherous ground.

Some reading:
QTIPS
AB Trust
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:57 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,492,863 times
Reputation: 29076
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
There is a middle ground.

A common arrangement is where your wife has the security of and the income from the estate for the rest of her life --the assets being held in trust without actually transferring title to her-- and the assets later being distributed to your children or others as you see fit (including dipping into the principal if needed to provide for her).

Some reading:
QTIPS
AB Trust
Everything we have is held in joint tenancy with right of survival. That's the way we both wanted it.
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Old 08-13-2011, 02:42 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,860,713 times
Reputation: 8956
Both of my parents told stories of their fathers leaving everything to their current wives (not the mother of my parents) and leaving nothing to either of them . . . In retrospect, they were very hurt by the slight . . . times were hard and both of them indicated that they felt slighted . . .and my father, in particular, was not one to feel sorry for himself . . .he was a totally self-made man, and still, it hurt him when his dad did not remember him in his will.

For n'er do well kids, slighting them could be purposeful, but for good kids, when the parents have remarried, it would be nice if they could set SOMETHING aside for the kids because I have NEVER heard of a step-parent who honored the birth parent's wishes in this regard. ALL STEP-PARENTS seem to be self-serving, at least as it is told by the step-children . . .
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Old 08-13-2011, 05:49 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,492,863 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imcurious View Post
Both of my parents told stories of their fathers leaving everything to their current wives (not the mother of my parents) and leaving nothing to either of them . . . In retrospect, they were very hurt by the slight . . . times were hard and both of them indicated that they felt slighted . . .and my father, in particular, was not one to feel sorry for himself . . .he was a totally self-made man, and still, it hurt him when his dad did not remember him in his will.

For n'er do well kids, slighting them could be purposeful, but for good kids, when the parents have remarried, it would be nice if they could set SOMETHING aside for the kids because I have NEVER heard of a step-parent who honored the birth parent's wishes in this regard. ALL STEP-PARENTS seem to be self-serving, at least as it is told by the step-children . . .
A slightly different perspective. My wife and I married in 1996. I was two years out of a divorce in which I lost everything, including half my pension funds. The ex had wiped out all our bank accounts when she left so I was living month-to-month again at age 50 and paying $2,000 a month in child and spousal support.

My wife had been divorced and single for 18 years raising her two daughters as a single mother and receiving no support, whatsoever, from her ex. She lived month-to-month also.

We are now both retired, own a modest but comfortable home beautifully furnished and appointed on the shore of a large lake in a place we love. Between our pensions and Social Security we're comfortable and secure but we'll never be world travelers.

Everything we've acquired in the past 15 years has been a team effort and true partnership. Our children are well aware that the survivor takes all and there is no unrealistic expectation of any great "riches" when the last of us goes. Each of us has earned the full right of survivorship and we trust one another to be fair in making equitable distribution to ALL the children when that time comes.

We've both heard all the stepparent horror stories. Neither of us intends to become another chapter.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:30 PM
 
Location: Surf City, NC
364 posts, read 553,294 times
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I think you ought to divide things equally in your will. This is your last word to your children, people equate money with love and you want them to know you love them equally. If there are inequities you need to address, a child with special needs or whatever, do that while you're still alive. You can give them gifts or property or set up a special trust ahead of time. Let your final word be an equal distribution of what's left.
My grandparents left a bigger share to their oldest son, because they expected him to be taking care of them in Florida. As it turned out, my mom moved her mother to Maryland and looked after her for a number of years. Her sons died in the meantime and my uncle's larger share was divided among his kids, while my mom got a smaller share and my Dad did all the work of settling the estate. You can't always foresee how things will turn out.
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Old 08-14-2011, 12:24 AM
 
Location: Striving for Avalon
1,424 posts, read 2,093,004 times
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No one in my household is retirement age, but given my mother's impending (and untimely) death from cancer, it's come up. She signed a will evenly splitting all assets in between my sister and me. There's a house, 401k, cash, investment accounts, car, life insurance, and pension. In the future, we naturally get our mother's right to our grandparents' very significant estate.

Is it wise to leave $100k+ cash to a 20 year old young woman being kept in the dark who's smoking regularly as her mother lays downstairs riddled with cancer? No. Is there a fair alternative? Not really.

As my mother has said, it's for her kids to boost them in their endeavours. At 21, it could bankroll my master's degree, help bridge the gap between my bachelor's and work, or be used to even start a business.

Disposing of an estate is the best way to test a family's strength. If you want to cause problems and resentment, uneven splits are the best manner to do that. Just because you may have had problems with a kid, avoid damning relations amongst your children as siblings. I mean, parents do not feed the "good child" US Prime prime rib at dinner while unfavored kid got a can of tuna fish. Why play these games in death?
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Old 08-14-2011, 05:48 AM
 
5,825 posts, read 13,321,007 times
Reputation: 9300
My spouse has two children by a previous marriage, who I couldn't love more than if they were mine by birth. They will inherit all our worldly goods when we pass and my two children from a previous marriage will get $1. They divorced me when I divorced their mother and no matter how many times I tried to contact them, they turned their backs. "You get what you give."
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Old 08-14-2011, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,982,141 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imcurious View Post
Who knows what will become of it?

I have a strong family ethic so in my mind, I want to set something up for the betterment of my family - I want to do something to strengthen the family unit . . .I guess I learned that from my Dad who talked a lot about "the estate." It just seems important somehow even though who knows what will really happen . . . It's kind of a fantasy scenario, I guess - some kind of a story that I like to think about . . .

Money and "legacies" have been known to do anything but strengthen the "family unit." They have been also known to create bitter disagreement, resentment (even of the one who leaves the money), and lifelong family disharmony. If a family unit is not strong already, it's highly unlikely it will be made any stronger by money being left to its members.
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Old 08-14-2011, 07:00 AM
 
Location: Texas
43,562 posts, read 52,689,396 times
Reputation: 70845
If you don't want there to be animosity amongst your beneficiaries once you are gone, you need to be sure to leave every one of them an equal amount.

I'm totally serious about that.

Besides, I've never believed in punishing someone for their success.
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