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Old 08-08-2011, 11:34 AM
 
Location: earth?
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I have been struggling with this question for a long time . . . In leaving one's assets to children/grandchildren, do you consider their behavior or do you just split evenly?

I have read online that some people punish any children who have not lived up to their expectations - and this frequently causes rifts between the siblings - the have's and the have-nots . . .

My personal motive is to not cause harm, so I would be more apt to leave equal shares to everyone . . .I am thinking about leaving a videotape requesting that the assets be used for good . . . just kind of setting forward wishes that they not be wasted . . . and that the funds be used to benefit them and the family (as opposed to going to Vegas and blowing it or whatever) . . .

Thoughts?
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Old 08-08-2011, 12:19 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
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If you didn't set hard rules and expectations with the consistently applied repercussions for shortcoming appropriate to the child's age as they were growing up with the ideal intent of making them or helping them to become self sufficient and responsible adults... attempting the "tough love" thing from the grave will be coming just a bit too late.
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Old 08-08-2011, 12:21 PM
 
Location: earth?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
If you didn't set hard rules and expectations with the consistently applied repercussions for shortcoming appropriate to the child's age as they were growing up with the ideal intent of making them or helping them to become self sufficient and responsible adults... attempting the "tough love" thing from the grave will be coming just a bit too late.
Thanks for the lecture, but I am seeking advice from people who actually think about these things.
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Old 08-08-2011, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
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Smile My thoughts

I believe in dividing equally but if you had a grandchild who might waste it, you might put time constraints on it - like 21, xxx - age 30, xxx, etc.

Then, when they're more mature, it's there for them.
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Old 08-08-2011, 12:37 PM
 
Location: earth?
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Good idea. My thinking on the videotape is not to "control beyond the grave," but to set the intention that the monies be used for good to benefit family members or the family as a whole . . . My thinking is that it can't hurt - doesn't guarantee anything, but maybe would cause some people to consider what they do with any assets.
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Old 08-08-2011, 01:53 PM
 
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Once you give it to them... it's THEIR money.

My Parents are giving 90% of the $ they leave behind to one of my sisters.
(5% to me, and 5% to the other)

What they are doing is forming a trust, and the money goes into that.
(Recently did it)

I am the executor (of the 90%) for my sister who isn't that 'on top of' $.
(She has a job, car etc... just doesn't have self control)

It's specifically for Education, Medical, housing etc.

This provides a LEGAL way for my parents to determine how THEIR money should be spent.


It doesn't bother me... Heck, I Suggested it. (Just not the part about me being the executor)
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Old 08-08-2011, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
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I would always go with even splits. People associate money with love, and the individuals who get the smaller shares will have a sad place in their heart because you 'loved' them less than someone else. If one or more of your kids doesn't need your inheritance, encourage them to give it to one who does. Let them be the good guy. I want to be the fair guy. I have never seen the unequal thing turn out well. And things always change. The child who was doing great may go through some turn of events that changes everything and the child who is needy may have won the lottery(not likely but you know what I mean).

Unequal shares make the less favored feel like there is a penalty for being successful and achieving more. And they will be resentful on some level about the underachiever being rewarded for poor performance. I experienced this for my entire adult life. I was always the one who had everything and my sister was always in need. So she always received and I got nothing. But I was the one who took care of my parents in their declining years and did all the work, and she got the lion's share of the inheritance. Certainly not fair and in hindsight, I should have had a financial agreement with my parents for their support. But I was a good kid and just paid for everything. I was very hurt in the end. But it was mom and dad's to give, it was their money and they made their choice.

Here's a true story for you. There was a family in the Dakotas who had a huge sugar beet farm. They had 6 kids and for the older 5, things were tough and they had paper routes and chores. Their parents encouraged them to get an education and the kids paid for their own schooling. They were all financially OK, but nothing to write home about. Kid number 6 came along later when things were better. The farm was doing well and he got pretty much anything he wanted. His life was easy compared to the others.

Well, when the parents died, each of the older 5 kids got 50K. Not bad at all! But child number 6 got the farm/business that was then worth over 5 million dollars. The older 5 kids asked him to share and he more or less told them to stuff it. The inheritance completely broke up the family and to this day most of them don't even speak to each other over this mess.

Just something to think about!
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Old 08-08-2011, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Where the sun likes to shine!!
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In most cases I would divide things equally. Some cases you just can't. My husband has an adult son who doesn't talk to him or have any contact with him. The son also has no contact with his only sister or her children. It has been this way for many years. The sister, my husband's daughter is very close to us. She is part of our daily life and cares about us. In this case she will receive it all.

It may not be fair to some but why should an adult who makes no attempt to be part of his family be rewarded? It's not tough love....but what he chose in his life.

I have seen so many sad situations when people die. The family has no contact with them but once they die they swarm like bees to honey to get what they think they deserve. In that case I really hope Karma bites those kinds of people.
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Old 08-08-2011, 02:01 PM
 
Location: earth?
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Yes. Good points. My instinct is to split evenly, as to not cause hard feelings.

I know it is "their" money once it is inherited, but since it will come from a family legacy, I think it is appropo to say something about using the money for good - whether they do or not will be on their conscience, or will be their karma . . . but I don't think it is way out-of-line to state a preference that the money be used for good.
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Old 08-08-2011, 02:02 PM
 
Location: SW MO
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Lest I receive a defensive, snitty response, my wife and I have thought this through quite carefully. I have five children. She has two. I have always been the majority wage earner and that has continued into retirement. Regardless, our estate, if there's anything left that we haven't spent on enjoying our lives, will be liquidated and evenly split seven ways. There will be no strings, wishes, conditions, restrictions, suggestions, etc. If these adult children haven't learned by now, "legislating" or guilting from the grave isn't going to change anything and will likely and rightfully be seen as controlling.
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