Author Topic: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?  (Read 20260 times)

Acorns

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Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« on: January 25, 2017, 02:03:11 PM »
What would you do if you knew your parents were planning on giving a vastly unequal inheritance between you and a sibling without any extenuating factors (ie, both siblings are equally able to work, no exorbitant medical expenses, no drug/alcohol/gambling habits)? What about if you knew that the grandparents were planning on giving one set of grandchildren significantly more financial assistance than your children? Would it change your current relationship with the parents/grandparents?

I fully acknowledge that one's assets are that person's to distribute however they choose, however I am disinclined to go out of my way to continue a relationship with parents (we live a considerable distance from family so traveling to see them takes a great deal of effort and comes at the expense of other travel we might like to do) who are planning an unequal inheritance, and I feel that it is setting my children up to be hurt. Thoughts?

dandarc

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2017, 02:10:18 PM »
Do you know the why behind the unequal inheritance?  There's got to be a reason - maybe sibling "needs" more.  Maybe sibling sees them more often or they live in sibling's house.  They paid for your college and sibling didn't go to college, so they're trying to square that up.  People don't often go through the trouble to set up an estate plan that would achieve an unequal split without some reason for doing so.
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SuperMex

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2017, 02:10:44 PM »
Does the other party who is getting a larger share live closer? Do they see your parents more often?

I have found that normally two types of individuals end up getting the most.

Either the least financially successful or the one who lives the closest and remains the closest with the parents.

I myself am incapable of what I am suggesting it takes a much better person than me.

The amount of money you may get should have no impact in the love you show them or the relationship your children foster with them.

CoderNate

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2017, 02:11:47 PM »
I hope that my parents are able to live long enough to be able to enjoy the money they have worked hard for throughout their lives, so this wouldn't bother me at all. It also kind of makes sense if one sibling lives far away while the other(s) take a much greater role in caring for the elder parents. Take my opinion with a grain of salt though, since my family has never had much to inherit in the first place.

jjandjab

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2017, 02:20:55 PM »
Agree with the general sentiments so far. I want my parents to spend all they earned and have a great time. Whether or not I get any money from anyone else during my lifetime does not matter to me in the least.  And my parents do have a fair amount of wealth. If they pass something to me or my kids, that is great.

It sounds as if you may not like your relationship with your parents already - and if this is something like "the last straw", then so be it.  Otherwise, if you are willing to sever family ties with them over money, I find that kind of sad for all of you.

galliver

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2017, 02:25:21 PM »
Pretend there is no inheritance, act according to the value of the personal relationship alone.

El Marinero

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2017, 02:55:03 PM »
Pretend there is no inheritance, act according to the value of the personal relationship alone.

I like this approach. 
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jooniflorisploo

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2017, 03:05:49 PM »
What would you do if you knew your parents were planning on giving a vastly unequal inheritance between you and a sibling without any extenuating factors (ie, both siblings are equally able to work, no exorbitant medical expenses, no drug/alcohol/gambling habits)?

I am in this situation, with none of the common matters (one closer, one further, etc) proposed in the replies so far.

For me, galliver's suggestion is spot on.

At the same time, I wanted to tell you that I understand if unequal giving feels hurtful for you, on a deep and personal level. That's how it has felt for me, despite all logic, calm thinking, etc. It is okay to feel hurt and sad and confused. And, galliver's note is still spot on :)

Sometimes, there is stuff in the person making the will that is beyond understanding. Psychological stuff, embedded ideas (e.g. "men need more support than women, so I will give everything to my son"), historical stuff, stuff that's specific to the psyche of the one making the will, stuff we may never understand or know, stuff that is not a reflection on their love for us, care for us, our value, our activity. On a deep level, it can feel hurtful. But, in my own experience, I've concluded that while it feels hurtful, it is not intended to cause hurt, is not a reflection of love, etc, and is a reflection of other stuff in the will-er's life, possibly going back as far as their own childhood.

Does anything in there resonate?

Christof

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2017, 03:09:18 PM »
Would you feel better if your parents gave you the same amount but told you that they really didn't want to give you the money?

I think you should first be clear about the real cause for your problem. Is it about the money? Do you think your sibling is taking your money, or are your parents not giving you something they should. Or is it about something other than money? Do you feel rejected by your parents? Are you envious toward your sibling? Do you think your own efforts are not acknowledged?

Gone_fishing

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2017, 03:13:00 PM »
Wow, i just went through this exact scenario last week so I can understand the emotions.  It's not really about the money, it's about what the unequal division means.  I found out my parents are planning to let my adult sister live in their second property (worth millions, in the SF bay area) for free and she will probably eventually inherit it.  She's a Google tech employee and I'm a physician, so neither of us hurt financially. I progressed through three stages of dealing with this:

1. For days, I was irrationally angry at both my sister and my parents, and even threw out some things my mom had gotten my for my birthday as a child.  I felt I couldn't go to family gatherings as act normally towards them ever again.  I considered just asking them to leave me out of their will just to avoid the whole situation altogether. 

2. After a few days, some rationality came back (after some ranting phone calls with friends), and I was once again able to remember all the wonderful things they did for me while growing up.  I convinced myself that as their money has absolutely nothing to do with me, I should not be worried about where it goes.  I recalled what I had read in the book "The Millionaire Next Door" about how the more subsidies adult children receive, the LESS they are able to achieve financial independence. The MORE they receive, the LESS they accumulate. I feel sorry and a little worried for my sister.  I plan to just focus on continuing to reach my goals in life and have confidence that things will be great.  I dug the gifts back out of the garbage.  I thanked my parents for teaching me independence and self-confidence, thus leading to happiness in life.  So rationally I could think about it this way, but I wasn't really "feeling" it yet.

3. And after another few days, I feel back to normal now, and feel that I can have a normal relationship with my sister and parents, even if they leave almost everything to her. I realize it is because they worry about her since she's single, and they have enabled dependence in her due to all their past help, and now it continues. I am again able to see ALL the things my parents have done that show they love me  and appreciate those things, and it shouldn't all just be tossed out because of where they decide to leave their own stuff after they die.  Anyway, I hope that you are able to work things out because it is a very uncomfortable situation to be in. 

FIRE Artist

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2017, 04:11:14 PM »
I'm fully expecting my parents to do this.  They are the kind of people who would put their grandkids in their will as equal inheritors as their own children so my siblings who have kids will essentially get a larger piece of the pie than I will. Since I have 5 siblings, 4 of which have two kids each, I'm not going to see much either way so I worry not. 

I have a friend who is a widow, whose children are written entirely out of their grandfather's will, all because their dad died before their grandfather.  The grandfather is firm that since his son has died, 100% of his estate is to go to his living, childless daughter and he won't listen to anyone who suggest differently.  The daughter (aunt) is justifying this by saying that since she has no kids, the grandkids will eventually inherit what is left when she goes anyway. 

So, the moral to this story is, just work on your stash and don't count on inheriting from people who are still living.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2017, 04:24:19 PM »
Do nothing. It's not your decision to make.

snogirl

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2017, 04:41:34 PM »
Pretend there is no inheritance, act according to the value of the personal relationship alone.
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rpr

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2017, 04:44:30 PM »

I am in this situation, with none of the common matters (one closer, one further, etc) proposed in the replies so far.

For me, galliver's suggestion is spot on.

At the same time, I wanted to tell you that I understand if unequal giving feels hurtful for you, on a deep and personal level. That's how it has felt for me, despite all logic, calm thinking, etc. It is okay to feel hurt and sad and confused. And, galliver's note is still spot on :)

Sometimes, there is stuff in the person making the will that is beyond understanding. Psychological stuff, embedded ideas (e.g. "men need more support than women, so I will give everything to my son"), historical stuff, stuff that's specific to the psyche of the one making the will, stuff we may never understand or know, stuff that is not a reflection on their love for us, care for us, our value, our activity. On a deep level, it can feel hurtful. But, in my own experience, I've concluded that while it feels hurtful, it is not intended to cause hurt, is not a reflection of love, etc, and is a reflection of other stuff in the will-er's life, possibly going back as far as their own childhood.

Does anything in there resonate?

Joon -- this is very insightful. Thank you for this post.

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Acorns

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2017, 05:30:09 PM »

I have a friend who is a widow, whose children are written entirely out of their grandfather's will, all because their dad died before their grandfather.  The grandfather is firm that since his son has died, 100% of his estate is to go to his living, childless daughter and he won't listen to anyone who suggest differently.  The daughter (aunt) is justifying this by saying that since she has no kids, the grandkids will eventually inherit what is left when she goes anyway. 


Sad :-( The children loose their father, as well as any tangible inheritance that could have been passed down.


I am in this situation, with none of the common matters (one closer, one further, etc) proposed in the replies so far.

For me, galliver's suggestion is spot on.

At the same time, I wanted to tell you that I understand if unequal giving feels hurtful for you, on a deep and personal level. That's how it has felt for me, despite all logic, calm thinking, etc. It is okay to feel hurt and sad and confused. And, galliver's note is still spot on :)


Does anything in there resonate?

Thank you for this, even though it's not all about the money, it still doesn't feel very good to get the short end of the stick. I know that my parent's money is theirs to do with what they wish, and if they live it up and spend it all, that is fine with me, they have worked hard and deserve to spend their money as they please. However, like it or not, for thousands of years of human history, an inheritance, or lack there of, has been a final mark of parental approval and equity of affection for offspring, and disinheritance, even if partial, is a pretty harsh final assessment of the relationship.

 
Wow, i just went through this exact scenario last week so I can understand the emotions.  It's not really about the money, it's about what the unequal division means.  I found out my parents are planning to let my adult sister live in their second property (worth millions, in the SF bay area) for free and she will probably eventually inherit it... Anyway, I hope that you are able to work things out because it is a very uncomfortable situation to be in. 

Thanks for the advice. I am want to focus on the good things about the relationship, and your second point about adult "outpatient support" is very true in this situation. My sibling has made several financial messes and been bailed out by our parents, I'm pretty sure that even with an unequal inheritance, my family will be more financially secure in the long run.


Acorns

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2017, 05:36:57 PM »
You might find this thread helpful, or at least cathartic.

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/parental-financial-favoritism-unfairness-or-jealousy-of-help-you-don't-need/

Good thread, thanks for pointing it out. I know that what is fair is not always what is equal in life, hopefully as a parent I will be able to strike a balance between the two with my kids so that they feel equally all valued and loved in my family.

SJS

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2017, 06:32:46 PM »
"We live a considerable distance from family so traveling to see them takes a great deal of effort and comes at the expense of other travel we might like to do..."

WOW! Sounds like visiting/spending time with your parents is low on your priority list. "Great deal of effort?"  "Great deal of expense?"   Maybe they don't feel like they have much of a relationship with you/your children?  The others are maybe making more of an effort to share their lives with them?  How often do you/your children call them? Maybe you need to work a little harder at your relationship with them - not for the sake of the inheritance, but so that once they are gone, you don't have any regrets.

In the end, it's not your money. You have absolutely no entitlement to it. Zero!  If they want to leave it all to a non-profit organization, or all to the other sibling/grandchildren that's their business, not yours. 



jooniflorisploo

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2017, 06:37:29 PM »
You might find this thread helpful, or at least cathartic.

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/parental-financial-favoritism-unfairness-or-jealousy-of-help-you-don't-need/

Dezrah, thanks for that link! Many of the experiences were aligned with my own, at least one uncannily so.

Sadly, even on these boards—never mind in general society—there are still so many people who assume an unequal gifting means one kid was awesome/helpful/close/devoted and that the other screwed up. What we often see in reality is that the parent had specific psychological ideas that resulted in the decision, and that even adult children can feel emotionally hurt to devastated, despite their own adult self-sufficiency, etc.

Heartbreaking, too, that so many are given the message: If you work hard, are responsible, and save, you're on you're own no matter what disasters befall you. But if you throw everything away and keep screwing up, we'll give you everything we have. What? Tough stuff for the hardworking to swallow.

On this board, we focus on taking care of our finance. In my experience, it's just as crucial to care for our emotions, as money and feelings are so closely linked.

When I went through my process—peaking last summer—I ultimately realized my freedom. In the end, I chose to hang out with my parents—for countless positive reasons—and not with the sibling who manipulates and guilts them. I also decided to not spend time in the house which rests at the heart of the matter. In kind and candid conversations, I had learned that if I spend even two days per year there (and even then only in an effort to help my parents feel happy), my parents see me as "benefiting equally" to the sibling they gave it to. So, my big decision was to choose my relationships—accepting my parents' psychology as is, limiting contact with a capable adult who manipulates and guilts them—and to not enable my parents' fantasies. I found the truthful path that resolved much of the emotion for me.

The process also brought me closer to another sibling, who had similar concerns and perspectives, and that's been a really nice outcome. In the end, there have been no real losses for anyone. Just, a more...aligned-with-reality scenario for everyone.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2017, 07:29:57 PM »
I agree with much of the above "it's not yours anyway" comments.

But... I've actually been in this situation.... or sort of.  And one sibling thought there were no extenuating circumstances and that it was totally unfair.  She was mad and hurt and hateful. 

But there WERE extenuating circumstances.  Dad explained multiple lines of reasoning why.  They were good reasons.  But he never explained to her.  We STRONGLY asked him to explain to her.  He'd chuckle and say "that's your problem after I'm gone."

TL/DR: Talk to the other siblings.  Make sure there might not be reasons why this is the case that you don't see.  (Sorry.  I'm in a weird place.  The aforementioned sibling just suddenly passed away a couple of hours ago.)
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jooniflorisploo

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2017, 07:36:46 PM »
(Sorry.  I'm in a weird place.  The aforementioned sibling just suddenly passed away a couple of hours ago.)

So sorry, Spork!!! :((((

Pigeon

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2017, 07:51:53 PM »
If there are no genuinely extenuating circumstances, like a disability, I think it's a pretty rotten thing for parents to do.  Maybe people have different definitions of extenuating. 

I have no expectations of inheriting anything from my father (mother is dead) as he needs it for his own care (95 and in a nursing home, private pay) and that's how it should be spent.  I know his will leaves things to his kids equally if there were anything.

But I think it sends a message to the kids that they really aren't loved equally.  If a  parent wants to send that message, that's obviously up to them.   But I don't know how it wouldn't be perceived as hurtful.  I imagine it would color the relationship, or the memory if you didn't find out until after they'd died.  As for what would I do about it if I knew?  Nothing overt, and I wouldn't bring it up, but it would change how I felt.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 07:53:27 PM by Pigeon »

Zikoris

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2017, 08:10:21 PM »
I'm trying to put myself in that situation mentally - I have one sibling, so I would assume our parents would divide anything evenly. The only thing I could think of that would piss me off would be if my "half" involved a lot more work - like if she got an easy cash payout, but I had to sell property, do legal things, or whatever other hoops to get my share. I don't think amounts would really matter to me otherwise - unless my (currently healthy and not that old) parents were to die in the next five or six years, I should be long retired, with enough money to never need to work again, by the time I need to worry about that.

If the inheritance came from any extended family, I would never expect it to be equal - that would totally depend on the relationships.
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Acorns

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2017, 08:27:04 PM »

Sadly, even on these boards—never mind in general society—there are still so many people who assume an unequal gifting means one kid was awesome/helpful/close/devoted and that the other screwed up. What we often see in reality is that the parent had specific psychological ideas that resulted in the decision, and that even adult children can feel emotionally hurt to devastated, despite their own adult self-sufficiency, etc.


This. Although I know I am biased towards myself, I have always tried to do right by my parents - in my 20s I was working hard, living frugally, and saving as much as I could, 4yr academic scholarship for college, never asked for anything. In her 20s, my sibling was running up over $20k in consumer debt, dropped out of college (which my parents paid for), has never worked full time or been self-supporting, and generally caused a lot of heartbreak I don't want to get into here. I think some of this is the "curse of competence", that the one who looks like they have their life together doesn't "need" as much support. Which is true, my finances are in great shape, but it still hurts. We will be able to move past this, and I will focus on the relationship, but it will be in the back of my mind.

jooniflorisploo

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2017, 08:51:53 PM »
I think some of this is the "curse of competence", that the one who looks like they have their life together doesn't "need" as much support. Which is true, my finances are in great shape, but it still hurts.

And, this ^.

Some people seem to be somewhat immune to the emotions that come up for some of us, thus can't understand that piece. But yes, even while we 100% know the money is our parents', that it is for them to do with as they wish, that we receive no less when it's given to a sibling vs a cruise ship company...and even while we want our parents to spend it all on an excellent life for themselves...and even while we have managed to organize our finances thus will be okay materially... a parent's decision to give more to one than another can still hurt very, very, very much, in some deep, core place.

It can also aggravate some other cracks, like when a parent is shoveling money to one sibling and asking another for the same or complaining that they "can't afford" the simple things they want for themselves. Stuff like that is hard, too. It can be very hard to know how to navigate the logistics and our own resources when stuff like this is happening.

Feeling hurt doesn't mean we act like jerks, or think illogically, or anything else. It means we feel some hurt, and may be left with some big emotional questions. And that's okay.

Why did my parents think I was fine living on the streets (female, disabled) but that my brother could not manage unless he received an entire house and property? I don't know. After having had time and space to process it all fully, though, I'm secure that it's not about me nor any reflection of the depth of my parents' love and care for me. I didn't know it for most of my life, but now I'm confident in their love being big and profound and true, for all of us. They just gave him more cash than the rest of us, for reasons I may never know.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2017, 09:28:54 PM »
Wow Joon, I don't know if I could be that noble. Unless there are circumstances like disability, I can't imagine doing anything other than treating my kids equally. I could see a situation where the balance on a large loan could be subtracted from a share, but that's about it. I expect to inherit nothing from my mother who lives very modestly- she was paying for a life insurance policy so we would have "something" when she died - and we convinced her to stop paying that and spend it on herself. My in-laws assets were exhausted when my MIL spent 9 years in a nursing home with Alzheimer's.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2017, 09:41:01 PM »
What would you do if you knew your parents were planning on giving a vastly unequal inheritance between you and a sibling without any extenuating factors (ie, both siblings are equally able to work, no exorbitant medical expenses, no drug/alcohol/gambling habits)? What about if you knew that the grandparents were planning on giving one set of grandchildren significantly more financial assistance than your children? Would it change your current relationship with the parents/grandparents?

I fully acknowledge that one's assets are that person's to distribute however they choose, however I am disinclined to go out of my way to continue a relationship with parents (we live a considerable distance from family so traveling to see them takes a great deal of effort and comes at the expense of other travel we might like to do) who are planning an unequal inheritance, and I feel that it is setting my children up to be hurt. Thoughts?
I am so sorry, this must really hurt.
Unless there are extinuating circumstances regarding the other grandkids, I would assume they love them more. Such is life. What else can you derive from it?

It is likely wrong. But it is their right to give to whom they chose. And how much. Love them anyway. If even for your own mental health Since i am estranged from my parents and my Dad died during that time, my mind and body have suffered due to it. As has my sons mental health due to my Mother being a sociopath. He was working f/t and going to College and after my Dad died, my mom pulled some evil stuff on him and he had a breakdown. Twice in the last 5 yrs he's heard voices and responded. Basically he's battling schizophrenia. My BIL heard voices for 1 year and even was tricked into responding. They just left him. My other BIL is a parnoid crazy schizophrenic who threatens to rape women and is violent.

Trust me it's not worth it to separate from them. You already live a distance away, keep the peace no matter what.

Ok not no matter what but you get to be the judge of that. Make your own mental health and that of your children #1.  YOU ARE worth it. Who cares if they don't deserve a relationship w/you. do what is right for you. Try to shield your kids from these people without wreaking havok. Something is wrong with people who do this stuff. I expect no inheritance from my parents, never did. My mom is a sociopath and quite dangerous. If my son had his way, there would be a restraining order against her. This is an extreme circumstance but these red flags were there earlier, I just chose to ignore them and present my parents as normal (Dad is not a sociopath). Please don't gloss over your parents, something is very wrong with this. Explain this is not normal and you don't find your parents acting as normal people do so your kids aren't blindsided one day.



« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 09:43:51 PM by Erica »

pancakes

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2017, 10:11:56 PM »
I inherited nothing from either sets of grandparents. I know other grandchildren did. Older grandchildren also received significant financial contributions towards their children (great grandchildren) while my grandparents were alive which my kids will miss out on.

Sometimes I feel like I missed out but I suspect that my parents had a say in it. We manage perfectly fine on our own and I don't believe that inheritances are a great thing anyway so I can let it go pretty easily.

When it comes to my parents, I'm prepared for anything. The only detail I know about their wills is that despite being married, they are leaving nothing to each other. There are bound to be lots of other surprises in there but ever since I can remember they told us it was all going to charity (which it turns out isn't true) so I've never had an expectation of getting anything.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2017, 10:25:26 PM »
I would be happy with whatever money was given to me. The fact that more may be given to another party is beyond my control, and has no effect upon my happiness or self worth.
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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2017, 10:45:29 PM »
If I were the one getting the larger inheritance than my siblings, I would just split the money up equally after the parent had died, because I wouldn't feel right taking more.

Dicey

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #30 on: January 25, 2017, 10:49:51 PM »
Oh Spork, I am so sorry for your loss!

-----------

Both of my parents have recently passed away and we are still working on settling the estate. My parents set up a trust and everything is supposed you be divided equally. Problem is, their documents are so oversimplified that they are open to interpretation. During all this drama, I have been reflecting on the fact (Spoiler Alert: don't worry, this isn't the pity party it's going to seem to be at first.) that there is simply no way that things can ever be equal.

Hmmm, let's see, I paid for my own college, bought my own car and eventually my own home without parental assistance. I had cancer in my early twenties and moved back home for a few months while i underwent treatment. I had medical insurance, but paid my portion of the bills (20%, but boy, it added up) by myself. When I finally got married for the first time four years ago, we eloped, so no OOP to my parents. In fact, it was only after they were gone that I realized that they didn't send a wedding gift of any kind, even though they were thrilled with my choice of spouse, primarily because he fixed a lot of stuff for them, lol. I have no children, so no gifts to my kids or contributions to college or whatever. All of my other five sibs received the kinds of help I described, in varying amounts.

You know what? I am damn proud that I had the skill set and drive that I did not need their help. And I know they were proud of me. There is no way that the scales will ever balance perfectly. I am happy to be in a position where it simply does not matter. I know I can fend for myself, thanks to skills they taught me and my own tenacity. When I receive my "share", whatever it turns out to be, I think most of it will go to charity and to helping a couple of cousins that I wish my folks had remembered in their will.

Be happy that you know how to be successful without their help.  One of my sisters is going to fritter away all of "her share", and she has no other savings. She even stole money from them, thus lowering everyone's "share". I wouldn't change places with her for anything.

Life isn't fair, and no one is obligated to leave anyone anything. The sooner you realize this and understand that you can count on yourself to make your way in this world, the easier it will be to let go of the idea of equality. You're a mustachian, you really can figure it out on your own. You'll be fine, no matter what your parents/grandparents/any relative decides to do with their money.

I realize this is a me, me, my story, but I do hope it helps. Choosing bitterness is not a good way to go.
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Goldielocks

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2017, 11:53:53 PM »
I'm trying to put myself in that situation mentally - I have one sibling, so I would assume our parents would divide anything evenly. The only thing I could think of that would piss me off would be if my "half" involved a lot more work - like if she got an easy cash payout, but I had to sell property, do legal things, or whatever other hoops to get my share. I don't think amounts would really matter to me otherwise - unless my (currently healthy and not that old) parents were to die in the next five or six years, I should be long retired, with enough money to never need to work again, by the time I need to worry about that.

If the inheritance came from any extended family, I would never expect it to be equal - that would totally depend on the relationships.

How about this one --

Parents give inheritance to one kid now, while they are alive, and pay for 1/3 of her home.   She therefore has a much lower mortgage, and experiences huge capital appreciation as she lives in a major urban center.

To be "fair" parents put into will that the other sibling gets an equal dollar amount from the home that they own, when they pass, before any other amounts are divided between the two of them.  Of course, that amount is not subject to inflation for then next 20 years (assuming life span), but is just stated as a $ amount, the second kid does not get use of the money now when money is tight, but after retirement when they won't need it, etc.....

deborah

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2017, 01:09:45 AM »
The story of two great grand fathers. One left everything to his daughters - my grandfather got nothing - after my great grandfather had made my grandfather move back because he would inherit the family property. My grandfather never talked to the sister who actually inherited the property again.

The other great grandfather had dementia, and his youngest son got him to write a will leaving him everything. When great grandfather died, my grandfather and his sister took the will to court, and it took ten years for the case to go through. They never spoke to their brother again either.

In both cases, everyone ultimately lost. There is no point in even thinking about an inheritance, especially now, when people live well past their bank accounts.



neverrun

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2017, 08:33:07 AM »
What would you do if you knew your parents were planning on giving a vastly unequal inheritance between you and a sibling without any extenuating factors (ie, both siblings are equally able to work, no exorbitant medical expenses, no drug/alcohol/gambling habits)? What about if you knew that the grandparents were planning on giving one set of grandchildren significantly more financial assistance than your children? Would it change your current relationship with the parents/grandparents?

I fully acknowledge that one's assets are that person's to distribute however they choose, however I am disinclined to go out of my way to continue a relationship with parents (we live a considerable distance from family so traveling to see them takes a great deal of effort and comes at the expense of other travel we might like to do) who are planning an unequal inheritance, and I feel that it is setting my children up to be hurt. Thoughts?

So the only reason for your kids to see their grandparents is because they one day might get money?  The only way I fee your kids will be hurt would be if their grandparents told them they weren't interested in a relationship.  None of my Grandparents gave me an inheritance because there was nothing to inherit, it did not affect my relationship or disappoint me in the least.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2017, 08:59:39 AM »
"We live a considerable distance from family so traveling to see them takes a great deal of effort and comes at the expense of other travel we might like to do..."

WOW! Sounds like visiting/spending time with your parents is low on your priority list. "Great deal of effort?"  "Great deal of expense?"   Maybe they don't feel like they have much of a relationship with you/your children?  The others are maybe making more of an effort to share their lives with them?  How often do you/your children call them? Maybe you need to work a little harder at your relationship with them - not for the sake of the inheritance, but so that once they are gone, you don't have any regrets.

In the end, it's not your money. You have absolutely no entitlement to it. Zero!  If they want to leave it all to a non-profit organization, or all to the other sibling/grandchildren that's their business, not yours.

^ This! If this is how you feel, I bet it is showing. Whether the other sibling is financially irresponsible or not, it sounds like they feel closer to him/her. 

In my case, I have a twin sister and no other siblings. Growing up parents tried to be fair/equal with us but not everything worked out completely equal. I'd say I probably got more financials (as a kid). If they were to give us unequal inheritances (which is not really possible in my country of origin), I would be okay with it. I am sure they would have their reasons. But then again me and my sister do not have any animosity against each other.

Zikoris

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #35 on: January 26, 2017, 09:07:25 AM »
I'm trying to put myself in that situation mentally - I have one sibling, so I would assume our parents would divide anything evenly. The only thing I could think of that would piss me off would be if my "half" involved a lot more work - like if she got an easy cash payout, but I had to sell property, do legal things, or whatever other hoops to get my share. I don't think amounts would really matter to me otherwise - unless my (currently healthy and not that old) parents were to die in the next five or six years, I should be long retired, with enough money to never need to work again, by the time I need to worry about that.

If the inheritance came from any extended family, I would never expect it to be equal - that would totally depend on the relationships.

How about this one --

Parents give inheritance to one kid now, while they are alive, and pay for 1/3 of her home.   She therefore has a much lower mortgage, and experiences huge capital appreciation as she lives in a major urban center.

To be "fair" parents put into will that the other sibling gets an equal dollar amount from the home that they own, when they pass, before any other amounts are divided between the two of them.  Of course, that amount is not subject to inflation for then next 20 years (assuming life span), but is just stated as a $ amount, the second kid does not get use of the money now when money is tight, but after retirement when they won't need it, etc.....

I don't think it would even cross my mind to factor things like capital appreciation and inflation into deciding whether an inheritance was "fair". If I was in that exact situation, I'd probably think "cool! We each got $X!", dump it into my investments, and forget about it.
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redbird

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #36 on: January 26, 2017, 10:03:23 AM »
My parents are really poor. As in a few hundred dollars net worth at best (all in their crappy used car - they own no real estate and have no retirement or savings), but probably is more closer to zero. I am getting nothing, even if I was closer to them (I haven't spoken to them for years for various reasons).

My DH on the other hand actually will be getting some sort of inheritance. How much, we don't know. He does have a sister who has 2 children. We have zero children. Will there be an unequal inheritance for his situation? I don't know. Possibly. There's a chance his sister may get more, because she gave his parents grandkids. But there's also a chance he may get more, as his sister has likely pre-spent some of her inheritance over the years by not being an independent adult. I honestly don't know what she'll do when their parents pass on, as she can't seem to survive without leaning on them to varying degrees. We don't know what his parents will decide though.

I look at it this way - no one really "deserves" an inheritance. After all, this is money that you didn't earn. This is money your parents or other family members earned. If you get some, great. Unexpected bonus.
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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #37 on: January 26, 2017, 10:08:24 AM »
Pretend there is no inheritance, act according to the value of the personal relationship alone.

I like this approach.
+1

Pigeon

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2017, 10:34:48 AM »
What would you do if you knew your parents were planning on giving a vastly unequal inheritance between you and a sibling without any extenuating factors (ie, both siblings are equally able to work, no exorbitant medical expenses, no drug/alcohol/gambling habits)? What about if you knew that the grandparents were planning on giving one set of grandchildren significantly more financial assistance than your children? Would it change your current relationship with the parents/grandparents?

I fully acknowledge that one's assets are that person's to distribute however they choose, however I am disinclined to go out of my way to continue a relationship with parents (we live a considerable distance from family so traveling to see them takes a great deal of effort and comes at the expense of other travel we might like to do) who are planning an unequal inheritance, and I feel that it is setting my children up to be hurt. Thoughts?

So the only reason for your kids to see their grandparents is because they one day might get money?  The only way I fee your kids will be hurt would be if their grandparents told them they weren't interested in a relationship.  None of my Grandparents gave me an inheritance because there was nothing to inherit, it did not affect my relationship or disappoint me in the least.

I think there's a very different message conveyed when the deceased has no estate to leave as compared to the deceased having decided one child should receive an appreciably larger estate than the other.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2017, 11:17:09 AM by Pigeon »

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #39 on: January 26, 2017, 11:02:41 AM »
Not quite the same, but relatively pertinent:

My father died unexpectedly. He had a $60,000 whole life insurance policy that he'd taken out as part of his divorce agreement with my mother 25 years earlier. In the divorce agreement, it said that the life insurance policy was for the two children and when we reached age of majority, we would become the beneficiaries. But he never did the paperwork. So when he died, my mother got the money.

There was no mystery, everyone knew what the intention was for the policy, and it was printed in a legal document.

But my mother decided to keep it. She said she deserved it as payment for her unhappy marriage to him all those many years ago.

Everyone was confused - it seemed out of character for my mother to decide to essentially steal an inheritance from us. I remember asking her if she needed money, because I'd have been happy to give her some. But she didn't. She just wanted it. And she has some pretty ugly things to say about why she deserved that money.

It's not that losing the money hurt - I did not need an extra $30,000 - it was finding out how she felt and her willingness to make that decision. I was angry, but in the end, I mostly got over it. I didn't write my mother out of my life (although I did write her out of my will!). But my feelings for her have never rolled back to the time before I found out she was willing to keep $60,000 that ethically belonged to her children.

It's a nice thought to act as though there is no inheritance. But you can't unlearn what you know. You know that your parents like you less or think you're less deserving of an inheritance. That doesn't mean you have to confront them or decide to never see them again, but it makes sense that this will change the value of your personal relationship with them. You now know that they don't think as highly of you as you originally thought, and that's bound to change how you feel about them.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2017, 11:54:08 AM »
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this topic. When both of my parents pass, there will be no inheritance, no monies.
The problem is that my mother's only asset is an oversized house she got from the divorce. rather than sell, profit the excess, and downsize, she refused to move. And then allowed my unemployed brother to move in. She pays for everything for him while he drinks, smokes, watches premium cable, and when feels like it, trashes the house. My sister unfortunately moved in more recently (3, 4 years ago) and is sucked into the dysfunction. While she does work, she doesn't make enough to make a financial difference to their dire situation.

She has been using a heloc as an atm, as well as deferring maintenance and property taxes. At some point this is going to blow up when she can no longer pay the interest in the heloc and credit cards. When I visited last, I was trying to sort out her various options (none of which appeal to her). I mentioned, other than moving in briefly so she can find less expensive subsidized housing in my town, she couldn't move in with me. And she blew up, got very angry, said I was putting my own mother on the street etc. I brought this up because I was worried something, some unsaid fallback was in her mind which is why she seemed so OK with spending down all her money. 

One of the reasons I moved away is that I could not stand the dysfunctional relationship. I was OK with my siblings getting financial, housing assistance and me not, because well, then at least I couldn't get drawn into it. Now it sounds like her plan is to not take any advice, squander her money, and then depend on me. I don't feel this is fair to ask this of me.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2017, 11:57:37 AM by partgypsy »

partgypsy

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2017, 12:00:20 PM »
Not quite the same, but relatively pertinent:

My father died unexpectedly. He had a $60,000 whole life insurance policy that he'd taken out as part of his divorce agreement with my mother 25 years earlier. In the divorce agreement, it said that the life insurance policy was for the two children and when we reached age of majority, we would become the beneficiaries. But he never did the paperwork. So when he died, my mother got the money.

There was no mystery, everyone knew what the intention was for the policy, and it was printed in a legal document.

But my mother decided to keep it. She said she deserved it as payment for her unhappy marriage to him all those many years ago.

Everyone was confused - it seemed out of character for my mother to decide to essentially steal an inheritance from us. I remember asking her if she needed money, because I'd have been happy to give her some. But she didn't. She just wanted it. And she has some pretty ugly things to say about why she deserved that money.

It's not that losing the money hurt - I did not need an extra $30,000 - it was finding out how she felt and her willingness to make that decision. I was angry, but in the end, I mostly got over it. I didn't write my mother out of my life (although I did write her out of my will!). But my feelings for her have never rolled back to the time before I found out she was willing to keep $60,000 that ethically belonged to her children.

It's a nice thought to act as though there is no inheritance. But you can't unlearn what you know. You know that your parents like you less or think you're less deserving of an inheritance. That doesn't mean you have to confront them or decide to never see them again, but it makes sense that this will change the value of your personal relationship with them. You now know that they don't think as highly of you as you originally thought, and that's bound to change how you feel about them.

This happened in a small way with my Mom. She asked both me and my Dad for 10K, so she could pay for time so she could get a bigger retirement pension from her job. Basically 10K down would net her 15K in retirement benefits. She would then pay back the amount when she retired, as she was going to take it in a lump sum. I declined, my Dad helped her. After she got her retirement monies, she never paid back my Dad and basically said she deserved the money. 

galliver

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #42 on: January 26, 2017, 12:03:12 PM »
I feel like something was read into my comment that wasn't intended, so...two things.

1) You are allowed to feel hurt/angry/sad or whatever else you feel. No one can dictate that, and your parents actions were, as far as we know, unfair (extenuating circumstances, as others noted, would change that perception but according to you there aren't any.) However...
2) Your feelings don't have to drive your actions. Which doesn't mean you disregard everything negative that transpires, but that you look at the whole relationship and don't let one thing get in the way of the overall value (which, incidentally, is not dependent on any other relationship). You can be hurt and decide that acting hurt will get you nowhere, but not acting hurt will let your kids make cookies with grandma and fish with grandpa and learn about life before the Internet from them, and you'll get to enjoy the time you have left with them, too. And you can decide this is a better outcome than withdrawing and having less of them in your life. It's not even a tradeoff; it's not like you get additional inheritance either way.

Speaking of which, I'm confused how one can say "it's not about money!" and in the next breath say that unequal distribution of inheritance indicates unequal affection. Clearly, then,you think affection correlates with money! But ultimately, what does pulling away from the relationship communicate about this? It's either "I'm hurt and I want to hurt you back" which (need we even say this?) is juvenile and ridiculous, or it's "My affection needs to be bought" (alternately: "I will hold my affection hostage until you raise my inheritance.") which is also not (I hope) a message you want to send or communicate to anyone involved. Even if your action makes them reconsider their choice, it ruins your relationship to keep score like this. With the parents (?) and the sibling (?).

Finally, on a somewhat unrelated note, I always kind of hate seeing MMMers talk about being "punished for being responsible" etc. Are you being responsible so you can have independence, freedom, security, and the ability to take care of those you care about? Or are you doing it for a gold star and a prize?

Nick_Miller

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #43 on: January 26, 2017, 12:19:17 PM »
If there are no genuinely extenuating circumstances, like a disability, I think it's a pretty rotten thing for parents to do.  Maybe people have different definitions of extenuating. 

I have no expectations of inheriting anything from my father (mother is dead) as he needs it for his own care (95 and in a nursing home, private pay) and that's how it should be spent.  I know his will leaves things to his kids equally if there were anything.

But I think it sends a message to the kids that they really aren't loved equally.  If a  parent wants to send that message, that's obviously up to them.   But I don't know how it wouldn't be perceived as hurtful.  I imagine it would color the relationship, or the memory if you didn't find out until after they'd died.  As for what would I do about it if I knew?  Nothing overt, and I wouldn't bring it up, but it would change how I felt.

I guess I'm in the minority, but I agree with this.

I think parents should make it as even as possible, barring situations like addictions, extensive criminal histories, patterns of irresponsible behavior, etc.

How is it any different than parents giving unequally to their kids any other time? Why is an inheritance different? I mean, I wouldn't take my girls to the zoo and buy Daughter A a $25 stuffed koala and tell Daughter B, "you get nothing" or "you get a $.50 plastic necklace from the vending machine in the vestibule" unless there was a DAMN good reason to support such a decision (see paragraph above).

Kaspian

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #44 on: January 26, 2017, 12:19:51 PM »
My first two thoughts: 

1) Your kids should really, really know their grandparents no matter what.  And they should see them as often as possible.  Unless your folks are demons or gorgons, grandkids should have a relationship with their grandparents.  This is irrelevant of money.  Everyone gets to a certain age where they wish they had've known a deceased past relative better.  They could end up resentful towards you later in life if they feel they never got a proper chance and it was your fault. 

2) The importance of your sibling's relationship with you overrides any monetary inequality.  (Again--unless they're a troll.) They will (in theory) be around after your parents are gone.  Your kids should know their aunts, uncles, and cousins.  I didn't get to spend much time with my cousins growing up but wish I had.  We had a little reunion last summer and man, as adults they are great--and have amazing young adults of their own.  I now wish we had lived closer so I could watch them (my first cousins once removed?) grow up.

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Goldielocks

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #45 on: January 26, 2017, 12:23:57 PM »
I'm trying to put myself in that situation mentally - I have one sibling, so I would assume our parents would divide anything evenly. The only thing I could think of that would piss me off would be if my "half" involved a lot more work - like if she got an easy cash payout, but I had to sell property, do legal things, or whatever other hoops to get my share. I don't think amounts would really matter to me otherwise - unless my (currently healthy and not that old) parents were to die in the next five or six years, I should be long retired, with enough money to never need to work again, by the time I need to worry about that.

If the inheritance came from any extended family, I would never expect it to be equal - that would totally depend on the relationships.

How about this one --

Parents give inheritance to one kid now, while they are alive, and pay for 1/3 of her home.   She therefore has a much lower mortgage, and experiences huge capital appreciation as she lives in a major urban center.

To be "fair" parents put into will that the other sibling gets an equal dollar amount from the home that they own, when they pass, before any other amounts are divided between the two of them.  Of course, that amount is not subject to inflation for then next 20 years (assuming life span), but is just stated as a $ amount, the second kid does not get use of the money now when money is tight, but after retirement when they won't need it, etc.....

I don't think it would even cross my mind to factor things like capital appreciation and inflation into deciding whether an inheritance was "fair". If I was in that exact situation, I'd probably think "cool! We each got $X!", dump it into my investments, and forget about it.

Yeah,  I only think about it on this thread, I should stop  :-) .   

End of the day, sis had a townhouse in Burnaby bought for her in 2004.   $250k.    Inheritance (if any is remaining, we would prefer they spend it to live longer happier lives) would result in an "equal amount" of $250k coming to us in around 2040. (assuming they pass at age 90).   That Burnaby townhouse is now worth about $750k, and has lowered her monthly living costs dramatically while they were young (no interest).   By 2040 the townhouse may be worth $2 million (assuming only 3% per year appreciation from here on...)  Wow, first time I calculated that.   Usually I am just a bit envious of the $1000 per month less interest payment she has on home because of the gift, especially in months where money was very tight for us (e.g., the months where kids need braces or physio therapy).

At the end of the day, it is not our money, sis chose to marry a man with a slow life-long disease who may die young, I would not be a money dependent on my parents for the world (I would refuse the money anyway), etc.   We would really prefer parents spend the money on themselves....

Ack -- as another thread teased out -- the galling part is that no one acknowledges that it is an unfair balance.  It is not about the money, but about the relationships...  They keep stating how equal it is, and smiling proudly and expecting us to be grateful that they worked it out so well.   I had to ask them to stop talking about it and just put money where they want, because I choked a bit (inside) every time I heard it.

LOL   

moof

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #46 on: January 26, 2017, 12:27:24 PM »
I expect no inheritance, nor do I have the expectation of one.  Hopefully my step-dad will enjoy his modest nest egg and manage not to be a financial burden in his old age.

Were there much inheritance coming I would expect my perfectly abled brother would get more than me.  He has not been as successful, and has gotten a lot of help over the years with subsidized rent and private school tuition for his kids due to his sob stories (can't handle having a boss, can't see eye to eye with his kids' teachers, etc).  In this world being responsible and not being a squeeky wheel results in less $$$.  Whatever, I have a great life with a good health, a wonderful wife, a great kid, and a fantastic financial situation.  Why should I complain?

Frankly if your parents are advertising what the inheritance will be without giving a lot of reasons behind it, they are being jerks, or being passive aggressive.

Goldielocks

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #47 on: January 26, 2017, 12:30:37 PM »
Finally, on a somewhat unrelated note, I always kind of hate seeing MMMers talk about being "punished for being responsible" etc. Are you being responsible so you can have independence, freedom, security, and the ability to take care of those you care about? Or are you doing it for a gold star and a prize?

Oh,  I like gold stars and prizes, especially from my family.  It make me feel great.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #48 on: January 26, 2017, 12:39:15 PM »
I'd like to think that I wouldn't mind, but I'd probably have to grapple with the why question for some time. Not that I'm expecting things won't be split nearly evenly.

My father likes to say he plans to die a pauper, but having an inkling of an idea about how much my parents have (lots) and how much they spend (little), there's no way that's going to happen unless the old man loosens his purse strings considerably. I'm not counting on anything, though. They get to use it as they see fit. If I had to bet, I'd bet there will be one, but I hope they live well past the point where it would make any difference to me.

rpr

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #49 on: January 26, 2017, 12:55:37 PM »
Here's a different and positive story.

The only daughter took wonderful care of her parents as she stayed nearby. The brothers lived much further away and did not even put in 1% of the effort. The daughter rightfully deserved to inherit a larger fraction or perhaps the entire amount. However, she was aware that if this were to pass, it could create friction especially among her sisters-in-law. She and her husband ensured that the inheritance was equally divided among all siblings.