PDA

View Full Version : My sister is trying to cheat me out of parents estate. What to do?


rostfrei
01-02-2008, 07:19 PM
First of all, my parents are alive and well and will (hopefully live for many years to come), so this isn't a dire issue.

My sister has always been a very selfish person when it comes to money. I remember when we were in our early teens, we went to the State Fair with my family. While there, we saw our aunt and uncle, who gave my sister a 20 dollar bill and said to share it with me. Well, later when I asked my sister about it, she casually said she'd lost the money. Being naive, I believed her. I now know that she pocketed the entire 20 bucks.

The above story is to let everyone know of the type of person she was and is to this day. My sister is a wonderful person in every way, except when it comes to money.

I called my sister over the holidays and we were chatting about everyday life. She mentioned my dads 100 acres of land and we discussed one day having it. My sister said "I'll probably get everything of mom and dads when they go", "you haven't been around to help them in their old age and I have, so I deserve it". Granted, I am 2,000 miles away, so I can't just hop on a plane to come help them with things. However my mom and dad are not invalids at all. My dad is only 70 years old and still drives everywhere and even has a part time job. My mom is 63 and has a full time job.

Anyway, I didn't know what to say to her after this statement.

Now, my sister is the type of person who will go to my mom and dad and 'strongly' suggest that they leave her everything and I want to make sure this doesn't happen. Once I calm down, I'm going to call her back and have a serious discussion with her.

My question for my fellow dopers: Would a will be legal (in Missouri) if only one child was given the entire estate. Is there anything I can do to stop her from doing this? I know that (when the time comes) I could take her to court, but what would my chances be?? A will is a will. Anyone have any similar experiences?

Eric

Giraffe
01-02-2008, 07:25 PM
Don't talk to your sister, talk to your parents. They need to have a will, drawn up by a lawyer, that specifically outlines what they want to happen to their estate when they die. If your sister is able to convince them to leave everything to her then I don't think there's anything you can do about it. (Or should, IMO. They're adults and can leave their stuff to whomever they want.)

Shagnasty
01-02-2008, 07:27 PM
This type of thing is very common. Oddly enough, your sister isn't at fault except for being obnoxious and petty. The real responsibility lies with your parents and their will(s). They need to get an attorney to explain the conventions and the impacts weighed against their own judgment. Not having a will is extremely irresponsible and detrimental to the family's stability after a parent passes. Once your parents have a solid will in place, you can just let your sister babble all she wants because it won't get her far.

Plan B
01-02-2008, 07:33 PM
I definitely agree that it's time to talk to your parents. Probably you should tell them what your sister said and ask them what their intentions are. Also ask them if they have any problems with you and how much you've been or not been around.

And keep this dialogue going. You don't know what she'll come up with next year. Your best protection is open communication with them.

I wonder if there should be another post about sneaky tricks that people have used to take all of the inheritence.

Maastricht
01-02-2008, 07:36 PM
I'd like to add that many elderly parents are extremely reluctant to draw up wills when it comes to a division of estate planning between siblings. Twenty years ago I often visited my grandma in the nursing home. She had no will, and I foresaw a huge and ugly battle coming up between her three daughters, who all three of them are like the OP's sister. I told Grandma she could save her kids a lot of fights if she arranged her affairs formally, in whatever way she liked, as long as she arranged anything. Anything. I pointed out she could keep her arrangements a secret, but that she needed to arrange something.
She, a rather passive lady, never did. After she died, her three daughters had the proverbial Estate Divide From Hell and a fall-out that lasted three years.

So, on preview: what Shagnasty said.

Chotii
01-02-2008, 07:45 PM
I've seen it done. That particular individual has managed to get all the money from the wealthy father's estate, on the basis that his female siblings had all "married good men" so they didn't need the money. If they didn't need it because their husbands are good men...and he *does* "need" it, one wonders what he thinks that makes him. Anyway. It makes for horrible estrangements. Horrible.

I hope your parents will communicate about this with you.

Bearflag70
01-02-2008, 07:54 PM
I can briefly tell you about one case I worked on. A brother lived in town and a sister lived out of town. They were arguing over a trust after their mom died.

Mom had dementia before she died. Each kid was arguing separately with mom about who gets what and dragging her to separate attorneys to draft modifications so each would get their way upon her death.

This all came about when the sister came into town, stumbled onto some docs, and discovered that the brother had mom sign 100% over to him. Sister confronted mom and asked if that is what she had intended. Mom said no and that everything should be 50-50. So in came a new attorney.

The sister was trying to get everything back to a 50-50 split. Everyone was arguing over mental capacity, undue influence, etc. The brother argued that mom wanted him to have 100% because the sister had moved away and was not there for mom in her autumn days.

The case settled with the brother getting somewhat more than 50-50.

Joey P
01-02-2008, 08:17 PM
I'd like to add that many elderly parents are extremely reluctant to draw up wills when it comes to a division of estate planning between siblings. Twenty years ago I often visited my grandma in the nursing home. She had no will, and I foresaw a huge and ugly battle coming up between her three daughters, who all three of them are like the OP's sister. I told Grandma she could save her kids a lot of fights if she arranged her affairs formally, in whatever way she liked, as long as she arranged anything. Anything. I pointed out she could keep her arrangements a secret, but that she needed to arrange something.
She, a rather passive lady, never did. After she died, her three daughters had the proverbial Estate Divide From Hell and a fall-out that lasted three years.

So, on preview: what Shagnasty said.

A friend of mine's grandfather is rather wealthy, she guestimates him to be worth over $20 million. He's got properties all over Minnesota, a few very well off businesses, and some partnerships with at least one of his son-in-laws. He didn't have a will until recently. Like you they all approched him one day and told him that he HAS to have a will or the family will be torn apart emotionally and legally when he dies. They told him they don't care how it's split up, even if he wants to leave it all to one person but he has to do something, anything.

So, OP, tell your parents to get a will, don't tell them how to split anything up*, just tell them they need to do it. Then, like others have said, sis can say whatever she wants and it won't matter.

*If they ask your advice, maybe you should go and have a sitdown with your parents and your sister and discuss it then.

Swallowed My Cellphone
01-02-2008, 08:34 PM
No worries, just make sure she pre-deceases you and your parents.



What?

Manda JO
01-02-2008, 08:43 PM
A will isn't perfect protection, either: she can still sue, and even if it's a lousy case, it's an expensive PITA to deal with. I'd decide now how important this estate is to you--if push comes to shove, is your half worth more to you than your peace of mind and your relationship with your sister? There is no right answer to that question, but you need to know your own answer.

Dinsdale
01-02-2008, 08:45 PM
Don't talk to your sister, talk to your parents. They need to have a will, drawn up by a lawyer, that specifically outlines what they want to happen to their estate when they die. If your sister is able to convince them to leave everything to her then I don't think there's anything you can do about it. (Or should, IMO. They're adults and can leave their stuff to whomever they want.)

Actually, wouldn't the OP be fine if they died intestate, in which case she would get 1/2 per stirpes?

Sure, there is no problem with bringing the topic up with the folks, but some aging parents get pissed about raising such topics. But I usually feel if you are uncertain about how to proceed, you can generally do worse than going with honesty.

And it sucks that it is so common for children to fight and strategize over what they see as their future interest in their parents' property. Very, very common.

Unless you and your parents are estranged, I suspect it would be very unusual for them to completely disinherit one of 2 siblings. So make your concerns known to them, and then do your best to put it out of your mind, while you enjoy the time you have left with your folks as best you can.

Count Blucher
01-02-2008, 08:59 PM
Best two clauses in any will:

1) Estate is to be divided evenly.

2) Any attempt to contest this will negates eligibility as a beneficiary therein.
(This is a great clause for loud relatives with cheap attorneys or vice versa)

Cat Whisperer
01-02-2008, 09:00 PM
The first thing that strikes me about your OP is that if your sister IS helping your parents with their day-to-day lives, she probably *does* deserve more of the estate than you do, rostfrei.

My second comment would be to echo what everyone else has said about family estrangements over wills/estates. When my dad died, he didn't leave anything but a mess and a lot of debt; my sisters and I have what I thought were good relationships, and we still managed to get a lot of bitterness out of his death.

Third, talk to your parents. There have been some excellent suggestions here on how to broach it already.

Fourth, if your sister does manage to get everything, as bitter a pill to swallow as that would be, you haven't lost anything, because nothing was yours to start with. Your parents could give everything away to a cat shelter if they wanted to.

The Controvert
01-02-2008, 09:05 PM
I still think having a will is the best way to go. That way, probate can be avoided and some financial planning now could save on estate taxes later. Otherwise, the sister could tie everything up in courts for years and good lawyers are expensive.

Caffeine.addict
01-02-2008, 09:07 PM
Yeah, if Dad dies intestate, then sis only get half. Intestate succession is usually pretty clearly defined.

Some of the nastiest cases I ever saw were estate cases. Just because there is a will and/or a trust doesn't mean that it won't be fought over. I would say that estate cases are just as acrimonious as divorce cases if not more so.

One thing to note is that the cost of defending the lawsuit can come out of the estate so the executor/administrator can pay their bills from the estate and it comes off the top.

Some of the easiest estates I have seen were cases where the person died intestate. The law is usually pretty clear on how things are divided and once it was divided up and the proper paperwork was submitted, everything was peachy.

Note- your mileage can and will vary by state.

Dinsdale
01-02-2008, 09:15 PM
Fourth, if your sister does manage to get everything, as bitter a pill to swallow as that would be, you haven't lost anything, because nothing was yours to start with. Your parents could give everything away to a cat shelter if they wanted to.

This is REALLY good advice.

Muffin
01-02-2008, 09:24 PM
While you are at it, see if your parents will draw up Powers of Attorney that at least put you on jointly with your sister, so that she can not transfer assets over to herself in you parent's later years.

Dinsdale
01-02-2008, 09:24 PM
You know, it might be a good idea as an adult child to talk to your parents and ask if they had done any estate planning Not necessarily for you, but to provide for themselves and minimize taxes whatever they want to do with their assets.

I know the tax laws have changed somewhat over the past decade, but it used to be that at a certain point, perhaps the most sensible thing for parents to do was get into the habit of giving away large sums of money to their kids and grandkids on a regular basis!

I mentioned estate planning to my parents as they were aging. Didn't care if they cave it to us or charity, but didn't see why they wanted so much to go to the government. When they refused to consider a will, I told them to never again complain about paying too much in taxes wile they were alive. When my mom died, my dad saw the error of their ways pretty quickly.

Airman Doors, USAF
01-02-2008, 09:26 PM
If there is anything of significance to you that you feel you must have, talk to your parents now. Most are willing to accommodate.

As for the rest, do yourself a favor and don't concern yourself with it. If you get something, great. If not, well, it's not like you're losing out on anything. When my parents die I don't care if they leave me nothing. It would certainly be a nice gesture, but I have no right to expect it so I put it out of my mind. So should you.

Campion
01-02-2008, 11:52 PM
What Dinsdale said, particularly the "per stirpes" comment. I personally don't have a will because I know what my state's intestacy laws are. If I die without a will, my parents get all my stuff, because I have no spouse and no kids, and I'm okay with that.

One point of clarification:
I still think having a will is the best way to go. That way, probate can be avoided and some financial planning now could save on estate taxes later. Having a will doesn't avoid probate in the U.S. A will is probated, just as the estate of someone who dies without a will is probated. One avoids probate through the use of something called a trust, and particularly a revocable living trust.

RickJay
01-03-2008, 07:18 AM
The first thing that strikes me about your OP is that if your sister IS helping your parents with their day-to-day lives, she probably *does* deserve more of the estate than you do, rostfrei.
I'm not sure I see the logic here. Is a will supposed to be some kind of post-hoc payment for services rendered? Should my sister and I be keeping careful tabs on exactly how much we do for our parents now? If you do stuff for your parents you're supposed to be doing it because they're your parents, not because you expect to get some lucre out of the deal.

I can see your point if one child actually suspends their career and is taking care of their parents full time, and therefore has their financial security at stake, but that is clearly, unquestionably not the case as stated in the OP; the parents are taking care of themselves.

Dangerosa
01-03-2008, 08:15 AM
I'm not sure I see the logic here. Is a will supposed to be some kind of post-hoc payment for services rendered? Should my sister and I be keeping careful tabs on exactly how much we do for our parents now? If you do stuff for your parents you're supposed to be doing it because they're your parents, not because you expect to get some lucre out of the deal.

I can see your point if one child actually suspends their career and is taking care of their parents full time, and therefore has their financial security at stake, but that is clearly, unquestionably not the case as stated in the OP; the parents are taking care of themselves.


The sister may be projecting a few years from now and realizing the Mom won't be driving herself to the grocery store much longer and that rostfrei is 2000 miles away.

When my grandmother passed on, there wasn't much of an "estate" left and five children - but enough that everyone got a few grand - and the family that had done most of the work in terms of paying her bills for her, getting her to the hairdressers, etc. got a bit more. That side of the family also has some "who needs it most" leanings - so the well off grandkids didn't see anything - the struggling grandkids (three of them) got slipped $1000. There wasn't a will - there was a trust - so the trust assets were distributed with a little more flexibility than had a will been in place.

Zebra
01-03-2008, 09:38 AM
Take your mom to see a performance of King Lear.

Cat Whisperer
01-03-2008, 09:46 AM
I'm not sure I see the logic here. Is a will supposed to be some kind of post-hoc payment for services rendered? <snip>
It can be. Like Dangerosa said, the parents are old and getting older, and they're probably one broken hip away from being far less mobile and able to take care of themselves. The reality in most families is that the adult children the physically closest to older parents do get a lion's share of the caretaking duties, and I have no problem with a will reflecting that. No, you don't look after your parents because you expect to get 3/4 of the estate, but if I was an adult child who *didn't* look after an older parent, and I had a sister who did, I would expect her to inherit more, and I would be fine with it. Her time and effort looking after our mutual parent would be worth a lot to me.

I can also see the logic of the will not reflecting who did more later years caretaking. I guess it would depend on the family involved, and how they view things like that.

Shirley Ujest
01-03-2008, 09:55 AM
The following is an actual conversation between Shirley Ujest and her Mother whilst driving the car somewhere. I am driving.


Mom: When I die, you will be coming into alot of money.

Me {thinking} Her idea if alot of money is 10,000. My idea of alot of money is ten million. And I know ten million she ain't got. ( Outloud): I don't care mom. Spend it all. Enjoy yourself, you deserve it.

Mom: (ignoring me) :That is unless I linger in a nursing home and it eats away at the estate.

Me: (motioning to push her out of the moving car.) Well, let me help you out.



If I find out when my mom dies according to her it is any day now, unless, of course she lingers. that she is loaded, I will be gobsmacked.

Desert Nomad
01-03-2008, 10:12 AM
They need a will, but more importantly, a trust to avoid probate. They can set one of you up as the trustee (or co-trustees), but you'll both have access to view the trust document so there is transparency.

Dangerosa
01-03-2008, 10:22 AM
Her time and effort looking after our mutual parent would be worth a lot to me.


I think its also worthwhile to recognize that even if you really love your parents - caring for them as they age is like caring for your own children - you may want to do it - you may love them and feel that its your responsibility to do it, you may do it willingly and gladly, but you make sacrifices to do it. No one has unlimited resources of time and money - and taking Mom to the grocery store on Saturday means your are missing a soccer game for your kid, or an afternoon at the movies with your girlfriends. And there are the little expenses the quickly add up "I'll bring over some lightbulbs mom and get all them changed for you." "I'll just pick you up some of that when I'm out" - just the gas isn't free.

Its easy for the child several hours away not to see these little sacrifices - or understand that when added up this can be a significant committment. "What?, its just picking up extra at the store and swinging by Mom's to drop it off." Week after week after week - when the grocery bill is tight and you have nine minutes between soccer and dance and haven't managed to see your husband in two days.

My mother in law - who has recently been ill but who has been in great shape previously - has two sons. Brainiac4 and his brother. For years his brother lived out of state. Which means for years it fell on me and Brainiac4 to make sure that she had somewhere to be on holidays. This is really a simple sort of thing - she can drive herself, she has her own friends, she is a very independant (and very cool) lady - but being with family on holidays is important to her - and we were the family that was in town. Which meant I was sacrificing time with my own parents - because his brother decided to live out of state. It would never occur to his brother that this was even happening - it would probably be beyond him to project from "Brainac4 is spending Thanksgiving with Mom again" to "That means Dangerosa isn't spending Thanksgiving with her parents" to "I bet that is a sacrifice for Dangerosa." For the last couple of years of this arrangement, both my own sisters lived out of state - so now we have that responsibility for two sets (but my parents have other family in town - my aunts and uncles - so juggling my own family was a little easier.)

Now, none of this needs to be reflected in the will (my mother in law doesn't have much, I'm expecting that when she does pass we aren't going to be getting significant assets - but likely boxes and boxes of buttons) - we are doing it because we care about her. But it doesn't seem to me like a will needs to be divided right down the middle. Fair does not always mean equal.

StGermain
01-03-2008, 10:40 AM
Speaking as the one behind taking care of the aging parent - it isn't easy. My mother seems to forget that, although she's sitting around her house everyday watching Judge Judy and FoxNews, I'm working. And those couple days off on the weekend, I might have something I want to do. But she expects me to come and take her shopping, or help take down the Christmas tree, or help because she's invited my three young nephews to decorate Christmas cookies, but she doesn't have the energy to keep up with 3 under-8 boys, or just sit around her house watching TV with her. So she's just sure I'll be thrilled to help out. And I do it, because someone has to. She'd like me to stop at her house every day after work, just to spend some time with her. In the end it comes down to me coming a couple days a week, and one day on the weekends. She doesn't seem to see that she's imposing - she was a housewife most of her life. Those siblings that see her once or twice a year, or every other month, have no idea how much energy that sort of constant attention can drain from you.

I'm not expecting a larger portion of her estate. But I did tell her that if she wanted me to be the executor, she would have to talk to each kid and explain what the will entailed. I told her I didn't want to be made the bad guy when it came time to divide her estate, and that losing my siblings because of fights about money on top of losing her would be rotten.

StG

enipla
01-03-2008, 11:11 AM
I have sort of the opposite problem. I live 100 miles away from my Mom, my brother only 6 or 7 miles. But he has abandoned/disowned her over petty bullshit.

All help now falls on my shoulders.

Heís still in the will. I guess it is my Momís way of saying that while he has abandoned her she was able to forgive and forget.

Sarahfeena
01-03-2008, 11:47 AM
If your parents have all their faculties, and it sounds like they do, I'm not sure it could be considered "cheating" you out of an inheritance if your sister can convince them to leave everything to her. I think that if your parents are that easily swayed, the problem is with them, not with her. Personally, I wouldn't be opposed to one of my siblings being compensated for being a caregiver, but depending on how much your parents' estate is worth, I doubt she would be entitled to the whole thing unless she was doing MAJOR caregiving, like if one of your parents was bedridden and living at her house, for instance. If I recall correctly from when my husband's parents died, his brother was paid something out of the estate before it was split up (he had arranged the in-home health care, bought the groceries, etc. for a year or so). If I were you, I would try to have a family meeting to talk about the whole thing with all concerned.

Every time I think of it, I thank god that my in-laws had a nice, ironclad 50/50 trust for their two sons. As it was, there was acrimony over stupid things like funeral arrangements and disposing of the household items. If they had to figure out how to split up the money, too, I can't imagine what would have happened.

glee
01-03-2008, 11:55 AM
I'm sorry that greed is spoiling family relationships.

A couple of examples from my own family:

- when a great-aunt died, my Dad was executor. Although the will clearly specified what went to whom, he was besieged with requests that people be given extra valuables (even those relatives who had never contacted the deceased for years) :rolleyes:

- my parents made clear wills and even though they died soon after each other, the lawyer was able to sort everything out.

Zoe
01-04-2008, 07:37 AM
Until I was in my mid-forties, my parents made every effort to keep things balanced between my sister and me. If one of us got something, the other got the same or something of equal value.

After my father died, this practice ended abruptly. That was a rude awakening for me.

PunditLisa
01-04-2008, 04:10 PM
Count me in as one of those people who believe that the sibling who takes care of Mom and/or Dad deserve to be compensated somehow, preferably while the parents are still alive (e.g a monthly or annual stipend). Taking care of an aging parent is akin to have a newborn except it's even harder to find a babysitter.

That doesn't mean that other children should not get anything. They most certainly should. But an even split? No. When you offer to take care of Mom 182 days of the year, then sure.

The King of Soup
01-04-2008, 11:28 PM
I'm not sure whether the prize for money-centered thinking goes to the fourteen-year-old girl who pocketed $20 meant to be shared, or to the adult who still resents it a couple of decades later. What is clear is that they're both spending too much time coveting someone else's money. They're hardly alone, but that merely gives them company.

To me, it's an odd sense of fairness that speaks of compensation for caring for parents in their old age. Apparently, a lot more people changed their own diapers as infants, and expect to do so again in their dotage, than I imagined.

rostfrei, if you really need the money, why not ask your parents for it now, when they can enjoy the feeling of helping their child one more time? Better yet, have them make it a loan. The debt will be an asset of their estate, and when your sister tries to collect, you can claim you lost the money at the fair, and the balance of the universe will be restored. And then she can sue you.

Of course, if you don't need it, you should examine why thoughts of it are threatening to poison your relationship with your sister and your parents.

Trust me, every parent is familiar with the child's idea of fairness: whatever she gets, I get one too, wherever he goes, so too go I, and weigh the ice cream while you're at it. There may be parents who are willing to put up with that foolishness forever, but I haven't met them. Most, I think, hope that by adulthood at the latest the kids will have stopped trying to measure their parents' love, at least by such crude and venal means.

DrDeth
01-05-2008, 04:16 AM
Fourth, if your sister does manage to get everything, as bitter a pill to swallow as that would be, you haven't lost anything, because nothing was yours to start with. Your parents could give everything away to a cat shelter if they wanted to.

It's better if they spend it all, and enjoy their last years to the fullest. I told my dad to do this. Pretty much, he did. Fine by me, his money, not mine.

You can also avoid probate by leaving next to nothing. :D

GingerOfTheNorth
01-05-2008, 09:52 AM
My parents have made me their executor. I expect several petty bullshit arguments with one sister and my two brothers. My sister (the others are steps) probably won't give a shit. This is my mom and step-dad.

My dad and step-mom, however - jeeesh. That'll suck. I have three steps who are pretty much useless. I sure hope Dad's got a will. I don't want anything from him, but I want to make sure they don't cheat my sister.

Campion
01-05-2008, 11:50 AM
In my trusts and estates class in law school, the profs were practicing attorneys who worked generally on very large estates. They said that in their experience, it was never the siblings that caused problems when the parents died; it was the siblings' spouses who fought over things.

In my family, I don't anticipate any problems with fighting when my parents go. They've been open about their estate plan, and have been equitable (not even-handed, but equitable) about helping their kids out. For example, they paid my living expenses while I was in law school; they gave my sister a down payment for her first house; they've helped one brother with a condo purchase and are helping another brother with a house purchase. The amounts have all been different, but it's been what we need when we need it.

And as for their estate plan, I reviewed it after their lawyer drafted it. I figured out a loophole I could use to cheat others out of their share, and showed it to my parents. They had the lawyer close the loop, so I think even if I wanted to, I couldn't divide their estate inequitably.

Caffeine.addict
01-05-2008, 12:05 PM
I've had the fortune or misfortune, I can't decide which it is, to have worked on a few estate litigation cases and in my experience it is usually always the siblings. My take seems to be that screwed up families make for screwed up probate fights.

The fights usually seem to be about how things are divided. One case had a well put together estate plan but one sibling was complaining that her half was put in trust with a corporate fiduciary. Granted, having met that sibling, I don't blame mom for doing that.

My parent's estate will be a mess I suspect. They own three properties in a foreign country and have bank accounts in at least two countries. At least there is only one heir.

Cat Whisperer
01-05-2008, 02:40 PM
It's better if they spend it all, and enjoy their last years to the fullest. I told my dad to do this. Pretty much, he did. Fine by me, his money, not mine.
<snip>
That is an excellent point. I think I will mention this to my mom - encourage her to take whatever money she has and make sure SHE enjoys it, without a thought for leaving something for us. Maybe I'll email her some world cruise brochures. :D

Cat Whisperer
01-05-2008, 02:56 PM
<snip>To me, it's an odd sense of fairness that speaks of compensation for caring for parents in their old age. Apparently, a lot more people changed their own diapers as infants, and expect to do so again in their dotage, than I imagined.<snip>
I think you're over-simplifying here. I had a long post composed, but it occurred to me that this is probably a whole topic, so I've opened another thread on it here (http://208.100.26.199/sdmb/showthread.php?p=9335962#post9335962).

MizTina
01-05-2008, 04:22 PM
Another country heard from. According to a lawyer I had dealings with, it's more likely that whichever parent dies first will leave everything to the surviving spouse. And if surviving spouse is capable, they will be the executor of the estate. If not, there will be another executor named to fufill the terms of the will. The assigned executor is also allowed to take a reasonable payment for the work involved.

Then it is incumbent upon the assigned executor if need be, to disperse of any items not assigned to family members or friends in the best fashion as to increase the monies available for the surviving spouse. The surviving spouse can of course delegate items or money as they see fit.

All monies left will go to the surviving spouse as needed for day to day living, future care, assisted living, etc. Then it is common for the surviving spouse to make their will where it will benefit other surviving family members. And here's the big if.. if there is any money, items or estate left afterwards.

There is usually a provision made for dispersal of money and items real and personal should both parents die at the same time.

It might not happen this way, just be prepared. But it is nice to know that the surviving parent would be taken care of for as long as possible.

Rubystreak
01-05-2008, 06:01 PM
My question for my fellow dopers: Would a will be legal (in Missouri) if only one child was given the entire estate.

Found this out when writing my will/PoA/living will thingie after getting married last year: In NY it is legal to disinherit a child. You can fight it if you're not explicitly excluded, because you can claim that you were accidentally disinherited, but if the will was written to state flat-out that you don't get anything... you're SOL. Don't know about Missouri, though.

I don't feel entitled to any of my dad's money. I wish he'd spend it all on himself but he won't. Every time I come home for a holiday, he shows me where his will is, where his lawyer's # is, and reassures me (even though I don't ask) that the split between my brother and me is totally even. I hope that means the whole thing will not involve bickering over my dad's money. It seems so morbid and wrong to fight over money that's not yours, that's supposed to be a gift from the person who died. YMMV, esp. if you don't really like your sister.

Muffin
01-05-2008, 07:15 PM
. . . it's more likely that whichever parent dies first will leave everything to the surviving spouse.
. . . .
All monies left will go to the surviving spouse as needed for day to day living, future care, assisted living, etc.
Actually, what you have described confuses two very different approaches.

The first, leaving everything to the surviving spouse, means that whatever is left of the bequest when the surviving spouse dies goes to whomever is in her will.

The second, leaving a life interest (e.g. funds for day to day living, etc.) to the surviving spouse, means that whatever is left of the bequest when the survivng spouse dies goes as set out in the pre-deceased's will.

For example, let's say you have a child with Mr. Deep Pockets. He dies. In his will he leaves everything to you, and if you are dead, then everything to your daughter. You then marry Mr. Sponge. You make a will that leaves everything to him. You die. He gets whatever is left of your inheritance from Mr. Deep Pockets, and your daughter sucks eggs.

Now let's change the scenario. Mr. Deep Pockets dies, but in his will he does not leave everything to you, but instead leaves you a life interest in everything to you, and if you are dead, then everything to your daughter. You then marry Mr. Sponge, and have a very nice lifestyle thanks to the money coming from Mr. Deep Pocket's estate. You make a will that leaves everything to Mr. Sponge, but when you die, he does not get whatever is left of Mr. Deep Pockets' estate. In this scenario, whatever is left of Mr. Deep Pockets' estate after you die goes to your daughter, and Mr. Sponge sucks eggs.

Caffeine.addict
01-05-2008, 07:45 PM
What Muffin is describing could be done with a trust. You put everything in trust with daughter getting the income of it and then at daughter's death, it goes to grandchild.

I know that it is perfectly legal to disinherit a child in Virginia. I would tell someone to make it explicit in the will or trust just to avoid them claiming that they was unintentionally omitted.

Boyo Jim
01-05-2008, 08:18 PM
Actually, wouldn't the OP be fine if they died intestate, in which case she would get 1/2 per stirpes?

Sure, there is no problem with bringing the topic up with the folks, but some aging parents get pissed about raising such topics. But I usually feel if you are uncertain about how to proceed, you can generally do worse than going with honesty.

And it sucks that it is so common for children to fight and strategize over what they see as their future interest in their parents' property. Very, very common.

Unless you and your parents are estranged, I suspect it would be very unusual for them to completely disinherit one of 2 siblings. So make your concerns known to them, and then do your best to put it out of your mind, while you enjoy the time you have left with your folks as best you can.

That's what I was thinking, but IANALawyer. Wills can be challenged -- I'm not sure the same is true when an estate is divided automatically by law. I know that in Illinois the kids all get an equal share in that case, as it happened to me.

So I would say talk to a lawyer who has expertise in the state where your parents reside. It might actually be better for the OP if there ISN'T a will, assiming she's happy with a 50-50 split, and the assets are pretty basic.

Triskadecamus
01-06-2008, 02:27 AM
My mother left everything to her children, appointing my eldest sister to be executor, and giving her authority to apportion the estate in any way she saw fit. None of my siblings, nor I paid any attention to the matter at all, except that we did jointly decide to sell the major art pieces, since none of us could afford to take our share as a single art object, and pay the difference to the estate. (almost as much as the houses, those paintings.) It's two years later, and there are no hard feelings at all, except my eldest sister is very pissed off at the lawyer, who sent her bills for a full year afterwards. (We gave her back enough to pay those.)

I just wanted to assure folks that it can work out reasonably. (Yeah, Okay, I really only wanted to brag on my family, so sue me.)

:p

Tris

nofloyd
01-06-2008, 08:08 AM
When my dad was ill, we arranged a power of attorney and a will (I'm executor).

He has children from a previous marriage that he doesn't see. (Unfair for them, it's a weird mindset, he feels not entitled/obligated to be a part of their lives after the divorce. Complete opposite of how it is now.)

His estate goes to the children of the final marriage with a statement - "Due to reasons I deem clear and sufficient, I am not leaving anything to children of other marriage" - something to that effect.

All moot anyway, probably only thing left will be debt.

----------

The care has been trickier. For years I was the one helping him out. And the time needed and responsibility has slowly increased over the years. I moved farther out recently and now my sister is closer.

Her financial situation is more precarious, so we decided to pay her for housekeeping/care services up front and she quit a second job. Every month I write her a check from my dad's account for housekeeping. This way no one's writing themselves checks from his account.

Northern Piper
01-06-2008, 10:48 AM
2) Any attempt to contest this will negates eligibility as a beneficiary therein.
(This is a great clause for loud relatives with cheap attorneys or vice versa)
We discussed this type of clause in this thread: How hard is it for a party to contest a will and win? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=440717).

EddyTeddyFreddy
01-06-2008, 12:08 PM
I just wanted to assure folks that it can work out reasonably. (Yeah, Okay, I really only wanted to brag on my family, so sue me.)

:p

Tris Me too! Me too! :D

About a year before my mom died, we four kids (two living locally, two out of state) got together and discussed everything. We had a general idea that whatever mom would leave under her will was divided equally with adjustments for how she'd helped us over the years. My younger brother was her fiduciary at that point, had been taking care of her finances for a few years. We all agreed he'd go on with that duty (a hassle for him) and no one would question his handling of the money (a safe bet as he's excruciatingly honest).

Mom died in October, of sound mind to the end, with all of us at her bedside in her last few days. In the last weeks of her life she was happily insisting to us that we take whatever of her possessions we fancied. None of us fought over anything, beyond insisting "Are you sure you don't want that? Do you want this?" et cetera. Her will left uneven amounts, and as it happened, I got a higher percentage than I thought I should. My fiduciary brother (who got the smallest percentage) had to persuade me to accept it, by pointing out how mom's lifetime contributions to my siblings made that fair. I pushed back enough to make fiduciary brother take some of the moolah from me to compensate him for one point of unfairness I saw. The other two were fine with that.

The only fight I foresee will be making sure fiduciary brother takes a large enough fee as executor of mom's estate. We keep telling him to take the same amount as the attorney's fee. He doesn't think he should take that much. We continue to nag. ;)

DrDeth
01-06-2008, 01:10 PM
"A will is a tug of war with a dead mans guts as the rope". Rex Stout, I think.

cheatedbykids
08-16-2012, 06:42 PM
Quite recently my ex husband died. He was a dead beat dad, rarely saw my children. Not to mention left us with no money and did not pay support. The state and the IRS pursued him for money but didn't do it for years. Many years passed and my children grew into adulthood. I sacraficed so much to educate them, rare them and give all that I could with great financial risk to myself. Well you can imagine what happend at the time of my ex husband's death. The children were sole hiers. I asked them for a portion of the estate that I felt I was entitle to. Guess what I found out, a few of my children had a price to sell out their mother. Not only that, their excuse was that I didn't do that much or not enough.Talk about being slapped twice in the heart. Can you imagine that,the mother that gave them birth and never let them down was worth nothing. So my best advise is do not trust a family member who is evasive about the estate, file a suit and get a lawyer to keep everyone honest. I will never recover from this. Never in my wildest dreams would I think a child of mine would cheat their mother. Talk to you parents with an honest lawyer present and have it taped. what is also important is the executor of the will. A great deal of control there. Good luck!

Robot Arm
08-16-2012, 07:03 PM
I asked them for a portion of the estate that I felt I was entitle to.If you wanted alimony or child support from your ex-husband, you should have pursued it while you were alive. What you're entitled to from his estate is what's written in the will.

I'm currently in the process of executing my mother's estate; there's just my brother and I, and a few gifts to charities. Her father (my grandfather) died about ten years ago; I received something, but he'd had a disagreement with my brother and did not leave him anything. My mother tried to make up for that in her will be leaving her house to my brother and splitting everything else. The house is easily twice what I got ten years ago.

Let it go. My brother has been bitter for a decade, and despite coming out ahead he shows every indication of continuing to be bitter. I wish my mom had been more willing to talk about these sorts of things while she was alive, but I know I'm not owed anything. I'm grateful for the time we had, that she was responsible enough to save and have something to leave behind, and for teaching me the same.

Boyo Jim
08-16-2012, 07:25 PM
Quite recently my ex husband died. He was a dead beat dad, rarely saw my children. Not to mention left us with no money and did not pay support. The state and the IRS pursued him for money but didn't do it for years. Many years passed and my children grew into adulthood. I sacraficed so much to educate them, rare them and give all that I could with great financial risk to myself. Well you can imagine what happend at the time of my ex husband's death. The children were sole hiers. I asked them for a portion of the estate that I felt I was entitle to. Guess what I found out, a few of my children had a price to sell out their mother. Not only that, their excuse was that I didn't do that much or not enough.Talk about being slapped twice in the heart. Can you imagine that,the mother that gave them birth and never let them down was worth nothing. So my best advise is do not trust a family member who is evasive about the estate, file a suit and get a lawyer to keep everyone honest. I will never recover from this. Never in my wildest dreams would I think a child of mine would cheat their mother. Talk to you parents with an honest lawyer present and have it taped. what is also important is the executor of the will. A great deal of control there. Good luck!

Did he leave a will? If not, then the law specifies how the estate is divided among heirs. If the law does not consider you an heir, then you are not entitled inherit a portion of the estate. In fact, if one of the children was the executor of the estate, they could not give you a share even if they wanted to, as it would be in violation of the law and in violation of their duty as administrator of the estate.

The way you CAN get money from the estate is to be a creditor -- someone the estate owes money to. Creditors have to be paid off first, and whatever is left is then distributed among the heirs. You should talk to a layer about how to establish a claim against the estate.

But it sounds like you never made a claim against the estate, and just asked your kids to give you some of their shares after the money was distributed. If they said no, it might make them bad people, but they cannot be considered "cheating" in any way shape or form.

By the way -- I agree with the "get a lawyer" part if you feel an estate is being mismanaged or you are being cheated. And FYI, my cousin is now suing his sister, on behalf of their mother, for money the sister allegedly stole from their father's estate. My brother is the legal guardian of his mother (who is mentally ill), and his sister is administering his estate. My uncle left no will, so the bulk of the estate should have gone straight to his wife, but the daughter (allegedly) decided to just write herself out a check.

~Olive~
08-16-2012, 07:28 PM
I wouldn't begin to talk to my parents about their estate. It is not my business.

Boyo Jim
08-16-2012, 07:44 PM
I wouldn't begin to talk to my parents about their estate. It is not my business.

Actually, it is. At least it might be, and almost certainly will be if you are an only child. At the very least, there will be expenses related to a funeral and burial that the family will have to come up with very quickly and with little or no notice. Do you have enough money in an account to unexpectedly lay out $5,000 or more in those circumstances? My dad's funeral (about 10 years ago) was about $7,000. Fortunately, he put his childrens' names on several of his accounts so we could cover the expenses without having to wait until getting a lawyer and opening an estate through the court system.

Maybe your parents are still relatively young and this isn't a concern of yours right now. But accidents happen, as little as we want to think about them.

Rachellelogram
08-16-2012, 08:17 PM
Never in my wildest dreams would I think a child of mine would cheat their mother. Talk to you parents with an honest lawyer present and have it taped. what is also important is the executor of the will. A great deal of control there. Good luck!
How much back support did he owe you? You shouldn't have asked your kids for a portion of their money, you should have put it through as a separate claim against the estate. That way, you get paid before their inheritance is calculated.

Of course, this only applies if you had court-ordered support. I assume you did?

Fuzzy Dunlop
08-16-2012, 08:29 PM
Actually, it is. At least it might be, and almost certainly will be if you are an only child. At the very least, there will be expenses related to a funeral and burial that the family will have to come up with very quickly and with little or no notice. Do you have enough money in an account to unexpectedly lay out $5,000 or more in those circumstances? My dad's funeral (about 10 years ago) was about $7,000. Fortunately, he put his childrens' names on several of his accounts so we could cover the expenses without having to wait until getting a lawyer and opening an estate through the court system.


It would be better to have a lawyer prepare a power of attorney and bring a copy to the bank in advance. You'll still have the ability to control the account but you'll be on record as acting as your parent's legal agent, not a co-owner of the account. If you co-own the account you extend your personal liability, however small, to your parent's assets.

Boyo Jim
08-16-2012, 08:42 PM
It would be better to have a lawyer prepare a power of attorney and bring a copy to the bank in advance. You'll still have the ability to control the account but you'll be on record as acting as your parent's legal agent, not a co-owner of the account. If you co-own the account you extend your personal liability, however small, to your parent's assets.

I'm sure there are lots of better ways to do it, but it was the only preparation my father was willing to make. He didn't leave a will. Neither did my uncle. My sister managed our dad's estate, and I managed my uncle's estate. We think it was probably easier to administer the estates without a will, as the law is crystal clear about how the assets are to be divvied up, and we didn't have to worry about fulfilling a bunch of bewildering stipulations. If you want to screw somebody among your heirs, or add someone or something to a list of recipients who wouldn't otherwise inherit, THEN you need a will.

ioioio
08-16-2012, 08:44 PM
The way my siblings and I got the parents to make a will and set up POAs was that we all went to a lawyer at the same time, and we all had wills and POAs done. Sibling spouses were included as well. With everyone participating, it was easier than expected, and now it's done.

We also spent some time discussing advanced directives.

Fuzzy Dunlop
08-16-2012, 09:13 PM
I'm sure there are lots of better ways to do it, but it was the only preparation my father was willing to make. He didn't leave a will. Neither did my uncle. My sister managed our dad's estate, and I managed my uncle's estate. We think it was probably easier to administer the estates without a will, as the law is crystal clear about how the assets are to be divvied up, and we didn't have to worry about fulfilling a bunch of bewildering stipulations. If you want to screw somebody among your heirs, or add someone or something to a list of recipients who wouldn't otherwise inherit, THEN you need a will.

I didn't mean to come off like I was lecturing you, especially since your father has already passed away. I just meant to share a best practice on something I don't think most would think of.

Kind of an amusing story - when I went off to college, my dad and I went to our bank and opened my first checking account. It was a joint account in both our names. It worked perfectly find until one day the state dept. of children and youth froze my checking account and took all my money and gave it to my mom.

My dad was in arrears on child support he owed my mom, ironically child support for me. They found MY money that I scrimped and saved for and took it, because from their point of view it was his money... his name was on the account.

astro
08-16-2012, 09:48 PM
I didn't mean to come off like I was lecturing you, especially since your father has already passed away. I just meant to share a best practice on something I don't think most would think of.

Kind of an amusing story - when I went off to college, my dad and I went to our bank and opened my first checking account. It was a joint account in both our names. It worked perfectly find until one day the state dept. of children and youth froze my checking account and took all my money and gave it to my mom.

My dad was in arrears on child support he owed my mom, ironically child support for me. They found MY money that I scrimped and saved for and took it, because from their point of view it was his money... his name was on the account.

So... did your mother give it back to you?

Boyo Jim
08-16-2012, 09:52 PM
I didn't mean to come off like I was lecturing you, especially since your father has already passed away. I just meant to share a best practice on something I don't think most would think of.

Kind of an amusing story - when I went off to college, my dad and I went to our bank and opened my first checking account. It was a joint account in both our names. It worked perfectly find until one day the state dept. of children and youth froze my checking account and took all my money and gave it to my mom.

My dad was in arrears on child support he owed my mom, ironically child support for me. They found MY money that I scrimped and saved for and took it, because from their point of view it was his money... his name was on the account.

And I didn't mean to come off as if I thought you were lecturing me. ;) Though maybe I could have used one at the time -- if either of us had known that could happen, probably neither of us would wanted both our names on the same accounts. Fortunately it all worked out -- except for the part about him dying.

And yeah, did your mom give the money back?

astro
08-16-2012, 09:58 PM
Quite recently my ex husband died. He was a dead beat dad, rarely saw my children. Not to mention left us with no money and did not pay support. The state and the IRS pursued him for money but didn't do it for years. Many years passed and my children grew into adulthood. I sacraficed so much to educate them, rare them and give all that I could with great financial risk to myself. Well you can imagine what happend at the time of my ex husband's death. The children were sole hiers. I asked them for a portion of the estate that I felt I was entitle to. Guess what I found out, a few of my children had a price to sell out their mother. Not only that, their excuse was that I didn't do that much or not enough.Talk about being slapped twice in the heart. Can you imagine that,the mother that gave them birth and never let them down was worth nothing. So my best advise is do not trust a family member who is evasive about the estate, file a suit and get a lawyer to keep everyone honest. I will never recover from this. Never in my wildest dreams would I think a child of mine would cheat their mother. Talk to you parents with an honest lawyer present and have it taped. what is also important is the executor of the will. A great deal of control there. Good luck!

Nobody cheated you out of anything. This fantasy that they did is all in your own head. No decent parent sacrifices for their children with the expectation that there is some kind of bill due at some point in the future.

The fact that you expected your kids to pony up out of their inheritance for what you feel you were shortchanged by your ex while raising is absurd. Literally absurd. Your sense of entitlement is astounding, and now you've broken your family into pieces over your grabbiness. You need to apologize to your kids for putting them on the spot with your awful guilt tripping.

Rachellelogram
08-16-2012, 10:08 PM
Nobody cheated you out of anything. This fantasy that they did is all in your own head. No decent parent sacrifices for their children with the expectation that there is some kind of bill due at some point in the future.

The fact that you expected your kids to pony up out of their inheritance for what you feel you were shortchanged by your ex while raising is absurd. Literally absurd. Your sense of entitlement is astounding, and now you've broken your family into pieces over your grabbiness. You need to apologize to your kids for putting them on the spot with your awful guilt tripping.
Her attitude is pretty heinous, yes, but she IS owed back support before the kids get their inheritance. If she didn't get a lawyer, that's her fault though.

Fuzzy Dunlop
08-16-2012, 10:57 PM
And yeah, did your mom give the money back?

Her lawyer had to get the children and youth dept to give it back, but yeah I got it back pretty quickly.

Coincident to cheatedbykids's concerns, I did eventually effectively pay off my own and my sibling's child support.

My mom had a judgement against my dad for back child support. My dad was sick and insolvent, but owned real estate that was not only worth a considerable amount but we had owned for a long time. It grew over time but the original piece of the farm has been in the family since the 1750s.

We wanted to transfer the property to us kids as advance estate planning. My mom was willing to go along and drop her lien in the interest of seeing her kids get to keep the property. Until it came out that my dad wanted to give my half sister an equal share long with me and my whole siblings, which upset my whole siblings and my mother.

So she backed out and said she wouldn't give up her lien unless he did his inheritance how she and my siblings wanted... 14 years after they were divorced. Legally she had every right to insist on her lien being paid off but she knew it was really putting me in a bind - basically legal extortion.

I don't like people pushing around my poor sick father so bought one of his houses from him at fair value and we used the cash to pay off my child support. I got a house out of the deal, albeit one I would have inherited someday... so it wasn't all that terrible. It's a better story if I just say that I paid my own child support.

astro
08-16-2012, 11:41 PM
Her lawyer had to get the children and youth dept to give it back, but yeah I got it back pretty quickly.

Coincident to cheatedbykids's concerns, I did eventually effectively pay off my own and my sibling's child support.

My mom had a judgement against my dad for back child support. My dad was sick and insolvent, but owned real estate that was not only worth a considerable amount but we had owned for a long time. It grew over time but the original piece of the farm has been in the family since the 1750s.

We wanted to transfer the property to us kids as advance estate planning. My mom was willing to go along and drop her lien in the interest of seeing her kids get to keep the property. Until it came out that my dad wanted to give my half sister an equal share long with me and my whole siblings, which upset my whole siblings and my mother.

So she backed out and said she wouldn't give up her lien unless he did his inheritance how she and my siblings wanted... 14 years after they were divorced. Legally she had every right to insist on her lien being paid off but she knew it was really putting me in a bind - basically legal extortion.

I don't like people pushing around my poor sick father so bought one of his houses from him at fair value and we used the cash to pay off my child support. I got a house out of the deal, albeit one I would have inherited someday... so it wasn't all that terrible. It's a better story if I just say that I paid my own child support.

This is like a Republic serial!

So what did your dad ultimately do re the dispositions of his estate once the threat of the lien was lifted?

Fuzzy Dunlop
08-17-2012, 12:07 AM
This is like a Republic serial!

So what did your dad ultimately do re the dispositions of his estate once the threat of the lien was lifted?

After all was said and done he decided to exclude my little sister and now I control and manage the property for myself and my whole-siblings. There's no family besides us kids and he really didn`t even have friends so I tried really hard to be supportive even though I was clearly an interested party. By the time this happened my dad had mild dementia and in his prime he was a pushover.

He's still alive actually, but with severe dementia and usually doesn't recognize me. So I use the income from the properties to pay for his care and it's not much different than it was when we started.

It was a very unpleasant experience. The argument in favor of excluding my little sister was that she "didn't really help out with dad or the farm". Except that 1) none of my other siblings helped besides me either and 2) she was five at the time. At least my other siblings were adults and should've been helping.

aww... now I went and made myself sad about it all. :(

6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast
08-17-2012, 01:31 AM
You only thing you're entitled to, rostfrei, is what is left to you (usually) in the Will of the remaining parent.

And don't kid yourself that you have a 'better' attitude to money than your sister - here you are procuring anonymous advice in regard to shoring up your future dead man's dough, when all you have to do is speak with your capable and functioning parents.

Thanks DrDeth. No truer words spoken.

Nava
08-17-2012, 03:50 AM
It would be better to have a lawyer prepare a power of attorney and bring a copy to the bank in advance. You'll still have the ability to control the account but you'll be on record as acting as your parent's legal agent, not a co-owner of the account. If you co-own the account you extend your personal liability, however small, to your parent's assets.

That depends on the location, like any other legal subject: I'm registered in my mother's accounts as a "sub-signatary", not co-signatary. This means I'm not liable for any debts, but I can freeze the accounts with only her CoD, rather than nobody having the ability to access the movements or freeze them until the whole inheritance process is finished. Location: Navarre, Spain.

cheatedbykids, that's not your heart, it's your wallet.

Maastricht
08-17-2012, 04:36 AM
If the law is that clear about dividing liquid assets, maybe a will isn't necessary. Unless the parent wants to "reward"one kid more for extra care. But, as said upthread, that is better done while alive, for everyone's sake, and to pay less tax.

But aren't the meanest fights after a parents death about things? My mom and her sisters have quarreled their whole lives, and I'm sorry to have to say it, but my mom is the most self-centered and pettiest of the three sisters.

Grandma's antique clock after her death? Cause of the dirtiest fight I've witnessed outside a cage.
My grandmothers silver figurines? My aunt had taken them, and while visiting, my mom made such a scene that her brother-in-law picked her up by her collar and literally pushed her out the door.

Now that I write this down, I actually wonder if anything my grandmother had written down about who was to have what, could have prevented any of this ugliness. Maybe, as said upthread, screwed up sibling relationships will inevitably lead to screwed-up scenes after the parent's deaths.
So in hindsight, maybe what I regarded as my grandmothers passiveness in not wanting to arrange anything, was partly her knowing that it wouldn't do any good anyway.

Nava
08-17-2012, 04:53 AM
Now that I write this down, I actually wonder if anything my grandmother had written down about who was to have what, could have prevented any of this ugliness. Maybe, as said upthread, screwed up sibling relationships will inevitably lead to screwed-up scenes after the parent's deaths.
So in hindsight, maybe what I regarded as my grandmothers passiveness in not wanting to arrange anything, was partly her knowing that it wouldn't do any good anyway.

After her mother died, my aunt tried to grab everything she could, including some things which weren't even available because Grandma had gifted them in life. Any time someone refused her with clear arguments, she backed up real fast. One of the arguments was about some jewelry: traditionally that would have gone to my aunt as the only daughter, but it was jewelry from a great-aunt who was one of my uncle's godmother so he claimed it... if Grandma had bothered specify who was getting those particular pieces, or give them in life, the mess would have stopped as soon as it started (as it did with the trunk or the jewelry she gave to me). Every family's mileage will vary, of course.

Maastricht
08-17-2012, 05:46 AM
Any time someone refused her with clear arguments, she backed up real fast. .. if Grandma had bothered specify who was getting those particular pieces, or give them in life, the mess would have stopped as soon as it started.By "backed up real fast"(I didn't know the expression)you mean that your aunt gave in, or that she came up with counter arguments why she should have it?

Nava
08-17-2012, 06:12 AM
Gave in, no further fighting. Example:

"I understand you have grandfather's trunk"
"Yes, I do, why?"
"I'd like it."
"Well, your mother gave it to me and it was her father's. Would you like me to make a will and put you in it as its heir? Because over my dead body is about the only way anybody is getting it."
"Oh. No, sorry, I hadn't realized you valued it."
"Nah, I've dragged it across the Atlantic twice because I don't like it :p Pass the salad?"

ETA: I'm at home right now, so that poor, battered, 110ish-yo trunk is now about 90cm from me :D

FairyChatMom
08-17-2012, 07:05 AM
Forty years ago, my paternal grandmother died, and to this day, I remember my dad commenting about the youngest of his 3 sisters who essentially ransacked her mother's possessions and took all the choice pieces. It was especially striking because she was the best off of the three sisters while the eldest was barely scraping by. I lost a lot of respect for that aunt because of her greed.

My husband and I had to push his folks hard to make wills. It's not that they're wealthy by any means, but my father in law has made some beautiful furniture over the years and we didn't want to see the three brothers fighting over who got what. There is also concern about the youngest brother who has severe enough mental issues that he can't live alone and would speed thru any inheritance he got with no thought of the future. Anyway, we know they have wills and we know the middle brother is the executor. So that's great.

My dad has been gone 10 years, and my mom is 78. Because Dad was a planner, they both had wills and I do know my brother is Mom's executor. I think the plan for allocating personal items is a round-robin of taking turns picking things. And Mom has been giving things away for years, partly to declutter, partly, I'm sure, to preclude estate battles. Honestly, I can't think of any things of hers that I really want, altho there's one small painting that all 5 of us would like to have and I have no hope of getting it. My brother is a good and honest man, so I'm not at all worried about anything with him as executor.

And my husband and I have only one child - easy-peasy.

Cicero
08-17-2012, 07:24 AM
BTW, I see Nava referred to the OP- this thread is a zombie (just in case posters weren't aware).

I even see Featherlou who now goes by a different name. I suppose the name doesn't change in quotes.

Manda JO
08-17-2012, 07:25 AM
Nobody cheated you out of anything. This fantasy that they did is all in your own head. No decent parent sacrifices for their children with the expectation that there is some kind of bill due at some point in the future.

The fact that you expected your kids to pony up out of their inheritance for what you feel you were shortchanged by your ex while raising is absurd. Literally absurd. Your sense of entitlement is astounding, and now you've broken your family into pieces over your grabbiness. You need to apologize to your kids for putting them on the spot with your awful guilt tripping.

I think it depends on their relative circumstances today. If the kids are doing well because of college educations that their mom paid for and she has zero assets and is now living hand-to-mouth on nothing but a meager social security check, and they took their inheritance and bought a boat, then yes, I think it'd be ok to feel outraged. But if everyone is in a"basic needs comfortably met" place and the kids wanted to put the inheritance towards their own kids' college funds or something, then the mom's off base. I mean, our kids don't owe us anything for their care, but we do have an obligation to our parents.

ETA: If it's "real money" and the mom is really poor, then I think the right thing to do would be to keep it in whatever form it is in, let mom have the interest while she is alive, and then after her death, divide it among the siblings.

Nava
08-17-2012, 07:31 AM
BTW, I see Nava referred to the OP- this thread is a zombie (just in case posters weren't aware).

No I didn't: I referred to the re-OP. No references to the original OP.

Cicero
08-17-2012, 07:38 AM
Apologies- wrong poster. It was 6Impossiblethingsbeforebreakfast.

(You just wanted to make me type that didn't you?) :)

Lynn Bodoni
08-17-2012, 10:01 AM
About a year and a half ago, my father looked over his will, made sure everything was OK, and got my mother's will taken care of as well. She has Alzheimer's. He died in December.

My brother and sister and I have been agreeable when it's come to picking out stuff from the family home...our mother will never be able to live on her own, so we are just taking the sentimental stuff, no drama. When Mama was in her right mind, more or less, she gave both my sister and me various pieces of jewelry, and our brother got a car. However, my sister and I have swapped some of the jewelry, as Sissy's birthstone is diamond, and mine is sapphire. Sissy loves diamonds, and Mama gave me her first engagement ring which had 7 diamonds in it, and Sissy got a couple of rings with blue topazes in them and a matching bracelet. I gave Sissy the ring with the diamonds, and the story behind it, and she gave me the blue topaz set. The topazes aren't sapphires, but I like them better than diamonds.

It's POSSIBLE to be civil. However, my mother and her sisters got into several very nasty fights when their parents died, mostly because my grandmother would promise each sister that she was getting the silver, or the grandfather clock, or whatever. Grandma delighted in setting one sister against the others, even in her later years. So I've seen some nasty fights, too.

SmellMyWort
08-17-2012, 10:22 AM
Quite recently my ex husband died. He was a dead beat dad, rarely saw my children. Not to mention left us with no money and did not pay support. The state and the IRS pursued him for money but didn't do it for years. Many years passed and my children grew into adulthood. I sacraficed so much to educate them, rare them and give all that I could with great financial risk to myself. Well you can imagine what happend at the time of my ex husband's death. The children were sole hiers. I asked them for a portion of the estate that I felt I was entitle to. Guess what I found out, a few of my children had a price to sell out their mother. Not only that, their excuse was that I didn't do that much or not enough.Talk about being slapped twice in the heart. Can you imagine that,the mother that gave them birth and never let them down was worth nothing. So my best advise is do not trust a family member who is evasive about the estate, file a suit and get a lawyer to keep everyone honest. I will never recover from this. Never in my wildest dreams would I think a child of mine would cheat their mother. Talk to you parents with an honest lawyer present and have it taped. what is also important is the executor of the will. A great deal of control there. Good luck!

Seems like a tacky request, to me. Did you at least wait until after the funeral to start begging your kids for money?

Dendarii Dame
08-17-2012, 11:14 AM
Just another post to agree that wills don't always prevent family fights. I used to teach at a school with two cousins who were best friends. Then a grandparent died, and although there was a will, neither set of the cousins' parents considered it fair. So both sets of parents told the school that the teachers were to make sure that their daughters never spoke to each other while they were on school property. The principal said, "Oh, sure, absolutely we'll comply with that." And the parents believed him, which is the only funny part of this story.

I also remember a Judge Judy or People's Court years back in which two siblings were fighting over a pair of lamps which hadn't been mentioned in their mother's will. The judge asked if they couldn't just each take one. Both refused.

Omar Little
08-17-2012, 11:23 AM
If you wanted alimony or child support from your ex-husband, you should have pursued it while you were alive.

I wasn't aware that cheatedbykids was posting from the grave. If that's the case it is very difficult to find an attorney that will take your case. ;)

Kimballkid
08-17-2012, 11:38 AM
Hey zombies need legal representation too!!

ratatoskK
08-17-2012, 02:41 PM
I haven't read all the replies, but I agree that you should gently raise the subject with your parents and mention what your sister said. Make it clear to them that whatever THEY decide is fine (i.e. you are not trying to start trouble or ask for money) as long as it's documented.

Also, FYI, I was involved (third-hand) with something where the grandfather died and left things to his wife. She had never managed money and eventually became somewhat loopy (although we didn't realize how loopy until she passed away), and another relative convinced her to cut my rather out of the will. This could have been avoided had my grandfather put everything in a trust instead of directly to his wife.

Robot Arm
08-17-2012, 02:57 PM
I wasn't aware that cheatedbykids was posting from the grave. If that's the case it is very difficult to find an attorney that will take your case. ;)Yeah, I saw that when I came back to the thread, but it was too late to edit. Was hoping it would go unnoticed.

But someone is reading my posts. Hooray!

ioioio
08-17-2012, 04:29 PM
This thread was opened by rostfrei in January 2008. rostrei hasn't logged on since March 2012. So, at this point, there's little reason to advise on the sister issue.

The thread was resurrected by cheatedbykids on 08/16/2012, also her registration date.

6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast
08-17-2012, 08:04 PM
Apologies- wrong poster. It was 6Impossiblethingsbeforebreakfast.

(You just wanted to make me type that didn't you?) :)

:smack: and :D

I thought cheatedbykids posts were just the whiney ones...!

Curiosity Kills Her
08-17-2012, 10:22 PM
Yeah, I saw that when I came back to the thread, but it was too late to edit. Was hoping it would go unnoticed.

But someone is reading my posts. Hooray!

I think most of us were just pretending we didn't see the error to help you save face. But since Omar Little has called you out...

*POINTS*

phxjcc
08-18-2012, 09:33 PM
It would be better to have a lawyer prepare a power of attorney and bring a copy to the bank in advance. You'll still have the ability to control the account but you'll be on record as acting as your parent's legal agent, not a co-owner of the account. If you co-own the account you extend your personal liability, however small, to your parent's assets.

Fuzzy:
I have heard this argument made by family lawyers to me repeatedly. To me, personally, it matters as I am at the end of a bloodline with one surviving parent and no surviving spouses nor children nor surviving relatives of any kind whatsoever [well maybe 3rd cousins (parent's brother's's great-grandchildren) that I don't know about].

This is just the de facto way it has been done in my family for 2 generations. No will, just put the heir's name on the accounts. Changing the ways of an 89 YO parent is going to be extremely difficult--turtles through peanut butter difficult.

So is having ones name on the assets of one's parent's financial assets REALLY that big of a liability?

Thank you.

doreen
08-18-2012, 10:46 PM
Fuzzy:
I have heard this argument made by family lawyers to me repeatedly. To me, personally, it matters as I am at the end of a bloodline with one surviving parent and no surviving spouses nor children nor surviving relatives of any kind whatsoever [well maybe 3rd cousins (parent's brother's's great-grandchildren) that I don't know about].

This is just the de facto way it has been done in my family for 2 generations. No will, just put the heir's name on the accounts. Changing the ways of an 89 YO parent is going to be extremely difficult--turtles through peanut butter difficult.

So is having ones name on the assets of one's parent's financial assets REALLY that big of a liability?



Having your name on the account doesn't create a liability to you. What Fuzzy Dunlop means is that if you owe someone money and they obtain a judgement against you, that person can attach your parent's account if you are a co-owner , and therefore your parent's assets are exposed to your liability.It's the reverse of what Fuzzy posted earlier:

Originally Posted by Fuzzy Dunlop
My dad was in arrears on child support he owed my mom, ironically child support for me. They found MY money that I scrimped and saved for and took it, because from their point of view it was his money... his name was on the account.

If you're talking about a small account so you can handle your parent's day to day expenses for them, that's one thing. Adding your name as co-owner to accounts containing the bulk of their assets is another.

LurkerInNJ
08-19-2012, 12:38 PM
Never in my wildest dreams would I think a child of mine would cheat their mother.

The estate owed the debt. Every so often you have to reaffirm a judgment with the state, perhaps every 20 years or so. A local lawyer could have advised you on how to protect your interest. Debts are taken from an estate first, then whatever is left is distributed to the heirs.

Yes, he should have paid you child support all those years and it was very very very wrong of him not to do so, but why on earth did you not take the steps necessary to protect your future interests? And now your failure to act is your children's fault???

Fuzzy Dunlop
08-19-2012, 05:03 PM
Having your name on the account doesn't create a liability to you. What Fuzzy Dunlop means is that if you owe someone money and they obtain a judgement against you, that person can attach your parent's account if you are a co-owner , and therefore your parent's assets are exposed to your liability.It's the reverse of what Fuzzy posted earlier:

Yes my example was definitely the opposite of what I was originally posting about. I didn't have any actual examples of times I screwed over my parents. :p


If you're talking about a small account so you can handle your parent's day to day expenses for them, that's one thing. Adding your name as co-owner to accounts containing the bulk of their assets is another.

I agree that having your name on a checking account with a small balance isn't that big a deal. I guess I'm just very fastidious. I like that every single thing I do is in Fuzzy Dunlop's Dad's name and signed for by Fuzzy Dunlop under power of attorney.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
08-19-2012, 05:05 PM
I made my will, & left everything to charity, & had an old friend as executor.

Fuzzy Dunlop
08-19-2012, 05:32 PM
Fuzzy:
I have heard this argument made by family lawyers to me repeatedly. To me, personally, it matters as I am at the end of a bloodline with one surviving parent and no surviving spouses nor children nor surviving relatives of any kind whatsoever [well maybe 3rd cousins (parent's brother's's great-grandchildren) that I don't know about].

This is just the de facto way it has been done in my family for 2 generations. No will, just put the heir's name on the accounts. Changing the ways of an 89 YO parent is going to be extremely difficult--turtles through peanut butter difficult.


I talk to other people with the "just put him on it" approach to estate planning and what makes me nervous is I have no idea what it actually means to be put on something.

I understand that if I inherit assets from an estate there's a large estate tax exclusion (that changes year to year). I understand that if someone gives me an asset there's a annual gift tax exclusion before the giver is subject to gift tax. But I have no idea what it means to be "put on" something.

And nobody ever seems to say "let's put him on it and then tell our accountant so he can prepare our taxes properly" It's always "let's put him on and not even consider if there are tax consequences."

phxjcc
08-19-2012, 05:38 PM
Thank you for your answer.

jackdavinci
08-19-2012, 06:42 PM
I think it's odd that this thread seems to be assuming they will die at the same time.

Another important consideration - convince them to have a premeet with a funeral home to take care of all the arrangements and costs involved with a funeral and grave. These things are ridiculously expensive.

They should also plan for things like end of life health costs and DNR sorts of decisions.

ceilidh
08-20-2012, 02:58 PM
An acquaintance of mine is dealing with a situation where his sister took 3/4 of the estate after their parents' death instead of 1/3 that the will said she should have. The amount of money she took that she wasn't supposed to was around a quarter of a million dollars. Her brothers talked to a lawyer, and now the sister is going to go to jail for awhile, and her house will be sold to help pay back the money she took.

Basically, I think you need to keep an eye on things, and if when your parents pass away it looks fishy, go to a lawyer for help. I really hope that everything goes well for you.

perfectparanoia
08-20-2012, 03:43 PM
It's a running joke in our family that my parents are supposed to die with just enough money to bury them. They have a will and we are working on their funeral arrangements (they have a plot but the cemetary has changed hands so much, we are having trouble tracking them down).

I still remember when my grandpa died. My grandmother was still alive and yet all my cousins were asking what their share was. Ummm, the money goes to grandma, you idiots.

Luckily, my grandparents knew how greedy some in the family were. They made sure to give away anything with real or sentimental value before they were gone.

I didn't get any money when they passed away but even if I had gotten everything, I would have given it all back just to have them still here.

GreenElf
08-22-2012, 02:19 AM
Take your mom to see a performance of King Lear.

:D

Ellen Cherry
08-22-2012, 06:41 AM
While you are at it, see if your parents will draw up Powers of Attorney that at least put you on jointly with your sister, so that she can not transfer assets over to herself in you parent's later years.

This happens. In-town sibling with POA and suddenly there are no CDs that Mom had put in each kid's name. Siblings can suck when it comes to money. Some people seem to equate it with love.

Fuzzy Dunlop
08-22-2012, 09:51 AM
This happens. In-town sibling with POA and suddenly there are no CDs that Mom had put in each kid's name. Siblings can suck when it comes to money. Some people seem to equate it with love.

The downside of this is it effectively negates the purpose of granting one of your children PoA to act on your behalf if needed.

My father is relatively stable and living in an assisted living facility and I still sign for him under PoA at least a dozen times a month (mostly checks). The last time things were turbulent and he went from the hospital to a rehab hospital to skilled nursing to assisted living over the span of a few months I had to sign easily hundreds of times. If I needed even 1 sibling hundreds of miles away to sign everything I would have gone insane and my dad would have suffered for the massive inconvenience.

Personally I send my siblings periodic financial statements so they know what money has gone where. I'm not sure they even read them but they have the option.