How much money should I leave my kids?

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Doubleeagle4me
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How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by Doubleeagle4me » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:01 pm

Would like to plan on leaving my kids an inheritance. Am able to leave them a significant amount
But think it might do them more harm than good. Ideas?

MN Finance
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by MN Finance » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:06 pm

Are you looking for actual advice??

LK2012
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by LK2012 » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:07 pm

I guess that depends on you and your kids, how you raised them, and your relationship.

Personally, I can't imagine how leaving money to people I love could do actual harm.

If anything, especially in these times, it would be a gift that would give them some breathing room and some security. It would offer freedom, and assets to help with health, safety, education, and exploration of the world in the future.

But if you think they would be wasteful and irresponsible with it, then by all means do something else with it. You could set up a trust that would responsibly monitor and administer the money to your kids. Or you could leave it to others that you think would make better use of the money. Or to charities, but then you're just trusting someone else to handle it that way too.

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corner559
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by corner559 » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:09 pm

It's a little hard to give advice without knowing the amount or at least a ballpark. "Significant amount" is wide open to interpretation. To me significant amount would be north of at least $5 million. For someone else, it could be much less or much more depending on who the person is.

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Steelersfan
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by Steelersfan » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:09 pm

We need to know who much you might be able to give them. Approximate amounts are fine.

In the abstract, this can't be answered.

I'm leaving my kids in the high six figures, and knowing them that's fine with me. For others, and other offspring, that might be way too high.

cubaboymatt1316
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by cubaboymatt1316 » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:11 pm

How old are the kids?

What stage in life are they are in?

What is their financial situations?

Why do you think it would them any harm?

gclancer
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by gclancer » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:11 pm

If you give some of that money to a good estate planning attorney you can set up a trust that will probably address some of your concerns. You can tie distributions to certain life milestones (i.e. annual distributions are tied to annual earned income; if you leave money for grandchildren in an educational subtrust you can tie distributions to grades earned, etc., etc., etc.). Beware, you'll have ongoing trustee costs to administer the trust following your death - "ruling from the grave" has its costs.

pointyhead
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by pointyhead » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:16 pm

How much did your parents leave for you? Maybe the same amount/percentage would be appropriate.

My Mother seems intent on trying to leave her kids an inheritance. I would rather she spends her money on herself to ensure that she has continued decent quality of life, however, she actually seems to make spending decisions based on if she can leave something for us. She is 83 and in good health and I would like to see her enjoy herself more...she resists that idea.

Hope you can decide what is best for your situation,

PH

Dave C.
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by Dave C. » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:25 pm

Wow, if ever there was a question that is completely up to you, this is it.

Admittedly, I seek outside perspective on almost every aspect of my life. But family relationships, individuality, functionality, dysfunctionality, individual personalities, and 1000 other interpersonal Family components make this a decision only you can make….Or mom of course.

My dad made this topic extremely simplistic when you told me, "Dave, my advice to you is to write one bad check your entire life….to your undertaker." His plan was to break-even, and all his kids could that care of themselves. Or not.
Easy does it/Live & Let Live/One day at a time. Thanks Bill.

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black jack
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by black jack » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:55 pm

I think the standard line (Warren Buffet?) is to leave your kids enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing.

I interpret that to mean enough so that they could take a socially valuable but poorly paid job(s) without worrying about not having enough money for a decent quality of life or a secure retirement.

Of course, unless you are are in an exceptional situation, or are unlucky mortality-wise, by the time you shuffle off and leave your kids an inheritance they'll already be middle-aged, and so their characters (and careers) will already be established.
We cannot absolutely prove [that they are wrong who say] that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us, and with just as much apparent reason. | -T. B. Macaulay (1800-1859)

Johno
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by Johno » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:32 am

black jack wrote:I think the standard line (Warren Buffet?) is to leave your kids enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing.

I interpret that to mean enough so that they could take a socially valuable but poorly paid job(s) without worrying about not having enough money for a decent quality of life or a secure retirement.

Of course, unless you are are in an exceptional situation, or are unlucky mortality-wise, by the time you shuffle off and leave your kids an inheritance they'll already be middle-aged, and so their characters (and careers) will already be established.
As previously mentioned, the ultimate 'up to you' decision. Personally if Buffett said something that all else equal might make me less not more likely to do it, but the effect of his imprimatur would round to zero either way. Enough money to do nothing is also enough to do a lot more than the old man ever did, by building on it, especially if it's not billions, maybe build it into billions. Also it's strictly a matter of opinion if one sees an intrinsic special virtue in doing low paid 'socially valuable' jobs. I'd be pretty neutral about that, unless that's already what the kid wants to do for own reasons, then I'd support it.

The last point though is a factual difference among situations. If you had kids late in life or are facing early health problems or just pessimistic about life expectancy the question might be framed as giving teens or 20-somethings 'enough to do nothing'. If it's more likely you'll be giving them the 'enough to do nothing' when they're 60, it's kind of a different question seems to me.

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JupiterJones
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by JupiterJones » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:42 am

There's no amount of money that you should leave your kids. They're not entitled to a dime. It's your money, enjoy it!

If you do happen to have any left when you shuffle off this mortal coil, and if you think leaving it to your kids will help them (give them a firmer foundation for success and happiness) more than hurt them (give them an excuse to be irresponsible), then by all means go for it.

But it's not because you "should" leave them money, and certainly not because they "deserve" to have it. In fact, I would reduce any child's inheritance amount in direct proportion to the degree he or she thinks she is entitled to it. :P

(Then again, I don't have kids, so what do I know?)
Stay on target...

KlangFool
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by KlangFool » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:52 am

OP,

My answer will be leave NOTHING to your children. Donate your money to charities and causes that you believe.

1) If you need to give them something in order for them to survive, you could never give enough. Hence, it would not matter.

2) If they do not need anything from you, why give them anything?? The money would not matter anyhow. Donate the money to others that need it more. The money would matter to others.

KlangFool

rasputin
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by rasputin » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:56 am

Nothing.

Next!

SouthernCPA
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by SouthernCPA » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:01 am

I've told my parents to try their best time the end of their lives with a $0 net worth. I hope they splurge in retirement. They earned it, they saved it, they should enjoy it. I'm making and saving my own.

That said, if you want to leave your kids a significant inheritance, I would advise having a trust set up where you control the payout and everyone can "blame the trust" for the division of assets. You would not believe the family situations I've seen where siblings quit talking over inherited money/things. I've seen siblings fight and sever ties with each other over a measly $10,000. It's sad.

wolf359
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by wolf359 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:07 am

I strongly recommend reading "Beyond the Grave" by Jeffery Condon.
http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Grave-Revi ... 0062336223

It is a very entertaining and informative read for how estate plans go right and go wrong. It also helps you figure out what your goals are in estate planning, with suggestions for what works and doesn't work to achieve them.

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HomerJ
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by HomerJ » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:25 am

Doubleeagle4me wrote:Would like to plan on leaving my kids an inheritance. Am able to leave them a significant amount
But think it might do them more harm than good. Ideas?
Do you go to car forums and post "Want to buy a car.... Ideas?"

How about some details? Biggest question probably is how old are your kids?

I structured my will to be sure that my kids didn't get a million dollars at 18. But if I die when they are 35-70, then I'll just give them everything.
Last edited by HomerJ on Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

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cheese_breath
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:28 am

All, nothing, or somewhere in between. That's the best advice I can give.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:33 am

All of it - in a trust to prevent others from taking what is not rightfully theirs. Let the heirs be the trustee - look up BSteiner posts on forum. Read the book, Beyond the Grave by Condon & Condon for examples of what/what not to do ~ the dollar figures can play a part, but it is the intent which should be conveyed to heirs long before you pass on. Communication is key in matters of the heart. Take it from one where a significant part of the family is not speaking to the other over miscommunication, ill-will and an insignificant monetary value. Words matter, intent matters and once you are gone, interpretations can vary from one person to the next. Speak up now!
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

joebh
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by joebh » Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:52 pm

Doubleeagle4me wrote:But think it might do them more harm than good. Ideas?
You know your kids, we don't. I know an inheritance won't harm my kids (you can leave it all to them if it would make you feel better :happy )

What harm do you think an inheritance will cause them?
If you don't leave it all to them, where would the money go?

surfstar
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by surfstar » Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:58 pm

Dad?

...

randomguy
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by randomguy » Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:59 pm

Doubleeagle4me wrote:Would like to plan on leaving my kids an inheritance. Am able to leave them a significant amount
But think it might do them more harm than good. Ideas?
It is unlikely an inheritence is going to do much to hurt your kids. If you had you kid at 40 and you die at 85, you are talking about a 45 year old. Their money habits are going to be pretty well set by then. They are not going to be slackers for 20+ years waiting for you to kick the bucket. They might be slackers for other reasons though:)

Now handing out money along the way (when it would be more helpful and potentially hurtful) is a much harder situation. Some kids will pull a Donald Trump and turn that 1 million (or whatever) and turn it into a billion. Other kids will just spend it. Most are in between.

essbeer
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Post by essbeer » Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:11 pm

.....
Last edited by essbeer on Sun May 06, 2018 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Topic Author
Doubleeagle4me
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by Doubleeagle4me » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:26 pm

Ok thanks for all the replys. Here's more info. I have only my 87 year old mom alive and she lives on a fixed income who I supplement as needed. My parents were always in debt therefore I made it a point to never be like them. I have two daughters in college and am retiring from a business I started in a few years. I don't want them to ever have to be in my position parent wise. I could leave them with each with a high six figure number or not. I like the idea of leaving some type of legacy besides
Being a great dad. However I do not want them to become slackers. Also is this something you tell them about or they just find out when you bite the big one?

joebh
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by joebh » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:40 pm

Doubleeagle4me wrote:Ok thanks for all the replys. Here's more info. I have only my 87 year old mom alive and she lives on a fixed income who I supplement as needed. My parents were always in debt therefore I made it a point to never be like them. I have two daughters in college and am retiring from a business I started in a few years. I don't want them to ever have to be in my position parent wise. I could leave them with each with a high six figure number or not. I like the idea of leaving some type of legacy besides
Being a great dad. However I do not want them to become slackers. Also is this something you tell them about or they just find out when you bite the big one?
Do you sense that they would become slackers? By now, their personalities are formed and you should have some sense of the people they have become.

Have you been secretive about your finances so far? I believe in being honest and open about such things, but not everyone shares that approach. My children know that our entire estate will be theirs once my wife and I are gone - it all goes to them equally. I don't know how big that estate will be at this time, so they only have a general idea of the size.

If I were planning to give them any less than the entire estate, I would explain that fact, explain why, and explain how much goes elsewhere. I don't think it's fair to have surprises after I'm gone.

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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by KlangFool » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:47 pm

Doubleeagle4me wrote:Ok thanks for all the replys. Here's more info. I have only my 87 year old mom alive and she lives on a fixed income who I supplement as needed. My parents were always in debt therefore I made it a point to never be like them. I have two daughters in college and am retiring from a business I started in a few years. I don't want them to ever have to be in my position parent wise. I could leave them with each with a high six figure number or not. I like the idea of leaving some type of legacy besides
Being a great dad. However I do not want them to become slackers. Also is this something you tell them about or they just find out when you bite the big one?
Doubleeagle4me,

<<I have only my 87 year old mom alive and she lives on a fixed income who I supplement as needed. >>
<<I don't want them to ever have to be in my position parent wise. >>
<<I could leave them with each with a high six figure number >>

That is not enough money to prevent what you afraid of from happening.

<<I like the idea of leaving some type of legacy besides Being a great dad.>>

Set up a trust fund to pay for your grand children's college education. There should be enough money for that.

KlangFool

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:26 pm

Are you going to die tomorrow or in 30 years?

Where do you want your money to go if you die tomorrow? Where do you want to make sure it never goes? Is there some person or organization you think would spend it better now than your kids would? For that matter, are you married?

Why do you think there will be any left in 30 years? Will the amount you say you can leave them need to pay your expenses for the next 30 years?

J295
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by J295 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:30 pm

I would guess the dye is already cast on how OP's children would be effected by an inheritance of the type described. I believe it is already cast in our case with adult children and giving them an inheritance (which we plan to do) will not have a negative impact. I worked for our family, and would be hard pressed to find a reason to pass our assets to anyone other than our children.

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MikeWillRetire
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by MikeWillRetire » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:37 pm

It depends on the type of people your kids are. When my in-laws died, they left my wife the bulk of their estate. They did not trust their son. My wife plans to leave it all for our kids. I would love to spend it on ourselves, but we won't. That's probably why they gave it to her.

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LiveSimple
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by LiveSimple » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:41 pm

Just as much as you think is appropriate.

penumbra
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by penumbra » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:50 pm

This is a problem my wife and I have spent lots of time processing. First, the Condon and Condon book is terrific. It will really help you think this through.
Second, a high six figure amount will not throw any kid to where it would demotivate him or her. It's a good amount, but not life changing. We are in a position to leave a 7 or 8 figure amount to each kid. We decided to leave it in trust for each kid. You don't want the money to go to creditors or a poorly chosen spouse, whatever the amount. The trustee has the right to terminate the trust and pay the money out should circumstances warrant. Lots of things might make that appropriate, lots of reasons why that might be a bad idea. It hopefully will be more obvious years from now. Meanwhile, the trustee has guidelines for how to pay out from the trust.
This is a very personal decision. I would talk to a good estate planning attorney, but only after reading the book above. It's really good (did I say that?)

delamer
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by delamer » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:13 pm

Consider gifting some of the money to your daughters while they are younger. For instance, help with a house downpayment or start a Roth IRA.

If they are good kids and have their financial heads on straight, those kinds of gifts will give them a leg up and you'll still be around to be thanked.

MN Finance
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by MN Finance » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:55 pm

The die is obviously cast, so this is an irritating question.

If they can't handle high six figures then something went wrong along the way which you can't fix.

Just like in life, money follows your values. If you don't value and inheritance, so be it. If you don't give to charity now it would be silly to start when you're dead.

This is the problem with money. People don't know what it's for

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peterinjapan
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by peterinjapan » Wed Dec 09, 2015 9:55 pm

"Just like in life, money follows your values."

Thanks for that, it's a really useful observation.

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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by scotthal » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:20 am

Depends on the kids' financial values :: acumen. I've settled, for no good reason, on 5x median annual household income from a tax-exempt account. Figure it's enough to make a difference, not enough to coast. Bulk of the estate gets dumped into a donor directed charitable trust - hope the family can have some fun giving it away.
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obgyn65
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by obgyn65 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 5:26 am

Do you seriously expect advice relevant to your situation without giving more details about your situation?
Doubleeagle4me wrote:Would like to plan on leaving my kids an inheritance. Am able to leave them a significant amount
But think it might do them more harm than good. Ideas?
"The two most important days in someone's life are the day that they are born and the day they discover why." -John Maxwell

FireProof
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by FireProof » Thu Dec 10, 2015 6:09 am

Unless you are truly wealthy (which seems not to be the case), or your kids will be 16 years old or drug addicts when you die, I don't think you will be able to give enough to "harm" them. But you know them better than I.

Impromptu
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by Impromptu » Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:01 am

I agree with the advice to give the money away earlier, rather than later. Helping with college and home down payments are enormous come at times when they would get the most benefit. If you die in 20 years, they'll likely already be established, and the money will be nice, but not life changing.
I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

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Toons
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by Toons » Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:03 am

How much to leave the kids?
"Enough" :happy
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fishingmn
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by fishingmn » Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:54 am

Agree about spending it on them while you are living so you can reap the rewards of seeing them benefit.

One way we intend to do that is by trying to fund family vacations into their adult/family lives.

We are following the Variable Spending Withdrawal process - would love to spend it all while living and end a $0 (hard to get exactly right not knowing the end date). https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Variabl ... withdrawal

tim1999
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by tim1999 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:57 am

Unless they are delinquents in some way, I would just leave them the full amount in equal shares.

afan
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by afan » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:15 am

Our kids get everything. That was the plan from before they were born. We never worried that they would become lazy failures. Now that they are ild enough that their personalities have settled, even less concern.

It is a rough world out there. If at some point, long after we are gone, money we could have left them could make a difference in their lives, i cannot think of a better use for it.

If I had billions, I could see spending some of it on charities. But not with my name on it. Too prideful.

I would still leave my kids wealthy, but beyond, say $100M I figure having more would be of essentially no value.

Unfortunately, what to do with my second $100M is not a problem I am ever going to have.
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by Dandy » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:03 pm

A lot depends on your kids. If they are mature, responsible, reasonably thrifty etc. extra money shouldn't be a problem. I am starting to gift money to my children now and hope to increase it. It will take the pressure off them a bit and I hope to see them enjoy it while I'm alive. If, they used the money very irresponsibly I might have a concern. I didn't intend it to be a test of responsible money management. But it could turn out that way.

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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by dbCooperAir » Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:33 pm

Image
Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him. | -Dwight D. Eisenhower-

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HomerJ
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by HomerJ » Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:54 pm

Multiple people in this thread seem to think their children stop growing and maturing by 15 or so... They seem to think their kids are fully formed because of their impressive parenting skills.

They may be indeed be correct. But I think they may be wrong.

I know that I am a very different person at 46 than I was at 18, or even in my mid-20s.

A large amount of money handed to me at 18 or at 25 would have been squandered. I might have even dropped out of college, or switched to an easier major. It definitely would have changed the trajectory of my life. I might not have become a hard worker. I might not have the same pride in my skills and my accomplishments.

A large amount of money handed to me today would be invested and saved, and would change nothing about my personality. I've already accomplished things on my own, and know that I did it myself. It wasn't handed to me. There is danger in giving some people (some, not all) a lot of money early in their lives.

Of course, maybe a lot of money handed to me might have made me a better person... Maybe I would have become a harder worker by starting my own business and accomplished more! Who knows? All I know is that a large amount of money at an early age is very likely to have a huge impact on a person's life, maybe positive, maybe negative. A large amount of money handed to me today just means I retire earlier or I pass it on to fund my grandchildren's education. It wouldn't change my life or who I am very much.

The OP has college age daughters. I would set up a will to set up a trust for them if he died tomorrow. In 15 years, he could rewrite that will to just leave them the money outright.
Last edited by HomerJ on Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.

bigcmagor
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by bigcmagor » Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:53 pm

If you have the means to make later life less difficult and financially worrisome for your offspring and choose not to, I doubt your legacy of being a good dad will be intact. Granted, if this happens at college age for your girls, I would suggest breaking the distributions up so that they get the largest part after age 40, when they would likely value it more - especially knowing it was the last of the legacy. I can't imagine wanting to help others (through charitable contributions) more than wanting to ease life's hardships on my own kids.

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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by mouses » Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:05 pm

Doubleeagle4me wrote:Ok thanks for all the replys. Here's more info. I have only my 87 year old mom alive and she lives on a fixed income who I supplement as needed. My parents were always in debt therefore I made it a point to never be like them. I have two daughters in college and am retiring from a business I started in a few years. I don't want them to ever have to be in my position parent wise. I could leave them with each with a high six figure number or not. I like the idea of leaving some type of legacy besides
Being a great dad. However I do not want them to become slackers. Also is this something you tell them about or they just find out when you bite the big one?

I would leave your estate in thirds, one each for the daughters and 1/3 to a charity that works on an issue that matters to you. I would not tell the daughters what to expect in monetary terms. You have no idea what may happen to you financially as you get older, and you don't want them counting on money that may not appear.

If you raised them right, they will not become slackers.

I've left 1/3 to environmental and animal welfare organizations. Without a livable planet, nobody's going to have much of a life, and I figure we've done so much damage to animals that we owe them.

Dulocracy
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Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by Dulocracy » Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:20 pm

I tell clients all the time that it is completely ok to set up things any way they want. Held in trust for education and medical until 21, and then they get it all? Nothing until they are 25? Held for grandkids' education? Give one kid half outright, but put it in a spendthrift trust for the other kid? A-OK.

Don't know what a spendthrift trust is? Very useful thing. They get only a monthly stipend and cannot touch the principal. The trust itself cannot be attached by creditors. In other words, they cannot be sued and lose the money.

If you are worried that they will waste it, set it up so that they can only get money for certain purposes (health, education, or not at all) until they are 60, then they get it all. Whatever you want, you can do. Talk with an estate planning attorney.
I'm not a financial professional. Post is info only & not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship exists with reader. Scrutinize my ideas as if you spoke with a guy at a bar. I may be wrong.

flyingaway
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Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by flyingaway » Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:40 pm

One of the good things to have kids is the flexibility. You do not have to worry (too much) about leaving money on the table, and you may have a little bit of wiggle room if you might not have enough, at the end of the journey.

NotWhoYouThink
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:42 pm

Why protect them from creditors? I pay my debts and expect the rest of you to pay yours. Especially if I am the creditor or a stockholder of the creditor. Yes, if things get bad enough (and the debts aren't college loans) you can declare bankruptcy, but otherwise pay your debts. Trusts are often advised as a way to protect assets from creditors and ex spouses, but I don't get it. If my kids run up debt they'll probably just have to pay it. If they owe alimony and child support they should pay that too.

On the other hand, I do see some benefit in trusts if it keeps money from going your widow(er)'s new spouse's kids instead of your kids. But in my family, the one branch that would have possible need to protect money from a future ex is the one most likely to co-mingle the money as soon as it comes in.

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