How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

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miamivice
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How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by miamivice »

A friend of mine, who is nearing the end of his life, asked me for some information about inheritance. He has three children, and he is contemplating splitting his inheritance in unequal portions. He is wondering how common it is.

Situation - he has three children, all who are healthy and gainfully employed. One child is married and doing very well, in large part due to a good financial noggin on the child and the child's spouse. One child is single and struggling in life. The third child seems to be afloat but is a constant source of worry because that child's employment track record is iffy and that child's spouse is a big spender and doesn't believe in saving.

The friend is thinking about giving the most to the single child who is struggling, the second most to the spouse with the iffy track record, and the least to the child who is doing well.

He is wondering if that is very common, or if it is far more common just to divide it equally three ways.
livesoft
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by livesoft »

So, penalize the one who has their act together? Not good.

There have been discussions on this before, for instance: viewtopic.php?t=114211
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GoldenFinch
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by GoldenFinch »

In this case I would divide it equally. It can cause a lot of hard feelings otherwise.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by InvestorNewb »

The simplest solution is often the best one. I would split things equally.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Dottie57 »

I think it is wisest to split equally. Does he really want to cause problems between children?

If child had a true disability. (Autism, retardation, schizophrenia) I Can understand an unequal distribution,in favor of child with disability.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by hoot929 »

I agree with others. Divide equally. No one knows what the future holds for any of those children and their families. Unequal division just sows seeds of discontent between the siblings, after you are long gone.
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Raymond
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Raymond »

miamivice wrote:...The friend is thinking about giving the most to the single child who is struggling, the second most to the spouse with the iffy track record, and the least to the child who is doing well...
If one of the children was mentally or physically handicapped and required ongoing care (which apparently they are not), then you could make a case for more money going to the handicapped child.

But as they are all healthy, I'd suggest that he divide the estate equally among the three children.

If he divides it unequally as you mentioned, his children will resent each other and him as well, possibly for the rest of their lives.
He is wondering if that is very common, or if it is far more common just to divide it equally three ways.
It is much more common to divide the estate equally between the children.
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johnubc
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by johnubc »

This is also similar to giving more to the child who does not save as much, as the one who saves does not need the money. But the reality is that the one who saves their money lives within their means, and should not be punished for it.

Split it equally, save the resentment between the children and towards the Father.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Peter Foley »

This reminds me of one of the cases described in Beyond the Grave by Jeffery Condon. If I remember correctly, after dividing things unequally the children never spoke to each other again.

If one were not going to divide equally, at least there should be a conversation in advance to gauge the reaction of the child who lives within his means.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by breakfixit »

definitely split it equally. But I doubt he will. This is a decision most people should make in writing long before they die. Unfortunately I have seen many of my elder relatives say and do things completely out of character as they age into their 70s and 80s. It has made me realize I need to have my estate in order much earlier in life. I may still be happy and healthy at 75 or 80. But based on my personal experience, I will not be trusting myself to have the capacity to make sound rational decisions at that age.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by delamer »

livesoft wrote:So, penalize the one who has their act together? Not good.

There have been discussions on this before, for instance: viewtopic.php?t=114211
Agreed. The only exception would be if one child or grandchild is mentally or physically disabled, as others have said.

And why would you friend care how other people divide their estates? He has to decide what his best for his family.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by mattsm »

Give more to the financially responsible child if he agrees to help the other siblings.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Vilgan »

I saw unequal treatment from my mother's parents and it definitely was unfair. Even worse, the ones who got substantially more blew it very quickly and in 3 years it was as if they didn't get it in the first place.

It didn't ruin their relationships and they still get along, but it echoes out in relationships not just with those who inherit directly but their own family members. Unless one child has broken off relations and isn't talking to their parent (essentially opting out of inheritance), its much healthier to do it equally imo.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by 22twain »

Also consider that it's impossible to predict the future. The "responsible child" who doesn't appear to need the money now may become disabled, or otherwise lose his job and not be able to find a new one despite his best efforts and therefore be forced to retire early. The "irresponsible child" may get hit by a truck or be diagnosed with cancer and die within a few years, leaving whatever he has left to his spouse or children.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by jackholloway »

An equal inheritance definitely made things easier between my sibling and I. Split evenly, and avoid games.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Carolyn1218 »

If he wants to make sure his kids hate each other and his grandkids never see their cousins after he dies, go for it. Otherwise, leave everyone an equal share of the inheritance. There is nothing worse than trying to play deus ex machina and penalizing the successful child in the process. Also, it seems like leaving the most money to the child who manages money horribly is illogical. He'd only be giving that one more money to blow through.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by stoptothink »

Vilgan wrote:I saw unequal treatment from my mother's parents and it definitely was unfair. Even worse, the ones who got substantially more blew it very quickly and in 3 years it was as if they didn't get it in the first place.

It didn't ruin their relationships and they still get along, but it echoes out in relationships not just with those who inherit directly but their own family members. Unless one child has broken off relations and isn't talking to their parent (essentially opting out of inheritance), its much healthier to do it equally imo.
My mother's youngest sister received ~$3m in real estate and an unknown 7-figure sum in cash when my step-grandmother died 2yrs ago; my mother and her other 5 siblings didn't receive a thing. The sister and her husband immediately retired (in their mid-40's), did a $250k+ addition to their home, purchased a few luxury cars and a garage full of expensive bikes, and have spent the last 2yrs traveling the world with their 3 children and documenting it all on social media as if it was the result of years of hard work and saving. Obviously they aren't fooling anyone, they were both public school teachers. Apparently they had began a relationship with the step-grandmother when she was put into a nursing home about a year before her passing.

Didn't necessarily create drama, but she was already the black sheep of the family and I believe now my mother is the only sibling who will still talk to her.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by otinkyad »

I'm surprised by how universal the agreement is, and how often lifelong resentment is mentioned. I suppose people are good are creating conflict for themselves, and no plan is completely safe. My wife's grandmother left her house to her two children, and they fought over keeping or selling it and didn't talk for ten years.

I in turn am tempted to ask my in-laws to leave everything to my brother-in-law, rather than split it with my wife, because our positions in life are so different.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by ray.james »

Looking through extended family, here are some things that worked or didn't
I have seen people who left house with no sell/loan/trust instructions to the struggling child and had success. Some one I know left farm land and when the child finally got his act together and turned his life around. I have also seen success with splitting the money for grand children education or to pass down business to the children that were struggling but moderately successful/life went on. Not many success stories with liquid money passed down to "exploring life" adult children.

My personal thoughts: If the inheritance is very high like close to lifelong earnings of median person. In this cast if it is 1 million per child or more , it is usually better it to divide equally and let the children thrive from there and leave things to their personal choice. Irrespective it is important to have that discussion with all of them to gauge what kind of animosity it will breed in future.
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LowER
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by LowER »

I'll be dead at that point. Why/how/when would I care? If I had a disabled child, my answer would not be same, but to what degree? Lots of considerations there....
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by unclescrooge »

If anything, shouldn't you reward the kid with his act together?

Of course, that's hard to do in real life.

But at least don't penalize him!
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by cherijoh »

Carolyn1218 wrote:If he wants to make sure his kids hate each other and his grandkids never see their cousins after he dies, go for it. Otherwise, leave everyone an equal share of the inheritance. There is nothing worse than trying to play deus ex machina and penalizing the successful child in the process. Also, it seems like leaving the most money to the child who manages money horribly is illogical. He'd only be giving that one more money to blow through.
+1

I have a friend with three siblings, one of whom continued to receive financial support from the parents well into adulthood. (I believe he had problems with substance abuse and his parents were enablers). When her dad died but her mom was still alive, her brother wanted "his share of his inheritance". :greedy Her mother has since passed and apparently the problem son ended up with a bigger slice of the inheritance than his more successful siblings (not even including the subsidies he received while the parents were living). Needless to say, resentment abounds.

otinkyad wrote:I'm surprised by how universal the agreement is, and how often lifelong resentment is mentioned. I suppose people are good are creating conflict for themselves, and no plan is completely safe. My wife's grandmother left her house to her two children, and they fought over keeping or selling it and didn't talk for ten years.

I in turn am tempted to ask my in-laws to leave everything to my brother-in-law, rather than split it with my wife, because our positions in life are so different.
That is a totally different kettle of fish. If the more successful child decides to disclaim the inheritance that is totally different than not receiving it in the first place. Especially if they find out about the division of assets after the parent is gone.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by fizxman »

Three things:

1. How much are we talking about and how uneven would the distribution be? For instance if the total is $100k and it's split up $50k, $40k, and $10k, I personally don't think that's a big deal. Now if it's $10 million and it's split $5 million, $4 million, and $1 million, that would be different.

2. Have him talk to the financially responsible child spouse and get their thoughts. Have him tell them this is something he's thinking about doing but won't if the child thinks it may cause a problem. Maybe the child would be okay with this. For me, I would be the financially responsible child in this scenario and I don't think I would have a problem not receiving as much as my older brother and sister. DW and I don't need the money and they could definitely use it. At the same time, my parents aren't millionaires so I'm not expecting a huge inheritance anyway.

3. If he decides to go this route, have him set it up in such a way that the two less responsible children can't spend it all in a short amount of time. I don't know anything about trusts and if the inheritance is substantial, it would probably be in their best interest to not be able to blow it all at once.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

Leaving a larger portion to the irresponsible child is likely to cause resentment, and not help the irresponsible child. People who blow through money will continue to blow through money.

Leaving equal portions to each child may make the money last longer for the irresponsible one. He may still blow through his portion, but the siblings may be willing to lend a hand (or hand over some money) if they feel they have some "free" money from the inheritance, and don't feel like he is imposing on their lifetime earnings and savings. At least that's the way it's likely to work in one family I know well.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Dandy »

Fair doesn't always mean equal. But most times it does. We will probably leave our money equally to our 2 children.

One worked hard in the arts which doesn't pay well and married late. I will probably help them more while we are alive to try to insure that they can catch up. The other has 2 children I will try to help them with putting more money away for their college. I believe my children know our help is based on need not who we love the most. So, I guess while we are alive we are trying to help them both get to a reasonable place in life so that when we die equal will also be fair.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by miamivice »

Dandy wrote:Fair doesn't always mean equal.
Dandy, I'm curious about this. What kind of situations (besides disability) would it be more fair to leave an unequal amount to each child?
One worked hard in the arts which doesn't pay well and married late. I will probably help them more while we are alive to try to insure that they can catch up.
I'd also like to ask about your use of the phrase 'catch up'. I'm wondering if you are thinking that you'd like to see both of your children in about an equal footing financially, so you're trying to help one child catch up with the other? Or are you referring to a standard (like the American dream - house, family, and car, just as an example) that you'd like to see your arts child achieve but hasn't been able to achieve?

I'm genuinely interested if you can explain a bit more in this area. These phrases are ones that I've heard my friend use as well, and it'd help me understand his position a bit more (perhaps) if you could explain from your perspective. I think my friend would like all three of his children to be financially equals - but I'm not sure he can achieve that with the resources that he has.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by soccerdad12 »

I would give each the same amount, however I might do that in different ways:

Child 1 very responsible with money: give them the money
Child 2 that is not responsible with money: use the amount to buy an annuity so they can't blow it all, but will help them for a long time
Child 3 that isn't bad with money but struggling a little bit: 50% cash, 50% annuity

Everyone gets the same, but the distribution schedule differs based on their personal circumstance.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Mike Scott »

You often find out what people value by watching them divy up the spoils after the funeral.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Index Fan »

Mike Scott wrote:You often find out what people value by watching them divy up the spoils after the funeral.
True.

Also, you may be surprised to know that some children who are 'struggling' would resent an even distribution of an inheritance- 'why does HE get as much as I when he has so much and I so little?'

Human nature and all that.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Da5id »

fizxman wrote: 2. Have him talk to the financially responsible child spouse and get their thoughts. Have him tell them this is something he's thinking about doing but won't if the child thinks it may cause a problem. Maybe the child would be okay with this. For me, I would be the financially responsible child in this scenario and I don't think I would have a problem not receiving as much as my older brother and sister. DW and I don't need the money and they could definitely use it. At the same time, my parents aren't millionaires so I'm not expecting a huge inheritance anyway.
Don't do this, IMHO. The question boils down to "are you OK if I give more of my money to your siblings who I think need it more than you do". I think many would feel obliged to do what seems to me to be clearly the right thing, and say "of course you can, it is your money, really I'd be fine with it". But that doesn't mean they wouldn't feel resentment about it, particularly if they perceive the different financial position being due to the spendthrift nature of their sibling(s).

I'd go with the generally choose equal unless there is a really really good and obvious reason to not be equal myself, just to avoid sowing bad feelings that could cause a rift in the family that doesn't heal.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Polymath »

My spouse and I don't expect to leave uneven distribution. However I believe it is totally within his right and can be done intelligently. How that is accomplished is sitting down with his kids after documenting his thoughts and explain what he wants to do. People will say that will cause strife, it certainly could. However if the kids can't respect their father to approach the situation with maturity, maybe the father will decide to change his plan or even simply give it all to charity.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by 8foot7 »

Da5id wrote:
fizxman wrote: 2. Have him talk to the financially responsible child spouse and get their thoughts. Have him tell them this is something he's thinking about doing but won't if the child thinks it may cause a problem. Maybe the child would be okay with this. For me, I would be the financially responsible child in this scenario and I don't think I would have a problem not receiving as much as my older brother and sister. DW and I don't need the money and they could definitely use it. At the same time, my parents aren't millionaires so I'm not expecting a huge inheritance anyway.
Don't do this, IMHO. The question boils down to "are you OK if I give more of my money to your siblings who I think need it more than you do". I think many would feel obliged to do what seems to me to be clearly the right thing, and say "of course you can, it is your money, really I'd be fine with it". But that doesn't mean they wouldn't feel resentment about it, particularly if they perceive the different financial position being due to the spendthrift nature of their sibling(s).

I'd go with the generally choose equal unless there is a really really good and obvious reason to not be equal myself, just to avoid sowing bad feelings that could cause a rift in the family that doesn't heal.
+1
I am an only child so it is difficult for me to relate to this. But I have two children and in the even we have a couple of pennies left when my wife and I die, they will get equal portions. And personally if I had a sibling I would absolutely resent an unequal distribution, even if I lied when someone asked me if I would. not proud of it, but I have to be honest and say I would.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by 8foot7 »

Polymath wrote:My spouse and I don't expect to leave uneven distribution. However I believe it is totally within his right and can be done intelligently. How that is accomplished is sitting down with his kids after documenting his thoughts and explain what he wants to do. People will say that will cause strife, it certainly could. However if the kids can't respect their father to approach the situation with maturity, maybe the father will decide to change his plan or even simply give it all to charity.
Agree it is his right to do what he wants
Agree father could decide to change based on reactions and he would be well within his right to do so
Disagree with the implication that children don't have the right to their authentic reaction (as others have said if this is not a life changing amount of money then who cares but if it's several hundred thousand dollars or more per child, you simply cannot pretend people will not have feelings and reactions about it)
The very nature of having a discussion about it invites a reaction. To then judge that reaction and change plans accordingly sows even more resentment and animosity where there wasn't any before
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by j0nnyg1984 »

fizxman wrote:Three things:


2. Have him talk to the financially responsible child spouse and get their thoughts. Have him tell them this is something he's thinking about doing but won't if the child thinks it may cause a problem. Maybe the child would be okay with this. For me, I would be the financially responsible child in this scenario and I don't think I would have a problem not receiving as much as my older brother and sister. DW and I don't need the money and they could definitely use it. At the same time, my parents aren't millionaires so I'm not expecting a huge inheritance anyway.
That is a horrible idea imho. Now you're putting extreme pressure on the kid to either potentially look greedy or give up something that they may want.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by nwbum »

Split it equally based on OP's summary of three siblings "current" life situation. There does not appear to be any major issues such as health etc.
Since future life situations of the siblings is impossible to predict, it is wise, IMO, to not assume everything remains status quo in their lives.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by fizxman »

8foot7 wrote:
Da5id wrote:
fizxman wrote: 2. Have him talk to the financially responsible child spouse and get their thoughts. Have him tell them this is something he's thinking about doing but won't if the child thinks it may cause a problem. Maybe the child would be okay with this. For me, I would be the financially responsible child in this scenario and I don't think I would have a problem not receiving as much as my older brother and sister. DW and I don't need the money and they could definitely use it. At the same time, my parents aren't millionaires so I'm not expecting a huge inheritance anyway.
Don't do this, IMHO. The question boils down to "are you OK if I give more of my money to your siblings who I think need it more than you do". I think many would feel obliged to do what seems to me to be clearly the right thing, and say "of course you can, it is your money, really I'd be fine with it". But that doesn't mean they wouldn't feel resentment about it, particularly if they perceive the different financial position being due to the spendthrift nature of their sibling(s).

I'd go with the generally choose equal unless there is a really really good and obvious reason to not be equal myself, just to avoid sowing bad feelings that could cause a rift in the family that doesn't heal.
+1
I am an only child so it is difficult for me to relate to this. But I have two children and in the even we have a couple of pennies left when my wife and I die, they will get equal portions. And personally if I had a sibling I would absolutely resent an unequal distribution, even if I lied when someone asked me if I would. not proud of it, but I have to be honest and say I would.
j0nnyg1984 wrote:
fizxman wrote:Three things:


2. Have him talk to the financially responsible child spouse and get their thoughts. Have him tell them this is something he's thinking about doing but won't if the child thinks it may cause a problem. Maybe the child would be okay with this. For me, I would be the financially responsible child in this scenario and I don't think I would have a problem not receiving as much as my older brother and sister. DW and I don't need the money and they could definitely use it. At the same time, my parents aren't millionaires so I'm not expecting a huge inheritance anyway.
That is a horrible idea imho. Now you're putting extreme pressure on the kid to either potentially look greedy or give up something that they may want.
Maybe I assumed it was implied or maybe I totally overlooked it but this would totally depend on the relationship between the father and the responsible child. I personally have no issues talking about finances with my parents and I would have no issues if my parents presented me with this scenario and asked how I felt. Maybe it's because I already know my answer so perhaps I can't be objective about it. In fact, I believe I've already mentioned to my parents that they could leave more to my brother and sister albeit in the context of them having children of their own and I don't nor plan to. I also may be personally okay with this because I'm about 99% sure that my parents will leave all three of us equal shares and know this situation will most likely never happen. However I don't see an issue with being honest with my parents.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by rixer »

I have a son who is doing well and a daughter who struggles. I'm seriously considering changing the trust so she gets the house for herself. I have no idea how much money will be left so it could be very uneven when it happens. Still, we think it will make us feel better knowing she'll have a home and stability also as she enters retirement.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Rupert »

If he wants to help the struggling children, he should do so while he is still alive by helping them pay bills now. When he dies, emotions will likely be raw, and an uneven split of assets at that time is likely to result in a lifetime of resentment between siblings.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by MikeMak27 »

I would be incredibly bitter with a sibling if they were to receive more money than me in an inheritance, simply because they are irresponsible with their finances. If the children are all adults, they should be expected to make adult decisions with their finances. If they cannot handle such a basic task, then no matter how much money you give them, all of the money will be blown away in a short period of time. Do not sow the seeds of resentment between your children after you pass away. If there is a physical or mental health reason to leave a child extra money for health care reasons, then that is understandable.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by abuss368 »

A good question and one that at some point most of us must consider. Personally we have decided to split everything equally. From there the payments are essentially in turst and will be paid to the children in multiple installments over time as they become much older. They will not come into a lot of money early in life such as their 20's and early 30's.

This is a very personal decision and one that requires much thought and planning.
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Da5id
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Da5id »

Rupert wrote:If he wants to help the struggling children, he should do so while he is still alive by helping them pay bills now. When he dies, emotions will likely be raw, and an uneven split of assets at that time is likely to result in a lifetime of resentment between siblings.
If they are struggling due to true bad luck (medical, unavoidable work issues, etc), sounds like a possible plan. If they are struggling because they are outspending their income on luxuries (leasing a Lexus, expensive vactations, etc), giving more money probably won't help much...

I notice this topic often runs out of control, it is kind of like rent vs own a house, or stocks that pay dividends vs repurchase. Seems pretty good so far though.
Leemiller
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Leemiller »

We sacrificed to get where we are. I'm glad my inlaws are planning to and have previously treated their children equally, especially since I've chosen to work full time while my SIL is chronically underemployed but expects the same level of housing, lifestyle as us (or better).

Emotions are a funny thing, I know my father gives my sister a bit more because she's made a mess of things but I can't help but get annoyed at it. It just hurts a little no matter how much I try to rationalize his actions. Throw treatment of grandchildren into the mix and it is hard not to get your emotions involved.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

Seriously, if a person is financially irresponsible, how could more money helps?

<< is a constant source of worry because that child's employment track record is iffy and that child's spouse is a big spender and doesn't believe in saving.

The friend is thinking about giving the most to the single child who is struggling, the second most to the spouse with the iffy track record, and the least to the child who is doing well. >>

Let me predict what will happen next. Your friend give the most money to this single child.

A) He or his spouse will spend it all in a few years. And, his siblings by getting less from your friend hate him and do not have the financial resource to help him.

Or,

B) His spender spouse divorced him and take half of the money.

If your friend REALLY care about his child, spread the money EQUALLY. Then, maybe his siblings may not hate him and maybe able to help later.

KlangFool
Dandy
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Dandy »

Dandy wrote:
Fair doesn't always mean equal.

Dandy, I'm curious about this. What kind of situations (besides disability) would it be more fair to leave an unequal amount to each child?
I did say I expect to leave them equal amounts upon death.

I have seen many people obsess about equal. We helped one daughter buy a used car did I have to spend the exact same amount on the 2nd daughter? One went away to college and took 4.5 years to get a degree the other went to a local state school and commuted? Am I supposed to do some analysis to make them equal? It is that kind of trying to make it equal that I am addressing - I'm more about helping to fund their needs than worrying about equal gifts.


One worked hard in the arts which doesn't pay well and married late. I will probably help them more while we are alive to try to insure that they can catch up.


I'd also like to ask about your use of the phrase 'catch up'. I'm wondering if you are thinking that you'd like to see both of your children in about an equal footing financially, so you're trying to help one child catch up with the other? Or are you referring to a standard (like the American dream - house, family, and car, just as an example) that you'd like to see your arts child achieve but hasn't been able to achieve?

I'm genuinely interested if you can explain a bit more in this area. These phrases are ones that I've heard my friend use as well, and it'd help me understand his position a bit more (perhaps) if you could explain from your perspective. I think my friend would like all three of his children to be financially equals - but I'm not sure he can achieve that with the resources that he has.

My goal is not to make them both financial equals but to try to make sure they are in decent financial shape. I helped both daughters with money to help fund their Roth IRAs the "arts" daughter didn't have high earnings or access to a 401k or related company match and I was more concerned about her retirement than the other daughter who had both. So, I helped fund the "arts" daughter for a much longer time. (not equal but based on need). I don't plan on trying to make their retirement savings equal just that the "arts" daughter needed some help to "catch up" a bit. I didn't feel that I had to give the same Roth support dollars to both.

Both daughters were in need of better cars. The older daughter just bought a house and has 2 young children in day care. We gave them a nice amount toward a car. The next year we gave the "arts" daughter our 11 year old Toyota with 80k miles on it. Was the exact financial gifts the same? Probably not - but each got a better, safer car to drive. The older daughter worked at different colleges and basically got her masters degree for free. My "arts" daughter got some scholarship money but we helped with the rest. Again not equal but based on need.


Hope this helps but if not let me know.
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8foot7
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by 8foot7 »

KlangFool wrote:
B) His spender spouse divorced him and take half of the money.
This is a very valid concern. If I understand correctly, the minute inheritance monies are commingled they lose special separate treatment in most states. A spouse who's a spendthrift might just decide to part with half the kitty and duke it out in court.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by nisiprius »

Not me. Per stirpes all the way.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by ruralavalon »

Split it equally. Why short change the more responsible children? Why harm the less responsible children by giving them more ability to overspend, and less incentive to be more responsible?
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KlangFool
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

My goal is to spend most of my money, donate to charity, and leave very little for my children. Aka, no inheritance. I believe inheritance is a curse. It is not a blessing.

KlangFool
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goingup
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by goingup »

My folks gave us 4 exactly the same inheritance. We varied a lot in age and income.

The most important thing to them was for us to get along, so treating us equally didn't allow for resentment on that front. That was nearly 20 years ago and we get along well, even take cruises together, and have frequent visits though dispersed geographically. I think we honor our parents in this regard.

Based on my own experience, I'd suggest parents try to take the long view as they divvy their estate. Treat kids equitably so resentment and rivalry don't fester after you exit.
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Re: How many folks choose to give inheritance to their children in unequal portions?

Post by Runner01 »

My grandmother left unequal shares to her two children. She left 50% of her estate to my father and 25% to my estranged uncle and 25% to me. She didn't want to leave anything to my uncle because she had not had contact with him for almost 30 years but my father talked her into leaving him something. Not surprisingly my uncle did not even come to her funeral.
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