Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

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michaeljc70
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by michaeljc70 »

CascadiaSoonish wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:16 am
remomnyc wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:27 pm Meanwhile, children made decisions based on each getting an 8-figure inheritance, e.g. pursuing low-paying passion jobs, not saving for retirement, not saving for children's college, etc.
This is the point where I think it gets sticky. There's a significant difference between "I'm going to lease a new Porsche every year because mom and dad are loaded" and "Our family is financially stable and fortunate, so it's not unreasonable for me to choose a career path that I find personally rewarding." And what is reasonable is subjective. One kid might be slacking if they become, say, an actor/bartender but another kid might really find themselves in acting and deserve a shot at making it happen.

Personally, I want my kids to be happy and fulfilled in their professional lives. If that comes with a fat paycheck, great. But if there's a sacrifice, then that's what the family money is for...isn't it?

Which isn't to condone irresponsibility. Don't have a bunch of kids if you can't support them, LBYM, etc etc.
Yes, but if that is your attitude, you better have a good plan in place to make sure that the kids are taken care of. If you encouraged/supported them not being able to take care of themselves (at a level you deem suitable) due to family money and then you didn't make plans to take care of them, that is just irresponsible.
longleaf
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by longleaf »

Imagine a large illiquid asset that cannot be divided up among beneficiaries, but each own an equal share of it. This asset requires significant management, creating political rifts among family. One party becomes impatient and greedy, involving all sorts of legal rigamarole. Relationships which could have been strong and transparent are hindered by business and unjustifiable assumptions of personal greed.

I believe open, transparent communication between grantor and beneficiary prior to estate planning is absolutely crucial. I cannot imagine someone wanting to cause this among their family, but it happens due to the grantor just dumping their own assets into the laps of folks without experience or knowledge of how to proceed.

Was the above worth the stress and broken relationships? Who knows... It can't even be divided up or agreed to be sold without unfounded accusations between parties.

My point? Cash is much more easily bequeathed. You don't even have to die first.
Frugality, indexing, time.
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8foot7
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by 8foot7 »

PennySaved wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:13 pm I am one four siblings (2nd oldest). Youngest sibling is more than a decade younger than me, had a slight physical disability, but did graduate college and had a job. He basically lived with my parents after college and lived with them rent free. After some years, he was no longer working but stayed with my parents and helped my elderly mother taken care of my father who had Alzheimer’s for three years and then died. He stayed with my Mom after that and drove her where she needs to go and did the grocery shopping and other things. After eight more years, Mom’s health goes downhill, and he takes over managing her affairs and taking care of her at home with assistance of hired caregiver.

During her last year or two of life, Mom changed her will so that all the assets go to this youngest sibling and we other 3 siblings get $1000 each in the will. She informed me of this change a year or so before she died. This change was precipitated by my older sibling telling Mom that he did want his share of the estate (previous will left assets to four siblings equally) and that Mom should let youngest sibling have it all. My older sibling and I lived 1200 miles away from Mom and 3rd sibling lived in local area. While I was disappointed in this change, I accepted it and realized that it seemed fair, because the youngest sibling took on a great burden in helping my elderly parents in their last years. My older brother and I could only come for periodic visits to help because we had job responsibilities. I did not really need the money, but I was surprised at how I felt because I somehow equated the lack of giving me money with her having less love for me, although I knew I should not feel that way.

The older sibling and I also contributed money for Mom’s care during her last six months. Mom had money, but it was not easy for the 3rd sibling to access all of it. Older sibling and I are doing well financially, but we are not very rich. I am not sure of the exact value of Mom’s estate, but it was a paid off house worth maybe $200K and other investments worth perhaps $200-250K. One consolation to me was that my older sibling and I would not have to provide for the younger sibling financially, although it has been three years since Mom’s death and he is only now getting back into job market. We are all on good terms, except with 3rd oldest sibling, which predates any of Mom’s health problems and death, and that is because of other family issues.

So we thought everything was all planned. BUT… Mom had two IRAs. And a life insurance policy that no one knew anything about. Even though I had asked her several times when she was ill if she had a life insurance policy- she said no. Beneficiary of one IRA was my father, who had predeceased her. My father’s will had left everything to my mother, and then equally to us four children, if my mother had pre-deceased him. Based on this and the fact that my mother’s will left everything to him, my youngest sibling was able to get the assets from that IRA. Beneficiary of second IRA was my father, with us four siblings as contingent beneficiaries. So each sibling got ¼ of that $40K IRA. I gave my share (minus taxes I will owed) to youngest sibling because that is what Mom would have wanted. Oldest sibling is giving his inherited IRA RMD to youngest sibling every year because of Mom’s intent. Life insurance company did not agree that youngest sibling should get the all the life insurance proceeds so that ends up going to all four siblings equally. Oldest sibling and I gave our share of life insurance ($6250 each) to youngest sibling based on Mom’s intent.

Lesson is to make sure to update all your estate plans, including updating beneficiaries. Let family know what your assets are. My father, when he died, turned out to have no less than 5 life insurance policies (1 major, four minor ones), but my Mom was not aware of that before he died.

Long-term care insurance: My father could have easily gotten the Federal employee long-term care insurance when he was still working, but stubbornly did not want to get it. My mother got it as a spouse of a federal govt employee, when it was first available. My father only was in a nursing home for less than a month before he died. My mother (age early 80s), in the beginning of her health decline, had CANCELLED her long-term care insurance without telling any of her children. My youngest sibling tried to get it re-instated a few months after it was cancelled, but she would have had to go through a new evaluation and she had a host of medical issues, including diabetes and beginning of dementia, so she may not have qualified. She did end up needing about six months of in-home care assistance, one month of assisted living (which did not work out) and one month of nursing home care before she died. So there were not years and years of expensive nursing home bills. But it could have turned out that either Dad or Mom could have had long nursing home stays that would have greatly depleted their assets.
I respect your integrity and character about honoring your mother's intents for her assets, even those that passed outside the will. Do you think if the amounts had been higher by a couple of orders of magnitude that you would have done the same?

I just don't know if I would, and I don't love what that says about me, but especially if I didn't feel like I was being treated fairly I don't know that I'd voluntarily give up substantial sums of money - say $100,000 and not $10,000, or $62,500 rather than $6,250 - especially after I knew how much youngest had received. I might even argue that if mom's intent had really been for him to receive the money then she would have called around to make sure she knew of all of her assets and how they were catalogued, and I might even argue that maybe she didn't revise the beneficiaries on those policies to make other siblings feel whole while still letting youngest feel like the gratitude for years of service was there in her intent.

I'm not saying that's at all what happened here. This is more introspective of myself than anything else. Again, lots of respect to you and yours. :sharebeer

Later update/edit: I say all of this coming from my experience of (1) having already disclaimed an inheritance in favor of a poorer party even though others in the family, including that party, had already requested and received their "share" of a future inheritance while the deceased was still alive and (2) seeing how my wife cared for her mother in her later years, particularly during the last three years of terminal brain cancer, and the toll it took on her and us, and seeing the complete absence of her brother in any appreciable sense during that time, and then seeing brother get 50% of everything (mid-six figures) without essentially lifting a finger, and then not even coming to the funeral or the family gathering to spread ashes.
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dm200
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by dm200 »

No personal experience - but my late father's attorney advised him (based on that attorney's experiences) that my father should not make a certain significant donation to a religious based entity. The attorney advised my father to make the donation while alive.

The attorney's advice was based on his experience with how such religious based entities/charities would often tie up final settlement of the estate to make 100% sure they received every nickel they thought they were entitle to.
wilson08
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by wilson08 »

Apparently some of the experiences expressed in this thread
are age-old themes.

Say not you know another entirely till you have divided an
inheritance with him.
Johann Kaspar Lavater

Of course money will do after its kind and will steadily work
to unspiritualize and unchurch the people to whom it was
bequeathed.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
clutchied
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by clutchied »

iamblessed wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:48 am I might get an inheritance in the future.
My parent's folks both died and the my uncle allegedly was the executor but has refused to execute the will or show anyone the will for the better part of 8 years now. It's unclear how they avoided probate as there wasn't a trust.

He's sitting on their old house and won't divide the estate. He's the youngest by quite a bit so I'm not sure what his plan is but it's interesting to watch it unfold.

All of the children (my dad and his siblings) haven't forced the issue at this point. House is just wasting away incurring big property tax bills and not renters or anything. It's like a preserved mid-century...
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cheese_breath
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by cheese_breath »

clutchied wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:15 am
iamblessed wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:48 am I might get an inheritance in the future.
My parent's folks both died and the my uncle allegedly was the executor but has refused to execute the will or show anyone the will for the better part of 8 years now. It's unclear how they avoided probate as there wasn't a trust.
You have to apply to the court to probate a will. Apparently neither he or anybody else ever applied for probate.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by Gnirk »

Second marriage of 24 years, each of us have 2 children from our previous marriage. We have kept our investments separate, and the only assets we hold jointly are our primary home, our snowbird home, our cars and individual joint checking accounts. Our wills leave the homes and furnishings, cars and small IRAs to the surviving spouse. 90 % of our assets are in individually owned taxable accounts. My investment accounts pass equally to my children, his go to his children. If any beneficiary contests the will(s), they get nothing.

Hopefully, this will prevent any horror stories.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by delamer »

AlohaJoe wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:54 pm Reading over these stories, I am struck by how 90% of them boil down to, "Elderly person didn't want to discuss their plans with heirs and so disappointment and bitter feelings ensued."

It seems clear what the actionable advice should be for all of us. Yet I wonder, how many of us who are, say, 50+ have actually done it?
I think there is also a big chunk of “my heirs will work this out fairly among themselves” wishful thinking. Many people don’t want to admit that one of their children (or more) is greedy, lazy, dumb, or that their family is in any way dysfunctional.

Scott Burns, the personal finance columnist, wrote something to the effect of “None of us gets out of here alive.”

Once you are in your 50’s, you should have a will, power-of-attorney, medical directives, etc. in place and your heirs/executors should know where to find them and their contents.

Anything else is burying your head in the sand. I don’t think Bogleheads are likely to not have plans in place, but lots of people don’t.
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dodecahedron
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by dodecahedron »

dm200 wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:37 am No personal experience - but my late father's attorney advised him (based on that attorney's experiences) that my father should not make a certain significant donation to a religious based entity. The attorney advised my father to make the donation while alive.

The attorney's advice was based on his experience with how such religious based entities/charities would often tie up final settlement of the estate to make 100% sure they received every nickel they thought they were entitle to.
A good tax-efficient alternative is simply to designate the charity of your choice as the beneficiary of an IRA of some appropriate size. That way the bequest does not pass through the probate process.

Very easy to do, no need at all to involve the charity in probate of the entire estate and gum up the works. (By the way, in my state, the Attorney General's office gets involved any time there is a will with a charitable beneficiary.) Also, if you change your mind about which charity to donate to, you don't have to pay your lawyer to write codicils to your will.

My plan is actually to designate my Schwab DAF as the beneficiary of a tax-deferred account. I will give an informal letter of instructions to my daughters, who are the successor advisors to the DAF, with suggestions as to where the money in the DAF might ultimately be directed. Their values are similar to mine and I trust their judgment. By the time I pass to the next world. the charities I currently plan to donate to may no longer be in existence, may have abandoned the programs I cared most about, the issue it addressed might have been resolved, etc., etc.
rennale
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by rennale »

This topic would likely be shorter if it discussed inheritances that *did* go as planned. I haven't seen too many. My experiences sum up to:

1/ People don't die in the order that inheritance plans expect them to.
2/ Blood is much much *much* thicker than water.
3/ Blindly considering all children equal, regardless of their circumstances, versus ranking them according to some apparently sensible scheme, can be an unresolvable conundrum.
4/ People stop thinking rationally when free money is in the offing.
rennale
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by rennale »

Oh, and two more:

5/ People fail to update their wills when circumstances change.
6/ If a will can't be found it can't be executed. And if there's only one copy, well, it can mysteriously disappear......
CascadiaSoonish
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by CascadiaSoonish »

Someone more ambitious than I could probably come up with a formula.

Painful inheritance drama score = (size of estate) * (number of asset types) * (number of stakeholders) * (factor for decedent's clarity in communicating intent)

I did have one grandparent's passing which involved maybe 20 minutes to wind up the estate as it was modest and easily divided between the two inheritors. Those aren't the situations that make good stories for this thread, though.
michaeljc70
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by michaeljc70 »

rennale wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:03 pm This topic would likely be shorter if it discussed inheritances that *did* go as planned. I haven't seen too many. My experiences sum up to:

1/ People don't die in the order that inheritance plans expect them to.
2/ Blood is much much *much* thicker than water.
3/ Blindly considering all children equal, regardless of their circumstances, versus ranking them according to some apparently sensible scheme, can be an unresolvable conundrum.
4/ People stop thinking rationally when free money is in the offing.
As I mentioned above, just because it didn't go the way some family members wanted it to doesn't mean it didn't go as planned.
Rupert
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by Rupert »

clutchied wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:15 am
iamblessed wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:48 am I might get an inheritance in the future.
My parent's folks both died and the my uncle allegedly was the executor but has refused to execute the will or show anyone the will for the better part of 8 years now. It's unclear how they avoided probate as there wasn't a trust.

He's sitting on their old house and won't divide the estate. He's the youngest by quite a bit so I'm not sure what his plan is but it's interesting to watch it unfold.

All of the children (my dad and his siblings) haven't forced the issue at this point. House is just wasting away incurring big property tax bills and not renters or anything. It's like a preserved mid-century...
You might suggest that your father and his siblings research the statute of limitations for filing a probate action in the relevant state. This is not something you can wait out indefinitely. Having waited this long to "force the issue," they may now be precluded from ever doing so.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by nisiprius »

I have heard, at third hand, of an estate that took over two years and many tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to settle, even though the decreased had left a will and nobody disputed anything in the will. The issue was that the actual original of the will was never found, and the probate court would not accept a copy, even though the copy had the original (not copied) signatures of the witnesses. I can't swear I got this right because it seems to absurd, but that is what I thought I heard. And the moral is that if you have a will, you should a) let everybody know where you keep the original, and b) keep it in an obvious place.
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8foot7
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by 8foot7 »

nisiprius wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:33 pm I can't swear I got this right because it seems to absurd, but that is what I thought I heard. And the moral is that if you have a will, you should a) let everybody know where you keep the original, and b) keep it in an obvious place.
This isn't surprising. We had a valid original will left with my MIL's attorney and there was still a question about the witness signatures and a two-month delay before it was actually accepted. I can accept a certain level of scrutiny for wills left in bedroom drawers and in safe deposit boxes, but left on deposit with a longtime attorney who witnessed the witnesses to my mind ought to have eliminated some of the bureaucracy. But no.
NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

As planned by whom? The deceased, the potential heirs, or the attorneys who drafted the estate plan?
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by cherijoh »

iamblessed wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:48 am I might get an inheritance in the future.
It has been my observation that any family disharmony gets magnified when there is an inheritance in question.

I have a friend whose elderly neighbor passed away leaving the house to her 2 middle-aged daughters who apparently didn't get along. One had been the mother's primary caregiver while the other one was too busy with her job and just stopped by every couple of weeks. They ended up squabbling about the contents as they were trying to get it ready to sell - with one claiming that the other took something mom had promised her, etc. In the end, I don't think they were talking to each other and took a low-ball offer for the house just so they wouldn't have to deal with each other. My friend was peeved because she had intended to put her house on the market shortly and now the comps were down because of that lowball sale.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by Pu239 »

From Andrew Tobias (The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need, 2010) concerning wills and probate, "And the worst? Well, Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 and her estate wasn't settled until 1980, with probate fees consuming more than ten times the $100,000 that the inheritors finally got. Famed blues guitarist Robert Johnson, meanwhile, lived just 27 years - 1911 to 1938 - but his $1.2 million estate lived 62 years, being finally settled by the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2000."
Between the idea And the reality...Between the motion And the act...Falls the Shadow - T. S. Eliot
fposte
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by fposte »

There's always Dickens' Bleak House. Supposedly inspired by a real-life case where it took over 60 years to settle an estate.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by Afty »

This thread has been eye opening for me. One take away for me is that it is critical to communicate your wishes to your heirs directly, while you are still alive. Doing this may force you to have some difficult conversations, but if you don't, those difficult conversations don't just disappear, they get postponed until after you're gone and create even worse conflicts among your heirs. It also gives you a chance to correct real problems with your plan before it becomes irrevocable.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by cherijoh »

michaeljc70 wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:17 pm
mptfan wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:14 pm
michaeljc70 wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:19 pm Edit: Actually, the kids would probably have to sue to have the spouse evicted. There are protections for tenants and the onus would most likely be on the landlord and not the tenant to sue.
Nope, the house is in the kids' names, and one day when the spouse comes home she finds the locks changed and the kids will not let her in.
I suggest as a landlord you try to do that to someone with a lease living in a place. Good luck.
I rented a condo and had deadbeat tenants skip out on me. The last rent check bounced, so I had made an appointment to get the back rent and get the keys returned. As I expected, they were no shows and had cleaned out the place. I immediately called a locksmith to get the locks rekeyed. He told me that he couldn't legally rekey the locks had their stuff still been in the condo after I had told him that I had tenants.
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dm200
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by dm200 »

cherijoh wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:43 pm
michaeljc70 wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:17 pm
mptfan wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:14 pm
michaeljc70 wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:19 pm Edit: Actually, the kids would probably have to sue to have the spouse evicted. There are protections for tenants and the onus would most likely be on the landlord and not the tenant to sue.
Nope, the house is in the kids' names, and one day when the spouse comes home she finds the locks changed and the kids will not let her in.
I suggest as a landlord you try to do that to someone with a lease living in a place. Good luck.
I rented a condo and had deadbeat tenants skip out on me. The last rent check bounced, so I had made an appointment to get the back rent and get the keys returned. As I expected, they were no shows and had cleaned out the place. I immediately called a locksmith to get the locks rekeyed. He told me that he couldn't legally rekey the locks had their stuff still been in the condo after I had told him that I had tenants.
I would not take legal advice from a locksmith! :sharebeer
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by Lynette »

I do not want to be too specific but I know of someone who hired 24 x 7 armed guards during a family lawsuit about a will. It was in a safe neighborhood. The armed guards were all former policemen. We think it likely cost about $1,000 a day and went on for three months.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by mptfan »

dodecahedron wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:52 am A good tax-efficient alternative is simply to designate the charity of your choice as the beneficiary of an IRA of some appropriate size. That way the bequest does not pass through the probate process.
It's just as easy to designate the people of your choice as beneficiaries of your IRAs and other investment and bank accounts so that the bequest does not pass through probate. There is nothing unique about charities in this regard.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by PennySaved »

8foot7 wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:27 am
PennySaved wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:13 pm I am one four siblings (2nd oldest). Youngest sibling is more than a decade younger than me, had a slight physical disability, but did graduate college and had a job. He basically lived with my parents after college and lived with them rent free. After some years, he was no longer working but stayed with my parents and helped my elderly mother taken care of my father who had Alzheimer’s for three years and then died. He stayed with my Mom after that and drove her where she needs to go and did the grocery shopping and other things. After eight more years, Mom’s health goes downhill, and he takes over managing her affairs and taking care of her at home with assistance of hired caregiver.

During her last year or two of life, Mom changed her will so that all the assets go to this youngest sibling and we other 3 siblings get $1000 each in the will. She informed me of this change a year or so before she died. This change was precipitated by my older sibling telling Mom that he did want his share of the estate (previous will left assets to four siblings equally) and that Mom should let youngest sibling have it all. My older sibling and I lived 1200 miles away from Mom and 3rd sibling lived in local area. While I was disappointed in this change, I accepted it and realized that it seemed fair, because the youngest sibling took on a great burden in helping my elderly parents in their last years. My older brother and I could only come for periodic visits to help because we had job responsibilities. I did not really need the money, but I was surprised at how I felt because I somehow equated the lack of giving me money with her having less love for me, although I knew I should not feel that way.

The older sibling and I also contributed money for Mom’s care during her last six months. Mom had money, but it was not easy for the 3rd sibling to access all of it. Older sibling and I are doing well financially, but we are not very rich. I am not sure of the exact value of Mom’s estate, but it was a paid off house worth maybe $200K and other investments worth perhaps $200-250K. One consolation to me was that my older sibling and I would not have to provide for the younger sibling financially, although it has been three years since Mom’s death and he is only now getting back into job market. We are all on good terms, except with 3rd oldest sibling, which predates any of Mom’s health problems and death, and that is because of other family issues.

So we thought everything was all planned. BUT… Mom had two IRAs. And a life insurance policy that no one knew anything about. Even though I had asked her several times when she was ill if she had a life insurance policy- she said no. Beneficiary of one IRA was my father, who had predeceased her. My father’s will had left everything to my mother, and then equally to us four children, if my mother had pre-deceased him. Based on this and the fact that my mother’s will left everything to him, my youngest sibling was able to get the assets from that IRA. Beneficiary of second IRA was my father, with us four siblings as contingent beneficiaries. So each sibling got ¼ of that $40K IRA. I gave my share (minus taxes I will owed) to youngest sibling because that is what Mom would have wanted. Oldest sibling is giving his inherited IRA RMD to youngest sibling every year because of Mom’s intent. Life insurance company did not agree that youngest sibling should get the all the life insurance proceeds so that ends up going to all four siblings equally. Oldest sibling and I gave our share of life insurance ($6250 each) to youngest sibling based on Mom’s intent.

Lesson is to make sure to update all your estate plans, including updating beneficiaries. Let family know what your assets are. My father, when he died, turned out to have no less than 5 life insurance policies (1 major, four minor ones), but my Mom was not aware of that before he died.

Long-term care insurance: My father could have easily gotten the Federal employee long-term care insurance when he was still working, but stubbornly did not want to get it. My mother got it as a spouse of a federal govt employee, when it was first available. My father only was in a nursing home for less than a month before he died. My mother (age early 80s), in the beginning of her health decline, had CANCELLED her long-term care insurance without telling any of her children. My youngest sibling tried to get it re-instated a few months after it was cancelled, but she would have had to go through a new evaluation and she had a host of medical issues, including diabetes and beginning of dementia, so she may not have qualified. She did end up needing about six months of in-home care assistance, one month of assisted living (which did not work out) and one month of nursing home care before she died. So there were not years and years of expensive nursing home bills. But it could have turned out that either Dad or Mom could have had long nursing home stays that would have greatly depleted their assets.
I respect your integrity and character about honoring your mother's intents for her assets, even those that passed outside the will. Do you think if the amounts had been higher by a couple of orders of magnitude that you would have done the same?

I just don't know if I would, and I don't love what that says about me, but especially if I didn't feel like I was being treated fairly I don't know that I'd voluntarily give up substantial sums of money - say $100,000 and not $10,000, or $62,500 rather than $6,250 - especially after I knew how much youngest had received. I might even argue that if mom's intent had really been for him to receive the money then she would have called around to make sure she knew of all of her assets and how they were catalogued, and I might even argue that maybe she didn't revise the beneficiaries on those policies to make other siblings feel whole while still letting youngest feel like the gratitude for years of service was there in her intent.

I'm not saying that's at all what happened here. This is more introspective of myself than anything else. Again, lots of respect to you and yours. :sharebeer

Later update/edit: I say all of this coming from my experience of (1) having already disclaimed an inheritance in favor of a poorer party even though others in the family, including that party, had already requested and received their "share" of a future inheritance while the deceased was still alive and (2) seeing how my wife cared for her mother in her later years, particularly during the last three years of terminal brain cancer, and the toll it took on her and us, and seeing the complete absence of her brother in any appreciable sense during that time, and then seeing brother get 50% of everything (mid-six figures) without essentially lifting a finger, and then not even coming to the funeral or the family gathering to spread ashes.
Do you think if the amounts had been higher by a couple of orders of magnitude that you would have done the same?

That is a very good question. It would have been more difficult to give up the larger amounts. Maybe I would have only give him part of it. I don't really know. It was easier to part with only several thousand, rather than several hundred thousand. I even gave him back the $1000 that was left to me in the will. Not specifically because I wanted to be generous, but I think it was some still-hurt feelings I had (I felt guilty even having these feelings) about my Mother's wishes. So me paying back more money was a way to make myself feel more noble or something (or maybe spite?).

I might even argue that maybe she didn't revise the beneficiaries on those policies to make other siblings feel whole while still letting youngest feel like the gratitude for years of service was there in her intent.

I think the outdated beneficiaries was an oversight on my Mom's part. Having 3 assets with the beneficiary being my father, who had predeceased her seven years earlier, did not make sense if she wanted my youngest sibling to get all those assets. And it was a bit messy for my sibling to get it all straightened out. But these three assets were not the bulk of her estate, she forgot she even had life insurance, and outdated beneficiaries for assets outside of a will is a common problem. She may have thought the will took care of everything.

I was very grateful that my sibling was there so that Mom could stay in her house as long as possible. It did become very difficult for him to care for her- physically and emotionally. He was not getting enough sleep, new medical problems kept cropping up, Mom became very difficult to deal with as her dementia set in. I guess in the end, I felt he deserved the money. Having an older house that needed renovations, was full of stuff (4 bedroom, 2 bath, double garage) that would have been owned by four people (two of whom live out-of-state), one of whom was living there, would have been difficult to deal with, to clean up, repair and sell. So I don't have that headache. I, (unmarried and childless),have modified my own estate plans so that only one person will inherit my real estate.
MindBogler
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by MindBogler »

Nate79 wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:19 am I saw our family which was very close nit and loving family ripped apart when Grandfather passed away and their children (my parents and aunts/uncles) disagreed on how to deal with the assets. No matter how close you think a family is ANY family can be ripped apart due to money (greed) and sentiment.
Real money brings out everyone's true nature. It's a sad fact but I've also seen this exact scenario firsthand. To the OP, don't make your plans on another's misfortune. If you do receive an inheritance, be thankful, but do not ever expect it.
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black jack
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by black jack »

rennale wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:03 pm This topic would likely be shorter if it discussed inheritances that *did* go as planned. I haven't seen too many. My experiences sum up to:

1/ People don't die in the order that inheritance plans expect them to.
2/ Blood is much much *much* thicker than water.
3/ Blindly considering all children equal, regardless of their circumstances, versus ranking them according to some apparently sensible scheme, can be an unresolvable conundrum.
4/ People stop thinking rationally when free money is in the offing.
Curious about #2: the numerous examples cited of second marriages, where both spouses have children from a previous marriage, where a surviving spouse disinherits the children of the deceased spouse seems to support that idea (and the age-old theme of the evil stepmother).

But what makes such situations possible is that the spouse who died first did not do a better job of ensuring that their assets would pass to their children (their blood relations), which seems not to support that idea.
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)
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burt
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by burt »

AlohaJoe wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:54 pm Reading over these stories, I am struck by how 90% of them boil down to, "Elderly person didn't want to discuss their plans with heirs and so disappointment and bitter feelings ensued."

It seems clear what the actionable advice should be for all of us. Yet I wonder, how many of us who are, say, 50+ have actually done it?
Very good point.
The author of "Beyond the Grave" highly recommends that the will/trust be transparent to all heirs prior to death, without exception.

Supposedly my wife is the executor for her elderly parents estate. Parents refuse to reveal the contents of the will to my wife or 4 siblings.
The rumors and arguments about the will have already started between the siblings. Example... Dad says Joey gets everything in the garage.
There is a stash of gold coins somewhere in the house. There is a piece of antique pottery that is museum quality and considered priceless, somewhere in the house, etc. etc. etc.

When the day comes the only thing my wife will inherit is a big mess that will dog her for months if not years. I doubt the relationships between siblings will survive. Sad.

burt
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by jminv »

I've never seen one go exactly as planned, although some were close.

A few of the ones that were far off the mark.
1. Grandparents decided to give a substantial amount of money to their two grandchildren at their passing (~25% of assets). I know about this in passing as I am friends with one of the grandchildren. Only child would inherit the balance. Everything was set up but they lived a very long time and in the end moved across the country to be near the only child. Eventually ended up in a nursing home but golden pension and long term care insurance meant no out of pocket costs, actually continued savings. Last grandparent passed away, their only child chose to hide this fact from the grandchildren for months and through various maneouverings, managed to give 0% to the grandchildren. One element of this was that it was a controlling household so the children believed him when he said that it would be saved and given to them at a later date. This never ocurred, date came and went. What happened is that the only child was offended he wouldn't receive everything and made it a point to cut out his own children from benefiting.

The man that stole from his own children continues to lecture them, their friends, and acquaintances about the virtues of savings and hard work, that there is something wrong with the current generation, how hard he had it and how he built his wealth through a lifetime of frugality, etc etc. This sort of posturing is common among people who inherit money (it was a small amount, didn't make a difference or change me) but is especially galling considering he stole from his children and now lectures them about what is wrong with them.

2. Family fought over a potential inheritance that resulted in estrangement. The potential inheritance was low six figures split many ways so not much individually. The fight was over their mother's assets since some of the family (incorrectly) believed that the one remaining child in the area was going to try to capture the assets. In reality, the remaining child in the area had been helping a mother who was completely incapable of managing her finances. He helped his mother because she was his mother and never took a dime. It was a huge headache for him and besides this, he helped her with every other drama in her life and there were many. He worked full time in a town an hour away, had his own family, but made time to help her whenever she needed it. He had not positioned himself to take anything and fully respected his mother's wishes (and will) for everything to be divided equally.

The issue was that he was joint on a checking account with his mother that had a running balance of $10k. He was joint on it because his mother was completely incapable of running her finances and he had found it difficult to help her when he wasn't. It was an easier arrangement for him. A nosy bank teller told another sibling who was visiting that with this arrangement, the brother who was joint on the account could 'steal everything' when the mother passes. Yes, he could steal all $10k. He was also the executor of the will since he was the one who lived closest. Her house was in a trust that would be divided equally among all the children when sold. This bank teller sparked a family estrangement over a potential inheritance. The end result is that the son became completely estranged from the entire family, including the mother and a number of the other children formed factions that became estranged from each other.

The mother lived many more years, sold her house when she could no longer lived it, and ended up in assisted living and then a nursing home. She outlived all her assets and in the end the state paid. When she passed away, no one inherited anything.

I put this here because the OP is talking about a potential inheritance but you will never know what you get until the time comes. People can live a lot longer than you expect and the assets you are expecting might not be there or someone else can be slated to receive them.

3. Man had been an international jet setter who had an international, high paid career with nice cars, fancy house, etc. Everyone assummed he was wealthy since people commonly equate spending with wealth. His wife had no involvement in the financial affairs, which is how the husband preferred it. He said everything would be okay if he passed away. This sounded reasonable based on his income, their lifestyle, and a pension from a previous position that he was already collecting on etc. When he passed rather suddenly, it turned out that all he had was debt. He had also allowed his life insurance to expire. The worst part, though, was that he had elected a 25% survivor's share of his pension (the minimum allowed by this plan) in order to maximize his income while he was alive. His widow's lifestyle changed overnight and she had a very hard time accepting what had happened. The home was foreclosed on, she had to have an estate sale, ended up in a tiny apartment in a bad part of town.

4. Husband passes, widow discovers that there are more assets than she originally thought. Unforuntately, people other than herself are to inherit certain accounts and life insurance proceeds. The net result is that the widow ended up with less than she expected. This strained her relationship with the others who inherited and her impacted her previously positive memories for the husband.

5. Grandparents pass suddenly with substantial assets. Real wealth. They were worried about ruining their children (I see a lot about this here) and left almost everything to their grandchildren in a trust for each of them. Parents did not know this was the plan, in fact the grandparents told them - unprompted since discussing finances were a no no in this family - that if they continued to behave as they wished, they'd leave almost everything to them and give a small bit to the grandchildren too. This ended up not being true, when they had said this everything was already set up for the grandchildren to inherit everything. There were many strings attached (grandparents were all about control) but in any case, the grandchildren would now be wealthy at a young age. The grandchildren now knew they would be wealthy and their parents lost an element of parental control over them. None of the grandchildren ended up well. The best lives overseas with a pretend career (to pretend her money is earned, not inherited) and speaks poorly of her parents and grandparents whenever she can. Another got into drugs and passed away prematurely. The others had very mediocre experiences and after meeting the initial requirements set in for a long life of leisure. Before the inheritance, things were looking great for all of them and the parents were doing well by them.

The worst part about this is that the parents had, and were well into, their own successful careers and were in the position to responsibly handle an inheritance and let their own children grow up how they wished. The grandparents actions completely disrupted this.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by pennywise »

Pu239 wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:01 pm From Andrew Tobias (The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need, 2010) concerning wills and probate, "And the worst? Well, Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 and her estate wasn't settled until 1980, with probate fees consuming more than ten times the $100,000 that the inheritors finally got.
Actually that is quite untrue, Marilyn Monroe had a valid will with bequests to various friends and family. The majority (75%) of her estate was left to her acting coach Lee Strasberg and here's what happened afterward:
When Lee Strasberg himself died in 1982, his assets passed to his third wife Anna. Monroe only met Anna one time in her life, so they barely knew each other. Yet nonetheless that individual who was essentially a stranger to Monroe inherited Lee Strasberg’s interest in Marilyn’s Estate. And that interest has proved lucrative to her indeed. Anna soon hired a company to license products using Monroe’s image. Then she auctioned off a number of Monroe’s personal belongings including the dazzling gown she wore to President John f. Kennedy’s birthday party which sold for more than $1 million. She also fought and waged a lawsuit over Monroe’s image. Eventually she sold the rest of her interest in Marilyn’s estate to another branding company for an estimated $20 million to $30 million.
I suppose this is tangentially an example of the topic, since MM barely knew Anna Strasberg. So perhaps she wouldn't necessarily have wanted to leave a $20-$30 million bequest to a semi-stranger!
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by rennale »

black jack wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:35 pm
rennale wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:03 pm This topic would likely be shorter if it discussed inheritances that *did* go as planned. I haven't seen too many. My experiences sum up to:

1/ People don't die in the order that inheritance plans expect them to.
2/ Blood is much much *much* thicker than water.
3/ Blindly considering all children equal, regardless of their circumstances, versus ranking them according to some apparently sensible scheme, can be an unresolvable conundrum.
4/ People stop thinking rationally when free money is in the offing.
Curious about #2: the numerous examples cited of second marriages, where both spouses have children from a previous marriage, where a surviving spouse disinherits the children of the deceased spouse seems to support that idea (and the age-old theme of the evil stepmother).

But what makes such situations possible is that the spouse who died first did not do a better job of ensuring that their assets would pass to their children (their blood relations), which seems not to support that idea.
Yes - that's the nub of the matter. The issue being that a death can break a weak step relationship. So what seems obvious and expected in life suddenly turns out to be meaningless in death.
Retired2013
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by Retired2013 »

rennale wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:15 pm Oh, and two more:

5/ People fail to update their wills when circumstances change.
6/ If a will can't be found it can't be executed. And if there's only one copy, well, it can mysteriously disappear......
When my mother passed, I took her latest will that I knew of to the lawyer. Turns out she had a will written when we were children and had it on file with the court. The lawyer had to contact everybody living (only an uncle that we haven't heard from in over 30 years) and provide dates of death for the other people mentioned in the old will.

I don't currently have a will but when I do, I guess for a fee, you can file the will with the court. No hiding of the will.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by dm200 »

While "everyone needs a will" is probably almost always correct, nonetheless no will can sometimes be much better than a "bad will".
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by InvisibleAerobar »

Pu239 wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:01 pm From Andrew Tobias (The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need, 2010) concerning wills and probate, "And the worst? Well, Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 and her estate wasn't settled until 1980, with probate fees consuming more than ten times the $100,000 that the inheritors finally got. Famed blues guitarist Robert Johnson, meanwhile, lived just 27 years - 1911 to 1938 - but his $1.2 million estate lived 62 years, being finally settled by the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2000."

that's getting to the levels of absurdity of the English Chancery court (which acted as probate courts), as satirized by Charles Dickens in Bleak House

at least the inheritors got something in this case; as in book (SPOILER ALERT),






the legal fees drained the account, and the Lord Chancellor (who presided over the court) dismissed the case as soon as the estate was drained by the legal costs
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by mptfan »

Gnirk wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:09 am My investment accounts pass equally to my children, his go to his children. If any beneficiary contests the will(s), they get nothing.

Hopefully, this will prevent any horror stories.
I'm sure you know this, but your investment accounts will pass to your children as named beneficiaries regardless of whether they contest the will.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by HomeStretch »

Retired2013 wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:26 am When my mother passed, I took her latest will that I knew of to the lawyer. Turns out she had a will written when we were children and had it on file with the court. The lawyer had to contact everybody living (only an uncle that we haven't heard from in over 30 years) and provide dates of death for the other people mentioned in the old will.

I don't currently have a will but when I do, I guess for a fee, you can file the will with the court. No hiding of the will.
Good point. Varies by state. My state will not accept a will prior to a testator’s death.

Edited to fix quote...
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by Gnirk »

mptfan wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:12 pm
Gnirk wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:09 am My investment accounts pass equally to my children, his go to his children. If any beneficiary contests the will(s), they get nothing.

Hopefully, this will prevent any horror stories.
I'm sure you know this, but your investment accounts will pass to your children as named beneficiaries regardless of whether they contest the will.
My accounts have my daughters designated as equal beneficiaries. Unfortunately, my husband has no beneficiaries designated except for his small IRA, on which I’m the beneficiary. And I haven’t been able to convince him to name beneficiaries and percentages that follow his will ( 50% to son, 30% to daughter, 10% to each of daughter’s two children). He has his reasons for those bequests.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by cheese_breath »

Gnirk wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:01 pm
mptfan wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:12 pm
Gnirk wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:09 am My investment accounts pass equally to my children, his go to his children. If any beneficiary contests the will(s), they get nothing.

Hopefully, this will prevent any horror stories.
I'm sure you know this, but your investment accounts will pass to your children as named beneficiaries regardless of whether they contest the will.
My accounts have my daughters designated as equal beneficiaries. Unfortunately, my husband has no beneficiaries designated except for his small IRA, on which I’m the beneficiary. And I haven’t been able to convince him to name beneficiaries and percentages that follow his will ( 50% to son, 30% to daughter, 10% to each of daughter’s two children). He has his reasons for those bequests.
All he's doing is creating more work for his executor. If that's you then make sure he knows it.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by Halicar »

Gnirk wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:09 am If any beneficiary contests the will(s), they get nothing.

Hopefully, this will prevent any horror stories.
No-contest clauses are not bulletproof. They can be contested themselves, and voided.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by LilyFleur »

What an interesting and truly scary thread!
My sister and I were very fortunate. We had both saved for retirement and settling my mom's estate, while it was painful and sad due to mourning our mother, went smoothly. My parents were both financial planners and had good wills and trusts.
I have a few resolutions myself:
1. I am divorced. I have my children as beneficiaries on my 401k and on my taxable account. California has a way to do a Transfer-on-Death deed, and I have done that for my home and car. No trust needed, no expensive attorney fees before or after my death. I doubt I will ever remarry. If I should, I will keep my home regardless, and there would be an airtight prenup.

2. I will do some nice trips with my children. I want to travel while I can enjoy it. When I am not up for traveling, I will help my children. I am already helping them in college. I am sending them each for a summer to study abroad and we (the three of us) will and have taken a piggyback trip on the front end of each study abroad. Their father has planned to leave everything to their stepmother, and they are smart enough to realize that if he dies first, they won't see a penny of it. Sad, but it puts the onus--and the privilege--on my shoulders, to help them. They are grateful and not spoiled in the least. They are very loyal to me. Life is good!
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by btenny »

If you want to read a crazy story about inheritance and family turmoil go read about LS Shoen and U-Haul. LS was married 4 times and had 12 kids by multiple wives. He ran U-Haul for most of his life. He built it into a big company. His kids built it into an even bigger company that it is today. Before LS died he gave away all the shares in the company to his kids. As he got older many of his kids worked for him while he ran the company. Unfortunately the company was near BK. It took a palace revolt and kids against kids against dad fight to remove LS and take over. This story includes murder and brother against brother attacks and giant lawsuits and giant settlements ($600 Million) and much intrigue. See below for the fascinating story.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/luisakroll ... bc02b23bb5

https://www.amazon.com/Birthright-Murde ... 0688112552

https://www.lgassoc.com/writing/a-house-divided-2
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by Dottie57 »

clutchied wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:15 am
iamblessed wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:48 am I might get an inheritance in the future.
My parent's folks both died and the my uncle allegedly was the executor but has refused to execute the will or show anyone the will for the better part of 8 years now. It's unclear how they avoided probate as there wasn't a trust.

He's sitting on their old house and won't divide the estate. He's the youngest by quite a bit so I'm not sure what his plan is but it's interesting to watch it unfold.

All of the children (my dad and his siblings) haven't forced the issue at this point. House is just wasting away incurring big property tax bills and not renters or anything. It's like a preserved mid-century...
I would be going to the probate court with complaint.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by cheese_breath »

Dottie57 wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:33 pm
clutchied wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:15 am
iamblessed wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:48 am I might get an inheritance in the future.
My parent's folks both died and the my uncle allegedly was the executor but has refused to execute the will or show anyone the will for the better part of 8 years now. It's unclear how they avoided probate as there wasn't a trust.

He's sitting on their old house and won't divide the estate. He's the youngest by quite a bit so I'm not sure what his plan is but it's interesting to watch it unfold.

All of the children (my dad and his siblings) haven't forced the issue at this point. House is just wasting away incurring big property tax bills and not renters or anything. It's like a preserved mid-century...
I would be going to the probate court with complaint.
I don't know if that would do any good. AFAIK nobody is required to file the will for probate even if the will nominated him to be executor. And if he actually had applied and been approved for executor I think the court would already been breathing down his neck. But there's nothing to stop you from inquiring if the will had been submitted for probate, and if not applying for the executorship yourself.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by HIinvestor »

My friends have taken care of her MIL. The sibs of her H don’t get along. One of the sibs has filed a lawsuit against the other sibs about the estate of FIL, who died. There’s a lot of money and property involved. The sibs don’t talk with nor trust one another at all. It’s very sad.

In another case, an older woman died, leaving everything to her two brothers. A family friend was appointed executor and got everything fairly distributed—real estate, cash, retirement accounts and investments, totaling two commas. The estate attorney kept trying to find ways for the brothers to squabble but they ignored her and got everything resolved. The brothers and family friend still get along great—they avoid the estate attorney.
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by Dottie57 »

cheese_breath wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:44 pm
Dottie57 wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:33 pm
clutchied wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:15 am
iamblessed wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:48 am I might get an inheritance in the future.
My parent's folks both died and the my uncle allegedly was the executor but has refused to execute the will or show anyone the will for the better part of 8 years now. It's unclear how they avoided probate as there wasn't a trust.

He's sitting on their old house and won't divide the estate. He's the youngest by quite a bit so I'm not sure what his plan is but it's interesting to watch it unfold.

All of the children (my dad and his siblings) haven't forced the issue at this point. House is just wasting away incurring big property tax bills and not renters or anything. It's like a preserved mid-century...
I would be going to the probate court with complaint.
I don't know if that would do any good. AFAIK nobody is required to file the will for probate even if the will nominated him to be executor. And if he actually had applied and been approved for executor I think the court would already been breathing down his neck. But there's nothing to stop you from inquiring if the will had been submitted for probate, and if not applying for the executorship yourself.
Then I would finda lawyer. A person has died and no one is working on disbursement of the estate according to the will. Seems like theft by inaction.

P.S. When I had my will created it was filed in the county I live in. I suspect it is now a public document.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by cheese_breath »

Dottie57 wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:27 pm
cheese_breath wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:44 pm
Dottie57 wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:33 pm
clutchied wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:15 am
iamblessed wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:48 am I might get an inheritance in the future.
My parent's folks both died and the my uncle allegedly was the executor but has refused to execute the will or show anyone the will for the better part of 8 years now. It's unclear how they avoided probate as there wasn't a trust.

He's sitting on their old house and won't divide the estate. He's the youngest by quite a bit so I'm not sure what his plan is but it's interesting to watch it unfold.

All of the children (my dad and his siblings) haven't forced the issue at this point. House is just wasting away incurring big property tax bills and not renters or anything. It's like a preserved mid-century...
I would be going to the probate court with complaint.
I don't know if that would do any good. AFAIK nobody is required to file the will for probate even if the will nominated him to be executor. And if he actually had applied and been approved for executor I think the court would already been breathing down his neck. But there's nothing to stop you from inquiring if the will had been submitted for probate, and if not applying for the executorship yourself.
Then I would finda lawyer. A person has died and no one is working on disbursement of the estate according to the will. Seems like theft by inaction.

P.S. When I had my will created it was filed in the county I live in. I suspect it is now a public document.
After 8 years of ignoring the issue it will probably take a lawyer to get the court's attention. As one poster mentioned there might be a statute of limitations. But even if there isn't it would take someone good to convince a judge with an already full plate that this has suddenly become so important that (s)he should delay someone else's case to consider it.

I seriously doubt wills ever become public records. DW and I have new wills written a few months ago after we moved to TX. I requested our old wills, written in the 1970's and stored by the county where we used to live be returned to me so I could destroy them. DW is paralyzed and on her strong side and unable to sign the request, so I included her POA to me in the request. I was notified that they can't honor the POA. State law forbids them to release her will to me unless she personally signs the request. If they won't release it to her spouse with her POA I doubt they will release it into the public records.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
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David Jay
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong

Post by David Jay »

Taylor Larimore wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:24 pm
iamblessed wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:48 am
Has anyone seen an inheritance not go as planned?
iamblessed:

Personally, I am not concerned about an inheritance going wrong.

More than 10 years ago my wife and I started giving our three sons their inheritance in monthly payments. Our idea was that it was better to give our heirs their inheritance while we are still alive. They are very grateful and we are pleased.

My wife of 62 years is gone, but the purchase of two SPIA joint annuities when we were about 80 years old (I'm now 94), assures me that I will not run out of money before running out of life.

Best wishes
Taylor
Thank you Taylor. You wrote about this a few years ago. That commentary caused me to create a plan for gifting my kids while we are still living.
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius
JPM
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Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

Post by JPM »

#1 Farmer Abe and wife Ann develop large farm and estate living and working together into their 80s. No natural children but have raised one informally, but not legally, adopted son. Not unusual in our part of the country in the 30s and 40s. Ann becomes demented in her mid 80s and enters nursing home. Adopted son has been farming with Abe since boyhood and is in the will to inherit said farm. In his late 80s Abe dies suddenly. No one can find the will. Attorney who drew it up has been dead 20 years and no one knows what became of his files. So by law Ann inherits entire estate then dies a few months later also without a will that can be found. Ann's next of kin are two great nieces from 2 states over. By law they receive 3 million dollar farm + estate. Informally adopted son who has worked 40 years with Abe and Ann gets nothing.

#2 Mr. X has appointed Lawyer Z, a good friend, as attorney and executor of estate with his 4 children as heirs. No trust. Estate is $6million but depleted to $4million by fees to the attorney and executor for years of work on the estate. The court regarded the fees as appropriate, leading to the suspicion that the will was poorly drafted. Heirs split the remainder but only after another attorney takes Lawyer Z to court on behalf of the heirs to wrest control of the estate from him

These examples are from acquaintances from decades ago. Names are false of course.

Update grandpa's documents frequently. Know where they are and keep a copy if you can. Know your attorneys and your trustee or executor as well as you can. Wills and estates lawyers vary in skill and character just like people in every other professional group. Be sure grandpa gets a good one.
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