bequests to illegitimate children

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penngy
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bequests to illegitimate children

Post by penngy » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:50 pm

if gifting or leaving for inheritance to grandchildren, will you give equally to legitimate children and children born out-of-wedlock?

[see my post below for additional info - admin alex]

Beantown85
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Post by Beantown85 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:57 pm

Yes.

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Post by Beantown85 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:58 pm

Yes.

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Post by jhd » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:01 pm

Definitely. Is the child less worthy because of the parents' situation?

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ryuns
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Post by ryuns » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:02 pm

I would suggest trying to avoid ever punishing children for the consequence of a choice that was not theirs to make.
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Post by goggles » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:03 pm

This oughtta be good.

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Post by empb » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:07 pm

Unless, you've got absolutely no relationship with these other grandchildren, I can't believe the question is being asked. There are plenty of legitimate reasons not to bequeath to people. That's not amongst them IMO.

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Post by sscritic » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:16 pm

If you were talking about the illegitimate children of your own illegitimate children, I would think it would depend on your own relationship with both generations. But my guess is that isn't what you were asking about.

What would King Henry VIII have done?

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Post by Alex Frakt » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:30 pm

I am reopening this temporarily locked thread after a discussion with the original poster. This is an issue in the drafting of a will. Here is the OP's response as to how the question arose:
penngy wrote:I posted to get people opinions on the matter as my spouse and I disagree on the matter (different cultural backgrounds) and wanted to get a broader sense of what other people do in this situation. Obviously, the child born out-of-wedlock is not treated any "less" in terms of affection, care, and love. I was merely trying to get a read on general mores specifically concerning leaving an estate.
Last edited by Alex Frakt on Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by dbonnett » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:43 pm

...and natural offspring (excludes adopted and acquired by remarriage)...any thoughts?

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Post by sscritic » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:45 pm

I might also distinguish between the illegitimate child of my son where I never see the child, who lives far away with a mother who was married to someone else at the time and has never been told that my son is the father and my daughter's illegitimate child who lives next door and who is in my house every day.

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Post by sscritic » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:57 pm

Are you providing for all that exist today anywhere in the world, or just to the ones whom you know about? To those that exist today or to all that might come in the future? Assuming there are minors involved, you will probably have a trust. Will you include only those that your son acknowledges or are you leaving it open for others to come forward and assert claims after you die? What about any more illegitimate children your son conceives after your death?

It's a can of worms.

penngy
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Post by penngy » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:12 pm

sscritic wrote:Are you providing for all that exist today anywhere in the world, or just to the ones whom you know about? To those that exist today or to all that might come in the future? Assuming there are minors involved, you will probably have a trust. Will you include only those that your son acknowledges or are you leaving it open for others to come forward and assert claims after you die? What about any more illegitimate children your son conceives after your death?

It's a can of worms.
These are not illusory children, but actual, named children (from two different sets of parents), with whom we have a relationship with. Neither of the custodial parents, however, are close.

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Re: bequests to illegitimate children

Post by dm200 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:21 pm

penngy wrote:if gifting or leaving for inheritance to grandchildren, will you give equally to legitimate children and children born out-of-wedlock?

[see my post below for additional info - admin alex]
My criteria would be based on the overall relationship, needs, and other specific factors of the total picture - not just biological parentage. In a will or trust, you might consider naming all beneficiaries, but then adding a very restrictive condition such as "and future children of myself and Terry Jones".

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Post by pjstack » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:28 pm

To penngy: This would seem to be nobody's business but your own.

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Re: bequests to illegitimate children

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:30 pm

penngy wrote:if gifting or leaving for inheritance to grandchildren, will you give equally to legitimate children and children born out-of-wedlock?

[see my post below for additional info - admin alex]
Yes - if they are related to my kids - either adopted or part of them - then it's share and share alike.

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Post by sscritic » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:33 pm

penngy wrote: These are not illusory children, but actual, named children (from two different sets of parents), with whom we have a relationship with. Neither of the custodial parents, however, are close.
I didn't mean any disrespect to your family, but it is a lot easier to keep track of the children of a daughter than the children of a son. I was also commenting on what I considered the facile answer "treat them all the same" when those commenters know as little as I do about any sons you might have and where their children might live or if they would even be known to you.

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Post by penngy » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:48 pm

sscritic wrote:
penngy wrote: These are not illusory children, but actual, named children (from two different sets of parents), with whom we have a relationship with. Neither of the custodial parents, however, are close.
I didn't mean any disrespect to your family, but it is a lot easier to keep track of the children of a daughter than the children of a son. I was also commenting on what I considered the facile answer "treat them all the same" when those commenters know as little as I do about any sons you might have and where their children might live or if they would even be known to you.
One of the children is from a daughter, the other from a son. My main concern is that the respective custodial parents are not responsible people.

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Post by Rob5TCP » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:57 pm

Since I have no children, but by nieces/nephew fall into both categories -
Yes I am treating them equally. It's will be based on a minimum I plan to give to each + extra to the ones I have the closest relationship with. However, that would be for at least 25-35 years.

In the interim, I do distribute money regardless if used for what I consider valid purposes (help for college, books, etc.)

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Post by Call_Me_Op » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:17 pm

Aside from the distasteful term "illegitimate", the answer to the question is they should be treated equally.
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Post by dm200 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:27 pm

penngy wrote:
sscritic wrote:
penngy wrote: These are not illusory children, but actual, named children (from two different sets of parents), with whom we have a relationship with. Neither of the custodial parents, however, are close.
I didn't mean any disrespect to your family, but it is a lot easier to keep track of the children of a daughter than the children of a son. I was also commenting on what I considered the facile answer "treat them all the same" when those commenters know as little as I do about any sons you might have and where their children might live or if they would even be known to you.
One of the children is from a daughter, the other from a son. My main concern is that the respective custodial parents are not responsible people.
I am a little confused. Are you considering leaving these two MORE because they have irresponsible custodial parents, or LESS because they have irresponsible custodial parents?

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Post by Opponent Process » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:29 pm

you have to also understand that there are a lot of illegitimate children who never find out. I'm not talking out-of-wedlock, I mean questions of paternity. sometimes parents aren't sure. if you're reading this, how do you know you're legitimate? I have no idea whether I'm legitimate, I just took my parents word for it. does it matter?
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Post by DTSC » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:45 pm

How does one know about "legitamacy" these days anyhow? Even if the parents were married before the child was born, who's to say that the father named on the birth certificate is actually the biological father? We could have IVF, egg donors, sperm donors, and good-old fashion affairs.

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Post by LadyGeek » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:55 pm

One of the children is from a daughter, the other from a son. My main concern is that the respective custodial parents are not responsible people
It's not a question of legitimacy, the document is called your "Last Will and Testament". You can say whatever you want in it, the word "Family-only" is not in the title. All I'll say is that I'm very familiar with a similar situation.

In this situation, the parents have 2 daughters and an irresponsible son (married with 1 child).

The son is totally irresponsible with his finances (and other problems). His daughter (granddaughter), however, is a perfectly normal teenager. The grandparents want to help her out as much as possible, but keep the son and especially the daughter-in-law totally out of the picture.

How to solve this? Work with an elder law attorney to setup a trust for the granddaughter. The trust agent is a family member (not the son or daughter-in-law) who will handle this appropriately. A good attorney will word the Will with enough flexibility that the trust agent has total discretion to distribute the funds.

The Will distributes the estate equally among the 3 sibling's families. Each sibling (2 daughters, 1 son) gets an even split. However, the irresponsible son and daughter-in-law are getting next to nothing, but the granddaughter is getting a sizeable trust.

This was done in order to be able to defend the Will against an unfair distribution lawsuit (the son will sue because it's unfair). It doesn't matter how splits are sub-divided within the family, it's fair in the eyes of the law and will withstand a lawsuit (any judge will toss the case out).

I'm not giving advice, but this is a real situation under the guidance of an experienced elder law attorney for a specific situation in a specific state.
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If you don't trust the custodial parents

Post by Brian2d » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:57 pm

This comment applies to anyone who may not trust custodial parents regardless of how that came to be:

Can't you create some kind of trust situation where the parents have no access to the money until the children are of age and can take control themselves, and still give them the same amount of money?

There should be some kind of workaround to that part of the problem.

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Re: If you don't trust the custodial parents

Post by wacodiver » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:38 pm

Brian2d wrote:This comment applies to anyone who may not trust custodial parents regardless of how that came to be:

Can't you create some kind of trust situation where the parents have no access to the money until the children are of age and can take control themselves, and still give them the same amount of money?

There should be some kind of workaround to that part of the problem.
Yes of course you can. Any estate attorney could do it in their sleep. It is very common.

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Post by Beantown85 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:43 pm

Opponent Process wrote:you have to also understand that there are a lot of illegitimate children who never find out. I'm not talking out-of-wedlock, I mean questions of paternity. sometimes parents aren't sure. if you're reading this, how do you know you're legitimate? I have no idea whether I'm legitimate, I just took my parents word for it. does it matter?
Maybe it doesn't matter, but the amount I look like my father would be one heck of a coincidence.

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Post by tarnation » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:31 pm

I have to say i am intrigued by the use of illegitimate. It makes me wonder a couple of things about the situation. On the children's birth certificate, are both parents listed? Was there any dispute regarding the paternity? It seems to me that this term is predominately used by relatives of the father. Do we refer to women having illegitimate children? I guess we would say she had his illegitimate children?
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Post by White Coat Investor » Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:09 am

tarnation wrote:I have to say i am intrigued by the use of illegitimate. It makes me wonder a couple of things about the situation. On the children's birth certificate, are both parents listed? Was there any dispute regarding the paternity? It seems to me that this term is predominately used by relatives of the father. Do we refer to women having illegitimate children? I guess we would say she had his illegitimate children?
Interesting-It seems that the word illegitimate ought to be applied to the parents, not the child. The child is quite legitimately a child. The parents....perhaps in name only.

Those bagging on the OP for using "illegitimate"...at least he/she didn't use the B word. :)

My opinion- If there are illegitimate children I might be cutting the parents out of the will!
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Post by tonythered » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:00 am

When my grandfather died, his will specified that each grandchild got one amount, and each "flesh and blood" (I forget what the actual terminology was) great-grandchild got another amount.

This specifically left out the one great-grandchild whom my cousin had adopted after marrying a girl who had a child from a previous marriage. My cousin considered him a son, and the other great-grandchildren all accepted him as one of their own... no reason to differentiate.

The entire family, who always had thought of my grandfather as a bit of an a$$, now had more fuel for that particular fire.

The great-grandchildren banded together and pooled the total money to divide it equally, since they wanted to be fair where the grandfather wasn't.

I admit to skimming through this thread, so I'm not clear on the OP's definition of "illegitimate" but if it's anything similar to the above - hopefully my family's tale helps a bit.

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Post by Martello Shores » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:14 am

Be sure to check on your state's requirements re wording of will. I think in Ontario, adopted kids are not considered grandchildren unless mentioned individually (?) Don't know about "illegitimate".

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Post by penngy » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:47 am

Thanks for the thoughtful responses. In particular the suggestion about holding funds in trust until the child reaches the age of majority so that the irresponsible parent does not get a hold of the money and squander it. Does a trust agent have to be a family member?

Also, I find helpful Emergdoc's opinion posed that the parents are the ones who made the "illegitimate" life decisions, but that the child is perfectly legitimate. Paternity is not an issue in either case and the parents' names are on the birth certificate. I didn't mean to be derogatory towards the children by using the word "illegitimate". It was for lack of better description.

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Post by tarnation » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:54 am

penngy wrote:Thanks for the thoughtful responses. In particular the suggestion about holding funds in trust until the child reaches the age of majority so that the irresponsible parent does not get a hold of the money and squander it. Does a trust agent have to be a family member?

Also, I find helpful Emergdoc's opinion posed that the parents are the ones who made the "illegitimate" life decisions, but that the child is perfectly legitimate. Paternity is not an issue in either case and the parents' names are on the birth certificate. I didn't mean to be derogatory towards the children by using the word "illegitimate". It was for lack of better description.
So really, the situation is tantamount to a divorced couple with children.
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Re: If you don't trust the custodial parents

Post by Rodc » Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:07 am

wacodiver wrote:
Brian2d wrote:This comment applies to anyone who may not trust custodial parents regardless of how that came to be:

Can't you create some kind of trust situation where the parents have no access to the money until the children are of age and can take control themselves, and still give them the same amount of money?

There should be some kind of workaround to that part of the problem.
Yes of course you can. Any estate attorney could do it in their sleep. It is very common.
That is what essentially what my mother did (I'm co-trustee, but she could have chosen someone else just as easily). Her concerns was not for irresponsible current parents, but years down the road, who knows if there will be divorce, etc, and new step-parents etc involved. Sometimes even seemingly responsible people do weird things no one imagined. It really is a good idea to set something like this up.

While I do not know what I might do in all circumstances (what if some 32 year old showed up on my door claiming to be my son and with two pre-teens in tow? Shudder...), in this case I would treat these child as I would any other grand-child. I would not think of them as being illegitimate: why tag them for the sins of the parents? (PS: I see you already addressed this)
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Post by LadyGeek » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:07 pm

penngy wrote:Thanks for the thoughtful responses. In particular the suggestion about holding funds in trust until the child reaches the age of majority so that the irresponsible parent does not get a hold of the money and squander it. Does a trust agent have to be a family member?
Absolutely not, at least according to the elder law attorney I'm familiar with. You can put whatever you want in the will. That's the key here. Naming a responsible person to manage the minor child's affairs is what you need, being a family member is not important. You only need to be sure that this is a person you trust to manage the funds.

Now, let me mention another point that this attorney said, which in his mind is very important. Don't ever give a large sum of money to anyone under 25. They'll spend it all or be irresponsible. What you want to do is split the gift. Give them half when they turn 25, the other half when they turn 30. Statements like this can be written in the will.

The idea is that if they do well, they'll still have what you gave them at 25. If they spend it all, this gives them a second chance to understand that they screwed up earlier and can recover.

Repeating the caveat: I'm not a lawyer and I'm not advising you what to do.
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Post by imagardener » Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:02 am

My unwealthy grandparents had a similar problem: their irresponsible only child, my father.
My grandmother solved it by putting their home which included rental apartments, in a life estate for my father. That way he would have a place to live and an income for life.

My brothers and I are not illegitimate (but I think this side issue has been addressed).

The life estate worked for a while. My father did no upkeep, just took money in. I (eldest) was called in when they (stepmother) could no longer get rentals. It was a teardown and was sold as buildable lots.

Because it was a life estate we all had to agree what to do with the money. Siblings agreed to honor our grandparents will and re-invest in rental property to provide income to parent.

This scenario could have had many endings, some better than others.
You can't control everything beyond the grave but the more you have contact with your grandchildren the better things will turn out the way you envision them.

Lawyers and trusts can help of course, don't avoid them in the set-up phase. Note: life estates don't work in every state the same way.

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