Robert M. wants to do the right thing by his adult children.
But he’s not sure what the right thing is.
He’s got two daughters who are doing well and married into “serious money,” the Ft. Lauderdale resident wrote. His two sons are hard workers but aren’t doing as well financially.
His dilemma: What’s the fairest way in his will to divide his sizable estate.
“I was going to split it four ways, but am now rethinking that since a friend has told me I should leave the bulk of it to my sons since my daughters will never be in need,” he said. “I am close to all of my kids and they get along fairly well.”
I’ll weigh in next week on what I think but I’d also like to hear from you.
Color of Money Question of the Week
What would you advise Robert M. to do? I’m hoping to help others parents figure out what will lead to the least amount of drama when leaving an inheritance. Send your comments to email@example.com. Please include your name, city and state.
For last week’s Color of Money Question of the Week I asked: Did your parents show favoritism leaving an inheritance that wasn’t divided equally among the siblings, and how did it turn out?
Charles Anderson of Chesapeake, Va. wrote that although his parents had wills drawn up, they didn’t end up signing them. So it was left up to him to take care of their estate. Anderson and his siblings didn’t end up like so many others. Things were civil.
“Although technically not equal, everyone was treated equally,” he said.
Cynthia Wilkes of Fredericksburg, Va. wrote, “I have seen how inheritances have destroyed families. My grandfather died and left his home to one daughter. The other three [siblings] were angry, and had a hard time reconciling with her. My grandmother died when I was a child. She had a house. Her children expected to get this house. She left the house to one of her 14 grandchildren. Forty years later, there are family members who have no knowledge of the other. This is truly the loss. The future children don’t know their relatives.”
Wilkes said in several instances relatives left assets to her sibling leaving her with just the funeral bill to pay. And yet she said she’s chosen not to become bitter.
“Life is short and fortunes come and go like the tide,” Wilkes wrote.
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Color of Money Columns
— Panicking over personal finance? Here are some ideas.
Financial news you can use
Retirement columnist Rodney Brooks’ Monday newsletter this week: A good time to do a reality check on your retirement savings
As Brook writes, “This is National Retirement Security Week. Before you write it off as just another one of those useless ‘branded’ calendar items like National Muffin Week, think of it this way: This is the perfect time to do a reality check on your retirement savings plans.”
Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to washingtonpost.com/business.