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Dividing the Money

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Q: We have three adult children and own two homes, our primary residence and one we lease out for income. At present, we don't have a will or trust but are in the process of creating one. Our holdup is that we are uncertain how we want to divide our assets among our adult children. One grandson is autistic and will need lifetime supervision.

We are considering his needs and giving that family a larger percentage of our assets. Will this divide our family by causing jealousy and animosity between our children?

A: Most parents choose to gift equally if possible. But sometimes different needs do come into play. Individual assets, health, possible divorce, stepfamilies, old wounds, multiple other factors and unknown changes ahead should be considered.

To help reduce the issue of conflict, it's time for a serious family discussion. Knowing each other's feelings and understanding the reasons for what you plan could ease the possibility of conflicts. Head off any surprises now.

Hire an experienced estate lawyer who can offer you options and strategies before your family meeting. For example, would you be more comfortable setting up a lifetime benefit trust for your needy grandson now? Does one family want to buy out the others' share for its family residence? Should you sell the rental home and divide the assets now?

Your bottom line is that you have earned your assets, and it is your choice to share them as you see fit. By revealing the details of your will and trust to your family now, it will eliminate the surprise factor, which can become a major cause of family splits.

Hopefully after your children learn the basis of your decision regarding this issue, they will graciously accept what you are offering.

What is done is done!

Q: When my husband was alive he made most of our financial and vacation decisions. He passed six months ago. I am having trouble making decisions, because I fear making mistakes. How can I allay that issue and move positively forward?

A: Ask family and friends who are experiencing and have experienced what is now happening to you for help.

Find both existing friends and acquaintances along with professionals who can prove to be of assistance. By doing so, you are not obligated to follow their advice. By just listening to how they handled similar feelings and actions, you often learn what would be best for yourself. Sometimes our brains spurt out what we need to do.

The most difficult and challenging issues you face are during the first year after your loss. Go with your first instinct. Analyze your options. Perform small decisions first to build up your self-confidence. Develop a relationship with a banking executive, an insurance broker and your doctors.

Be patient with yourself. Just because your life has changed it does not mean you have. Only the circumstances are different.

I believe husbands and wives who pass prefer their partner accept their loss, be grateful for the love and companionship they shared, and adjust to changes positively, moving forward with ongoing love in their hearts!

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California Retirement community. Contact him at deardoug@msn.com. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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Comments

1 Comments | Post Comment
I would hope the parents are making plans for their son's future. You may want to create a trust with the residue being divided between the siblings who are getting smaller portions. I once asked a good friend why she was punishing one child for working hard and being successful. She hadn't looked at it in that light and discussed it with her lawyer and made changes. She did make special provision for a disabled sister. It was necessary to handle that at arm's length so the government funding and medical care would not be lost.
My husband got less all of his life because he and I worked hard while his brother drank the money. Even when the last parent died the brother thought he should get even more. Now he doesn't speak to us because he thinks he lost. Do not create that sense of entitlement in your child or grandson. Any one of the grandchildren could become disabled in the future and get no help.
Comment: #1
Posted by: retired
Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:06 PM
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