Keeping (or not) Children/Stepchildren in Will

Karen10125July 30, 2013

What would you do about a child or stepchild who wants nothing to do with you or your spouse and has basically made no effort to reconcile or accept any attempt from you to reconcile? If they've basically made it clear they want nothing to do with you ever, would you keep them in your Will? This is probably a no brainer, but I'm asking because my husband and I, and other people we know, don't all agree on this subject. I'd like to know what the rest of the world thinks.

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Only a fool would give money to someone who makes it clear that they want nothing to do with them....that's an easy one.

Donate (their share of) your estate to a good cause if it doesn't change.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 5:17PM
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I agree with you Mkroopy and my money goes to a friend. There is no way I would reward anyone who only calls me to get more money.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 5:58PM
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Families can be hurtful even in the most favorable situations, & when the situation is contentious, you are at a real risk.

I've just been through a gruesome experience with an elderly friend whose most "loving" niece showed her true colors only after the aunt was in hospice.

and this was a woman whose aunt trusted & loved her.

If you already know these people aren't nice to you, then you know they will serve their interests no matter how it harms or damages you.

Please protect yourself:

Not only do you need to take them out of your will as beneficiaries, but get an attorney to draw up the proper documents (living will, physicians' directives, etc) to protect your interests should you become incapacitated.

Don't give any one person all the power, but name different people to do different things, sort of a checks & balances arrangement.

For instance, name your pastor as power-of-attorney (to become effective only upon your inability to handle your affairs), & your neighbor the nurse as your medical power-of-attorney, & give your accountant the power to sign checks, again, only upon your inability to handle your affairs.

If you haven't arranged your funerals or cremations, have a nitty-gritty consultation with your funeral home of choice, & make sure that they are authorized to do what you want done & that the money to do it will go directly to them.

I wish you the very best.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 6:57PM
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thanks everyone. Most people agree with all of you, but sometimes my husband and some friends will say things like "your child is always your child and you should look out for them financially after you're gone". I agree with that when the "child" is actually a child, like under 18, but not 30 or 35 years old. Thanks for all the legal advice sylviatexas, that's really helpful and I hadn't thought of most of it. I do feel guilty removing certain children entirely but at the same time I feel worse going to work every day knowing that my savings and home, etc. could go to someone who has blatantly told us they never want to see us again.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 7:50AM
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Remember wills aren't set in stone. If, over time, circumstances change (child has a change of heart) then you can re-visit this issue.

But right now if you're looking at a person who has said they want nothing to do with you, then there's no connection that merits putting them in a will. I do not agree that your child is always your child if they're estranged and have made a point of disavowing the relationship.

Examine your heart and do what gives you the most peace. And right now that sounds like leaving this person out.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 3:19PM
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Never reward bad behavior! And do protect yourself as sylviatexas states. If you already, or eventually have grandchildren, you could always leave money to them specifically for education or such, and in that way help your family without rewarding bad behavior.

Good Luck.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 4:59PM
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First and foremost, we don't owe our children anything, once they become adult. If you feel that he/she does not deserve your hard earned assets then will your assets to someone else (making sure that your will says specifically about omitting him/her), or another way is to give him/her $1 as inheritance.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 12:47AM
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