Fottrell - I want to leave my estranged children money, but my second w
From a425couple@21:1/5 to All on Sat Feb 3 06:25:27 2018
(Kind'a a messed up one)
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I want to leave my estranged children money, but my second wife will
Published: Feb 3, 2018 8:15 a.m. ET
Should this man quietly include his kids in his estate planning and
should he give his more hostile children less?
By QUENTIN FOTTRELL
PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR
I’m an upper middle-aged male and seven years into a happy second
marriage to my early-senior-aged wife. My first marriage ended after 30
years and produced four children, all now adults. The divorce went
quickly. The equitable distribution was a bitter, expensive two-year
process leading to a significant estrangement from two of my children.
The other two are kind to me, but only one of that pair is kind to their stepmother (who has been kind to those who’d let her).
My will leaves my retirement savings, work pension, and any additional
savings and property to my second wife. She’s not in the best of health
and wouldn’t do well on her current Social Security award. At the time I
made my will there were significant reasons to disinherit my children by default: Three were quite hostile to me, and the fourth had difficulties
with managing her mother’s manipulations and greedy demands on her.
I’m reconsidering this stance.
I’m feeling some sense of recognizing them in a final estate. This could
best occur by designating them as beneficiaries to one of my life
insurance policies. It would also be a discreet (and discrete) method
that would avoid probate and keep some hostile adult kids from their
However, I don’t want to sneak behind my wife’s back to do so. I also don’t like the discord in my marriage this would bring. But there’s no
way I’ve found to square this circle, apart from just waiting. And I
find it ghoulish to mentally calculate on my wife’s passing as necessary
to bequeath without noise. I also need to admit most of my adult kids
continue to be estranged and nasty, despite my reaching out.
That leads to another question: if I bequeath, do I do so evenly? Or proportionally, recognizing those who’ve tried to maintain a relationship?
This is the second time this week that I have received a letter from
someone who wants to leave something behind for their children. I’m
sorry you’ve fallen out with your children or, at least, they have
fallen out with you and I take my hat off to you for wanting to leave
That’s a good instinct. At some point in their lives, they will remember
the good times, even for a moment. This will be a testament to the fact
that — despite everything that went down — you are still their father.
In that spirit, follow your gut. Include them in some way, and do so
Also see: My husband is either giving $300,000 to a religious cult,
being blackmailed — or plotting a divorce
As for your wife? Even if you decide to do this quietly, it will always
prey on your conscience and, if you predeceased her, she would find out
after you’ve gone. That may leave her with many unanswered questions.
That defeats the purpose of doing this good deed in the first instance.
Include her in the conversation and on the amount you decide to leave
them. Preface any discussion by telling your wife that she need not
worry about her own financial security. She may or may not agree, but
I’m betting that your transparency and open heart is what drew her to
you in the first place.
(HAH! GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!)
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