Estate Planning For Estranged Parents
Advertisements for estate planning products and estate planning law firms tend to present an unrealistically rosy picture of family life. Yes, it is hard to talk to your adult children about money, and it is even harder to talk to them about mortality, but the TV commercials and the full-page ads in AARP publications seem to assume that there are other things about which it is easy to talk to their children, and that is not everyone’s reality. Your relationship with your children might be strained recently, or it might have been this way for a long time. What happens to your estate plan if you and one of your children are not on speaking terms at all? As painful as it is to make decisions about your estate plan under these circumstances, it is much easier to do it with a Hillsborough County estate planning lawyer than without one.
Your Estate Plan Is Not the Place to Be Vindictive
Even if your life appears Instagram-perfect, with pictures of you enjoying luxurious travel and festive holidays with your children and grandchildren, you are not helping your relationships with your children by trying to control them with money. For example, if you are sending your son the unspoken message of, “Smile in the pictures we post on social media, cover your tattoos, and tell everyone that your long-term boyfriend is just a friend, and you’ll get your inheritance,” you can’t help but feel that your son wants your money more than he wants a relationship with you. Never threaten to withhold inheritance money from your children if they go against your wishes.
Likewise, a recent Moneyist column eloquently made the case for not using your will to punish sons and daughters with whom you do not have a good relationship. The letter writer was weighing the decision to disinherit her daughter, who had refused to speak to her for several years. Quentin Fottrell, the author of the Moneyist column, encouraged the mother to choose kindness and divide her estate equally among her children. An optimist would agree with this advice because, even if the mother and daughter were to remain estranged for the rest of the mother’s life, giving the estranged daughter her inheritance would leave the door open to family reconciliation in future generations. A pessimist would say that family wealth is not about emotions, and it is the kinship ties that entitle the daughter to the inheritance, not anything she or her mother said or did not say to each other. Besides, the daughter might petition the probate court and claim that she was unfairly disinherited, causing even more stress for her siblings.
Let Us Help You Today
A Tampa probate lawyer can help you develop an estate plan that allows for your personal happiness while being fair to everyone who has a claim to your inheritance. Contact David Toback for help today.