Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Distasteful legacies

It's the custom to pass on your inheritance (if you're lucky enough to have one) to your offspring or other family members. Eyebrows are raised if you hand it all to the local cat shelter or the Teddy Bear Society (yes, there is one).

But not everyone approves of this practice. Actor Daniel Craig, who has a three year old daughter, a stepson and an adult daughter, says he won't leave his children a large inheritance because he finds the practice "distasteful".

He thinks it's better to "get rid of it or give it away before you go". He adds "Isn't there an old adage that if you die a rich person, you've failed?"

His estimated net worth is currently over $180 million, and he's due to pick up another $100 million from future film deals. That's quite a hefty sum to not inherit.

He may be one of those who think handing your children a huge windfall just makes them lazy and self-centred and they should have to make their own way in life, presumably just as their own parents did.

But what if your children are already grown-up and doing very nicely? Should you then deny them an inheritance because they don't need it?

And if your children are grown-up but not doing very well, should you still deny them an inheritance because you think they squander money left right and centre and should just get a grip on their life?

Or what if you just can't stand one of your children and think they're a right pain in the arse? Do they also get nothing? (as happened with my father, who left me precisely zilch)

Whatever the reason for disinheriting family members, I imagine resentment and bitterness are almost sure to follow.

34 comments:

  1. As the fortunate inheritor of 3 inheritances, I suspect I would not be on your side. Some desperately need the money and have been diligent in their attention to those who deem them worth of their munificence.

    I also agree in the gift of "divdends" from those wealthy enough to donate to needier relatives.

    It's all so personal isn't it?

    XO
    WWW

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    1. www: What do you mean by my side? I'm not taking any sides, I'm just pondering over the way inheritances are (or aren't) left to children.

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    2. By "everyone" then you don't mean to include yourself? What is your opinion then?

      XO
      WWW

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    3. www: I said "not everyone" And no, I don't include myself in the "not everyone". I think people should be free to pass on money or not pass it on as they see fit. Jenny has received money from her late mother, and I'm okay with that.

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  2. It's none of our business what other people decide to do.

    That said, I'm curious: where are you leaving your inheritance?

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    1. Jean: Good question. I'm not answering it because the person who will be the main beneficiary doesn't know that's the case.

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    2. Ms Scarlet: I like your attitude. No pretending you don't really care whether you inherit or not....

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  3. I've never had an inheritance. But I did watch my sister in law get all kinds of mad at me when my brothers gave me all of my moms jewelry because she had told everyone in the family that she wanted me to have it all. She voiced that my mom had told her that she could have her sapphire ring which even my older brother *her husband* knew was a lie. She left when we said she couldn't have it and we haven't spoken since. They had only been married a year at that point too.

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    1. Mary: What a nerve, spinning that lie about the sapphire ring when everyone else knew full well it was a lie! Some people are so brazen.

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  4. Leo's brother and sister dod very well out of his father while he was alive, leaving very little to be left in his will. The brother did very well out of the mother too...and the pair combined to collar anything items of value that she left Leo did not even get a souvenir of her. Not surprisingly, they get nothing under his will.

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    1. Fly: That's a sorry state of affairs. That sort of blatant favouritism is asking for trouble.

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  5. Well, having a child with a disability means our main focus will be on providing for her for the rest of her life. Meanwhile, we are doling out money to the other two now, while they need it.

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    1. Bijoux: I think a lot of money is passed on by people here while they're still alive, to avoid the punitive inheritance tax (basically 40 per cent).

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  6. I skipped right over the children and disinherited the grandchildren. They will find out when I die.

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    1. Joanne: I'd love to know why you've disinherited them, but that's your business!

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  7. I suppose family relationships determine who leaves what to who. I sometimes wonder if sometimes people forget who they've promised what. They may have unintentionally left more than one individual believing they would receive an item, or maybe they changed their mind and just did't share they'd done so. Either way, it could surely cause problems after their death if all not fully aware before hand.

    Can be hard to say for many what, if anything, will be left to inherit until that final day comes. Health costs can be unpredictable. I anticipate everything will be equally shared by my children with individual items not likely to be in contention which we've all talked about and continue to do from time to time as I bring up items and encourage dialogue.

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    1. Joared: Very likely that people forget what they're going to leave to who, or they've changed their mind in the meantime. Equal sharing between children seems the fairest way, unless one child has really blotted their copybook.

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  8. Dave's father divided his money between his children and (legitimate) grandchildren without considering anyone's need. My father left us nothing saying his second wife needed it more. Both of those made sense to me. We don't expect to leave much other than investments that have listed beneficiaries if we haven't spent it all yet. We are each other's first listed with our only child next. It does help to have had only one child.

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    1. Linda: Interesting that your father left everything to his second wife. Jenny and I have no children so we would inherit each other's "estate". But our wills also allow for us both dying together.

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  9. I did not inherit anything because there was nothing to. All that I have will go to my only child, my son after my death and to prevent any mishaps, everything is already on record and registered with the Registrar.

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    1. Ramana: That's all fairly straightforward then. Wills in the UK are usually held by a solicitor for safe-keeping.

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  10. I quite like the spend it attitude! But we're not very good at spending! When my uncle left me money most of it we gave away to our children who needed it more than we did. When you have money in the hundreds of millions there must be good causes you can generously support while alive.

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    1. Liz: Indeed, is he giving some of that fortune to worthy causes or is it just piling up in the bank? The former, I hope.

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  11. This post has provoked some interesting comments, Nick. We made our wills years ago and have bequeathed family members with certain percentages. Ours is not a large family, so this was somewhat easier. At the time, we did not expect that I would receive an inheritance from my late mother as ironically we had always offered her financial assistance. Our plans were to enjoy some of this unexpected benefit with some longer trips. Of course the current virus situation has somewhat curtailed those plans, so we may re-evaluate our plans accordingly.

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    1. Beatrice: I hope you're able to take those longer trips fairly soon. Jenny and I aren't taking any holidays anywhere until next year when hopefully all the complex restrictions and requirements will be greatly reduced.

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  12. Man. That just seems mean-spirited to me. I sincerely hope I will have some money to leave to my kids and it will give me peace to know they are getting it.

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    1. Agent: I can understand not leaving anything to your child if they're rolling in money, but otherwise....

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  13. Hmm as my parents get older, wills are becoming a thing I think about. My brother has declared that the grandchildren should inherit because we don't need it. I never want to be grasping but I wish I could see a future where I don't need an inheritance!

    If I was wealthy like Daniel Craig I would want to know my children benefitted from my wealth but I think I would give them all a sum to help them along and donate the rest.

    The research tells us that once we have enough money to meet our needs and have a little over, extra money does not increase our happiness. In the context of this information, why not support some causes which are desperate for help?

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    1. Kylie: If you're going to give something to "help them along", the question is how much they actually need, and without knowing their detailed finances that's going to be wild guesswork.

      Yes, I'm familiar with that interesting research. Hopefully Daniel Craig supports plenty of charities in his lifetime, as Jenny and I do.

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    2. I was thinking that for Daniel Craig, he could give each child 5 or even 10 million which would set them up for life and still leave plenty to give to other causes.
      Most ordinary people don't have enough money to worry about how much to leave their kids because it's not excessive

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    3. Kylie: That sounds sensible. Still plenty left over for good causes, as you say. And yes, for a lot of people there's nothing to think about because they can barely get by, never mind accumulate some savings.

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