Thursday, May 6, 2010


It never ceases to amaze me how some people feel entitled to their parents' money after said parents have passed on.  Things tend to get especially complicated when said parents are married to a new partner.  A lot of times adult children of divorce get their panties all in a wad over their inheritance.  Wouldn't want Ma or Pa to leave anything to the stepparent, now would we?

I have a friend who recently became a stepchild when her mother remarried after my friend's father died.  She actually told me that she feared her mother's new husband would steal her inheritance and, perhaps, pass it on to his own kids.  I guess that's a valid enough concern, except for the fact that whatever her mom has to pass on to her children belongs to her mom right now.  It's hers to do with whatever she wants.  That's a simple fact.  So why shouldn't mom feel okay about leaving everything to her spouse if she wants to?

By the way, my friend's mom does not strike me as the type of person who would neglect to leave anything to her children.  I have every confidence that she will have taken care of that detail... if not because she's usually on top of such things, then because my friend will have spoken to her repeatedly and at length about it.

My own parents are getting on in years.  My mom, being an endlessly pragmatic woman, has been giving stuff to me and my sisters for years now.  In fact, there's a piano sitting at her house that has my name on it.  I just have to find the time and few strong folks to go up to Virginia to get it.  Since I live in the deep south, that's not such an easy feat.  Anyway, by the time my parents are gone-- which may not be too much longer in my dad's case-- I expect that there won't be that much left to fight over.  My mom seems intent on sparing us from having to deal with that trauma.  But really, it would be okay if she weren't like that.  The point is, it's up to her to decide what she wants to do with her money and her stuff... sell it, leave it to somebody, burn it, or dump it in the trash.

As for my dear husband and me, we don't have anyone to leave anything to.  Since my husband's kids disowned him, for now, they have been disinherited.  It was hard for my husband to make that decision, but if they don't care enough about him to call him "dad" or spend five minutes on the phone with him, they probably don't care about his stuff.  We don't have a lot of stuff, anyway... at least nothing anyone would want that badly.  I guess the one exception is the life insurance policy.  But life insurance is intended to help those who will be paying the bills after a person's death.  That person will be me, not the kids.  And no, I don't think they should get a windfall in the unfortunate event of their biological father's demise. 

If, at some point, they exhibit a significant and sincere change of heart, we will revisit the subject of their inheritance.  Right now, they seem to think the man who helped create them, changed their diapers, fed them, and supported them all these years is nothing more than a sperm donor with a wallet who should pay reparations for the fact that they were born and their parents' marriage didn't work out. 

Anyway, the older I get, the more this subject and the attitude of entitlement intrigues me.  It will be interesting to see what the future holds, even if the coming events make me sick.  

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