Some years ago I had occasion to counsel one family in making a loving disinheritance.
Now that may sound a little strange. Disinheritance is usually the last resort for a Parent who has been estranged from their children. There are many justifiable reasons to cut a child out of one’s will or trust. Sometimes the child has been absent and not communicating for many years. Sometimes there is a problem with alcohol or substance abuse. I've seen situations in which a significant loan to a child has never been repaid or child has made bad marriage to a spendthrift spouse.
These are always difficult decisions. But parents have to consider the best interests of both the troubled child and the rest of the family. Sometimes it’s best if everyone doesn't “share and share alike.”
The couple had two children. The first born son was a successful businessman. The daughter was a single mom struggling to raise the grandchildren. The dad was perplexed as he explained that his son had much more money than he did and he wanted what money was in his estate to help his daughter in her difficult circumstances. But he couldn't bring himself to disinherit his son. He thought that was a dishonorable thing to do.
I asked him, “do you get along with your son; can you get together for a beer over the weekend?” He replied, “Sure, we get along fine.” So I said, “Why don’t you invite him over this weekend, have a beer and tell him what you just told me.”
These clients returned to my office a week later and reported that their son wholeheartedly agreed that all of his parents’ estate should go to his sister. When we drafted the legal language of disinheritance we included a paragraph praising the son for his accomplishments and expressing his parents’ pride and love for him.
When I hear about people doing their estate planning with do it yourself “fill in the blank” wills I think of these clients. One size does not fit all.
If you live in Michigan and need experienced estate planning help, contact Michael Einheuser for a free consultation. Michael helps families in Bingham Farms, Troy, Farmington Hills, Rochester Hills, Southfield, West Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Township, and the surrounding Michigan areas.
Schedule your Free Consultation today: (248) 398-4665.