Money Moral Dilemma: Should I let my three kids decide when my other son can have his inheritance?

edited 12 October at 1:34PM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
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MSE_KelvinMSE_Kelvin MSE Staff
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This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

I'm going to update my will as it's Free Wills Month. Currently, my estate is split equally between my four children, but one of them doesn't work, spends his time playing video games and doing stuff he shouldn't. He stopped speaking to all of us 12 months ago saying no one supports him, even though he has a son who we all see and are involved with. I don't want to punish him, but should I set up my will so my other three children can decide when the fourth can have his share? I don't want it going up in smoke.

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  • edited 12 October at 2:19PM
    seven-day-weekendseven-day-weekend Forumite
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    edited 12 October at 2:19PM
    Put the inheritance in trust for your fourth son with a proviso that it can only be used (for example) for a house deposit.  I think it will cause bad feeling otherwise.
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  • Jim80Jim80 Forumite
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    I have been in this situation with my step-brother, his mother was dying and wanted to organise her financials around inheritance. Out of 3 sons, one of them was in a similar situation and would have spent the money in weeks. Instead a discretionary trust was setup with a trustee being appointed to help manage the money. In this case the son/brother in question agreed that this was a good idea as he knew the outcome if all the money was given to him directly. He had a history of being bad with money. The difference here of course is that he was on good terms with his mother. 
  • keithyno.1keithyno.1 Forumite
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    I really don’t see there’s any Money Moral Dilemma here. Your assets are YOURS, to do with as you wish - they’re not held in trust until you die, to be passed on automatically to the next generation. Similarly, it’s completely up to you who you leave those assets to when you make a will. If you so wanted, you could leave it all to charities of your choice, or your best friend, or next door neighbour..in fact, anybody or any organisation at all.

    So having clarified that, this is instead purely a family dilemma. It sounds like you’ve already decided that you want your estate split equally between your 4 children. If that’s the case, then leave it as it is. I don’t see how it’s fair to allow the other 3 to hold some kind of financial leverage over the 4th after your passing. It sounds to me like you’re actually questioning to yourself whether the 4th child should receive anything at all, due to the way he’s treated you and the rest of the family. So your other options would be, 1) cut him out of the will altogether and leave your estate in equal shares to the other 3, or 2) leave his ‘share’ to his son, thereby bypassing him altogether.

    is that fair, many will be asking, to effectively cut the 4th child out of your will? Well, there’s only you fully knows your family situation, and so only you can decide. Sometimes life, and death, just isn’t fair. Some would argue your 4th child has made his bed so can lie in it, so to speak.
  • blue_piedblue_pied Forumite
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    No!  Treat them all the same or not at all. Perhaps the fact that you would consider treating three of your children differently to the other one is an indicator of why he is feeling how he’s feeling currently. You should never give three of your children absolute power over another.  If you’re not happy about leaving him a share that he can access, find a different way to do it but it needs to be fair to all four of your children.
  • BristolHannahBristolHannah Forumite
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    Absolutely not!! Just because he chooses to live his life in a way that isn’t acceptable to you or compared to his siblings why does that make him any less entitled to what the other 3 siblings are getting? I cannot imagine planning on treating children so differently. If you’re giving away your money to your children surely it becomes their choice as to how they spend it. Inheritance shouldn’t come with conditions
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