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  1. #1
    Missouri Star

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    Default Choices in making a will

    I'm not leaving the earth just yet, just something I've been thinking about. I do have a will, but now that DH passed it's up to me on what to do with the house and property. I would normally split it between my two dd's like with my house in Calif. But I have two stepkids in this situation.


    It's come to my attention that my birth kids are afraid there might be problems with the other kids if I just leave it to them. I do have some reasons not to, but would you worry about what goes on when your gone? Would you talk to them about it?


    Dh left our daughters his retirement funds (which wasn't very much especially after taxes) and they decided to split it four ways. My stepkids are in their 40's and don't need the money. I feel they should of said, no it's yours.

    Can you help think through this



    Lorie

  2. #2
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Choices in making a will

    If families want to argue or fight over what the decreased has in their will there is not much you can do about it. Generally any disfunction that was there in a family before the death will be there afterward and still play out.

    I don't know your property circumstances but here's some thoughts. Is the property/house large enough in acreage to have it treated as two properties (although some legalities might have to be done before your demise). That way in a will you could leave the house and a little property in your daughters name and a section of the property in your step childrens. That might avoid a potential problem. Perhaps another solution is house/property in your daughters name and cash, insurance or somthing else of value in the stepchildrens.

    Just a thought.

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  3. #3
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Choices in making a will

    I don't know what I would do in your situation. I am pretty sure that I would not discuss it with them for two reasons: 1. They might start badgering you to change your mind, and maybe you don't want to talk about this every time you see them. 2. You might on your own have a change of heart 2-3 years from now and regret having told them your plans only to have to bring it up all over again if you change your mind. Hard decision. Good luck.

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  5. #4
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Choices in making a will

    To be fair, I'd split it four ways. They can decide what to do with it after. They could always sell the houses and split the profits four ways, and you could stipulate in your will that is what you want done, the sale and the dividing of profits.
    pat.

    No rain....no rainbows!



  6. #5
    The Guild President

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    Default Re: Choices in making a will

    I had great intentions of giving some funds to my step kids, all close to my age, after my husband died and i finally sold the house so i could move back to Texas to be near my son. things did not work out well financially and i'm very upset about that. the house was one they lived in from late childhood till they left home. I'm still trying to figure out something to do for them.
    anyway, make arrangements for the step kids no matter how much money they have. You will feel better and so will they. your kids will be taken care of too i'm sure. so there should be no problems.
    I always say if there are problems with what I do, I will just come back and Haunt everyone. good luck.

  7. #6
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Choices in making a will

    I've been on the "stepkid" side of things twice, when my father died and when my grandfather died.

    When my dad passed away, he expected the house to go to my stepmother, my brother and me, split three ways. On his death bed, he told me how happy he was to think about the three of us living together in his house.

    Unfortunately, the realtor had put the house in Joint Tenancy, which meant that the house automatically became my stepmother's when my dad died. This was not what my father wanted. My stepmother recently passed away (four decades later), and she willed the house to her two sons. Mind you, my father had purchased the house for cash just weeks after he married her. Unfair, but it is what it is.

    My grandfather was really my step-grandfather, and he willed everything to his new girlfriend, leaving his only daughters (really his step-daughters) nothing. There was a court battle that straightened things out some, because the lady friend lied under oath and couldn't remember what lie she'd told from one swearing-in to the other.

    Being disowned twice was very painful when I was young, although time and maturity have healed my emotions completely.

    You've been really open with us about how your stepkids have treated you over the years, so you are completely justified in not leaving them anything. However, even a token would be an act of goodwill on your part. For example, you could leave the house to your two daughters with a clause that says, when they sell, 10% of the net profit goes to each of your two stepkids. Just an example, but if your daughters want to keep the house forever, they can; money would only pass to your stepkids if your daughters sell the house.

    And remember, if your stepkids become truly nasty to you over the next few years, you can always change the terms of your will. Keep in mind that, unlike your daughters sharing the small amoung of retirement money with their step-siblings, the IRS will charge big gift taxes TO YOUR DAUGHTERS if they gave away $100,000.

    Here's an interesting twist in the law: If you don't leave your stepkids anything, they can contest your will. But if you leave them something AND put a clause in your will that says "anyone who protests this will gets nothing," your own two daughters are better protected. In other words, that clause can only be a part of your will if your stepkids have something to lose.
    Toni ... If I keep sewing long enough, will they make their own dinner?

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  9. #7
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Choices in making a will

    Quote Originally Posted by jjkaiser View Post
    I don't know what I would do in your situation. I am pretty sure that I would not discuss it with them for two reasons: 1. They might start badgering you to change your mind, and maybe you don't want to talk about this every time you see them. 2. You might on your own have a change of heart 2-3 years from now and regret having told them your plans only to have to bring it up all over again if you change your mind. Hard decision. Good luck.
    I agree without question. It is your business and your decision. Carly has a super point about dysfunction.
    “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” ― John Muir
    “We can be many things in this life, choose to be kind!” ― author unknown

  10. #8
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Choices in making a will

    All that matters in the eyes of the courts is what is written in your will or trust. I definitely would NOT discuss your choices with any of your kids for the same reasons as previous posts here. Once they have received whatever portion you decide to leave each person they can go from there and share it, sell it, etc, as they wish.

  11. #9
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Choices in making a will

    DH & I established a "Living Trust" (revocable until one of us dies) many years ago. We have revised it twice over the years. A good estate lawyer can help you with your choices. IMO, a simple will is not adequate, esp. where there are blended families. DH has 2 sons & I have 2 sons & several gr. children; we feel like all will be treated fairly with the terms of our trust. It is not necessary to have a large estate to establish a trust. It will be more expensive to have a lawyer draw it up than a simple will, but it's worth it.

  12. #10
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Choices in making a will

    There are a lot of smart people here! I've learned some tips by reading the posts.

    I set up my will after Howard passed. Both boys were there in the lawyer and witnesses when I signed it. Told them both, if there was any shenanigans about sharing, I'd be back to make them both miserable. I think they're more scared of that than the paper work.

    I guess my grandma saying she'd be back to haunt me if anyone touched her wedding band when she died came to mind right then. lol, I have no doubt that she would have, too.
    Katrina


    “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”
    ― Maya Angelou

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