We're aiming to live long enough to spend it all. If we die younger there is a substantial estate and only nieces and nephews. I have three topics that I'm requesting your thoughts on before I engage an attorney;

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Talk to an estate planning attorney. Most of them will tell you that you shouldn’t use your will as a way to teach people life lessons. If you choose not to distribute your assets equally across your heirs, that’s fine, but you shouldn’t deliberately create a scenario that will lead to hard feelings and resentment among them. Explain all of this to a wills, trusts, and estates attorney and trust their guidance.


It’s not harsh at all. It’s the opposite of harsh. A gift that’s not freely given isn’t a gift; it’s a burden on the recipient and using money to teach people a lesson that YOU think they should learn is harsh.

For those of you demanding 4- year college degrees, certain GPAs, etc, I urge you to please reconsider.

Our world needs competent and professional electricians, car mechanics and chefs. Last I checked, Yale and Princeton don't offer training programs for those careers. Also, not every child has the mental or emotional capacity to go to a four year school.

The future is unknown - what if one of them has an accident or illness which renders them unable to go to college and they need the money for specialized housing or a vehicle but they can't get it because that haven't met your criteria? Meanwhile their healthy sibling who has better employment prospects as it is gets the money. What a terrible legacy. God forbid, but stuff happens. Families are torn apart over money all the time, don't start problems.


Thank you so much for reconsidering - a windfall can mean so much to people and really change their lives for the better.

I left everything equally to one niece and one nephew. They bring me the most joy and I love them most. Too bad to everyone else. If I didn't have them it would go to charity.


This is what I did as well. My favorites get what they deserve, the others meh.. oh well


1) Structuring a will so that the beneficiaries are incentivized/rewarded as opposed to just receiving a pile of cash. For example, graduate college in 4 years with a 3.0 or higher and you get $$. Or something like; match your 401k contribution for the next 10 years.

2) My spouse and I each have a sibling that could use a little help. Unfortunately, the world has ants and grasshoppers and it'll take more than one cold winter to teach them. Any ideas on how to teach them instead of facilitating their next flight of fancy? maybe this is where the 401k idea goes!

3) There are far more nieces/nephews on my side than my spouse. My spouse has hinted at wanting to even it*. if we split the estate across family sides two nephews will receive 3x what the others do. I might consider some even-ing but 3x goes to the other end of the spectrum.

*We both love them all, I don't doubt that. My spouse just has a curious "fairness gene".  

thanks I appreciate the discussion in this group

I say dividing evenly if it’s both their assets . But if one spouse inherited a large sum of money that made up their net worth , I think it’s fair that it stays on that side of the family . Grandparents usually leave to kids and not grandkids

I set up trust and they can not get money before they are 25 unless they show proof of a valid 4 yr college degree. I will be dead and gone so how they blow my money will not matter, but I plan on living a while and spending as much as I can before I die!

For #3, I would leave each one the same amount; its not their fault their parents had more kids...Anything left over, give to charity.

Or better yet, unless any have done anything to deserve an inheritance, give it all to charity.

Thanks, I agree. I have considered charity as an evener. Or perhaps, a charity gets what is left after bequests are granted for education achievements or other incentive awards are granted.

Empathy may help Op. if you had children , you would want your siblings to just leave them some money . Life and society gets harder and harder for future generations even though they may come off to you as spoiled brats .

But it’s YOUR idea of what would be meaningful to someone else, which is a crappy way to handle bequests. If you’re concern d that your heirs might be too young or irresponsible to manage a large sum on their own, then you set up a trust, with a trustee that’s in charge of disbursing the funds, and put some credit constraints (but not too many) on how the $$ can be used. Don’t try to run someone else’s life through your will. All that does is create resentment.


Fwiw, this is what I did with the help of my atty: mine is structured with a trust where my sibling gets a payment on their birthday equal to 10% of the trust, every other year for twenty years. This spreads is out, makes it seem like a nice gift to benefit from periodically and prevents getting a giant lump sum they might not manage well. And the secondary beneficiary is some more distant relatives I am close to, bypassing my sibling’s spouse deliberately. I am considering revising to make the secondary beneficiaries be charity instead as they are no longer minors and don’t need my help. One more thing to remember: things like your 401k, IRA, etc have a beneficiary specified independently and don’t become part of the trust.

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