Time to remove rude offspring from the will?

Published 11:54 am Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Dear Aunty Pam,


Boy, do I have a humdinger of a problem, and my wife and I are barely speaking to each other because of it. We read your column every week and she agreed with me that we will go by what you advise.

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My wife and I are about to update our wills because there have been a few births in our family since our last wills were written. We have three children and currently seven grandchildren. Our children live out of state and one lives in Canada. It pains me to say this but we rarely hear from any of them. They only call us after we reach out to them or when they want something, mainly, financial help.


Over the last 10 years, we have paid for braces for our grandchildren’s teeth, health insurance, and assistance with a downpayment for a house. In comparison, I have two lovely nieces who are daughters of my brother to whom I am very close. Our nieces often come by for a visit or a meal and one of them sat with my wife for two days in the hospital when she went in for emergency surgery. My wife and I know we can count on them for anything.


The problem is I want to leave the bulk of our estate to these two lovely young ladies. My wife is horrified and said we need to divide our estate equally among our children. I don’t agree—an inheritance is a gift and, frankly, I don’t feel that our own children deserve such generosity. None of them even made it to the hospital to see their mother!


I don’t mind leaving something to them, but I really want to leave the bulk to my nieces. What do you say?




Dear Dan,


Boy, didn’t King Lear nail it when he opined, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth is an ungrateful child?” Even giving your sordid spawn the benefit of the doubt that they were dealing with a household of kids during Covid and have their own stress levels to deal with, it’s quite inexcusable not to call and check in with mom and dad (unless you’re complete tyrants) now and again, yet happily take the cash to buy a house or prevent their kid’s overbite from looking like a rabbit.


I’m assuming you and your wife will be filing individual wills? Isn’t that, then, the answer? I don’t know the specifics of your estate, nor do I really want to, but I’m assuming if you predecease her, you will be leaving the bulk of your estate to her and she can then do what she likes when she passes? It is very much your business and your choice that anything you don’t leave to your wife could be divided the way YOU choose. 


But as this is already causing big friction in your marriage, maybe your wifey will agree to gifting your nieces with something now—well before you pass on. Surely she recognizes their kindness in their visits and sitting with her in the hospital? What a delightful surprise that would be, not to mention a help, as they begin their lives and they will always remember your generosity: a few grand in savings bonds? New cars? A pony?


That’s what I’d do. Especially the pony part.


Cheers, dear!

Aunty Pam