Ask Terry Questions Inheritance — what will it be?

Inheritance — what will it be?

By Terry Savage on January 12, 2019 | Wild Card

My parents had a successful small business. When they retired and sold the company in 1998 they had a trust set up naming their children as beneficiaries. The only thing they have said about an amount is that they will be able to leave us more than they ever thought possible. 20 years later that is still the case. I am the youngest at 61 and as we plan our own retirement I would like to have at least a better understanding of the trust and money that it governs. Our house and credit cards have been paid off long ago. We have lived below our means as our parents did. Our retirement will be comfortable from our own planning. However, at least one sibling is struggling due to bad decisions.
While I understand that it may have been our parents desire that we make our own way and be responsible for our own future do you think, as I do, that at some point parents should give some information about the money that will be inherited?

Terry Says

I’m assuming your parents are still alive –and that the children are still waiting to become the beneficiaries of the trust upon their death! If that’s the case, you should be talking to your parents about this subject. While I admire your frugal nature and applaud the fact that you can face your retirement confidently without needing their money, I think you should treat it as a potential windfall — whenever it comes.
Your parents made the money and it’s their decision. AND, if they are still alive, they must be in their 80s and may NEED the money for their long term care.
One more thing: Take this from your parents’ perspective. I’m sure they are proud of you — and worried about your sibling who made “bad decisions.” Would you suggest that they give this sibling a larger share of the trust? Should that be a factor in their decision to distribute money early, or evenly?
Bottom line: Your parents were smart enough to make — and save — their money. It’s up to them to handle the distribution as they see fit.



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