What if Something Happened to Your Dad and I?


Well-Known Member
This question was posed to Daughter (22 yo) this morning after, once again, another argument in regards to Daughter becoming self-sufficient and responsible. I won't go into details but there was a lot of self-pity on her part and how she's always getting yelled at home and at work no matter how hard she tries, blah, blah, blah.

Finally, in exasperation, I posed the question, "What would you do if something happened to Dad and I?"

Her answer?

Live off of our nearly one million dollars in combined assets and life insurance proceeds...

After recovering from the shock of that answer, I informed her that half of that no longer exists due to the policy expiring and not being renewed last March. Additionally, those proceeds were meant for ME, or a guardian (most likely my mother)to care for her and Son while they were still children without being financially burdened. She is no longer a child and Son turns 18 next month. So, no need for that policy.

The other policy, on me, will expire in 5 years. It's much smaller than what her Dad had and is meant to serve as a way to ease of financial burden for her Dad in the event of my passing. If we both go, it will not last her very long as she will split it with her brother.

As for the rest of our assets, since the crash in 08, we, like a lot of other people, suffered significant loss of equity in our home. So, that's pretty much not there.

husband was stunned and very hurt by her comments.

Well, at least she can cross out off her list.


Well-Known Member
Reality bites. When my son was younger, he thought that with 500.00 he could live the life. I wish I could say that he has a more realistic understanding of economics....he doesn't and won't until it bites him on the butt.


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My son and his 4 siblings/step-siblings will inherit in equal shares. It worries me a bit that he would probably give most of his share away to righteous causes and then continue to live in poverty and homelessness. That's not what H and I have worked for and saved for and planned for. Maybe he should be excluded from the will, but I could never do that and it would also drive a wedge between him and his siblings. They all have to be treated exactly the same in this case, even though they don't all act exactly the same. I hope that the 5 of them will continue to be there for each other after I'm gone and that they won't judge each other but just accept whatever different lifestyles they choose to live.


one day at a time
Dazed, I am so glad you had that response from her so you could give her the facts. We just don't talk facts often enough in all of our families.

This weekend, I was with my sister and mother and niece for a girls weekend. My sweet mother, who is 81, had a stroke last year, and although she is a walking and talking miracle---doing very well---both of my parents are 81 and we are needing to know more about their financial situation and they are needing to make more plans. Funny how my mother can discuss the bad decisions/lack of decisions in her friends about their futures as they age, but she can't see the same behavior in herself. It's a touchy subject, but it's reality. It is what it is. Making plans is the key to dealing effectively with our own old age and inevitable death. My mother in law was the best I ever saw at making plans and communicating those plans to her four children---what a role model.

We need to talk more about reality with our families.

Dazed, setting her straight was a good thing for you and for her. I know what she said hurts and disappoints in many ways, but why should young people---PCs and difficult children---really know or understand what it takes to survive in the world---if they have never done that yet?

My 28 year old easy child is a great young man, but because he has been in grad school and he and his fiancee--who just graduated from pharm. school---have still been in semi-protected academia, they are just now getting a taste of real life moving back here, renting a house, renting the uhaul truck to move themselves, going to Walmart and buying the $300 worth of "stuff" that somehow we all have to buy when we move, paying all of the deposits, doing the paperwork, etc. easy child's fiancee has to pay $1K to take her boards next month, and on and on. Welcome to the real world.

I am so pleased to be able to sit back and watch them navigate without feeling the need to rescue or soften the reality. They are rising to the challenge and doing things their way and I respect that.

This is necessary for all young people, and sadly, our difficult children---because of their behavior and our enabling----don't do it, sometimes ever.

The fact that you could set her straight on your actual financial plans for your future---which don't include taking care of her for the rest of her life---is a gift. A huge gift.

Right now my will still splits everything 50/50 with easy child and difficult child. However, I am getting ready to modify it soon on difficult child's portion. Not to take it away from him but to secure it so he can't take the money and spend it on drugs, instead it would be parceled out to him via a lawyer. He won't like that, but I don't like what he does either. And I'm not going to put a "loaded gun" in his hands, which I would be doing if he immediately got my assets upon my death.

Thanks for posting this. It is a valuable discussion and reminder.


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This is an important conversation. I am also in the process of revising my will. I too will divide my estate evenly between my four kids, but difficult child's will be handled through a trust, for the same reasons Child mentioned above. Lucy, I totally agree with you that we should treat our kids the same.

My mom was fantastic this way. We knew from childhood on where she wanted to be buried and how. We used to plant flowers and picnic on her parents' grave every spring. I knew that she didn't want her life extended if she couldn't participate in the things she loved to do. She downsized when she was 70, and again when she was 80, and died at my sister's house under hospice care. I want to be like that.

My mother in law and father in law were terrified of death and refused to discuss it. They lived in a house with too many stairs that they couldn't manage while it crumbled around them. He was unsteady on his feet and refused a walker, so he clung to her arm, pulling her down on more than one occasion. He finally died after a fall, and she was totally unprepared. She slept in my ex's guest room for 6 months, isolated from her friends, with only the clothes she had packed to go to the hospital She refused to go to her house. She still refuses to sell it (2 years later) and my ex is hemorrhaging money supporting her in assisted living and paying her mortgage and taxes, because he says she gets too upset when he brings it up. He says he'll move to a smaller place himself before he upsets her (GFGdom and enabling in reverse!!). Their money is a disaster (there is none), and no one knew what he (father in law) wanted for a burial.

Death is part of life, inevitable, gracious, a respite from release from life well lived when we can no longer live it. Honest discussion around death and money between parents and kids is a GIFT.

And sharing how we will plan for our difficult child's is good for us.

I want to note...Lucy's son and my son, and I think Child's son, have not been aggressive or mean or demanding of us, except on occasion. If my kid treated me like hell consistently and for years, I might feel differently about evenly splitting my will.


Scent of Cedar *

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Great thread. Currently, all assets are to be split between the two kids. Neither of the kids has the money to take care of anything we might leave them ~ to pay the taxes, even.

We haven't really known what to do.

This is an excellent discussion.



New Member
We are removing our daughter from our will. She has a problem with drugs. If we did a trust to get her food, she wouldn't have a food bill and would spend it on drugs. If we provided her a home, she wouldn't have a rent payment and spend her earnings on drugs. We are tried of the drugs. Besides, what would have been her inheritance is actually going to pay her student loans that she defaulted on, $100,000 worth and stuck my husband with them. So, no will. Also, very important, we are writing something in that will not allow her any input on our eldercare. She beat me up when she was on mushrooms at the age of 17, hallucinating. I will not allow her to beat me up as an old lady.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I liked what Echo said about downsizing at 70 and again, at 80. We are overwhelmed whenever we try to discuss what to do inheritance-wise because there is no good choice. I was thinking about this last night.

This is another look at what it is to love difficult child kids. The fear guitaristmom spoke of ~ the fear of somehow coming under the control of our difficult child kids, is something husband and I have talked about.

These are all good things to look at straight on.

We don't know yet how we are going to handle this. We have six grandchildren. I am thinking about this quite seriously.



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I used to contemplate dividing things unequally between my daughter and my son. My daughter is not as well-versed in difficult child-ness as we have had to become with my son. I know that as long as my son perceives things are fair he would respect my daughter's boundaries. Even at his absolute worst, that is a boundary he would respect. However, if he perceived things were not fair and he was at his worst, he would make her life miserable. So in my situation dividing things equally seems easiest for easy child in the worst case scenario. It is not a sizeable estate either way.

When my dad died it was a surprise to me and my brother (who was all but estranged from my dad) that my dad left him only a small portion of his life insurance. It had a negative effect on our relationship.

As far as long-term dependence on either one of them, that is my absolute biggest fear.
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Well-Known Member
My mom was resolute that she was not going to take the "apparent" life situations of her kids into account when apportioning her estate. She had a sister who was down on her luck most of her adult life, and mom's parents supported the sister, who also got most of their (again, not sizable) estate/assets when they died because, well...she needed it the most! She then went on to marry an extremely wealthy guy when they were both in their 50's and she travels all over the world and has a house on the chesapeake bay. My mom, on the other hand, who seemed finanically secure and prudent her whole life, got divorced from my dad at a time when divorce laws were not female friendly, and literally took in renters in her house and ate macaroni and cheese for years while she went back to school in her 50's and started a career after being a stay home mom and housewife. In the end who knows who needed the money? We can't predict, and I do NOT want any of my kids to feel favored or less loved or cared for.


Well-Known Member
Thank you for the responses. Not at all what I might have expected.

Yes, it is important to talk about finances, wills, trusts, etc. with children. All will be equally split between her and her brother.

What was most shocking for me is that daughter was remembering information, or a conversation, between her Dad and I that took place about 10 years ago. That she has a hard time remembering basic day-to-day things, she remembered THAT.

Son is nosy and likes to butt into things that are none of his business. Just the other day he was lecturing me about our finances. It may seem like a good thing, but he's obnoxious and irritating. In short, he accused, YES accused, me of not saving for retirement and let me know (with his finger pointing) that HE would NOT be supporting me or his Dad in our late years. That's fine, I responded. I wouldn't want to be dependent on my adult children anyway.

I live in such a bizarro world with those two.