Charlie wanted to talk to me about this because I was a friend, and he knew I worked in a law firm that specialized in wills and trusts for a while in my prior life. First, I told him, it’s perfectly legal for his father to do it, and later for Charlie to receive what was written in the will. Second, I suggested that if he didn’t feel it was fair to the sisters, he could talk his father into changing it while he’s still alive. Third, even if his father did not want to change anything, Charlie could just give back what he thought were the sisters’ fair shares after his father’s death. Charlie said he already talked to his father about it, but the latter wasn’t going to change anything because Ellen and Megan were girls and girls didn’t inherit family assets. In that case, I told Charlie, it’s up to him to do the right thing after his father’s death to return to the sisters what was their fair share.
Charlie was subdued after I made my comments. My guess was that he didn’t feel good about the uneven distribution of the estate, but he wasn’t going to give up what was already promised to him either. If that’s the case – again, I am not sure that’s what went through Charlie’s mind — isn’t that ironic and hypocritical? Yes, I think so. Is that state of mind human and normal? A second “yes,” unfortunately.
I don’t know what’s fair and right when it comes to passing on your estate to your children, whether they are male or female, old or young. That is a family, personal and subjective decision. I do know that from my 18 months of experience working as a law clerk, during which time I had to read hundreds of wills and trusts, had to witness almost weekly bickering and disputes between spouses, parents and children, children and children, cousins and cousins, and on and on. All because of alleged unfairness in the giving away of assets and wealth — assets and wealth that the beneficiaries did not earn themselves.
Charlie, if you are reading this, do what you think is right for you. Since you are the executor (manager) and major beneficiary (person who receives the most) of the estate (things left by the dead person), decline roughly 2/3 of what your father gives to you when he dies, and divide that portion evenly to your sisters. You will still inherit about $1,700,000 in property that you didn’t spend labor for. In return, you will keep your half-mother-half-sister Ellen, and your kissy sister Megan for the rest of your life. That’s way more valuable than anything else your father could have passed to you. I think this is what your conscience tries to tell you, isn’t it?
Oh, while I am at it, Charlie, if you think my friendship and blunt editorials are worth anything, don’t forget to donate 1/10 of 1% to charity. That’s only $1,700 out of $1,700,000. Suggest to Ellen and Megan to do the same too. You can tell them this nosy friend of yours said that. There are a lot more people who have an imminent need to buy food for their children than to add another million dollars to their bank account.
One tenth of one percent, Charlie. Will you do it, please?
*** The End ***
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