Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Money Talks - Sometimes It Can Communicate Disappointment

WillRecently, columnist Michelle Singletary wrote an article about a reader's anecdote regarding his feelings concerning changes his parents made to their will. Her discussion highlights the reader questioning the changes in the will after informing his parents of his homosexuality.

Although the facts are unclear if the change was a direct result of this information, Singletary analyzes the situation. Her analysis indicates while it was not out of line for the reader to question the change he should accept the reasoning. One of the reasons the son should accept the change is because the parent's have the privilege to decide their asset distribution. As a result, the son believes his parents drafted their wills specifically to communicate their dissatisfaction with the son or his choice of partner. A situation such as the one presented is very common. These wills often leave heirs nothing or much less than what the heirs believes they deserve. Another common occurrence disgruntled heirs face is a will that leaves an unequal share of money favoring one child over another because the asset owner felt neglected in his old age. Singletary stated the bottom line is, "The ugly truth is money can't buy love. But it can be used to try to hurt the people you say you love."

See Michelle Singletary, Dividing Up Money Can Cause Divisions in Families, The Washington Post, Mar. 29, 2013.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


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