No right or wrong answer in this. Each families wealth, size, problems, etc. are different and all of this has to be considered when making your decisions. The more children you have, the more complicated the answers. I have six grandchildren that will be receiving certain personal items and I will be giving these items to them upon legal age because I want to have the pleasure of seeing them wear the jewelry or pass it on to their children. Bottom line when my time comes I don’t plan on taking anything with me so I would like to experience the pleasure of helping my family while I’m still here.
This question started becoming an issue to me in the past couple of years when I realized that when I die, if I have the normal life expectancy that runs for the women in our family, that my daugher will be in her sixties at that time. After I began realizing the age of my daughter at my death it became apparent that she might not even inherit but my grandchildren would be my heirs. My husband and I both carry life insurance and have a few assets that we would like to see our daughter get upon our death or that’s what I always thought! The insurance was supposedly to give our daughter a “boost” in her life style or a departing gift so to speak to help make her life easier. Now, I’m thinking that it won’t do her a lot of good at that age because she needs it during these years of youth and struggles.
The dillema I found in giving our daughter financial aid now in lieu of waiting for her to inherit was her husband. In emergencies we’ve always been there to see our daughter through a hardship. We’ve always been the safe harbor for a ship passing through a storm. The problem is the spouse she has chosen simply does not know how to handle money. At one time when he was unemployed we loaned them $15,000 to see them through the period of unemployment with the agreement the debt would be repaid upon his return to work; now that was over eight years ago and after the first 6 payments, nothing else was paid towards the debt and now he doesn’t even acknowledge that he owes the debt. I guess some would say we inadvertently gave part of our inheritance early without that intention. This was my conclusion and rather than separate ourselves from our daughter, I told her to forget the money but consider it an early inheritance. My daughter is still determined that when she graduates from college and goes back to the work force that she is going to pay that money back to us but we have in our minds cleaned the slate.
My experience is related because it effected our relationship with our daughter’s spouse; we lost all respect for him. We are retired couple and only income is our retirement with no investments, etc.. A lot of our cash has already gone as financial aid and now will not be there upon our death for our daughter to inherit. Now I have to ask myself, what I would have done differently? If I was giving the money to get them through hard times with no expectations, then I am fine with what we did. If the money however was to be a loan to help them not only get through a hard time but help to teach them a little more responsibility, it was a total failure. You know yourself better than anyone and have to be able to give the money freely with no strings when giving the financial aid in lieu of an inheritance. Our relationship was more important to us and chose the latter but then we were able to do this. Once the decision was made I felt good about it and decided to let it go.
If your children need the aid now, I say give it to them but don’t put expectations of how you want it used. You must be willing to give this financial aid with the same reaction you would give had you died regardless of how they use it. If you can not separate yourself from how the aid is used, then do not give it but hold on to it so your heirs will have something when you’re gone. You have to look within yourself and determine what you are capable of doing. I was not able to sit back and watch my heirs come close to losing their home, etc. while I was able to offer the financial support to help them. The decision is neither right or wrong but a decision made based on what your conscience tells you is the best thing to do for your children and what you are financially able to do. My daughter will still have the life insurance, our home, our vehicles, etc. when we leave so she will still have an inheritance to help better her life. In the mean time I was able to be a part of making her life a little easier and happier which made me happy. I will continue to be receptive to giving aid when I am able but knowing when I do that there are no strings tied to that aid and no expectations.
No right or wrong answer on this issue. It’s a personal choice that each one of us has to face and make based on our own issues. I chose the financial aid now because my daughter is my world outside my life with my husband and her happiness is everything to me. My life would not be a happy life if I had to see her unhappy. I can’t solve all their financial woes because we are only a middle class income family but if I could, I would.