For Parents

Baby boomers will be inheriting trillions of dollars in coming years. I am not a lawyer, but I want to encourage parents to carefully consider how their Will or verbal instructions can affect their offspring. Lawyers need to do more than follow the law. They should help their clients carefully examine the implications of each clause to the survivors. The estate lawyer for my parents included a clause that only my cousin could charge for his services. He neglected to inform my parents about the potential financial implications of this clause. Would my parents have kept this clause had they known how much money this could cost their children? I think not!You have the legal right to make decisions based on what you want. Lawyers are concerned with your rights, your wishes and ensuring the Will meets legal requirements. However, I encourage you to consider the following questions before finalizing your Will:

  • Do you have unresolved anger at one or more of your children?
  • Do you have a favourite child?
  • Do you see your Will as an opportunity to either control or hurt others?
  • Do you realize that your decisions are irrevocable and could cause harm forever to one or more of your children?
  • Has your lawyer fully explained the financial implications for your children with respect to each clause?
  • Do you really understand each clause?
  • If you are using a standard store bought Will, without the use of a lawyer, are you talking with someone who could really listen to your concerns and needs?
  • Are you trying to control from beyond the grave?
  • Is there an opportunity to work through your issues or concerns with your children before your death?
  • Do you realize how your decisions could adversely affect your grandchildren when they see one of their parents in emotional pain?
  • If you give more to one child, will s/he will be benefiting unfairly? Do you want to put them in a situation where they will passively victimize another person?
  • Are you trying to solve a long standing problem though your Will? Could you be creating a larger problem than the one you are trying to solve?

Your Will is sending a final message that cannot be changed. What is the last message you want to give your children?

If you knew that your Will would cause emotional or financial pain forever, would you consider changing it?

Linda Somers, Legacy Coach