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Author Topic: Keeping track for inheritance?  (Read 5818 times)

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Keeping track for inheritance?
« on: December 25, 2012, 12:21:16 PM »
I'm wondering if anyone has run into this...  When my father passed away we found out that he had kept a list of EVERYTHING any of us four siblings had ever "borrowed" from my parents.  I mean it was even down to my first "borrow" when I was a teen still living at home.  We went to the King Tut exhibit and my boyfriend, future husband, came with us.  My father listed the cost of his ticket under my "account".  It had every $20, or more, and what was paid back.

I can understand some of the things like my sister borrowing money for a car, that she paid back.  The same for my brother.  My other sister and her husband had borrowed over $40k!  (the have always had money problems and irresponbility, two foreclosures).  It just seemed to me that many of the things were fairly petty.

The upshot was that anything we had borrowed, and not paid back, was deducted from our portion of the inheritance.  It was all put back into the pot and then split 4 ways again.  It didn't make much difference to anyone except the one sister and all were still in the 6-figures.

I help my three children out a lot.  Paid $4k for school for one in her late 20's, $4500 to help another buy a house, $5k for my son to do the same, just gave my daughter $1500 to pay bills because she is off work from a knee injury and needs surgery, gave the other daughter $1k for a vet bill to save her dog, etc. ect. etc.  They don't take advantage of it and it's not just because they are irresponsible, which they aren't.

I just can't see myself keeping a list of these things for some future date to be trotted out and aired to all of them.  I DON'T tell the others if I give money to one and I don't favor one over the other.  I do understand that my sister had to pay the estate back the $40k when none of the others had borrowed anything close to that.

What are your thoughts?


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Re: Keeping track for inheritance?
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2012, 12:28:49 PM »
My parents are doing this - not the small stuff (I think, I hope) but the big stuff.  We just "bought" their car (which is really fairly new) because our car was on its last leg.  This gift is a huge thing for us, and they told us that it was basically noted in our inheritance. They've done a few other things like this as well over the years, and I know they've done this for my siblings as well.  Their attitude is that they are helping us now when we need it and not later when they won't be there to hear us say 'thank you'.  Mine is that they are helping us, they don't have to and I'm not assuming I'm getting any inheritance so this is a true bonus for us. 

My mom's parents also did this, and they extended it to the grandchildren as well.  Again, it was the things to help, not the gifts.  Their help means I own my house and not a bank.  My grandparents never got to see my house, but they knew we had it and they knew when we were scared for my husband's job, knowing we owned our house really helped us a lot.  So, if we got less after they passed away, I didn't care, because we'd gotten such a huge gift already.

If one of my siblings owes money to the estate after my parents pass away, I don't know if I'd make a big deal of them paying it back, but my siblings tend to be smart fiscally and not reckless with their money, so that may influence my decision.
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Re: Keeping track for inheritance?
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2012, 12:30:05 PM »
Hmm. I can kind of see where your dad was coming from, but ONLY when it came to the larger amounts. if there's more than on sibling, and one was lent/given a significant amount of money, i can see why they might receive less than the rest, when he's gone.  but I also think it depends on people's definitions of "a large sum".  for the smaller ones, maybe he was trying to be completely even when it came to all of you.

for me, its a bit different, as its just me and my mom. so whatever she has when she goes, is mine. she's also helped me out over the years; giving me a decent sum when my transmission blew up, and so on. But she'd never expect me to "repay" her estate for anything she's ever given me.


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Re: Keeping track for inheritance?
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2012, 12:41:38 PM »
My mother would have done this except that I never borrowed money from her.  Since I was the only heir, it would not have mattered unless she would have made it a condition of her will that I would have to fork up the money or hers would have all gone to charity.

Not that any lawyer would have let her, but that's how she was.


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Re: Keeping track for inheritance?
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2012, 12:43:13 PM »
For the big things I kind of agree on that and maybe I should make a list.  It's fairly even right now but, if I give one any more significant amount than the others it would probably be fair to note it. I don't think I would have liked it if my irresponsible sister had essentially received an additional $40k by not having to pay it back.

The $20 here, $100 there, isn't something I would do.


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Re: Keeping track for inheritance?
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2012, 12:46:10 PM »
My mother in law kept detailed records from the time my husband and siblings were young. Even such things as new school supplies that she had to purchase outside the original ones at the beginning of the year. IE, a new pencil, 100 ct paper,etc. She also kept track if she took them to the local burger joint occasionally (DH and sis shared a hamburger .69) 

But it was not deducted off the small inheritance. We just figured it was a quirk of hers since she was an accountant and wanted to account for every penny.


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Re: Keeping track for inheritance?
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2012, 01:33:06 PM »
The only time I seen this was significant ammounts of money not $20 to a teenager. We had the opposite happen in our family. My Nanna was defrauded. I don't know the details but someone convinced her to do something so her heirs wouldn't have to pay taxes - then tried to take her house because of some balloon payment. There were 9 surviving kids at the time - those that could afford to paid the money to save Nanna's house. They or  their heirs were paid back before rest of the money was divided after Nanna died.
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Re: Keeping track for inheritance?
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2012, 01:49:57 PM »
In general, I agree with the concept.  Not sure if keeping track of such small amounts is something I would do, but I can definitely get behind holding kids accountable for what they've "borrowed" from their parents.  It's easy to lose track, and VERY easy for responsible kids to go unnoticed and actually get short-changed in their parents' estate distribution.


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Re: Keeping track for inheritance?
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2012, 03:43:00 PM »
I actually quite like it as a concept.  In my experience $20 is an easy amount to borrow, my frequent line to my Dad as a teenager was "I'm going out to the pub, have you got any cash I can borrow?", I always paid him back, but I can see that if you didn't frequent $20 could easily add up to a large amount and that the responsible kids who thought to keep cash on them would be short changed.


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Re: Keeping track for inheritance?
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2012, 04:09:26 PM »
Iím totally against the concept.  Among other things, itís vindictive.  ($20 to a teenager?  ::) Gimme a break.)  If he has upset about not being paid back, he should have said/done something a long time ago insead of continuing to dole out money and secretly relating it to his estate.

Let me make it clear that I do not believe that parents should toss money to their children for this, that, and whatever.  However, if a parent (or anyone else) chooses to LOAN money to someone and if they want to be repaid, they should both sign a written agreement regarding repayment terms. If the debtor does not hold up his/her end of the agreement, the person who makes the loan should consider modifying the agreement or take legal action if the amount is large (more than a few hundred dollars).


Just say ďNoĒ.  Suggest cutting back on expenses, getting a cheaper car/apt/house, or getting a part-time job.

« Last Edit: December 25, 2012, 04:16:50 PM by oceanus »


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Re: Keeping track for inheritance?
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2012, 04:13:48 PM »
I agree with the concept. And although keeping track of smaller loans seems excessive, it would be understandable if one or more heirs was the type to sue the estate on the basis that the will was unfair.
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Re: Keeping track for inheritance?
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2012, 04:36:56 PM »
I agree with Octavia. If someone starts going on about 'all that money you borrowed' or something like that a record of repayment would be a lifesaver. My mother gave me a couple of high-value items 10 years ago and I just never shipped them for various reasons...the value, one needed restoration, I hadn't fully thought through how I was going to get them back here (I sent one and hand-carried the other, the restored item). Everyone in the family knew I got those two items 10 years or more ago, but because they were in the house, suddenly there was this debate about them being part of the estate. Oh no, they were this and other matters I wish my mother had been more particular in listing and allocating.

Edited for clarity.


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Re: Keeping track for inheritance?
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2012, 05:42:05 PM »
I understand the concept, but I would probably let the smaller stuff go unless the kid was borrowing money regularly and not paying it back. $20 a week over a year is over $1000, and if that isn't paid back, over a few years it's going to add up.
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Re: Keeping track for inheritance?
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2012, 06:01:34 PM »
All the little stuff sounds really petty and regardless of whether itis little or big I would expect the parent to be up front with their expectations.  If people don't find out exactly what is expected before hand then it seems unreasonable.


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Re: Keeping track for inheritance?
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2012, 06:04:02 PM »
I can understand this, especially if there's at least one sibling who is less than financially prudent.  If you start excluding specific things, then it opens up the question of fairness.  Is one sibling's "borrowed" money being written down more than another's?  If $20 isn't written down, did someone borrow $20 a week for years and not get it noted but someone else borrowed $100 one time and has to pay it back?

My parents don't keep track specifically, but they do try to be reasonably fair between me and my siblings.  They paid for most of our college, but made my sister and brother pay their own grad school (I didn't go past undergraduate).  They gave DH and me some money when we bought our house, to help us not have to pay PMI - and although my sister and brother haven't bought houses yet, my parents have found ways to give them similar amounts of money which helped them financially in similar ways.  It's not the same amount, I think, but it's in the same ballpark and for the same general purpose.  None of us have needed major financial bailouts (although the occasional help is always appreciated!), but the few times I have actually requested a loan I was expected to actually pay it back.