Opinion

Part 2: Lessons from my dying 82 year old friend – writing a Will & Last Testament

My friend E told me about her late father. He had two kids. E and her brother. When her father died, in his Will, he divided all his remaining wealth and possessions equally between his son and daughter.

Then, E was a successful executive in a Fortune 500 company with a good pay and perks. She had many assets and investments. Her older brother was not as successful. He was struggling financially with a wife and kids.

READ ALSO: Part 1: Lessons from my dying 82 year old friend

The expectation was her father would give his son a bigger percentage because he really needed it. But the old man decided it was 50/50. Months later, E gave all her inheritance to her brother.

April 2017:
After helping her label all her furniture in the names of her beneficiaries, I asked E about her Last Will & Testament.

She has applied the same principle as her dad. All her three kids get an equal share of all her REMAINING possessions (cash and assets). She told me her father taught her an important lesson when he left half of his wealth to her – even if she didn’t need the money.

“The fact that he thought of me was good enough. He probably knew that I would have been upset. He did the right thing,” she said.

E says her kids don’t expect her to leave them any money because she has always told them not to expect a penny from her.

READ ALSO: Uncommon: A chat with an old man who has ENOUGH money

When her son married, E him a house as a gift and told him it was his part of his inheritance. She argued that he needed the house most then, to give him a head start in life. She has also generously gifted all her kids at various stages of their lives.

“Why should I give my 60-year-old son money now (when I am dying) and I should have given him when he needed it the most?”

And must you give an equal share? I asked E.

“No. I am under no law to divide my property equally among my children. I play by my rules. In fact 80% of my wealth has gone to Charity and my friends!”

Her parting shot put a smile on my face. By the time she dies, E wants the last cheque she issued to bounce! Nothing will be left in the bank.

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