Let’s make up a situation:

Two people are in a relationship. They are either widowed or divorced. They had long term relationships before which include adult children. The people in question are anywhere between the ages of 60 and 90. The two people have been dating for between five and ten years. They have chosen not to get married, but just live together. Both parties are middle class, with enough money to live, but not enough to donate hospital wings.

Got me so far? (If there’s anything else you need as far as details, ask me and I’ll give you more)

Does one partner have the expectation that they will receive the lion share of any inheritance when the other partner dies? For example. if partner A dies, leaving behind three adult children and six grandchildren, should partner B receive 80% of the estate? Should partner B receive any money at all? Should partner B expect to be left anything other than a token?

Does your opinion on this change if the two are now married?

How do finances work when you are older and retired and don’t have children in common.

Discuss.

83 thoughts on “The Inheritance

  1. Hmmm. I think it should be up to the couple to create the agreement. The issue here is, if it is not bound by law, then there is really nothing one can do if there is a split that is not amicable. Opinion doesn’t necessarily change if they are married, yet with marriage comes law. Take into account this is seen through a lens of a recent divorce. Have a great day, LA.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Each person has the right to be in conversation around whatever they need in the relationship. So, yes, I think they can make this known. I think the most important part is talking about it. I think too often, we assume our partner understand us so well, that they will just agree with us. Well, that does not always happen; and, as you know, I know all about what happens when that is not the case.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Personally, if I was in a second relationship and the guy told me he expected me to leave the lion share of my inheritance to him and not my daughter, I would get rid of him so fast his head would still be spinning

        Liked by 3 people

  2. My father in law remarried later in life. I am sure there was either indirect or direct pressure from the second wife in regards to his money.

    In this case I believe that a portion of the wealth was transferred directly to her or was in joint accounts between them before his death. If it was in a joint account between them the money would all go to her legally.

    There was a will, each of his children did inherit something. They expected there to be more to their dad’s estate. The second wife was named the executor of the will which I found a little bizarre.

    I’m not sure one partner has the right to tell the other one what to do with their money—does it happen, sure. I think as an elderly man my father in law was probably vulnerable to being pressured.

    I think a new partner/spouse is okay with the expectation of inheriting something—not everything though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know if there should be any expectation of inheritance if the person has kids. Like, if I died and my husband gave most of his estate away (which is half my money) to some woman he was dating…I would ghost him for eternity. To the point of, knowing that my example is based on a real life scenario, I plan to be very explicit in my will about who gets what and when

      Liked by 2 people

      1. LOL at ghosting for all eternity. I’m sure that my MIL was rolling in her grave with some of the stuff that happened between FIL and his second wife. To make it worse the second wife had been part of their extended social circle and MIL never liked the woman who would become FIL’s second wife.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? Me too!! And as this example is based on real life, and the person wanted to hold an “intervention” with her partner….I was appalled that she would expect to get more money than his children

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Speaking from experience, A needs to take care of their children first, afterward if they feel the need provide for B. They cannot expect to leave it “all” to B and expect B to provide for A’s children in the future.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Everybody gets to decide what to do with their money. Kids and partners need to butt out. What if you want to leave it all to a charity? My dad remarried many, many years ago – I have zero expectations on any inheritance. It’s easier to be pleasantly surprised than bitterly disappointed. For me, it’s all going to kids -always been set up that way even during a 5-year relationship. Now if the significant other had health issues, provided a lot of end of life care for me or some financial issue, perhaps I would reconsider. But my money, my decision without anyone pushing me. Oh, my dad has a 3rd party as Executor. Smart move.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Leaving it to charity is a whole different thing that I’m completely ok with. But to expect your partner to leave you money instead of it going to your kids? Bleh….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right?! What is the recipient doing with any leftover funds – giving it to their kids or sending it back to the deceased kids? I don’t like it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Had the discussion early on : everything to my adult kids. They were part of my life for thirty years before the fella came along, why should he expect a brass razoo? It’s an important conversation and legal advice had a Stat Dec being completed by said fella acknowledging arrangements in conjunction with the terms of my will. Protecting your assets is vital which I learned the hard way.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. It should be whatever the couple decides together and should be made crystal clear and backed with iron clad wills in place because people get stupid and ugly when other people die. As fully functioning adults, we do not owe our children anything. If we want to share with them the results of a lifetime of work and effort, great! If not, that’s perfectly okay as well. That said, I also think that people should make their wishes known and clear to all involved to try and mitigate any conflicts before they happen, but that is a perfect utopia environment when all involved actually respect others’ wishes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agree that we don’t owe anyone anything. But if a couples not married, do they make financial decisions together? My friends in second marriages for the most part haven’t gotten married specifically because they want to keep assets separate. I don’t like the idea of one partner expecting to be left more money than the kids. It’s just greedy to me

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Any expectations about what someone would get from another upon their death is wrong no matter the circumstances or relationship, but what someone wishes to be done with their money and/or possessions when they are gone is only up to them.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. My parents divorced when I was in college. My mom married a high school friend and they combined their assets and they were to be divided between the four adult children (me, my brother and the husband’s two kids.) They were in their 60s at the time and we were all married with kids. My mom said this was a good deal for us, since the husband had more money than she did. My brother and I disagreed and got them to separate their assets and leave them to their own heirs.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ha! The husband’s grown daughter took my mom’s wedding china that rightfully belongs to me after my mom moved into assisted living! So yes, I believe people would take cash. My brother and I got the china back.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. I can’t see ever remarrying again. My husband wasn’t perfect(and neither am I) but we had a pretty good acceptance of each other’s quirks. Would never want to merge my finances with someone else.

    I think sometimes older people are desperate for relationships so they agree to conditions that aren’t the best to keep the relationship. My father in law changed after getting together with the new woman and we all couldn’t help but wonder if she was very controlling behind the scenes.

    For example the grandkids would get X amount of money for graduations and birthdays–when the new woman came on the scene the grandkids received a fraction of what they had previously when MIL was still alive. Not saying my kids(or any of the other grandkids) deserved a certain amount of money it just seemed strange. My kids were the youngest of the grandkids so it seemed a little unfair also.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve seen all sorts of behavior like this…with both men and women being on both sides. While there should never be expectations, you also don’t want to see anyone manipulated. I’m with you on marrying again…totally understand

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  9. That conversation is an absolute requirement before getting into a serious, monogamous, cohabitation situation.
    Those details must be ironed out with compassion and respect between the two parties to manage expectations.
    ‘My’ situation is different than ‘his’ situation is different than ‘her’ situation, and each relationship must find their way to answering these questions.
    I know how my husband and I worked out our situation, but that might not be appropriate for another situation.
    I love that posed this question. My relationship has its answer, but maybe it’ll jump start someone else’s.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. One of your good ones as usual. My mother-in-law was concerned that if she passed away first her husband (not the boy’s father) would disinherit them and leave all the money to his side of the family. He had no children. Oddly enough, he passed away first (after at least 40 years of marriage) and left about a million dollars that my mother-in-law didn’t even know they had. He had been accumulating stock (3M mainly) and she didn’t know it. She is a little upset that he kept it from her because she thinks they could have done some traveling and enjoyed it together. However, she can live out the rest of her life (she’s 96) in comfort and not have to worry about anything. She set up a trust so the inheritance will go to my husband and his brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. If they aren’t married, there shouldn’t be any expectation of any inheritance. If A wants to be generous, that is his/her prerogative. On the other hand, my dad and his second wife each have their own adult children. Wife has done everything she can to estrange my dad from us. I don’t expect to see a dime when he dies. Is that fair? I can’t really say. We were close until my parents divorced after 25 years together, but we aren’t now. He’s been with #2 almost 40 years. On the flip side, if he ever needs long-term care, it won’t be my problem.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. This needs to be ironed out between the two painters. They have lived together and taken care of each other. Yes, there are children on both side, but they “most likely” have not been taking care of the parents on a regular basis, so WHY then do they expect to receive money. I don’t think kids automatically deserve inheritance if they have done nothing to earn it. My Dad has always said he is not leaving us anything (that’s a lie), but in saying that, we have never expected anything, so whatever we receive is a bonus. People who EXPECT to get inheritance which they did not earn themselves are the GREEDY ones. I always hate to see people fighting over inheritance, especially if the deceased designated HOW it should be split up.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Very well… that’s your situation. Everyone’s situation and thoughts are different. I don’t really care or get involved in thinking about other’s situations — better things to do with my time. People can decide what they want to do and they don’t need approval from others if they are grown ups.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think someone being expected to get money is horrible. I hate when I see people being put in these situations by people who are money hungry. But yes, it’s how I look at it and I think it’s worth talking about because many a family has been torn apart by greed. But you’re totally entitled to do you

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Isn’t it up to the couple to decide who should be their heirs? However I feel a partner who has looked after/ shared good and bad times has more rights to a share than children who see their parents once a year. Granted the partner had no role in saving and investing the other’s money, but then neither did the children save it! A person needs company and affection the most as he or she grows older. Anybody who provides that has my vote.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think it’s up to the couple. I think it’s up to the individual. And I think people get coerced. In this case, one partner EXPECTS to get the partners money, even though the partner has every intention of leaving it to their kids. I don’t think that’s right. No one should expect anything

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree that no one should expect anything. I just feel that if a person leaves money for his children just because they are his children, it’s wrong.Coercion is also wrong, I agree 100%. Neither partner nor children should do it. Earn your inheritance is what I feel.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t like the thought of earning it. I will never love anyone more than my daughter. Period. Even if we were to fight I love her unconditionally. If someone expects my money, they don’t love me unconditionally.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Maybe earn is the wrong word. I mean the person should deserve your love. I have seen cases where the children have not cared for, even spoken to, their old parent. The moment he is gone however they find the time to come and collect. I think an example should be set by disinheriting the one who doesn’t care, whoever he may be.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s a totally different thing. I have absolutely no problem with not leaving a child money. I don’t like the expectation that a second, or third, relationship partner should get the money, especially if the person is over 60

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  14. IF the couple has adult children and has decided to not get married but to cohabitate, a definite conversation needs to be had on each other’s independent finances and wishes upon death. Some of this depends on context: are the adult children estranged from their parents? Are finances commingled or separate? What is the understanding and expectations of each person in the relationship? I would not think the surviving partner should expect anything unless there is a previous agreement. Normally, when married, assets are transferred upon death to the surviving spouse. This would certainly be a separate conversation to have if there was nothing arranged ahead of time. But, whatever is put in place, someone will get their nose out of joint about the outcomes. This is why it’s so important to have wills and estate plans in place long before the end comes. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is a relationship issue, but it needs to be ironed out or it will surely cause problems for those left behind. I hate questions like this because they are impossible to answer unemotionally. Easiest way of handling it is to not have another relationship. That is not the right way forward in life for some people, however.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. People get really funny when money is involved, it destroys more families upon the death of the parents than any other issue or force, so I say be extremely explicit with how you want your assets dispersed. Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed. My mother n law had an idea to give my husband more than his sister. I told him that it’s so not worth it and do 50/50 because really, it’s just money. It’s not worth the drama.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. This is tricky. I honestly don’t know my take on this, but in Islam, the laws of inheritance are very clear. The make gets double the female since he is the provider. The woman keeps her inheritance and doesn’t have to pay for anyone. Her closest male relative must provide for her. When someone does, the inheritance is split between parents, children, and spouses. The spouse gets 1/6th of the inheritance. It makes a difference if they’re married because in Islam there is no relationship without marriage. I think you pose interesting questions. Of course, to each their own but I enjoy sharing the Islamic point of view when there are socioeconomic issues that Islam has taken care of for 1400 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The reason why I share this is that sometimes it makes no sense to me what none Muslims do with their inheritance. Like once I read that a woman with children and grandchildren left all her money to her cat! I understand it was because they didn’t call or visit or have a pleasant relationship, which brings us to another law in Islam is that you must call and visit your relatives, even if they don’t call or visit you and you will be rewarded greatly for doing so. Again, to each their own, but I like how Islam deals with socio-economic issues as well as the religious rules.

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