As someone in their mid-twenties, its sad how much of this I’ve witnessed when I was younger with family members. You are so correct, OP, death and money and greed bring out the worst in people.
Story One – My grandpa passed away rather suddenly (medical emergency that resulted in a coma before taking off life support). While there was a will, but for whatever reason it had to go through probate. My grandpa was survived by some brothers, aunts, kids, grandkids and his 2<sup>nd</sup> wife who brought stepchildren (he adopted them so they would be my like step aunt/uncle) into the family. He had property and a few collectible items worth a lot of money, and it was always said my brother would get one particular item, I would get some things and ultimately it was like his will would be dispersed to grandkids and skip over other family members. I was young when all this occurred, so this is all just what I understood as a teeny teenager.
Well, the biggest thing is I remember it being a HUGE mess. My mom threw a fit because it ended up that my grandma (grandpa’s 2<sup>nd</sup> wife) got everything and she just took care of what she took care of. I can’t remember how she sold or divided things, but I know we (my brother and I) didn’t get anything we were promised. We didn’t understand at the time, but now that we’re grown up and older it is sad, we didn’t get these items as mementos of our grandpa.
Story Two – My great uncle (brother to my grandpa above, big family) and my family got close after my grandpa passed. He was the closest thing we had to our grandpa. He got spinal cancer and went downhill very fast and while I definitely was around for sentimental and caring reasons, the rest of the family (my parents and brother and the siblings, so uncle’s brothers and sisters) swarmed like vultures. At the end of his days, they only came around to try to stake claim to his things. Uncle had a lot, like A LOT of valuable property (farming), a home, equipment, tons of valuable antiques and family relics. Everyone knew he had his will and all that already organized, but no one knew exactly what he included it in. All of the family members assumed he was going to divide the farm into pieces and they could sell it for cash or whatever. My uncle also had a lot of liquid money (he was a bachelor his entire life) so everyone assumed they would get a chunk of it.
Uncle passed away and gave everything to his friend (lets call him Dave) who helped him around the farm. When I found out, I literally LOLed because my uncle was the type of old man to do just that and let me tell you…. It was HILARIOUS to see how pissed off everyone was to find out they didn’t get a damn thing.
Moral of my stories – I think my great uncle was super smart in how he left his assets.
Darling Husband and I don’t have kids yet, but I do assume we would give it to our children and split it equally. However, we would most likely have any money put into certain investment accounts that they couldn’t just easily access and blow. I also do hope we raise our future kids to have sense as to how to handle our estate, assets, etc once we die.