Post # 1
I was out skiing with my friends who are a couple last week. They are debating what to do for their wills. They are child free by choice. They are leaving the other person everything in the first instance, but if they both go down in a fiery car crash they are debating what to do.
Friend A has one sister. Friend B has two sisters and a brother.
Friend A thinks 1/2 should go to her family (i.e. one sibling) and half should go to B’s family (i.e. three siblings). Friend B thinks they should divide everything equally between the remaining siblings (i.e 1/4 each).
I tended to lean more towards Friend B. I am trying to decide if my personal leanings were due to knowing Friend A and Friend B’s families (Friend A’s one sibling is also child free by choice, but Friend B’s siblings all have kids), or if it’s because I also have a lot of siblings. I think I lean towards treating all the siblings equally, regardless of who has more.
Post # 2
Honestly, in the second instance, I’d probably leave my money to our parents.
But if that wasn’t an option, I’d probably go with equally by sibling. I don’t personally see why side of the family should matter, but I can see how it could matter to others.
Post # 3
Keeping in mind that wills cover only those assets held individually in each spouse’s name, I would have Friend A leave everything to their sister and Friend B split everything equally among their sisters and brother. The siblings of either friend wouldn’t reasonably expect to inherit the assets of the other spouse.
For the jointly owned assets, I would give 50% to each side of the family. So that would be 50% to Friend A’s sister and 50% to Friend B’s sisters and brother.
My thinking is more in line with Friend A. It’s almost identical to Friend A with regard to joint assets, but a slightly different approach with the individual assets. Individual assets can stay within a spouse’s blood line.
Post # 4
I agree with this. I’m also more in line with A.
Post # 5
This is an interesting question. Unlike a situation involving minor children, to whom the parents have a moral obligation, what makes sense in this situation depends on how long the couple has been together, to what extent they view their collective assets as being truly joint, the relationship they have with each others’ family, and their shared vision for what they want their money to accomplish.
My husband and I married later in life. We’ve been married for about 5% of his life and about 10% of mine. We have mostly separate finances. If we didn’t have a child together, I would expect that all of his money would go to his children and mine would go to my family if we died together. On the other hand, if your friends are close to their siblings-in-law and feel like it’s one big family, I can see the reasoning behind gifting equal amounts to each sibling (or even basing it on the number of niblings in each family if what they really want their money to accomplish is help their nieces and nephews).
Post # 6
My kneejerk reaction is team A – everything should be divided 50/50 between the two spouses’ families. So friend A’s half goes to her family and friend B’s half goes to his. # of siblings on each side shouldn’t be a factor. UNLESS both spouses agree to it.
It’s an interesting question though! And full disclosure I’m an only child, so that could be factoring into my feelings on this.
Post # 7
If we were at the point where we were dividing assets outside of my immediate family (meaning myself, husband, and children) – our assets are set to be divided equally amonst our nieces and nephews in trusts to be used for education first, then whatever else after they graduate. Our siblings are financially secure and we’d rather provide for the education of the kids to continue impacting their lives even if we aren’t physically with them anymore.
Post # 8
I’m Team A.
Granted, I have a tense relationship with DH’s siblings, so I’d be less inclined to leave them anything at all. If everything if joint and 100% combined and too hard to portion out, then I could see leaving everything split equally. But if the friends have things in their names, those should be left outright to their siblings.
Post # 9
DH and I now have a child, but until his arrival our will(s) were set up so that most of our assets went to his side of the family and my side of the family wouldn’t have received much. The split was more about equalizing access to opportunity / financial need rather than fairness across siblings.
My parents have done very well for themselves and we knew that if any of my siblings hit a rocky patch in life that my parents had the means to support them (and would support them). Additionally, my sisters have all set themselves on paths for relative financial success and independence.
My DH’s family has more modest means and has had a tougher road in life (financially and health wise). His sibling has as much potential to be successful but has greater barriers to overcome versus my sisters. So if we were to pass, our assets would go to his parents and him in order to lighten the load during retirement for his parents and to give the brother a boost to accessing education opportunities that he may not otherwise have as feasible financial access to.
Given A’s Sibling is CFBC and B’s Siblings all have kids, I would be inclined to give more to B’s Siblings (and by extension treating neices and nephews as additional beneficiaries) unless B’s Siblings are already sufficiently wealthy and I felt A’s Sibling would benefit more from a financial boost.
All of this is assuming we’re not talking a massive amount in assets (like millions and millions) in which case I’d argue for substantial philanthropic giving.
Post # 10
Very interesting question. I would split evenly by nieces and nephews, assuming parents have passed away and siblings are around the same age or older. Minor bequests or specific sentimental items should stay within the side of the family they originated. At this point I wouldn’t be leaving assets to siblings, they have accumulated their own and if inheritances were evenly distributed from the prior generation I would focus on the next generation.
Post # 11
I will leave a smaller portion of my estate to my niece and nephew directly (my sister has done a piss poor job of saving anything for her kid’s future, so I will INTENTIONALLY disclude her from my will) and the rest of my estate will go to my husband’s children (the thought process here is that my husband will die before me and leave me a portion of his estate, so it’s only fair that a portion of my estate goes back to his children).
Post # 12
I think it really comes down to how finacies are handled in the relationships and what the family dynamics are like. If financies are completely joint and everyone considers each their to be their sibling then I can totally see wanting to split everything evenly. If there are separate financies then I’d like to have my money go to my family or even if I cared about my in laws but didn’t consider them to be my sibling the same way as my actual sister then I might like to have my money go to my family especially if they are not well off. I also would like to suggest going straight to nieces and nephews but then again depending in finances and relationship, I might not be happy for my money to go to my husband’s nephews leaving nothing to my sister.
So I think as always there are a lot of variables.
Post # 13
This is challenging! DH and I both have the same number of siblings and 3/4 of them are CFBC. I would probably lean more toward Friend B and split the assets equally amoung the siblings, but that could be because DH and I have been together for a long time (since we were 18) so pretty much everything that we’ve accumulated, we’ve earned together.
Post # 14
Team A. I don’t expect to inherit the assets of my siblings-in-law, nor do I think it’s reasonable for them to expect the same from me. Hell, I barely know them to be honest, we are not very close. I would want my equal portion to to my side of the family and vice versa. I think that seems more fair.
Post # 15
I think I lean towards friend A’s view. I think my assets should goto my family, his assets go to his family. Just because he has 20 people on his side between siblings and children doesnt mean they should get the money meant for my family.