Annie’s Mailbox Gives Excellent Estate Planning Advice

By Harry S. Margolis

Today’s Boston Globe includes an a question and answer in Annie’s Mailbox column titled “Estate Planning Helps Quell Family Squabbles.”  We couldn’t agree more.

The column answers a question from a 90-year-old in Indiana who is blessed with to sons and daughters-in-law who live nearby and help out, especially her oldest son and his wife.  She also has a daughter who lives out of state and doesn’t help so much.

Her question was about how to divide her estate without creating family squabbles, especially with respect to family heirlooms such as the sterling silver and an antique wall clock, which cannot be divided equally.

Annie’s Mailbox recommends, first, that the senior Hoosier consult with an estate planning attorney.  Second, the column recommends that she not favor her older son and daughter-in-law because “it could create all sorts of resentments later.”  But does say that she might make them “special gifts of jewelry or sentimental gifts” either while she is alive or through her estate plan.

This is excellent advice.  We have seen too often where parents favor one child over the other causing a rupture in the family, even if the parent did this as compensation for great sacrifices the child made to provide care.

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