The Moneyist: ‘I’m getting the short end of the stick with each new grandchild.’ My parents want to split their estate with their grandkids

Dear Quentin,

My mother has stated that when she and my father pass away, they’d like for my three siblings and I to split any inheritance four equal ways. She has also stated that she would want the grandchildren to get something too. I am single and childless as I intend to continue to be. 

At this point, all of my siblings have offspring totaling seven grandchildren with more planned on the way. To me it seems more fair to split the inheritance four ways, and then to state in the will that each parent/sibling give an amount my mother and father want each grandchild to receive.

My mother thinks she would rather just give each grandchild their amount and then split what remains between her four children. It seems like I’m getting the short end of the stick with each new grandchild born. Am I splitting hairs/heirs, or do I have a point? 

Yes, I realize my parents have the final say with their own affairs and will ultimately respect their wishes. It’s just another in a long line of the single person is expected to give up more, while everyone else takes more — these are ideals I’ve had to contend with my whole life.

Single Daughter

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Dear Single,

I agree with both your sentiments: Yes, it’s the ultimate single supplement for childless children of parents who adore their grandchildren, and want to gift them a sizable portion of their estate. And yes again, it’s their money, and you can cry if you want to. It’s a hard place to be: Watching your siblings have children, all the while knowing that your own inheritance is shrinking with each gender reveal party.

So what can you do? Don’t tell your parents what you think they should do. That may only harden their resolve. Instead, tell them how that makes you feel. As a single daughter, you feel less seen and less important as your their estate is split multiple ways, and as your inheritance shrinks. (Note: It’s not your inheritance that is being split, as it’s only belongs to you when it’s in your bank account.)

There are many ways grandparents can invest in their grandchildren’s future: 529 accounts so they can save for college. They can make annual gifts to 529 accounts, although the maximum amount allowable varies by state. Similarly, they can gift a certain amount to their children over their lifetime, to help with a down payment on a house or a new car or further education.

The good news is that you have this information now. Proceed apace like your parents’ estate will be split 10 ways, like a birthday cake at a party with too many guests. That way, you won’t be reliant on a larger inheritance, and you can work hard, and save for retirement. There’s one thing that’s tastier than even a large slice of birthday cake covered in rainbow sprinkles, and that’s financial independence.

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The Moneyist regrets he cannot reply to questions individually.More from Quentin Fottrell:

‘I just don’t trust my sister’: How do I gift money to my nieces without their mother having access to it?
We’re getting married and have a baby on the way. My wife has offered to pay off my $10,000 student debt and $7,500 car loan
I have three children. I quitclaimed my house to my most responsible son. Now he has blocked my calls
My brother-in-law died, leaving his house in a mess. His landlord wants me to repaint and replace the carpet. What should we do?

This post was originally published on Market Watch

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