Articles Posted in Adult Children

5.15.17Legal battles that lasted longer than the marriage, continue to plague the daughter of a real estate investor.

A court action brought by a young woman, whose mother devoted nine years to gaining control of her trust fund, is now trying to free herself from her mother’s financial grip. Her daughter claims that her mother sold as many as seven Gramercy Park co-ops and an apartment building in Brooklyn and pocketed $13 million.

The New York Post reports in “My mom swiped more than $13 million from my inheritance,” that the daughter, Elizabeth Marcus, has tried for years to get a hold on a trust fund from her mom, Geraldine Lettieri. The trust was established for Marcus by her dad, real-estate investor Alan J. Marcus, before his death in 1994. The fight over his estate has been going on in Bronx Surrogate’s Court, where Lettieri first won control of the trust in 2003. Elizabeth says that Lettieri used the fund like a piggy bank, buying fancy cars and a mansion in the Hamptons.

11.29.16When the greed nerve gets tapped, relationships suffer. There are things you can do now that will lessen the likelihood of family battles after you pass.

Every family has its own dynamics, and some siblings that never resolve their differences, no matter how many years go by. When both parents pass away, siblings either make peace with each other (and regret the lost years) or go at it even more intensely. Adding money to the mix can spell disaster and split families permanently.

Motley Fool’s article, “Avoid family fights over inheritance,” says you might be surprised at the amount of money that can cause arguments. It doesn’t have to be a fortune—deep-seated feelings of rivalry and jealously are, in many instances, at the root of the problem. With that in mind, let’s look at four ideas to consider in an attempt to avoid a battle royal over your assets:

11.8.16Conversations about money, death and dying wishes become tangled up in strong emotions surrounding these matters. A strategic approach might be helpful.

Every family is different, but almost every family struggles with conversations about wills, estate planning and money. A recent article in The Chicago Tribune, “Have the estate planning talk,” advises a thoughtful approach while letting you know that this is hard for everyone.

This is a tough topic because feelings and money get tied up. Money in many instances can conjure feelings of control (or lack of it), dignity, shame, fear, or a lack of confidence. Many conversations go south quickly. For example: if an adult son asks his mother if she and his father have recently updated their wills, he might be met with a response such as, "Why? Are you hoping we’ll die soon, so you can use your inheritance to finally pay off that huge mortgage we warned you not to take?"

9.1.16You know you need life insurance to protect your loved ones. But do you know that having a will is equally important to protect against risks?

Without a will, your family faces a number of potential financial disasters. If you think you don’t need a will because you aren’t wealthy or only own one home, you may be surprised to learn how not having a will leaves your loved ones open to a number of serious and costly problems.

Nerd Wallet’s recent article, “5 Hidden Dangers of Not Having a Will,” lists some of the most challenging issues, reminding you why it’s so important to have an up-to-date, signed will.

8.29.16Think of an estate plan as a love letter to your family after you have passed.

You’d be surprised at how many people you know don’t have a will or an estate plan in place. They may be among the many who have an unspoken belief that if they don’t have a will, they won’t die. That would be terrific—if it were true. Or, they think that only people who are wealthy or have complex tax issues require estate planning.

The Sabetha (KS) Herald’s recent article, “Understanding the estate planning process,” says that both of these ideas are wrong because your level of wealth and the ultimate tax consequences of your estate take a back seat to the planning and care of your family and other heirs.

8.16.16The old adage is right—a second marriage is indeed the triumph of hope over experience. Add estate planning to keep that hope—and peace in the family—intact.

It’s a delicate balance to hold: preserving assets for children from a first marriage and—at the same time—ensuring that your new spouse will have the assets needed to maintain his or her life in comfort. Balancing the two often requires coming to terms with realistic expectations for all.

CNBC’s article, “Getting remarried? Protect your assets and your interests,” recommends looking ahead and addressing questions about your goals, how your existing family and new spouse will relate to one another when you're gone and who will be in charge of the money. The big issue that heirs of a remarrying couple need to worry about more than federal estate tax is the new spouse.

8.11.16Far too many parents are stunned to learn that healthcare providers and colleges are by law not permitted to speak with them about their children without the correct documents in place.

That long-awaited, bittersweet moment has finally arrived: your children are headed off to college. They are now adults—and likely far from home, where they must learn to fend for themselves. But if they run into a problem, let’s say a health emergency, the hospital might not take your phone call. As reported in’s article, “College-bound children need critical financial, health documents,” there are certain steps you can take so that you will be able to speak with doctors at a hospital and college officials on his or her behalf.

Otherwise, you’re not legally allowed to help him. Why not?

7.25.16Whether or not an aging parent should live with their adult children raises issues for the parent and the children. There is no single or easy answer.

It usually starts when one spouse dies and an aging parent suddenly seems alone and vulnerable. The parent may bring it up first, referencing a long ago conversation when the adult children said they would never put their parent into a nursing home or similar facility. As described in Forbes’ “Aging Parents and The Rise of the Multi-Generation Household,” this promise is usually made when the parents are well and the natural response “of course not” is an easy answer. But situations change, and the answer is not always so simple.

The Dickensian concept of “being put in a home” is based on largely outdated ideas of poorhouses and debtors’ prisons. While perhaps a bit drastic, it may not be that far off for Depression-era kids who saw the treatment of seniors before Medicare and Medicaid provided some care. Some nursing homes are still found to violate government regulations, but most are decent, well managed and comfortable places to care for seniors who need a lot of attention for a multitude of medical needs. Licensed board and care homes may be another option for long-term care, usually at a lower cost than nursing homes. They don’t offer skilled nursing, but they do have a more intimate environment with a less institutional atmosphere.

6.8.16In many cases, the incapacitated person does need the protection of a guardian. But far too often, the guardian is the source of abuse, and the lack of oversight leads to appalling situations.

Celebrity cases where persons appointed as guardians fleece their relatives or sequester them against their wills in nursing homes may get the headlines, but what happens to regular people is one of the quiet shames of our country. Despite many changes in the law, vulnerable people continue to be abused by professionals and family members whose interests are not in the well-being of the person they have been court-appointed to protect.

When a judge imposes legal guardianship or conservatorship, the ward or "incapacitated person" may no longer be allowed to decide where to live or whom he or she will see. If a guardian is appointed, that individual gets to decide whether the ward is allowed spending money. He or she won't be able to enter into contracts, including marriage, or demand a different guardian—even if the guardian is abusing the ward or stealing his or her money.

Love 5.11.2016Houston Millennials have a different perspective about love, money and family.

Boomers have taught their children well. While nearly three quarters of boomers see a gift of money as an expression of love, according to a recent survey, their children don't see things the same way. These different values have a significant impact on how families should discuss and plan for inheritances.

Reuter's recent article, "Equating inheritance with love can cause discord," explains that Millennials hold very different views about receiving gifts. According to the survey, roughly 33% of them feel that a monetary gift is a way for the older generation to exert influence over them.

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