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No Kids? You're Outta the Will

If children aren't in your future, older relatives may fret that their assets only "live forever" through family members with lots of kids. What's fair? And, what's the true meaning of "legacy"?

I'm among the waning numbers of folks who still read the daily newspaper in the style of Gutenberg himself: hard-copy. Second confession, I always read the comics AND Dear Abby (rather, Dear Abby's daughter).  That's how I tripped across this gem earlier this week:

"DEAR ABBY: I am in a happy and healthy long-term relationship. Since neither of us wants kids, we don't feel the need to marry. Because I don't want children, my grandmother has decided I don't deserve any inheritance.  She has rewritten her will, leaving everything to my younger cousin who is the only grandchild likely to have children."

At that point, I stopped reading.  My mouth dropped open and my heart ached a though it had happened to me. The writer signed the letter, Disinherited Grandchild in Colorado.

Read the column for yourself. I'd be interested to know how other NotMoms react, not only to Granny's heartless parting gift, but also to Abby's response, which included this nugget:

"It's also possible that [Granny] would like her assets to be passed down to grandchildren and beyond. You'll never know unless you ask."

What?!

Admitting that neither I nor Abby know any of the "behind closed doors" dynamics swirling in Disinherited Grandchild's family...

  • Granny could have talked to both granddaughters together or separately and come to some shared arrangement.  It's quite conceivable that the child-free grandchild would have agreed to pass on the assets to other children in the family, including the cousin's children to come.
  • Why did everything have to go to the cousin? EVERYTHING?? Granny didn't even consider leaving a bit less to the child-free grandchild (which is still asinine if you love her at all, of course.) It feels like a punishment.

Abby does hint that the writer won't know the real reason for her grandmother's choice without talking with her. In a calmer state, I found the factoid that could be a catalyst for the entire mess. Re-read the opening line by Disinherited Grandchild:

"...we don't feel the need to marry."

If that grandmother is like my grandmother, the thought of a granddaughter living in sin is HUGE. Problem No. 1 just might be the only one.

Nevertheless, this story resonates with NotMoms because it feels believable.  Co-habitation, not child-free living, might be the problem here, but elsewhere on the globe, the inability to re-define "legacy" is the real challenge.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Hank Drake November 20, 2011 at 01:28 PM
I think this store resonates beyond the NotMoms. As part of a childless couple myself, I feel Disinherited Grandchild's pain. My family has never been of help to me - in fact, they've been a hindrance. And don't get me started on the tax setup.

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