I have 3 great kids, but my oldest son hasn't spoken to me in several years and has not acknowledged the recent death of his stepfather (my ex husband) that I have been caring for for the last ten years. My other two children have helping me in so many ways.

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Bettysdance, I think that the time to recognize members of the family who are giving something extra is while they are doing it - pay them for all the little tasks they do, even if it isn't anything more than gas money.
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JoAnn29 Feb 2019
Like that! Buy them something they have wanted. Pay for dancing lessons. Something like that. A family trip.
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My grandmother put in her will that anyone who contested her will would receive $1 and eternal disgust.

Nobody contested it, but it was so in character for her to do this.

Wills are not gifts or rewards. They are simply a legal way for someone to distribute their estate, Nobody OWES anybody anything.

Mother has written sis in and out of her will so many times...and it's such a joke b/c we all stand to inherit just less than $10 K. Won't make a bit of difference to me. She still holds it over our heads and it makes me laugh. She has nothing and that's fine. I don't WANT anything and I don't like the way she's pretended she's "rewarded" some of the sibs more "justly". It's just ridiculous.
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mathisawesome Feb 2019
My mum has used the will as a hammer for years. I don't care if I get a dime. I want her to use her money to take care of herself. The last time we saw each other....I told her this. She though she could manipulate the people in her life to do exactly what she wants with the promise of money in the end. I will not give up my life to live hers. I want her to be well taken care of....I can't do the care taking. We have too many differences. I want to visit and enjoy our time together.
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[Just adding up on my fingers...]

If I've got this right, your three great kids *include* the oldest son from whom you are sadly? estranged, and you are feeling hurt that even knowing about your loss he has done nothing to be reconciled.

How recent was your loss?

Would it not be wiser to let it be until you have had more time to adjust? There is more to your relationships with all of your children than how you are feeling right now.

There are also more ways to appreciate your other children's kindnesses than leaving them a headache in your will :)

I hope things will get better for you, and that eventually your son will make an effort to explain himself.
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As tempting as it might be to show your dislike of his behavior by cutting him out of your will completely, don't do it! Is it going to show him the error of his ways? Probably not. Is it going to make your "good kids" feel better? Probably not. Is that what you want to be remembered for? Probably not. It would be far wiser to try to improve your relationship while you are alive rather than using a will to communicate. If improving the relationship is not possible, at least remember him in some way in your will. You'll feel better.
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Yes, I would think it has happened. And I can see the reason why he shouldn't inherit. Really its not fair to the other two who have stood by you.

I was told a long time ago, if you are leaving a child out of your will, leave them a dollar. This way you have acknowledged them and they can't contest the will. If you don't want to be that drastic, you can just leave him a small monetary amount. Leaving the bulk to the two who helped.

You will hear from caregivers who found after years of caregiving, the child who did nothing got the bulk of the estate. Or, the ones who did nothing showed up after a parents passing with their hands out.

Your Will can show how much you appreciated the two who did help. You can also show the one who didn't, how disappointed you were.
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needtowashhair Jan 2019
They can still contest it if you leave them a dollar. This is America. You can sue for anything.
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Sadly, this topic comes at a good time for my family.
We still have our sane minds. But the health issues continue to grow. We have some very self-involved offspring, from previous marriages, All but one of the sons/daughters have major substance abuse/alcohol abuse issues in teens and early adulthood. Three continue to be alcoholics. We do not, never did those things.
Now all are between 40-50 years old. Old enough to be acting as responsible adults. Due to their personalities developed around their drugs of choice, all but one are very emotionally stunted, pretty much self-absorbed. They Ignore us; after so many years of their poor behavior, we actually prefer being spared their lifestyle drama. Tired of the constant holding out hands, but never helping parents, not visiting, nothing. We don’t expect them to lift a finger to assist us, ever. They certainly never have during major illnesses we’ve had. Have always got better use for their incomes than visiting their parents.
I’ve made sure all CDs are POD to the one son who gives a crap. Due to the drug/alcohol issues, the non-named ones’ offspring aren’t in touch with us grandparents. The ex wives prevented contact out of vindictiveness, not because we weren’t good grandparents. Sadly. So, it’s a dilemma as to whether to leave my other sons’ offspring my sons’ share. My middle son has gone so far as to try to elicit promises of certain items of mine he wants. Things I’m currently using in my home. It makes me feel like he’s just wishing for me to die, as he has done similar things to his grandparents when they were living. He didn’t have any time for them either. I personally find it very offensive, as nobody is entitled to a thing another person has worked for, outside and of the spouse. It is doubtful we will have anything left anyhow, due to medical needs. It’s just so aggravating that people view their parents as givers, nothing more. While I don’t feel inheritances are rewards, I plan all to go to the single son who gives a chit.
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anonymous434963 Feb 2019
Maybe you should tell the middle son, "Honey, if you want that credenza" (or whatever), "you need to buy it from me now because I'm probably going to have to sell everything soon because I'll need the money."
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I never thought of a will as being an award for good behavior but more like a legacy so to speak.

Otherwise you could be constantly changing it depending on who has been naughty or nice. Are we Santa Clause's or just human beings who want to leave something for kin?

I guess it really depends on how strongly you feel about this.
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jacobsonbob Mar 2019
Yes, it's probably true that someone could change it many times for rather petty reasons. However, if it has been obvious that one child has done all the caring and work while the other has stayed completely out of the picture, then it's perfectly reasonable to make this distinction in the will.
A will is to honor those you wish to honor. Use it accordingly, but also not as a weapon to get back at anyone. JoAnn gave sound advice
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You can. You can do whatever you want. It's your will. But that will can be contested. A lawyer once told us that a change like that always leads to a court fight. It's just not the child you are disinheriting, it's his spouse and children that can also contest it. None of which should put you off. Just know that nothing in a will is set in stone. In the end, it's up to the probate judge. That will is pretty much just a request to that judge.

Whatever you do, do it sooner rather than later. Since the older you get, the more convincing anyone contesting the will can claim impairment.
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jacobsonbob Feb 2019
Perhaps using a trust instead of a will would be more appropriate because it wouldn't have to go through probate.
You can contest a will, unfortunately. However, you can put a clause in that states if the will is contested, the person contesting will receive nothing.

That discourages greed but it still has to go through the court, at the expense of the estate.

Doing a trust would guarantee your wishes are followed, then you would have a pour over will that directs everything goes to the trust, so no assets go directly to any beneficiary of your will. You can then state that your oldest is being intentionally left out and the reason if you choose. The trust is not a public document and you aren't even entitled to see it unless you are a beneficiary.

I am sorry for your loss of your husband, as well as your oldest child.
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NeedHelpWithMom Feb 2019
I like that clause. Great idea!
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