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I promised a dear friend of mine that I would ask a question for her. "Gloria" is 92 and has 2 sons. Her 1st born son has always been a blessing to her & all the people he comes in contact with, son #2 is more the selfish type. When Gloria made her will many years ago, she left everything equally divided between the sons. As the years have passed, she has regrets of not leaving more to #1 son since he helps her so much, very supportive & kind. Son #2 is very noisy about her estate and even demands to see her legal documents from time to time. Gloria has considered having her will redone but is afraid it will cause an uproar with son #2 if he found out about it. Gloria spoke to son #1 about wishing to leave him more of her estate and he suggested she sign a Promissory Note for the amount she wishes to leave him and that way she would not have to redo her will. She wouldn't actually borrow the money from son #1 but son #2 wouldn't know about the Promissory Note until after her death. Would that be a good way to deal with leaving son #1 more money without having to redo her will? Please let me know what you think so I can tell Gloria. Thanks!

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Ok, thanks for your replies, I think Gloria mostly wanted to skip the cost of a new will and the possibility of nosy son finding out her newest wishes. Legal costs are just crazy these days. Thank you!
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Would a caregiver contract between Gloria and the good helpful son work?
I am in favor of paying/rewarding him now.

She could just as well leave all her estate to the SPCA if she chose.

I am also in favor of freeing up her estate to increase the quality and enjoyment of her own life now. I have now observed several elderlies with so much tied up for the heirs, that they are currently living as a pauper and at the mercy of their greedy adult children.

There needs to be a better solution, imo.
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I think at 92 she has seen her son's for what they are. They have to be in their 60s at least so hard to change now. She needs to change her will. Leaving something to the younger and saying why. This way it Can't be contested. She also has no responsibility to show this son her will. It's private and not to be disclosed till she passes. It's none of his business. We have to change our attitudes that our parents owe us their hard earned money. I read once not to disclose the contents of your will, better they r mad at u after you are gone.
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tiredofmom, changing a Will to eliminate or reduce assets to a grown child and leave more to another grown child can backfire.

What if the non-caring son shows up at Gloria's doorstep wanting to be a caregiver and is serious at that, with no hidden motives. Then what? Gloria may be at a point where she is unable to change the Will back to sharing equity due to memory loss.

We all hope we can live comfortably for the rest of our lives and pass on peacefully in our sleep at home. Thus giving equity to our heirs. This not always happens. Oh how we wish we all could have crystal balls to see our parent's future so we can plan ahead.

Gloria may find herself in Assisted Living/Memory Care or in a Nursing Home self-paying for the cost because having care at home was just too exhausting for the sons, and too expensive for 3 shifts of caregivers.

Thus, I have always felt each grown child should be treated equal, of course unless one child had disappeared for years on end by their own accord. It is recommended in that case to leave at least $1 dollar so that if that disappeared child should show up, he/she can't prove they were left out of the Will.
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Unless you know these two sons personally and you have direct experience of their relative merits, I think you should allow Gloria to bounce her feelings off you and do absolutely nothing. Inheritance is about more than separating your children into sheep and goats. And besides, for all you know, NosyGreedy could in fact be doing his best to be practical and responsible while SmileyHoney concentrates on buttering up the old gal.

Having said that, assuming that Gloria is a consenting adult of sound mind, she is free to make a new will leaving her estate as she sees fit and to keep her will private. She does not have to inform anyone of its contents, she does not have to inform anyone that she has even made a will of any sort. She must, however, get the job wrapped up tightly by a specialist lawyer who understands there is a possibility of its validity being challenged and can take that into account in the drafting.
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Good idea, Geewiz! I don't understand people who want a cheaper way to do something so important! This is important! Spend the money to get it done properly and show the greedy son the old will. Problem solved and mom and decent son don't have to worry about how things are left.
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No. It's a bad idea. Your friend can't just give her son a random promissory note. Did he sell her something or perform a service or lend her money that she couldn't pay and had to promise to pay later? If no, then the promissory note is bogus and will not be valid in court if son #2 contests.

She needs a new will.
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Alternatively, if there are any assets with a beneficiary designation, she can change the beneficiary to the helpful son. those assets pass outside of the will. This might include life insurance, IRAs and annuities. Ditto (in some states0 on bank accounts and brokerage accounts where you can sign a 'pay on death' designation.
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Elder law attorneys will often work for reduced rates or free. Contact your local senior center to find one. Ask what would be the best choice.

Farm jelly has it right, show son #2 the old will. How cheeky of him!
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She should contact her attorney for “real” advice. But it seems to me a more secure way to do it would be to go ahead and change her will but continue to show Mr. Greedypants the old will.
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