I very much enjoy your column, and you are much kinder than I am. It may be my age, but my parents weren’t expected to pay for college when I came of age. I am, yes, a baby boomer. From reading your column it seems like lots of people of varying ages seem to believe that they have rights to an inheritance, often by virtue of being a DNA relative and, sometimes, by virtue of a marriage.
I disagree with this assumption. Please educate me. Are my somewhat scornful reactions a reflection of my own age or ignorance? Or can I or anyone else write a will leaving their estate to whomever they like — say a charity, or the kid next door, or their nurse — instead of their kids and spouse? What is the law and etiquette regarding wills and inheritance?
Wow. This isn’t the only surprising question that people ask The Moneyist. A sampling:
- My stepmother told me she wasn’t required to file my father’s will — then she left his house, cars and investments to her kids
- I discovered through Ancestry.com that my biological father is someone else — can I claim an inheritance as his heir?
- My friend asked me to be her maid of honor but didn’t invite me to her wedding — am I expected to buy her a gift?
- This woman’s husband sponsored her to move to the U.S., but he kept a $200K windfall and insisted she pay all the bills
- My husband’s two children would toss me out of the house if he were to die before me — what can I do?