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Inheritance Is a Gift, Not a Right

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Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

My in-laws have decided that the bulk of their estate will go to several different charities. My husband, their only son, thinks that's fine since we are doing okay financially. However, I feel that the in-laws should leave most of their estate to our two kids. I have suggested to my husband that he discuss this with his parents, but he refuses. What else can be done besides sue once they are gone? Also, as my in-laws age, they seem to be spending our inheritance on long vacations and fancy cruises.



Dear Snubbed,

Unfortunately, many feel an inheritance should automatically go to one's descendents. However, an inheritance is a gift not a right. Your husband's parents can will their estate to anyone or to any organization with which they feel comfortable.

It is always best for people to live their lives happy and comfortable, and not scrimp on themselves because they feel that they must leave an inheritance. Often, an expectation of an inheritance leads to more harm than good. When a large inheritance is expected, problems such as family squabbles or lowered motivation to work can occur. It is to your husband's credit that he feels it's fine that his parent's will their estate to charity.