It’s Come to This

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Cynthia is making out a new will, and she’s wondering whether to put her eldest child, Susan, in it. She and Susan have been estranged for years, to the point where Susan will not even let her attend her own grandchildren’s high school graduations. How should Cynthia respond now?

--Is she obligated to treat Susan the same as her other offspring in the will?
--Should she leave a lesser amount to Susan?
--Is Cynthia justified in cutting her out altogether?
--And, if so, should she include a letter in the will explaining her actions?

The Panel Weighs In


Justin: Since Susan has chosen to excise Cynthia from her life, Cynthia should just leave her daughter a token amount in her will and leave the rest of her portion to Susan’s children.

Glenny: I disagree. I think you have to leave equal amounts to all your children no matter what. Until the day she died, my mother cried over being cut out of her father’s will. Besides, you don’t want to create conflict over their inheritance among the children.

Alex: I think the litmus test should be who needs the money most not how they treated you. If one child is successful and one is not, why not help out where you could do the most good?

Marie: Speaking of doing the most good, I think Cynthia should leave Susan’s portion to charity. If Susan didn’t want her mother in her life while she was alive, why should Cynthia show up in her life after she’s dead?

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