Favoritism vs justice

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Please Share Your Opinion on this Touchy Subject

Published July 31, 2016 by Nan Mykel

When making a will, should the “estate” be shared equally despite the differing levels of economic status? Some say divide equally, don’t play God. People make their own choices and lifestyles and it’s not up to a parent to attempt to rectify a lack of education, circumstances,  etc.  If I love them all equally, why not “share the wealth” equally? I use quote marks above because my “estate” is miniscule, but I’m really in a quandary. I suggested to my wealthiest child that  I should not share equally and got a highly negative response from this child and the spouse.  I want justice but not for any child to feel slighted.

OPINIONS RECEIVED:  This is a biggie. My mother considered the same thing. I told her I would be terribly hurt if she did so. It is hard to explain why I felt so strongly that somehow it would mean she loved me less, though intellectually I could tell myself it wasn’t true. Equal inheritance will spare your children these doubts. It is a much secondary consideration, but those who have less need will probably look out more carefully for the others and will be more inclined to leave what they accumulate to their nieces and nephews.  (cousin)

Robert Avant Since I have virtually nothing, the issue of my will is not compelling. What little I have will go to the local Episcopal church, which was good to Mother when she was in the nursing home. But I do sometimes look around my house and marvel at how items priceless to me will go unappreciated. One place where I drew the line was my personally-autographed copy of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which locals would stick in a book sale for a quarter. I gave it to a young but already distinguished attorney in Birmingham, who was delighted. I have letters from opera singer Beverly Sills, “Ozzie and Harriet’s” Harriet Hilliard Nelson (mother of Ricky Nelson), former NY Times Editor Howell Raines, Louise Stickney Tanner (whose husband Edward Everett Tanner — under the name Patrick Dennis — wrote “Auntie Mame”), and Jessica Mitford. My God what a family those Mitfords were. Her sister Unity Valkerie was a favorite of Hitler, who dubbed her the ideal of the Aryan female. She shot herself when she realized what he really was. One sister became the Duchess of Devonshire, chateleine of Chatsworth. Another sister married Oswald Mosley, a British fascist. They were imprisoned for the duration of WWII. Okay, Bobby — enough!  (cousin)

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