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AIBU to not want anything to do with PILs 'Inheritance Planning' ?

(125 Posts)
TheRabbitCatcher Sun 05-May-13 13:44:14

I've namechanged as this is quite a personal issue.

PILs are (very amicably) divorced and, through shrewd house purchases, hard work and their own inheritances have decent-sized estates (about 4-5m between them I guess).

Recently they have approached DH several times to discuss 'inheritance planning'. He has no interest in the actual money and doesn't care for tax dodges so has suggested that they speak to a professional who can help them to decide what to do. Actually, I think that he is terrified of the idea of his parents dying, but that's not the reason he gave them. While I respect DH's wish not to discuss the issue, this has led to PILs now coming to me to ask if I can 'encourage' DH to engage or become involved myself. I don't feel comfortable talking to them about their money either so have taken to changing the subject or found reasons to avoid any lunches clearly planned to discuss the topic (this tactic is not long-term, I know). I know that they read our lack of interest as being unsupportive of them and irresponsible (towards them and our children, who I suppose would gain the most out of their planning). To them, I think that leaving a 'good' inheritance is important, especially as their parents did this. While I am happy to support them in other ways, I feel very uncomfortable talking about this (basically, discussing how we could gain the most out of their deaths) and know them to be more than capable of making the 'right' choices without our involvement. My own family is not especially well off and Quaker, all this feels a bit alien to me.

AI (and my husband) BU?

outtolunchagain Sun 05-May-13 14:54:27

Good Lord are you 15 ., inheritance planning isn't just about tax it's about how to deal with the assets .Having dealt with many cases where these things were not discussed the more plans in place the better. People sometimes die suddenly , you need to make sure that the surviving partner is able to access funds etc, the money exists you can't pretend it doesn't ,and it has to be dealt with .What if the surviving partner develops dementia, you need to discuss how they would like their care to be managed etc, would they prefer to spend more money but stay in their own home for example .

Presumably they will want to discuss executor ship of the will,perhaps they would like to entrust their son with this role ( not unreasonable) but I would always suggest a professional executor as well because it can be quite onerous .etc etc .

Minifingers Sun 05-May-13 14:55:44

Love the comments on this thread about the morality of passing on money to your children. Like leaving your estate to benefit the entire country is somehow less moral than leaving it to children who may have absolutely no need of a pile of unearned cash and have done nothing to deserve being given it.

Inherited wealth is where the roots of much of our inequality in the UK in relation to housing and education lie...

K8Middleton Sun 05-May-13 14:58:24

I think yabu but only because I have made the following assumptions: you don't know much about inheritance tax or processing an estate after death.

I hold the following opinions that influence those assumptions: everyone should plan for the worst and where possible, when it comes to death, sorting things out while everyone is still alive is better for everyone. Managing probate is a pita at the best of times but if there is insufficient liquid assets (ie cash), settling the estate becomes at best a headache for those left behind and at worst, a horrible, stressful, money and time draining nightmare because the inheritance tax has to be paid first.

I think having the conversation between the four of you is the least you can do. I imagine this is a tremendous worry for your pil. Once you've had a grown up chat they can go away and make some plans.

LIZS Sun 05-May-13 15:01:12

You're happy to benefit from it but not to be constructive about forward planning hmm yabu

Finola1step Sun 05-May-13 15:02:04

In the nicest possible way, YABU.

My father passed away two weeks ago with nothing in place. He didn't have a lot money but having to make certain decision at this time has been very hard.

Your ILs are being very sensible. You and your DH should meet up with them and listen to what they have to say.

50shadesofvomit Sun 05-May-13 15:02:58

Monetary considerations aside, it's probably best for your h to know what kind of burial/funeral they want so that when the worst happens, he will have fewer practical things to worry about.

If you don't want or need their money I think it's perfectly fine to get them to put it into trust for when your children want to buy a house or urge them to donate to charity.

Squitten Sun 05-May-13 15:04:36


They are trying to be sensible and not leave a massive legal or financial burden on you when they die. They will die one day and you just have to accept it and deal with it. The least that you can do is listen to whatever it is that they want to tell you or ask you.

I think you're both being rather immature

Tigresswoods Sun 05-May-13 15:04:54

So long as you are happy to find a bridging loan to pay the huge inevitable tax bill in order to release their estates on death... Then it'll be fine.

expatinscotland Sun 05-May-13 15:06:48

Your husband's being a fool. What specialsubject said. This 'horror' at elderly people dying is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard of.

Bossybritches22 Sun 05-May-13 15:07:50

Actually good financial planning will mean a shit-load less trouble for you all when they do go!

It's sound business sense to plan, as has been said before, a big chunk of that might go on care fees, if you plan properly then they can have a fund to cover it all & you won't have to worry.

"Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's" ie tax avoidance not tax evasion, big difference.

Minifingers that's a topic for another thread of its own! grin

purplewithred Sun 05-May-13 15:13:36

Sorry but not only are YBU you are borderline selfish. They want an open and honest talk about how to manage what will be a pretty substantial legacy; it will be a big job for them and they want your help and support and it cannot be left to a professional because a stranger just won't be able to answer the questions.

They may want to know stuff like do you want them to leave money to you or direct to your kids; if they leave it to your kids in trust then what age do you think it right for the capital to go to your children; will you be trustees for your children's trust funds; will you take power of attorney for your parents if they become incapable of looking after their own affairs. These are questions only the two of you can answer.

It may be uncomfortable but they need you. Do it.

Essexgirlupnorth Sun 05-May-13 15:23:00

My parents have spoken to a financial advisor told they can give me and my sister 3000 a year without it being subject to inheritance tax so they are doing this which is a great help. Is it something similar your PIL want to do. Surely this will benefit your family in a positive way but understand if your husband doesn't want to discuss their possible death.

mumandboys123 Sun 05-May-13 15:25:00

It is difficult to have these conversations, you don't want to look 'money grabbing' or feel that you are going to profit in any way from the death of someone you care about, love and respect. However, there is an awful lot of logic in understanding what their wishes might be for their funerals, where the will can be found, where capital, jewellery, antiques, deeds to property can be found, etc. etc. etc.

My dad died 4 years ago. He didn't leave anywhere near the amount you are talking about but it was nonetheless a very substantial sum of money that neither myself nor my mum realised he had. He didn't make a will. He died very quickly after being diagnosed so hadn't had the opportunity to discuss with my mum the finer details of what he wanted, what there was, where it was located. I cannot begin to tell you the mess he left: money in 19 bank accounts which we had to locate the paperwork for, additional money in life insurance policies and pensions we had to locate, a grieving widow who was additional upset because she had no idea what he wanted his funeral to look like....a lot of unnecessary distress and stress that could have been avoided with a couple of hours worth of thinking about it all and passing on that information once decided.

I now know where my mum's will is, where I can find the details of all her finances, what she wants she dies. I am aware of the contents of her will and I am aware of a few things that aren't in the will but which she would like me to do in her name for charity when she dies. I know what hymns she wants playing at her funeral. I know where her address book is with details for family members who I rarely see. I know where to find the code to her little safe where she keeps a few precious things and additional important documents. Believe me, it is better to know than to have to guess when the time comes. Because the time will come and it is distressing enough without all the added hassle of not knowing this stuff.

It is tough to have these conversations but I am quite sure that your husband will, ultimately, be glad that he did.

TheRabbitCatcher Sun 05-May-13 15:27:16

Thanks everyone. A bit of a frustration for me is that DH does know about the tax implications etc (he handled probate cases as a trainee solicitor). I really do think that it had not really occurred to him that there is a link between his parents dying and a large amount of money (and 'things') to be dealt with, and it has shaken him a little. He has a brother who is apparantly even less willing to be engaged than we are, which I suppose is doubly hurtful for my in-laws.

Squitten Sun 05-May-13 15:31:38

Well then OP, it falls to you to give him a good (metaphorical) shake and tell him to act like an adult.

Your poor ILs are trying to do the best by their family and be responsible with their estate to the benefit of all of you. Their delightful sons are both refusing to have anything to do with it. I'm assuming they won't be so reluctant when the funds are arriving in their bank accounts though, eh?

Very poor behaviour. Time to get over yourselves and get on with it.

TheRealFellatio Sun 05-May-13 15:37:11

How about you write them a nice letter? Explain that as they are clearly very wealthy you feel dreadfully uncomfortable about being directly involved in any plans for money that you may one day probably profit from to some degree, and you worry that anything you say may not seem completely impartial, and that people may doubt your motives.

Also that your DH struggles to acknowledge that there will come a time when they are no longer with him and it upsets him to talk about it. Suggest that they go to a professional advisor and that any lack of enthusiasm/involvement on your part is not because you don't care but that you find it difficult to discuss because of the sheer amount of money involved. I'm sure if you word in genuinely and kindly they will understand and see your point.

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 05-May-13 15:42:09

OP - our DC are 18 and 15. We have already started IHT planning which by the way is avoiding tax a perfectly legal rather than evasion which most certainly is very wrong. The DC know assets are being transferred into trust for them and they will have limited access at 25 and full access at 30. The money we have is btw net of income and CGT - we have already paid vast amounts of tax and I see no reason why we should pay more upon our deaths due to poor money management. I think you all need to talk to your ILs.

lljkk Sun 05-May-13 15:42:26

Will you really not mind if they leave it all to the cat's home?

Or if they leave 75% to your BIL and 25% to the cat's home and none to your DH or your kids?

Of course, they may tell you they're leaving 50-50 to their 2 sons and then when they die you'll find 100% really went to the cat's home. BUT, at least you have a chance of being prepared if you let them talk to you now. Otherwise, it gives them peace of mind that they have their affairs in order.

lola88 Sun 05-May-13 15:44:28

I work in life insurance and you would not believe the amount of fights upsets and confusion Inheritance brings. IMO anyone who doesn't plan for this is irresponsible and it's up to your husband to deal with the finances when his parents do pass away so he should know what they want and since it will become his money he should start to think what he wants to do with it.

They are obviously worried about what will happen with there hard earned cash and refusing to help them is not going to help.

Maggie111 Sun 05-May-13 15:48:30

I think it would help you to realise that once you get to a certain age - leaving something for the next generation becomes really important. I have 3 parent "units" (my parents divorced and my in laws) and all of them make it clear that they want us well provided for when the time comes.

I am happy to help them make the most of their money and I am damn sure I want it more I want to give it to the government. But I repeatedly make clear that what I want most of all is for them to have a jolly good time with the money they have earned and it'd be my deepest wish if they spent it all and I didn't get a penny.

But that's not what they want, and I can understand that they are considering their "legacy".

I agree that they really need to speak to someone more qualified - let them know you're happy to do whatever is needed, but that discussing it isn't what you want to do because it is whatever they decide is for the best that you will go along with it. And refer them back to professional advice.

NaturalBaby Sun 05-May-13 15:56:39

YABU. My IL's have a very carefully worked out inheritance plan which involves DH and my family. I haven't had too much to do with it and as much as DH is very reluctant to talk about the future (i.e his parents dying) he is supporting his parents plans for their hard earned money and assets.
My IL's have worked their socks off for their children's benefit and would be pretty heartbroken if DH turned his back on them and let it all go to the tax man.

TheRabbitCatcher Sun 05-May-13 15:57:00

TBH, I would probably mind quite a bit if they left it to the cat's home (although MIL's suggestion was a donkey sanctuary). On the other hand, I really don't think either DH or his brother would mind in the slightest, if that is what they had chosen to do. They are more than capable of making those sorts of financial descisions and will prbably do a better job without everyone else expressing a (half-hearted, or half thought through opintion). I think that, for PILs and the children/grandchildren, the 'stuff' may be more of an issue, as they both have furniture, art etc which has 'meaning' to them and which they would like to stay in the family and which would be of interest to the taxman.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 05-May-13 15:59:46

YABU. You can discuss the most tax efficient way to achieve their wishes without influencing those wishes.

poozlepants Sun 05-May-13 16:05:44

They just want to talk about it. A lot of it maybe about recognition of their lifetimes efforts in making this money that they want to pass on to their family to make their lives better. By not wanting to engage your dh is sending a message saying he doesn't care about what they've done- which isn't true.

alpinemeadow Sun 05-May-13 16:20:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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