Writing a will is a tough thing to do. It forces us to face our mortality and make uncomfortable decisions that will affect our families.
So, maybe asking strangers on the internet for advice might not be the best choice.
Redditor bettersafethansorry1 encountered this very issue with his family. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“WIBTA if I gave my son power of attorney and made him executor of my estate over my wife?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“So I (55 M) recently had a very serious health scare which left me very concerned about how my family would be taken care in the event I passed early.”
“Although I am the sole breadwinner, I have been very successful in business and have a net worth in the millions of dollars, if this money was managed well then my wife would be taken care of for life and my children would be taken care of until adulthood (post college).”
“I have a wonderful wife (46 F) and four kids (22 M) (15 F) (12 F) and (8 M). I love my wife, she has been a wonderful partner to raise a family with and there is no one I would rather spend time with.”
“But she does have one weakness, she loves to spend money!”
“I’m not talking about a quick trip to the store but spending thousands of dollars and getting a new wardrobe every season. She has also attempted to make rash purchases on cars and homes but luckily I have been there to talk her down when I know this could seriously hurt our savings.”
“She has also been targeted by MLM’s, I have been around to spot these scams but when she brings them to me, she seriously believes these are good investment opportunities.”
OP wants someone responsible to look after his estate.
“These behaviors has made me greatly concerned that my wife would not be able to adequately manage our money should I pass.”
“My eldest son on the other hand is very much like me (stingy in a good way). He recently graduated college and I am very proud of him. I am seriously considering making him executor of my estate and giving him a durable power of attorney.”
“I know that he is very responsible and he feels duty bound to take care of his mother and younger siblings to distribute their inheritance in a responsible and equitable way.”
“I would advise that in the event that I pass, he ensures that his mother has enough money to run the household and to indulge in some luxuries but not enough access to money to bankrupt us and to hurt our kids financial futures.”
“My wife is currently responsible as my health care proxy, power of attorney and executor of my estate.”
“In the event that I change this my wife would remain my health care proxy but my eldest would take the titles of power of attorney and executor of my estate.”
“Would I be the asshole to do this, or is it the best path forward and a good step to ensure my family’s financial safety should I pass.”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“But why are you dumping all this work on them? Get a will, get a lawyer. And tell everyone NOW what you are planning. Because if you don’t then you are necessarily setting your family up for conflict, and then YWBTA.” ~ Lumpy_Mix_2605
“I assume he already has a will, and is revising it. The will designates an executor. While you can have a lawyer do this, it would be very expensive and that money would come from the estate, cutting everyone’s inheritance.”
“For the power of attorney and executor, you need someone financially responsible and with great self-control about money, and also thoughtful and selfless enough to do the work with all your money to ensure not their benefit, but the benefit of all your heirs and beneficiaries.”
“Someone with a tendency to make large impulse purchases is a poor choice for your financial power of attorney, as you need the POA to ensure the money is used to meet your needs when you can’t keep an eye on things.”
“Again, you can hire a professional, but it is expensive, and needlessly eats up resources you would need in a serious medical crisis.” ~ Jazzlike_Humor3340
“I’m definitely latching onto the comment about how he thinks his son would distribute the money correctly. OP should be deciding NOW who gets what portion so as not to cause more stress on his family. Because of this comment it sounds like he does not have a will.” ~ Lumpy_Mix_2605
“He said his wife is currently his executor. That would be a designation made in a will.”
“Plus, if he’s also done a medical proxy, power of attorney, etc. he’s clearly made the effort to address end-of-life legal concerns, which would certainly include a will.”
“So I was assuming, from the level of planning indicated, that there is a will, as implied by the overall legal context.” ~ Jazzlike_Humor3340
OP provided some context.
“I have a will but I have seen complicated, long and intense legal battles over will’s in the past no matter how strong they seem to be. I just want to take every possible step to ensure that someone I trust financially would be there to oversee the terms and my wishes.” ~ bettersafethansorry1
“No, you haven’t actually. You don’t even know how to set up these things. If you are so obsessed with posting this each day, why don’t you actually go set these things up with a lawyer so you have some semblance of an idea what you’re talking about?” ~ Afraid_of_Okapi
“Look pal, I have a job, I work full-time hours sometimes more.”
“The only reason I’m home is I had a doctors appointment. I don’t have the time to post this question ‘multiple times a day’ and I would be seeing a mental health professional if I was that obsessive over getting and opinion from people on the internet.”
“Believe it or not there are a lot of people who have issues distributing their inheritance and who don’t fully understand it. Im not an attorney. No need to be so confrontational.” ~ bettersafethansorry1
“I am looking for a moral judgement that is the purpose of AITA not legal advice. I am looking is morally this the right thing to do. I won’t get an answer to my moral quandaries on any other sub. This is the sub to do that.” ~ bettersafethansorry1
Others were actually helpful.
“Then you don’t need a will, you need a trust. If you’re as successful as you say, a trust should be a non question. Cost 3-5k to get set up and will specify how the assets will he distributed over time. Get a lawyer.” ~ legal_bagel
“A trust does not replace an executor and a will.”
“An executor has one and only one function. To oversee that a will is carried out after someone dies. An executor (and one or more backups) is created by and named in the will. No will, no executor. A will does one and only one thing, defining how you want your finances settled after you die.”
“If you die without a will, the state will appoint an executor, and your will is defined by your state’s Estate Law. Which is very specific as to who gets what, and is basically the default will for everyone in the state unless they make their own.”
“First, the executor makes sure debts and bills are paid. Then that everyone affected by the will is contacted. (If you have no will and rely on the estate law, this is a huge list, including a lot of collateral relatives.) Then they divide things up as instructed by the will.”
“Choosing someone else as an executor is the least intrusive way to ensure that the wife’s tendency to spend doesn’t mess up the will. The executor gives the wife her proper share, and then it is all hers. But she can’t spend down the bulk of the estate before it is divided. A trust is far more controlling, keeping her from having access to her money independently.”
“A will is 100% necessary for everyone who isn’t 100% in agreement with their state’s estate law will. A will does one and only one thing, settling your finances after you die. It can be simple (Leave everything to my wife, if she predeceases me, leave everything to the local library) or very complex.”
“Being an executor can be simple or complex, depending on the state of a person’s finances when they die. If you have a lot of complex debts and investments, it will be trickier than if you just have a checking and savings account. So the choice of executor also depends on the complexity of your financial situation, and who knows finance well enough to carry it out.” ~ Jazzlike_Humor3340
The best decision is to talk to a trusted advisor and focus on what’s best for OP’s family.