I was chatting with a couple coworkers this afternoon and the subject of inheritances came up (they have no idea about my father, btw).
- Me: "Personally, if I had kids, I wouldn't leave them anything. I would teach them skills and provide them with the tools to create their own wealth. After that, they should be doing fine on their own. Also, I believe the whole idea of leaving money for children, family members, etc. creates a sense of entitlement amongst supposed heirs. And don't get me started on the possible ulterior motives."
:::Both coworkers give me a look like I just told them Jesus works the pole at Platinum Stages on Saturday nights:::
- Coworker #1: "What about assets? You wouldn't pass along that?"
- Me: "Nope. Actually, I take that back. Depends on the assets. If they are heirlooms, family pictures, things that can't be replaced and hold memories, those would be passed down. Everything else I'd give to charity."
- Coworker #2: "That goes against my christian beliefs. You have to leave something."
- Me: "I don't subscribe to such beliefs."
After that exchange, it took them a long time to even look me in the eye. I had no idea the topic would create such a reaction. Especially since some of the most wealthy among us (Warren Buffet anyone?) believe something similar. I'd rather give loved ones money, help, "provide for them" while I am alive and can see the good it's doing. If I'm an ass for that, so be it. One thing I should clarify: If I had dependents, then yes, I would make arrangements for them to be taken care of. However if we're talking about grown, healthy people, then no.
I appreciate that my perspective on this is a little different. My parents are not rolling in dough. There will be no passing of assets when the time comes. And I couldn't care less. Now, would I turn it down if it where given to me? Probably not. However the point is that it's not my money/assets to make a decision about. They can do with it whatever they hell they want. If my mom said upon her demise to sell everything and give the money to an orphanage in Kenya I'd not only be happy to make sure it happens, I'd be proud of her.
See, it's like this: No amount of money, land, or trinkets could make the death of my father easier. The people I love are not commodities. The things I love about them, like their sense of humor, character, memories shared, have value far greater than anything that could be left behind in a will. The idea that I MUST leave something behind or that someone must leave me something offends me. Then again, I'm the one that doesn't want to give or receive Christmas gifts for pretty much the same reasons. Guess I'm the exception.