Family-Inheritance Feuds

Not all the financial news is bad. Our generation stands to inherit serious bucks. The problem: We’ll have to share. How to handle the drama.

By Kate Ashford
Photograph: Photo by: iStockphoto

The Experts Weigh In

"Many parents who have that kind of wealth don’t want to leave it all to their kids," Altman says. "They want their children to learn about giving back." Nonetheless, he says, Lisa’s father couldn’t force her to work with the foundation; she could have resigned and let her siblings do it. If they were equally unwilling, the group could have hired someone to take charge. In the end, they all chose to stick with the job. And now that things have settled down, Lisa says, her attitude is changing: "I see it as more of a privilege to be able to give away the money." Indeed, as Linda Rhodes, author of Caregiving as Your Parents Age , puts it, "Inheritance is a gift, not a right."

Some names and identifying details in the story have been changed to protect the subjects’ privacy.

Originally published in MORE magazine, September 2008.

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