Really Personal Finance: How to Avoid a Battle of the Wills

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Dear Pam,

Q. My dad wants to give me 80% of his business. I have 2 brothers— they’re angry and say it isn’t fair. What can I do to keep peace?

— Shelly, Rockford, IL

A. When it comes to deciding who gets what within families, what seems fair to one sibling will be insulting to another. That’s because dividing money or valuables equally is not always fair. There’s nothing nastier than a big family feud over a loved one’s wishes for a business, a home, a baseball collection or even precious photos. Your father sounds like he doesn’t want his children to fight after he’s sold his business or passed away. This is a wise man. He’s spelling out his wishes very clearly while he’s alive and in sound mind. He is actually setting you all up for success. Your father has his own reasons for splitting up his business this way. Perhaps you contributed or worked to help grow or maintain the family business just that much more than your siblings. Whatever his reasons, these are your dad’s wishes and getting this all out on the table and allowing your father to control his own legacy now removes the guesswork and may go a long way toward reducing any future resentment toward you. As hard as it might be, a parent can help prevent a family feud by clearly communicating decisions sooner because the kids might not work it out amongst themselves later.

Watch now: MoneyTrack Ep 203: Family and Money 

1 Comment

  1. Jamie says:

    So true. I’ve seen families break up for much less.

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