Dave Says: Teaching and Tough Love

by | Apr. 10, 2012


Dear Dave,

My husband and I need to update our will, but we’re not sure how to divide the money. All of our children are grown, including my three stepsons. The problem is that two of my stepsons are irresponsible with money and are drug users. Do you have any advice?


Dear Colleen,

Typically, if you give money to a drug user they’ll use it for one thing: drugs. Your goal as a parent is to love them and teach them to the best of your ability. Buying their drugs upon your death doesn’t fall into either of those categories. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you deciding not to leave them any money as long as they’re involved in this kind of activity.

If it were me, I’d have a reading of the will when the changes are made. Then, I’d sit down with the family members and explain why you’ve updated the will in this manner. Let them know you love them and want what’s best for them, but you and your husband have decided you’re not going to take a chance on funding any misbehavior on their part.

Make sure you let them know, too, that things can change if they change. They might be mad and fuss about it, but that’s okay. Let them be mad. It’s perfectly all right for you to attach stipulations to any inheritance they might receive, especially when it’s for their own good!


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