Grandma wants a ‘distrust fund’


Dear Grandparenting: My situation might interest you. My grandson, who I will call Bob, has a way with the ladies. Every time I see him he’s got himself a different girl.

Now Bob is nailed down. He totally owns up to getting a certain female in a family way. Her plan is to keep the child. Bob plans to “man up” and have a small wedding at the beach later this summer.

I happen to know that this young lady has an extensive sexual history. Don’t ask how I know, but believe me. Neither one is fit to get married.

My late husband made no secret of the fact he set aside identical amounts of money for each grandchild, to be given when they marry or turn 28, whichever comes first. Bob would be the first to collect his piece, about $115,000.

Our grandchildren do not know that I am allowed to spread out payments over five years, as I see fit. Bob would go ballistic, but I am sorely tempted. Where do you come down on this? Annie Johnson, Ocala, Florida

Dear Annie: Renowned investor Warren Buffett, for decades among the world’s half-dozen richest people, offered this advice about the right-sized inheritance — enough money so recipients feel they can do anything, but not so much that they can do nothing.

Most grandparents attach strings to an inheritance. Some establish trusts and let trustees decide how to disburse funds. Others want their money distributed in installments — say one-third at age 25, one-third at age 30 and the remainder at 35. Still others set up trusts that incentivize good behavior and withhold funds from grandchildren that act irresponsibly. A handful of states also impose an inheritance tax, each with its own set of rules.

Our golden rule in these matters is to treat each grandchild equally. Anything less, and you’re practically assured to set them arguing and infighting, quarrels passed down through generations. That said, we would inform each grandchild that all inheritances will be distributed in equal annual payments over five years, period. Get it done before Bob ties the knot, the sooner the better. That way, your grandson won’t think he’s being singled out. More importantly, five years makes a lot more sense than one lump sum payment. Money can do strange things to people.

Grand remark of the week

Fritz Blake from Sidney, Ohio grew “alarmed” when granddaughter Ava, age eight, announced she had “learned how to make babies.”

Fritz sat up in his armchair and said, “That’s interesting. Tell me more.”

Ava smiled. “It’s easy Granddaddy. First you drop the letter y. Then you add one i, one e and one s to spell babies.”

Fritz admits he was “somewhat relieved.”

Tom and Dee and Cousin Key

Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.

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