By JLP | November 17, 2007
- One child has a very expensive, long-term hobby/talent which requires expensive training, travel, equipment.
- One child has a disability or other problem that requires expensive therapy, schooling.
- One child gets into legal trouble or develops substance abuse problems that require expensive attorney fees, rehab, and other financial obligations.
- One child moves home after college and/or requires years of financial subsidies from the parents in order to make ends meet.
- One child gets no scholarships or grants for college.
- The parents need assistance later in life, and one sibling cannot (or will not) afford to contribute financially.
In each situation we can assume there is at least one other child who is financially independent or who does not share the additional financial obligations that his/her sibling presents. What’s a parent to do to make sure all siblings ultimately receive equitable amounts of financial resources, in addition to time and attention?
Ideally each child would be born with a trust fund that can be used for any special needs/wants growing up (including education). Whatever funds the child does not take out can grow and compound and pass on to the child at age 30. That way the children with special needs get the assistance they deserve, while the more independent and/or less needy ones are rewarded as well.
Of course that’s not possible for most families. Many parents don’t develop a significant net worth until their children are much older (if ever). One option for them is to leave more of their estate to the child(ren) who required less financial assistance, especially if one financially-able sibling cares for the parents in their old age.
How does your family deal with the inevitable inequalities that arise where money is concerned? Most PF blog readers are probably the responsible, capable ones who secretly might resent your under-acheiving, financially-subsidized siblings. Does that cause unrest? Do your parents attempt to address it (while alive or upon their deaths), or do they simply ignore any such instances?
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