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Monday, August 22, 2016

Age gracefully and free of parasitic progeny: Ethically Speaking

The title of this article grabbed my attention right away, since it deals with exactly the same things I have dealt with over the last 30 years: the potential for estate disputes and drama over Mom and Dad's estate.

The article was recently published by and is an opinion piece by Ken Gallinger, who writes about various matters from an ethical perspective.

Mr. Gallinger writes in this article about adult children who are, simply put, greedy. They are already angling for a larger share of their parents' estate while the parents are alive. Click here to read the article, which I believe you will find to be blunt and to the point.

One piece of advice given by Mr. Gallinger in this article is for aging parents to sell their home and use the proceeds to pay for accommodation in a seniors' facility. For some people, living in a care facility is necessary because of medical or other needs, and for a lot of us, selling the house is the only way care can be funded. However, I like the idea of selling the house even where living in other accommodation is a choice, not a necessity.

For one thing, selling the house would avoid that ridiculous, painful, idiotic practice of parents leaving one house to several children. As if there were any possible positive outcome to that plan. Parents simply have to admit that even when their children are not the "appalling" type mentioned in the article, leaving one house to several adults who all have their own families, jobs, and lives is just not going to work. Sell it. Split whatever money is left over after you've met your own needs. Nice and clean.

The other benefit to selling the house and downsizing is that the parents will be able to distribute much of the household furnishings and personal items. These personal items are the subject of thousands of estate disputes, whether the problem is dollar value or sentimental value. Why not head off those fights by giving away items while you are alive?

A lot of children are greedy; there is no doubt about that. But even in families where that's not an issue, parents should do what they can to avoid estate disputes that will pit the children against each other.


  1. "But in fact, it belongs to a special bucket of epistolary bilge that slops too regularly in my direction" [Ken Gallinger]

    That is a great quote,especially from someone who is no longer a man of the cloth, but a man of the paper.(Toronto Star)


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