Faith and Hope Vs the World
Whom can you trust? It varies from family to family, depending on the gross worth—of both, the family estate and the grossness of its members. The larger the pile, the greater the tensions at base camp. We can expect fights unto death, in the fights after death. The battles that start while the corpse is still warm; and internal relations are starting to freeze.
You be the judge.
A man is estranged from his wife. They have a son, in very poor health. The wife is incapable of handling her affairs. A divorce follows. The ex-husband, thoughtfully, ensures that the ex-wife and son are well looked after. His Will says that much clearly. A friend is made the co-executor along with the wife. If the son is the last survivor, he gets everything. If the wife survives, a trust would look after her. Finally, with no one left, a nephew would inherit the estate entirely. 
The man expires. So does the son. The co-executor recuses himself. The woman returns to her native place, unaware of the real impact of the Will, living off her meagre monthly pension; and prey on others. The only capable person is the nephew, the last in line, but without locus standi. Everyone throws up his hands, calling it a hopeless case. What now? 
Another family. A widow owns a home. She needs someone to take care of her in future. Her daughter offers her the necessary help; in exchange, she seeks immediate title to the home. The widow complies. A few months later, she gets an eviction notice. The house had been sold by her grandson who had got the title from his mother! What now?
In the first case, we took it upon ourselves to resolve the problem. Two years were spent in preparation. Our client, the nephew, was most cooperative and did not press for speed. We, then, marched to court, powder dry and well prepared. Despite some anticipated hiccups from unscrupulous persons, we got a favourable order on day one, in about 15 minutes. Probate grant followed; the nephew was made the executor. The widowed aunt is getting a good monthly emolument, soon to be increased, as forgotten assets come to light. Reports are being lodged with the court. Hassle-free existence for those concerned. End of story. Fairytale style.
The second case is a sadder. Tricked out of hearth and home, the old woman can get no legal help. She had acted with full knowledge and supposed wisdom, but with misplaced trust. Unfortunately, this happens much too often. What, then, could have been done?
Simply put, consulting a good lawyer should have been the first option. An irrevocable deed, tying in the care with subsequent title, may have solved the problem. This may have needed a third party to monitor the course of events, maybe a living trust with the mother as a trustee and another reliable person as co-trustee. Of course, it’s easy to pontificate from within the safe confines of a chair and with a computer; but, in reality, the only option is luck. A trustworthy person at your side is worth more than his or her weight in gold.
What this author prefers, but is anathema to many, is to retain only that which is absolutely essential and distribute the rest. Those who care will stick around. The others will evaporate as they would have anyway. One still retains some control over the fading years. The light may flicker but is not extinguished.
Inheritance tales are heartbreaking. People’s attitudes and morals are impossible to foresee. There is simply no guarantee. The trusted one can be susceptible to pressures from others; maybe from a spouse who cares not for the oldie, or from impatient children, itching to grab.
When no friend, no relative, nobody, can be pinpointed with accuracy and certainty, only the Good Lord is left to be trusted. Amen.
Ramesh Mehta
6 years ago
words of wisdom...
"What this author prefers, but is anathema to many, is to retain only that which is absolutely essential and distribute the rest. "
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