One of my kids is quite well off, so I won’t leave him anything

David Sedaris’s story

Award-winning author David Sedaris grew up as one of six children. In a recent essay in the New Yorker, he tells about flying home to see his dying father. David writes: “All he’s ever cared about is money, so it had hurt me to learn, a few years earlier, that he’d cut me out of his will. Had he talked it over with me, had he said, for example, that I seemed comfortable enough, it might have been different. But I heard about it secondhand. He’d wanted me to find out after he died. It would be like a scene in a movie, the wealthy man’s children crowded into the lawyer’s office: ‘And to my son David, I leave nothing.’”

Lawyer’s comment: Among other things, a parent’s will is the last statement a parent makes to a child. While it may seem ‘fair’ to leave nothing to the child who has had greater worldly success than his siblings, it can feel like a slap in the face to the child cut out of the will. David wishes his father had at least explained his rationale to him, and it was hurtful to hear about being disinherited from someone else. Managing expectations is important.  Do not assume that the one disinherited “will be fine with it.”

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