Enlightening comment from CMM yesterday. He has a habit of wanting to do too much for me - I mean, it's great that he cooks me dinner, but he shouldn't complain about me doing some of the dishes after. Yesterday he let slip the real reason why - in his mind, he figures someday I'm going to be stuck taking care of him when the cancer finally gets him, so he's doing everything he can now to make up for it. I hadn't thought of it that way - it makes a lot more sense of his behavior.
Son #2 is pretty good at tracking his spending - he's got the spread sheet set up, although it doesn't come naturally to him, his math mind doesn't really work this way, but he's got it done. The biggest problem really is that he still doesn't make that much - not when you add in car payments and student loans and our expensive So Cal rent. Once he has enough clinical experience under his belt he can get his license and become an LCSW - his income will go up a fair amount then. Meanwhile he still has to keep to a tight budget. We discussed the peace of mind that comes from having savings. He's pretty frugal, really, good at finding things he needs secondhand.
Meanwhile I'm still mulling over my own estate planning. I need to go see a professional and I'm sure they'll give me ideas I haven't thought of, but it's kind of a thorny problem. I have roughly equal amounts of retirement savings, and house equity. Therefore, if I bequeathed the house to one kid, they would get an unfairly larger proportion of the estate. (My goal is for all three to inherit the same amount). However, since two live with me right now, being forced to sell the house on the heels of my demise would be incredibly stressful, especially since none of them would inherit enough to buy themselves anything other than a small apartment type condo at best.
I know my oldest son, if he was in charge of the house, would always provide a home for his siblings. He could also rent out a bedroom or two and bring in enough to make pay the taxes and payments on the remaining mortgage amount.
Would you: Give the house to all three with the oldest having right of occupancy for say 5 or 10 years and then it be sold and split? Cash from retirement accounts split 3 ways.
Give the house to all three in equal shares and let them duke it out what to do with it? (Definitely the worst idea, given their personalities)
Give the house to all three with a year's grace period before it has to be sold?
Give the house to my oldest with the understanding that he will pay the costs, allow any sibling who needs to live there to do so, and split the equity three ways whenever he chooses to sell the house (which knowing him might be never?). Given the potential for roommate income, the costs of him maintaining the home would still be likely less than rent would be so I don't see the need to give him credit for that.
Give the house to my oldest and split the retirement accounts two ways between the remaining two? (Not an equal split of the assets so not my preference. It would however preserve the option of either of his siblings coming home to roost if they get in a tough spot - I KNOW I can count on my kind-hearted Aspie oldest to always make sure they had a home there. )
Buying more life insurance to even things out is expensive at my age. Hopefully I don't kick the bucket until my retirement accounts have grown more and my mortgage is paid off, but since anything could happen, I need to get this done. I just feel like I'm missing some obvious solution.