1

My only sibling (sister), both parents and I all live in Maryland.

According to my parents' will, after their death, each sibling will inherit half of the total net assets.

My concern is that my irresponsible sister will have my parents pay for large amounts of her expenses during their life (such as mortgage, college tuition, etc, etc). If my parents decide to do that, I don't want it to reduce my inheritance. I want it to come out of my sisters' share.

I would like a contract (or a change to their will) such that:

  1. Any large payments made by my parents to or for my sister during their lives (except customary gifts less than $250) should be deducted from my sisters' 50% "share" of the inheritance at the time of my last surviving parents death. Thus guaranteeing my "share" of the inheritance remain the same
  2. My parents cannot make changes to the above arrangement without my signature

  3. Any time my parents make large payments to or for my sister during their lives, they have to notify me promptly

  4. I should be able to inspect their financial accounts in the extraordinary situation that I suspect they are secretly paying my sister during their lives.

I have three questions about this:

  • Would such an arrangement be legal?
  • Would such an arrangement be enforceable?
  • Would an ethical lawyer draft such an agreement?
6

That all seems perfectly legal, enforceable and, providing everyone had been given legal advice and agreed to it, would not breach a lawyer’s code of ethics.

Of course, my response to a child of mine who proposed it would be to rewrite my will to give them nothing - it’s my money and I’ll do what I like with it.

  • How would that be enforceable as against a later contrary choice by the parents? – David Siegel Feb 13 at 20:12
  • @DavidSiegel if the parents signed a binding contract that they wouldn’t change their will then changing it would be a breach of that contract. – Dale M Feb 13 at 20:14
  • As the question does not suggest any consideration for such an agreement, it wouldn't be a binding contract. Also, wouldn't such an agreement, even with consideration, be void as against public policy? – David Siegel Feb 13 at 20:20
  • @DavidSiegel A lawyer would know about the requirement for consideration and the children could pay $1 or the document could be executed as a deed which needs no consideration. Where do you see the public policy issue in what is a private agreement? – Dale M Feb 14 at 1:27
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The parents are under no obligation to guarantee to one child fifty percent of their assets as of any particular date. If they wish to spend money on gifts to or support of one child, that is their right.

The parents could, if they choose, change their will to reduce the sister's share by amounts that they provide to her after the will is signed, but that would be a bit unusual, and they could change their wills back at any time.

They could sign an agreement such as the OP suggest, although why they would want to I cannot see. But unless the OP pays them to do so, or gives them something in return there would be no consideration, so this would not be a contract, just an expression of intent. As such, it would not be enforcable agaisnt the parents shoudl they change their minds at any future time.

The OP apparently wants to have his inheritance locked in as of now. That isn't how it works, unless the parents choose to set up a non-revocable trust, or some similar device, or simply give him the money now. The could do that, but again, why would they choose to? The surely don't have to do anything of the sort.

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