Family Not Entitled to Inheritance

Most people think that kids are entitled by law to their parents' estate. However, there is no law in the U.S. that requires people to leave an inheritance for their children, grandchildren or other family members. This concept is called 'testamentary freedom' .

That means children receive an inheritance because parents choose to leave it to them. Inheritance lies not in the genes, but in the heart. So it seems it's all about the quality of relationship, not family ties.

Remember Leona Helmsley, the New York hotel magnate who left $12 million in her will for the care of her dog. People were outraged to learn she had left nothing to two of her four grandchildren, saying ‘the reasons are known to them’. Unless those grandchildren tell us what caused the bad blood between them and their grandmother, we may never learn why she disinherited them.

Helmsley was known as holy terror of a boss, but also as a philanthropist, who endowed many millions of dollars to charitable organizationsin New York. Could she have left something for all her grandchildren? Sure.Was she trying to make a point? Of course, and it's the point she's making that we don't like.

Her thinking wasn't complicated; it might have gone “My dog loves me, is good to me, I feel appreciated and loved. Two of my grandchildren don't treat me well . I don't want to reward them for that." 

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