A Few Words on Inheritance…


I thought that I’d share a few quotes and thoughts on inheritance. I find myself in this boat at present. Despite having been named executor of my mother’s estate in her will and my many years of having administered estates and trusts as a tax lawyer, I declined in favor of my youngest brother, who was more than willing and able to serve. He’ll do a great job.

It’s a simple matter that doesn’t involve a whole lot of money and is where he lives. He has a lawyer there who can handle it. I would have had to appoint an agent for service of process since I live in a different state, which is a hassle and added expense that I didn’t care to take on. I wrote the Will, which is straight-forward.

Here are the quotes:

“What you leave at your death, let it be without controversy, else the lawyers will be your heirs.” Francis Osborne.

“When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.” Thomas Paine, Common Sense.

“The meek shall inherit the earth, but not the mineral rights.” J. Paul Getty, quoted in Robert Lenzner’s, The Great Getty.

“To inherit property is not to be born–it is to be still-born, rather.” Henry David Thoreau, Journal March 5-November 30, 1853.

“He who comes for the inheritance is often made to pay for the funeral.” Yiddish proverb.

“There is nothing earthly that lasts so well, on the whole, as money. A man’s learning dies with him; even his virtues fade out of remembrance; but the dividends on the stocks he bequeaths to his children live and keep his memory green.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Professor at the Breakfast Table (1860).

“When it comes to divide an estate, the politest men quarrel.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals (1863).

“Ubi testamentum ibi heres.” (Where there is a will, there are heirs.) Latin proverb.

“We pay for the mistakes of our ancestors, and it seems only fair that they should leave us the money to pay with.”  Don Marquis.

Say not you know another entirely till you have divided an inheritance with him. Johann Kaspar.

I will leave my children enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.  Warren Buffett.

You never really know someone until you share an inheritance with them. Mark Twain.

The absent shall not be made heir. Latin Proverb.

My nagging thought about all of this is that I’d gladly trade everything that I will receive for just one more day with each of my parents, to tell them once again how much I love them and what they meant to me. My parents gave me far more than I will inherit monetarily, and for those gifts I am forever grateful.

No one can ever take away the precious gifts of education, love and wisdom that Mom and Dad gave to me. God blessed me with exceptional parents. I know that I’m not, but I aspire to be at least half of the parent for Paul and Evan that each of my parents were to me. I’m working hard on that.

Thanks, Mom and Dad! I always will cherish the memories and the love and respect that I have with and for each of you. That’s my true inheritance, and it’s one that no Leviathan government can tax and no one can separate from me. Ever. That comforts me greatly.

About lpaulhoodjr

I am an inactive lawyer who practiced almost 20 years as a tax and estate planning lawyer. Today, I am the Director of Planned Giving for The University of Toledo Foundation. I am the co-author of four books, the sole author of another book and a frequent speaker and writer on estate planning, planned giving and business valuation.
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