I gave my parents a vintage car. They secretly agreed with my brother to remove all upgrade fees from my inheritance. Is it right?


Dear Quentin,

As a big gesture of appreciation, I bought my parents – my mom and stepfather – a classic car.

I’ve wanted to do this for a while, but last Christmas was a good opportunity after making the investments well last year and not having the typical group gift with the siblings. I made a conditional donation, in the sense that I asked for it to be bequeathed to me upon their death.

I made sure to buy a classic in good condition instead of a broken model that they would be required to fully restore. After a few months, I discovered that a discussion had taken place, without me, between a brother and my stepfather. They decided that any investment in the car by my parents should be compensated by me at the time of inheritance.

I spent more on a prettier model that wouldn’t need a lot of work. Therefore, I invested a lot more. My parents have already put money into it with an engine overhaul and high end paint jobs. My problem is the discussion that took place, unbeknownst to me, that I would end up “paying back” their investment.

My parents are notorious for not having a lot of savings, and they spend their money from paychecks to paychecks, so the overall inheritance will be minimal. Do you consider that to be fair?

Frustrated Gift

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Dear gift,

If someone gave me a gift on condition that I leave it after my death, I would have three thoughts, in this order: 1. They must be really looking forward to using this gift after I honk one last honk. times . 2. It’s good that they gave me such an extravagant gift. And 3. I’d better make sure it’s returned in good condition. I don’t want them to take my name in vain after I leave.

I do not believe that a gift that must be returned on the death of the donee is a “grand” gesture, mainly because you would like to get it back. It’s a good idea that you want your parents to enjoy a classic car, assuming it’s something they wanted, and it’s also a good idea to plan ahead for when you’ll be sitting in the seat. from the driver of this sparkling vintage vehicle.

You could have tried your luck, of course, and hoped they would have thought of letting you have the car. If it becomes part of their estate, you would otherwise have to buy your siblings’ share of the car, unless they generously decide to give it to you. Given your parents’ limited means, it’s no surprise that a family suggests removing the costs of upgrading your inheritance.

This situation is less pleasant “Geneviève” -esque comedy of manners. Is it a gift in the strict sense, or did you basically rent this car to them on condition that they take good care of it like a jewel in the crown?

I agree that they should have consulted you first. It is never pleasant to be presented with a done. But try not to look in the rearview mirror and ruminate on minor etiquette lapses.

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