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The Moneyist: My daughter not speaks to me or my husband and mocks our household values. Are we slicing them out of their $ 2 million inheritance?

My husband and I have three grown children whom we love dearly and who wish them healthy, productive, ethical, and loving lives.

Like many siblings, although they grew up in the same household, they have their own individual lives with different beliefs and views. We don't always agree with them, but we still respect them as adults.

Even so, we let them know how we feel as parents and remind them of how they grew up. And yes, there has been some heated discussion over the years, but ultimately we know that our relationships are more important than politics or religious beliefs.

However, sometimes the fruit rolls very far away from the tree. We have a daughter who lives in another state and has refused to communicate with us for over two years and just doesn't want us to know about her life.

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"Are we vengeful or vicious if we consider dropping them, or just realistic and practical?"

She has criticized and ridiculed our family values ​​and even accused us of things that never happened. She did this on both social media and in person.

She told us that we are toxic parents and don't need the stress we create for them with our beliefs. OK. That's how she feels. We are very hurt by her words and accusations, and her siblings are perplexed too and think she can get over it.

We tried to contact them but we are being ignored. She made her point clear. She is married and has a good job – and I suppose a happy life without our "stress".

Sometimes I feel like she is no longer my daughter. At least she doesn't want to be. My husband and I have even considered removing her from our will, but we go back and forth, especially when we consider her as a young child.

But then we decide that she will always be our child anyway and should inherit her share, which in today's value will be about $ 2 million or more. In all honesty, I don't think she would care if we disinherited her.

Are we vengeful or malicious to drop them, or are we just realistic and practical? Should we give her the benefit of the doubt and unconditionally demonstrate our love and leave her in our will?

My children have no idea of ​​the value of their inheritance as we have always been frugal. Also, they have no idea that we are considering removing their siblings from our will.

We're in our early 60s and hopefully we'll be around for a few more decades, but you never know – and we'll have to update our wills anyway, regardless of whether we cut off our daughter or not.

The giving tree

You can email The Moneyist with financial and ethical issues related to the coronavirus to qfottrell@marketwatch.com and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Dear giving,

Treat your children equally, in life and in death. Relationship breakdown is seldom, if ever, the responsibility of one party. Whether it is a political, ideological, or personal conflict, someone always believes they are right.

If you delete them from your will, you will leave bitterness and hurt feelings behind. It suggests – or worse, affirms – that your love has a gift tax. If your daughter is in charge, $ 2 million would make a huge difference to her.

Some apples should roll far from the tree. Children should decide for themselves how they want to shape their lives. If you want your daughter to be happy and live on her terms, resist the urge to punish her.

This study, published in the European Journal of Aging, examined 55 cases of heirs, donors and professionals and tried to understand the motivations and mistakes people made in dividing their estates among their heirs.

The researchers identified four reasons for leaving people a legacy: altruism fueled by family solidarity (it feels good to be nice), justice to maintain family unity, selfishness and reciprocity (“I give you if you give me ").

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"If you want your daughter to be happy and live on her terms, resist the urge to punish her."

"Altruistic motivation is based on family values ​​(shared by heirs and donors) aimed at maintaining family identity, therefore inheritance of moral principles is valued without material inheritance," the authors write.

"Equality-oriented motivation lies in maintaining family ties – avoiding conflicts – and recognizing individual needs," they added. In other words, justice and family cohesion are not mutually exclusive.

If you wanted to control your daughter in life and she rebelled, you will likely use money to reinforce that message in your will. You have another choice: let go of malice and misunderstanding. Do it for her and for you.

You write, "There have been some heated discussions over the years, but ultimately we know that our relationships are more important than politics or religious beliefs." Sometimes the answer lies in the question.

It's easy to say when it's not my money. However, including them in your will is a statement – regardless of your personal differences and worldview differences – that you loved them unconditionally.

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