- Personal Finance»
- Income & Making Money
How to Steal Your Family Inheritance
Today I received an email asking if I "Want to legally hijack some major cash today?" Sounds intriguing, but as luck would have it, I just this week discovered an ingenious method of hijacking cash (as well as other assets). Ok, so it's not 100% legal. And it takes a little more than a day. But it's most definitely a hijack.
The idea is brilliant in its simplicity: Steal your own inheritance.
I'd like to take credit for it, I really would. Alas, my brain is not wired for financial intrigue. I don't have a criminal mind.
The beauty of this idea is that even the most diabolically challenged (like me) can pull it off.
Step One: The Trust
You will need the following: Two elderly parents, a lawyer, an unsuspecting sibling, and some patience.
First, set up your FAMILY TRUST. There are two components to the trust: financial and medical. Obviously, your interest is in the financial. So as you are sitting with the family and the attorney, "graciously" allow your unsuspecting sibling (US) to be named as the person in charge of medical decisions for your parents. Since parents always want to be fair, they will naturally assign you to the lead financial role. Everyone will be happy. Especially you.
Now in this initial Trust document, there is a first position and a second position. Make sure you get the first financial position. Your US will be put in second position on the financial and you will be put in second position on the medical. This is all fair and square and makes the whole thing appear legit. Mom and Dad's future needs are now legally in the capable hands of their two devoted children. There are two decision makers for medical, two for financial. Lovely.
Step 2: The Setup
The Trust may sit gathering dust for some time. That's to be expected. The provisions of the Trust do not come into play until one of the parents becomes ill or dies. This may take some patience on your part. But trust me, it will be well worth the wait.
Now let's say the "triggering event" is that one parent becomes very sick. For the sake of argument, we will say it's the father. Suddenly the Trust document comes down off the shelf. Time to double check who is really authorized to make decisions for Dad's healthcare. Chances are very good that by this time, Mom is pretty distraught and probably not in the best mental shape to be authorizing "chemical code" or "DNR" decisions with Dad's doctors.
This is where having your unsuspecting sibling (US) as the primary healthcare decision-maker on the Trust comes into play. He will be so focused on doing the right thing medically, that he will not be paying any attention whatsoever to the financial side of things. After all, Mom and Dad still have healthcare benefits to pay for Dad's expenses. They still have income coming in. There's really nothing happening at this point that affects the financial aspect of the Family Trust.
At least, that's what US thinks...
Step 3: The Old Switcheroo
While Mom and US are dealing with Dad, you'll be busy in your own way. You'll have several clandestine meetings with your attorney. He or she will give you the high sign when it's time to make your move.
Since it's your own family we're talking about, you will know when the perfect moment arrives. It is imperative to wait until both US and Mom are totally distracted with caring for Dad. Hopefully by this time Dad will be really, really ill. It helps if he needs hospice care, as implementing hospice requires Power of Attorney.
Now assuming your US is like most, he is dead serious about his care-taking duties. He knows hospice is needed. When your lawyer suggests that he (US, not the lawyer) should obtain Power of Attorney, he (US, not the laywer) readily agrees.
However, to make this happen, Mom, who is still listed in the Family Trust, and is not sick or dead yet, needs to be disenfranchised from any and all decision-making power.
How do you accomplish this, you ask? The answer is simple. You get Mom declared mentally incompetent!
Step 4: Movin' On Up
If you play this step right you will actually be able to get your US to cooperate as your unwitting accomplice. Have your lawyer tell US that it's a "mere formality" to get Mom declared mentally incompetent. Convince him this formality is necessary for him to get Dad enrolled in hospice.
Your ojbective here is to get US to be the one to obtain the doctor's signature on a form declaring Mom mentally incompetent. Trust me. He will not suspect a thing. He'll do anything/everything he can in the interest of supporting Dad and Mom through this incredibly difficult time.
As soon as you get that signed piece of paper, grab it and run -- don't walk -- to the lawyer's office. You've now got what you need to rewrite the trust in your favor! See how easy that was?
Step 5: Grab those Assets
With Dad now on his deathbed, both Mom and US are 100% distracted. They will have no idea what you're masterminding over at the old attorney's office. It will be months before they find out -- and by then it will be too late. Hehe.
So here's how this works:. Now that Dad is out of the picture (figurately for now, literally in a matter of weeks or days), that leaves only Mom to contend with. Oh wait! Remember, we got Mom declared mentally incompetent. So that means that the original trust document is no longer valid. Mom is officially legally incapable of making financial decisions for herself. Luckily, she has you, her faithful Trust executor, to make them for her!
Oh my! And what a conscientious little trust administrator you are! You are so on top of things and so diligent about managing the Family Trust that you don't waste a second. No sirree. The minute you get get that "mental incompetence" declaration signed, you get the lawyer to rewrite any/all sections of the Trust document that don't suit your needs, and off you go!
Money for Nothing
Step 6: Laugh all the Way to the Bank
De facto, you are now the only person with any legal claim to the Trust. With the mere stroke of a pen, you've obliterated both Mom and US from the document. Instead of the Family Trust, you could just as well title the revised document The Bank of Me.
Now, at some point after Dad kicks, US will probably regain his mental equilibrium. This is not to be confused with Mom -- her mental competency is gone, baby gone. It's signed, sealed and delivered on that scrap of paper her doctor signed. But US will eventually start poking his nose around the finances. You see, being a true caretaker at heart, he's still got a vested interest in making sure Mom's taken care of, now that she's a widow. And that means both physically/emotionally and financially.
No worries, however. US can't touch you or Mom's money. He's been summarily written out of the Trust document. That lawyer the whole family worked with to write the original document? Sorry, brother. That lawyer now represents you and only you. Not Mom and not US. YOU are the Trust. They are -- well, they are toast.
Be a "trust buster" -- that's a GOOD thing!
Step 7: What's Mine is Mine, What's Yours is Mine
Congratulations! You're now in sole control of all the assets in the Trust. You and only you have full access to all of your parents' bank accounts, investment accounts, deeds of trust, credit cards, etc.
Basically, you get the whole enchilada, and brother gets... nada.
You may (or may not) choose to leave a little something in the till for Mom. After all, she did raise you. And it is ... oops, I mean WAS... her money. But she'll never write another check as long as she lives.
Step 8: Relax, Retire Early
Still not convinced? Go ahead. Be my guest. You can sit around and wait, and wait, and wait for your inheritance the old fashioned way. But who knows how long your parents might live? And how much of "your" inheritance will even be left by the time they check out?
No, my friends. In these uncertain economic times, we need to think outside the safe deposit box. Mark my words: Hijacking is the estate planning wave of the future.
After all, it's your inheritance. And besides, you know Mom and Dad always liked you best:-).