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Business

July 28, 2013

Using grandfather's wealth to help others

My grandfather died about a month ago, and I recently learned that in his will he distributed his money unevenly between his children and grandchildren. I received significantly more than other members of the family, but I make $140,000 a year. I’d like to give them some of my inheritance to even things out. How would you approach this?

You’re obviously unselfish and have a really good heart. But honestly, it was your grandfather’s decision and his money to do with as he pleased. It wouldn’t be wrong or greedy to simply keep what you have without worrying about it a second longer.

If some of your relatives are having financial troubles, and you feel that making a gift of a portion of your inheritance will help, you can do that. With your income, it’s probably not going to change your life in a big way. My advice would be to look at your relatives and their situations objectively and see if something like this would really be a blessing. Then, if your heart and your head still tell you it’s a good thing, do it.

Considering the condition of the economy, how secure should I feel about the solvency of my pension?

In many ways, this would depend on your particular pension. Some pension funds are very well-run, very solvent and are in great shape. Others are poorly managed and not the type of programs in which you’d want to invest any of your money.

The biggest problem with a pension is that it’s the property of the organization. If it’s a union pension, it’s not yours — it’s theirs. All they do is pay you out of the fund. So if they go broke, you lose everything you had in there. If it’s a business that has the pension, that makes them the owner — not you.

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