Dear Doug: Gift Equalizing
Q: This Christmas, I wanted to give my grandchildren some of our family heirlooms. I was planning to give jewelry to my three granddaughters and a watch to one of my two grandsons.
Unfortunately, I don't think my other grandson would appreciate that sort of present. From previous experience, I've learned that he wants cash, and I honestly believe that he might sell whatever I'd choose for him.
For me, the entire point of giving these items is that I want to share our family history and memories with the younger generation. But not all of my grandchildren have equal appreciation of those things.
I love all my grandchildren and don't want anyone to feel left out or snubbed.
How can I make my present choices fair for all of my grandchildren?
A: Wait to give these special presents on another occasion.
Gift giving isn't meant to engender family conflict or hurt feelings, but these outcomes can be hard to avoid. In this case, there's no way to ensure equal treatment.
Bequeathing your treasures at the same time makes comparison very likely. Instead, find another time. Graduation ceremonies, engagements, birthdays or other milestones are better.
Spacing these gifts out may yield other, unexpected benefits.
While many seniors' opinions tend to be set in stone over time, the younger generations are still growing and maturing.