With my grandfather's passing my own life is about to change. I debated whether I should discuss this on the blog, but since I am mostly anonymous, I figured, "Why not?" It would be hard to keep posting my finances without full disclosure.
What I am talking about is my grandfather's estate. While he wasn't a savvy investor, he was certainly a dedicated saver. Even after 18 months of private-pay nursing home care, there's a meaningful amount left in the bank. My brother and I are the only beneficiaries of the estate.
The process of probating a will is unfamiliar to me. Our mother was not left anything in the will. She and her father had not spoken in 20 years. While I've mentioned before that my own relationship with her has been strained, I don't plan to discuss why. I'm an open book when it comes to money, but I won't re-live my upbringing in a public forum and why things are the way they are. The only reason I bring this up at all is because Mom plans to contest the will.
Based on the research my brother and I have done, she has no grounds to contest it. The will was written many years ago and signed in front of three witnesses. My grandfather had a sound mind at the time. In fact, he left us supporting documents, letters and photos in a safe deposit box to back up the "why" about why he excluded our mother. That stuff was hard to see.
Still, a will contest only serves to delay the distribution of assets. Some of his accounts were set up with beneficiary information listed, and those accounts can be excluded from the probate process. But a significant part of his estate will go through the probate process. It could be quite some time before this is done and over.
You, the reader, will see my inheritance as it trickles down to my daily finances. I am about to pay off some debt, so the interest expense I have every month will go down. I will probably invest some of the money, and hope the income side of my balance sheet benefits as well. I promise to stay "smart frugal" by paying for quality and avoiding waste like the plague. I won't be giving up mystery shopping, but now I might be able to make smarter choices about which companies I work with and how much I'm willing to be compensated for my efforts. Finally, I've had some ideas about simplifying my real estate obligations, and now I will have some flexibility to pursue those ideas. Specifically, I want to seriously consider hiring a management company to take care of rent collection and day-to-day maintenance.