Ok. Story time. My inheritance drama comes from my motherís side. It also takes place in a different country, so I donít always have all of the details. Itís also still ongoing, so if there is interest I can keep posting as new developments happen.
Background: My maternal grandparents were well-off people in my country. My grandfather is a well known scholar in the country and my grandmother while a homemaker, herself came from a wealthy family. They had five children, all daughters. My mother is the second daughter and lives in Canada. The oldest daughter and the fourth daughter still lives in the same country in my grandparentís house, while the third daughter and the fifth (and youngest) daughter immigrated to England.
My grandfather died in 1997 and my grandmother then passed away a couple of years ago. Since then, oh boy, it has been non-stop inheritance drama. While my grandfather has a bunch of property and a bunch of farmland, and my grandmother has some jewelry, the bulk of their estate is the main house that the oldest daughter and the fourth daughter lives in. I would hazard to guess that the house represents about 90% of their estate. The house is three stories and the second and third stories are split into 2 units each (so 4 units). How it was intended to be split up is that the ground floor would go to the youngest daughter, and 4 units in the second and third floors would go to the other 4 daughters (i.e. each daughter gets 1 unit). While the house is old and is in pretty bad shape, the real value comes from the land, which is in a central place in the capital city. The land itself would be worth about $1.5M when converted to Canadian dollars.
My mom and the third daughter who lives in England donít really care for any of the inheritance. The third daughter is quite wealthy and so doesnít really care for the money. My mom, would like the money, but doesnít want to get involved in all of the inheritance drama as itís a pretty toxic environment and my mom isnít the confrontational type. Plus sheís not in very good health, and sheís not the same country as the property, so any kind of legal work would be more difficult.
The eldest daughter is a spendaholic and have been spoilt my grandparents. She worked as a judge and lost her job because of her all her debt (I can post many more stories about her in the Anti-Mustachian Relatives section). Sheís also not in very good health. She doesnít really care about getting the inheritance, as she cares more about just being able to live in the house and feed her spending habit. Since my grandmother died, she has started selling items in the household to fuel her spending addiction. She recently sold this grand cabinet that was in my grandmotherís room that my grandmother got from her mother. The first daughter sold it off for pennies on the dollar (literally for about 5% of its value), so that she can fuel her spending for a week or so. Iím sure sheís selling more stuff, but I donít get to hear since Iím in Canada.
So the real fight for the inheritance comes between the fourth daughter and the fifth daughter. As mentioned the fifth daughter lives in England, so doesnít get to see the house often. The fourth daughter has essentially taken over the ground floor which was supposed to go to the fifth daughter and has made significant structural changes. My grandfather didnít have a will that specified his wishes, so all daughters have 1/5 th right to the property.
The youngest daughter recently went back home and visited the house to see all of the changes made to her section (she didnít know about it beforehand; the changes were done to her section without her knowledge). The youngest daughter stated that she either wants the ground floor as she was promised, or if the fourth daughter wants to use the ground floor, the fourth daughter will have to buy out the youngest daughterís portion (quite fair in my opinion). The problem is the fourth daughter doesnít have the money to buy her out, but she also doesnít want to give access to the youngest daughter to the ground floor.
So the youngest daughter is now considering legal actions. Making matters more complicated, when the fourth daughter made those structural changes to the house, it was most likely done without the proper city permits. And the fourth daughter took a loan to pay for it (and is still paying the loan). If there is a lawsuit, the illegal construction might be found out, and she will have to tear them out.
Right now there is a bunch of vicious emails flying between the daughters in which all daughters are CCed in as the youngest daughter is threatening a lawsuit and the fourth daughter wants to prevent one as she has the most to lose.
I get it that inheritances have huge financial consequences. But as an outside observer, I canít help thinking that theyíre fighting over things that they didnít even work for. These are wealth their parents have built over their lifetime. I just find it weird that their parent have died and instead of trying to get along, theyíre all fighting to get a bigger piece of the pie that their parentís built.
Iíve told my parents, I donít really care if I get any inheritance from them. If they want to leave something for me, make sure to put it in their will, but thereís no obligation to leave anything to me. My FI plans assume receiving nothing from my parents.
The drama is still ongoing. If there is interest, I can post updates as they happen.