Author Topic: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?  (Read 31392 times)

partgypsy

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #150 on: February 01, 2017, 10:40:30 AM »
And what do people think of the situation where one parent is being financially irresponsible, and being codependent with another child for decades, supporting that child at the expense of her own financial security. With the responsible child trying to reason with her about saving herself first, and finally washing her hands of it out of frustration. And then finding out that the parent has the expectation that once she runs through all her resources and is destitute, that the responsible child will take her in and support her? What then? Everyone I know, including the time I had a therapist, said it was not my responsibility (I have 2 kids that come first). But it's still a horrible feeling. Talked multiple times with the other responsible sibling, and there is no situation that we can afford, that she will accept. 

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #151 on: February 01, 2017, 10:58:46 AM »
partygypsy: yep! There've been a few such situations touched on in this thread.

I think one challenge in the thread is that some are assuming parent is of sound mind, not entrapped or otherwise experiencing economic manipulation or abuse, having sufficient energy to sort through some big life issues or even consult with a lawyer, loved by one child and not another, etc.

Sadly, not all parents are in such an ideal situation, where they are making a simple decision from a sound mind in a straightforward scenario.

Many children in these situations are expected to—or feel a moral obligation to—become the next provider for the sibling, or must plan for additional (parental) dependents in their own later years because the sibling willingly took all. Either of these might feel easy for a person of profound wealth, but might feel very different for those with limited resources, dependent children, etc.

Goldielocks

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #152 on: February 01, 2017, 11:04:46 AM »
Laura 33...

My thought on a split, is that unequal gifting to set up a child who needs the money more, should happen while the person is still alive.   That way they can explain themselves.

e.g., set up a revocable trust for the one that needs help with basic mortgage... or just gift them money towards a downpayment, etc.

Then inheritance can be more equally divided.  What is equal in your situation is a mystery, though!

golden1

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #153 on: February 01, 2017, 12:19:45 PM »
Interesting topic, mostly because I will never really deal with this directly, but might be dealing with fallout indirectly.

As for myself, I am an only child.  My father and mother divorced when I was young, and my father died when I was 20.  He had life insurance, and left me half of his estate.  He left the other half to my first cousin, who is mildly retarded and will need support for the rest of her life.  Totally cool with that of course.  My mother will have nothing but debts so no worries there.

My FIL and MIL may have something in their estate, but likely not much since they are in excellent health and don't have a huge amount.  However, they are very concerned about protecting their estate from my husbands brothers wife.  My MIL went through a nasty inheritance battle when her mother died, fuelled by her brothers wife who wanted her husband to insist on a larger portion of the estate than they really deserved.  It was to the point where they went in to the house shortly after her mother died and took stuff out of the house without asking anyone, particularly stuff that was sentimental to my MIL.  It got really ugly, and my MIL didn't speak to her brother for 10 years.

My BILs wife has the potential to cause some trouble since she basically sends a large portion of my BILs income (she doesn't work) and sends it to her relatives.   I could very well see some ugliness going down in the case of my MIL and FIL passing away.  We have told them we honestly don't care, that we have provided for ourselves and will be fine with nothing, but they insist on doing things like deeding us their house, and other stuff in order to make sure there can't be a cash grab.  My true wish is that they spend every last cent they own and enjoy it. 

RangerOne

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #154 on: February 01, 2017, 12:24:40 PM »
Jumping in kind of late but you wouldn't necessarily be a bad person if you were hurt to find your parents were preparing for a grossly unequal split of their wealth after death.

The leftover resources of each generation are there to help the family for future generations. A parent imparting some of their property after death to their children is a symbol of trust that those children will responsibly manage family resources for the health of future generations. And do their part to be a boost to the family and not a burden.

There are a multitude of fair reasons to desire an unequal split. Maybe one child is better with finances and they truly trust that child to arbitrate the best use of the resource for other family members. Maybe they need to pay back a debt to one child for putting more time in with them in old age. Maybe they see some Children are already getting a ton of help from a spouses family and they want to try to balance the ledger knowing that some of their children are already getting all the help they need.

Things I probably wouldn't be hurt over would be parents deciding to gift all their money to charity and let the kids fend for themselves. Some parents have a strong independence philosophy and think that each generation should earn its own way.

As a new parent the most important thing for me in the event of my untimely demise would be that I had managed to accumulate resource and build a life that can help my spouse and children when they need it even after I am gone.

Goldielocks

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #155 on: February 01, 2017, 12:25:02 PM »
Golden1 -- you may want to have an open conversation with you BIL...

and a question -- isn't your BIL's wife your sister, or your spouse's sister , making her relatives are your parents or in-laws?   (confused)

dandarc

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #156 on: February 01, 2017, 12:45:10 PM »
Golden1 -- you may want to have an open conversation with you BIL...

and a question -- isn't your BIL's wife your sister, or your spouse's sister , making her relatives are your parents or in-laws?   (confused)
Golden said - Husband's Brother's wife.  Could be a sister, but much more likely the two brothers did not marry siblings.

Laura33

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #157 on: February 01, 2017, 01:52:55 PM »
Laura 33...

My thought on a split, is that unequal gifting to set up a child who needs the money more, should happen while the person is still alive.   That way they can explain themselves.

e.g., set up a revocable trust for the one that needs help with basic mortgage... or just gift them money towards a downpayment, etc.

Then inheritance can be more equally divided.  What is equal in your situation is a mystery, though!

Eh, I don't particularly care whether "additional support" is actually set up during the parents' life (when it may not even be needed) vs.  through the will.  But ITA that the parents should talk clearly about what they are doing and why while they are still alive, so the kids can understand their thinking.  Disinheriting someone/cutting their fair share without telling them until the will is read is a dick move, period. 
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

firelight

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #158 on: February 01, 2017, 09:11:22 PM »
Laura 33...

My thought on a split, is that unequal gifting to set up a child who needs the money more, should happen while the person is still alive.   That way they can explain themselves.

e.g., set up a revocable trust for the one that needs help with basic mortgage... or just gift them money towards a downpayment, etc.

Then inheritance can be more equally divided.  What is equal in your situation is a mystery, though!

Eh, I don't particularly care whether "additional support" is actually set up during the parents' life (when it may not even be needed) vs.  through the will.  But ITA that the parents should talk clearly about what they are doing and why while they are still alive, so the kids can understand their thinking.  Disinheriting someone/cutting their fair share without telling them until the will is read is a dick move, period.
One set of grandparents did it actually! My grand dad said 'I won't write a will because after my death, I'll be gone and I don't care how you fight it out'. My grand mom still lives but follows the same principle since she wants to do an unequal spilt but knows the kids who get less wouldn't be happy about it and just wants to not deal with it before her death.

 To add to the issue, the assets not only include what they earned but also those that were passed to them by their parents and their grand parents. So the land has strong sentimental value in addition to the financial value on both sides.

accolay

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #159 on: February 02, 2017, 08:48:57 PM »
Just be thankful they will decide to leave you anything. There are a few adopted cousins in my family and they have been left out of wills.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #160 on: February 05, 2017, 01:05:20 PM »
Just be thankful they will decide to leave you anything. There are a few adopted cousins in my family and they have been left out of wills.

Because they're adopted? Or some other reason (such as they are not nice people or something judgmental like that)?

accolay

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #161 on: February 05, 2017, 01:22:52 PM »
Just be thankful they will decide to leave you anything. There are a few adopted cousins in my family and they have been left out of wills.

Because they're adopted? Or some other reason (such as they are not nice people or something judgmental like that)?

Because they were adopted. Because they who wrote their wills like that were dicks.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #162 on: February 05, 2017, 01:44:00 PM »
Just be thankful they will decide to leave you anything. There are a few adopted cousins in my family and they have been left out of wills.

Because they're adopted? Or some other reason (such as they are not nice people or something judgmental like that)?

Because they were adopted. Because they who wrote their wills like that were dicks.

Interesting. How fabulous would it be if the named beneficiaries stepped up and gave the adoptees a fair share?

accolay

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #163 on: February 05, 2017, 01:55:50 PM »
Interesting. How fabulous would it be if the named beneficiaries stepped up and gave the adoptees a fair share?

Actually will probably do just that with a vacation property that is supposed to be jointly owned by all grandchildren.... except the adopted cousins. I don't understand it myself.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #164 on: February 05, 2017, 02:01:12 PM »
Not having the need or space for it, I said to my sister, "You should take it, I've already inherited everything worthwhile......."
Her expression was priceless.
"....such as Dad's wit, Mom's good looks, Aunt Bab's musical ability and Uncle J's love of travel."

I made it safely to adulthood on account of the numerous sacrifices my parents made over the course of my life.  If I was looking to inherit anything at all, I'd be an ashamed of myself. 

Would you feel differently if your sister had responded by saying, "Oh actually, Mom found $1,000,000 behind that shelf and gave it to me because she likes me better than you and thinks I've done better and more deserving things with my life. Hope you don't mind. Go ahead and keep the shelf.

Many of us find it easy not to hold lack of inheritance against our parents when there's no (or a very limited) inheritance.

I think people are getting distracted by the fact that the inequity is being demonstrated to the OP in the form of a monetary inheritance.

It could be a piece of chocolate. Mom says, "I only have one piece of chocolate, but I'm giving it your sister because I really don't like you as much." It could be a hug - Mom hugs your sister, then looks at you and says, "Uh. No thanks. No time for that, gotta run!"

A monetary inheritance just puts a dollar value on their feelings. It's easy to visualize. One moment you thought that your parents valued you just as highly as your sibling, and the next you find out that actually they think you're worth a lot less than her. Not only do they feel this way, but they have had a conscious and rational discussion about how much less you're worth to them, then put it in writing. At some point, it probably occurred to them, "Hey, maybe this should be equal, maybe this is going to hurt some feelings" and they still decided to do it. So now you know that not only are you valued less highly to them, but you are valued so much less that they don't even really mind that you're going to be hurt.

And now you get to wonder... At what point did it start? When did they first have the conversation where they agreed that they don't like you as much as your sibling?

It's not about the expectation of an inheritance. It's about the expectation of equality.

purple monkey

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #165 on: February 05, 2017, 02:45:44 PM »


Would you feel differently if your sister had responded by saying, "Oh actually, Mom found $1,000,000 behind that shelf and gave it to me because she likes me better than you and thinks I've done better and more deserving things with my life. Hope you don't mind. Go ahead and keep the shelf.

Many of us find it easy not to hold lack of inheritance against our parents when there's no (or a very limited) inheritance.

I think people are getting distracted by the fact that the inequity is being demonstrated to the OP in the form of a monetary inheritance.

It could be a piece of chocolate. Mom says, "I only have one piece of chocolate, but I'm giving it your sister because I really don't like you as much." It could be a hug - Mom hugs your sister, then looks at you and says, "Uh. No thanks. No time for that, gotta run!"

A monetary inheritance just puts a dollar value on their feelings. It's easy to visualize. One moment you thought that your parents valued you just as highly as your sibling, and the next you find out that actually they think you're worth a lot less than her. Not only do they feel this way, but they have had a conscious and rational discussion about how much less you're worth to them, then put it in writing. At some point, it probably occurred to them, "Hey, maybe this should be equal, maybe this is going to hurt some feelings" and they still decided to do it. So now you know that not only are you valued less highly to them, but you are valued so much less that they don't even really mind that you're going to be hurt.

And now you get to wonder... At what point did it start? When did they first have the conversation where they agreed that they don't like you as much as your sibling?

It's not about the expectation of an inheritance. It's about the expectation of equality.
[/quote]

Bravo!
+1

firelight

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #166 on: February 05, 2017, 03:31:16 PM »
Not having the need or space for it, I said to my sister, "You should take it, I've already inherited everything worthwhile......."
Her expression was priceless.
"....such as Dad's wit, Mom's good looks, Aunt Bab's musical ability and Uncle J's love of travel."

I made it safely to adulthood on account of the numerous sacrifices my parents made over the course of my life.  If I was looking to inherit anything at all, I'd be an ashamed of myself. 

Would you feel differently if your sister had responded by saying, "Oh actually, Mom found $1,000,000 behind that shelf and gave it to me because she likes me better than you and thinks I've done better and more deserving things with my life. Hope you don't mind. Go ahead and keep the shelf.

Many of us find it easy not to hold lack of inheritance against our parents when there's no (or a very limited) inheritance.

I think people are getting distracted by the fact that the inequity is being demonstrated to the OP in the form of a monetary inheritance.

It could be a piece of chocolate. Mom says, "I only have one piece of chocolate, but I'm giving it your sister because I really don't like you as much." It could be a hug - Mom hugs your sister, then looks at you and says, "Uh. No thanks. No time for that, gotta run!"

A monetary inheritance just puts a dollar value on their feelings. It's easy to visualize. One moment you thought that your parents valued you just as highly as your sibling, and the next you find out that actually they think you're worth a lot less than her. Not only do they feel this way, but they have had a conscious and rational discussion about how much less you're worth to them, then put it in writing. At some point, it probably occurred to them, "Hey, maybe this should be equal, maybe this is going to hurt some feelings" and they still decided to do it. So now you know that not only are you valued less highly to them, but you are valued so much less that they don't even really mind that you're going to be hurt.

And now you get to wonder... At what point did it start? When did they first have the conversation where they agreed that they don't like you as much as your sibling?

It's not about the expectation of an inheritance. It's about the expectation of equality.
+1000

I can't stand inequality even for small stuff. So when it comes to something as big as this, then it certainly rankles.

I've been known to get angry even for my acquaintances' sake if I feel they are being treated unequally. When it happens to me, you can guess the effect.

Bendigirl

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #167 on: February 05, 2017, 04:28:42 PM »
My Dad passed in June, the estate was divided equally.  No issues.  Miss you Dad.  I was going through his papers (I was his POA) before he passed and found a list.  It contained all our names (5kids) and the amounts of money he gifted over the years.  The numbers were not the same on any given date, but the totals were exactly equal.  He was very proud of that.

My husbands dad is in his late 80s.  There are five children, two have basically disowned him and have no contact, for many years. It was pretty ugly.  Now, where we live wills are not really that final.  If the children do not receive equal amounts it can be contested.  The will writer must state the reasons for the discrepancy and it must be valid.  My FIL has done so with his will, given the two children $50 (or something like that) with reasons for him doing so.  We still expect a fight and lengthy legal battle.  There have been some measures put in place but it is frustrating to him that these children will have that power.....let me tell you, they did some horrid stuff!

There are some very good reasons for an inequality in an inheritance, but if it's a normal kind of family I can only imagine how hurtful it would be. 

Abe

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #168 on: February 05, 2017, 06:40:44 PM »
Associating money with relationships is a bad idea as other posters have demonstrated. I have a situation where my sibling basically hasn't tried to work all her adult life, was verbally and emotionally abusive towards my parents for years while living at home for free, and yet will get half their inheritance. Now I don't associate my inheritance percentage with my parents' affection. I also don't approve of their plan to give her so much money just to squander. But, It's their decision and unless they said "we're giving you this much because we love you this much", basing their affection on money is just the child's own projection of self-worth. Some people seem really torn up about it, but FREE MONEY obviously means the person giving it to you likes you. Leave it at that, enjoy your time with them before photos and that bank statement is all that's left, and move on with your life.

Dee 72013

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #169 on: February 05, 2017, 09:18:58 PM »
My husband & I never wanted anything from our parents, in fact I recently signed over my future inheritance to my sister since she is taking care of our mom. I personally find it sad to talk about who's going to inherit what. Is any amount of money worth losing your parents over? People obsess over what they feel is theirs to inherit & their birthright. What about thinking more of your family than just an ATM or a stepping stone to more financial wealth?
As parents you nurture, care & protect your children. You give your children the gift of life, then you spend the first two years' of your child life feeding and changing them because they are helpless. You rock them to sleep & Band-Aid their skinned knees, you pour all your love into this tiny human being for them to grow up one day & turn their back on you because they didn't get what they thought was their equal share?
Would you want your child to make you feel dispensable?


lhamo

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #170 on: February 05, 2017, 09:39:46 PM »
Further complicating matters is that it hasn't been updated in 40 years and we will be sinking our own money into improving it, which will increase the value and its percentage of father-in-law's estate, thus reducing our portion of the total inheritance.

Why do you need to pay for the upgrades? If he wants you to move in with him, fine, but if the house needs upgrading for you all to be comfortable there and for it to retain its value, and he has the money to do it, why not ask him to pay for it.  You guys presumably will be giving him a significant amount of support, and probably actual care, over the next few years.   Seems like the least he can do is make the house comfortable for you.
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Villanelle

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #171 on: February 05, 2017, 09:55:26 PM »
I'd absolutely be hurt, barring some reason for the uneven split.  (And I definitely acknowledge there are plenty of valid reasons, and need might be one of them, even if some of the reason for that need was self-created by bad decisions.)

It's my parents' money, and while they are of course entitled to do with it what they want, I'm entitled to have feelings about those choices.  If they gave it all to a charity, I'd not bat an eye.  But to prioritize one relationship over another in some way?  Of course I'm going to be hurt.

If parents gave on child a new car for Christmas, and the other got a pair of socks, I don't think the response would be, "It's their money to spend as they see fit.  Just pretend it didn't happen."  I guess I consider inheritance like a gift.  It's certainly not obligatory, but once you decide to participate in gift-giving, it's sort of cruel to pick an obvious favorite. Maybe some of that "gift" mentality comes from the way my parents have always talked about their will. 

I don't think I'd disown them or stop visiting or anything, but I'd be really wounded.  And since my parents have talked to us about  their estate and will, I'd likely ask them for their reasoning, because, as I've said, we've had pretty open conversations about it.  Hopefully I'd find some clarity and peace from that conversation. 

I think part of the disparity in responses here is that people are applying the question to their own family dynamic.  My family dynamic is one of respect, openness, love, and respect.  And beyond that, my sister and I are both capable, financially secure, respectful, and involved with my parents and their lives.  So something like this would be shocking and painful and difficult to understand.  In a different family, I can see why it wouldn't be out of context for something like this to happen.

sol

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #172 on: February 05, 2017, 10:04:37 PM »
Further complicating matters is that it hasn't been updated in 40 years and we will be sinking our own money into improving it, which will increase the value and its percentage of father-in-law's estate, thus reducing our portion of the total inheritance.

Why do you need to pay for the upgrades? If he wants you to move in with him, fine, but if the house needs upgrading for you all to be comfortable there and for it to retain its value, and he has the money to do it, why not ask him to pay for it.  You guys presumably will be giving him a significant amount of support, and probably actual care, over the next few years.   Seems like the least he can do is make the house comfortable for you.

I was going to offer the opposite perspective.  I don't think you should ever ask someone else to pay for your own comforts.  I think they should pay for upgrades themselves, since they are the ones who will be benefiting from living with them.

You don't upgrade your kitchen for the resale value.  The benefit is in having the upgraded kitchen for you to use.  Complaining about losing part of the resale value to a split inheritance upon death is missing the point.  The alternative is spending the other person's half of that split inheritance on your own house upgrades, which clearly isn't right.

You might as well ask the parent to buy you a sportscar and a cruise vacation.  You would be depleting the estate for your own personal benefit.  Don't be that person.

Ann

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #173 on: February 05, 2017, 11:30:30 PM »
Not having the need or space for it, I said to my sister, "You should take it, I've already inherited everything worthwhile......."
Her expression was priceless.
"....such as Dad's wit, Mom's good looks, Aunt Bab's musical ability and Uncle J's love of travel."

I made it safely to adulthood on account of the numerous sacrifices my parents made over the course of my life.  If I was looking to inherit anything at all, I'd be an ashamed of myself. 

Would you feel differently if your sister had responded by saying, "Oh actually, Mom found $1,000,000 behind that shelf and gave it to me because she likes me better than you and thinks I've done better and more deserving things with my life. Hope you don't mind. Go ahead and keep the shelf.

Many of us find it easy not to hold lack of inheritance against our parents when there's no (or a very limited) inheritance.

I think people are getting distracted by the fact that the inequity is being demonstrated to the OP in the form of a monetary inheritance.

It could be a piece of chocolate. Mom says, "I only have one piece of chocolate, but I'm giving it your sister because I really don't like you as much." It could be a hug - Mom hugs your sister, then looks at you and says, "Uh. No thanks. No time for that, gotta run!"

A monetary inheritance just puts a dollar value on their feelings. It's easy to visualize. One moment you thought that your parents valued you just as highly as your sibling, and the next you find out that actually they think you're worth a lot less than her. Not only do they feel this way, but they have had a conscious and rational discussion about how much less you're worth to them, then put it in writing. At some point, it probably occurred to them, "Hey, maybe this should be equal, maybe this is going to hurt some feelings" and they still decided to do it. So now you know that not only are you valued less highly to them, but you are valued so much less that they don't even really mind that you're going to be hurt.

And now you get to wonder... At what point did it start? When did they first have the conversation where they agreed that they don't like you as much as your sibling?

It's not about the expectation of an inheritance. It's about the expectation of equality.

I don't think there is an absolute money = love equation.    It certainly CAN reflect love and attention.  But it is not absolute.  Two adults siblings are in a room, one is diabetic and shouldn't eat sugar.  The other isn't.  Their parent offers the non-diabetic half of her Twix.  Should the diabetic be hurt?  Really?  An adult?  Or if your Dad comes into the living room and gives you a hug, but not your brother who happens to be two states away?  One child got a hug. 

People will play favorites with their children. And some parents just like one kid more.  But there are also other good reasons why things may not be exactly equal.  I think it is too broad a brush to say any financial inequality indicates a lack of love. 

Villanelle

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #174 on: February 06, 2017, 02:12:23 AM »
Not having the need or space for it, I said to my sister, "You should take it, I've already inherited everything worthwhile......."
Her expression was priceless.
"....such as Dad's wit, Mom's good looks, Aunt Bab's musical ability and Uncle J's love of travel."

I made it safely to adulthood on account of the numerous sacrifices my parents made over the course of my life.  If I was looking to inherit anything at all, I'd be an ashamed of myself. 

Would you feel differently if your sister had responded by saying, "Oh actually, Mom found $1,000,000 behind that shelf and gave it to me because she likes me better than you and thinks I've done better and more deserving things with my life. Hope you don't mind. Go ahead and keep the shelf.

Many of us find it easy not to hold lack of inheritance against our parents when there's no (or a very limited) inheritance.

I think people are getting distracted by the fact that the inequity is being demonstrated to the OP in the form of a monetary inheritance.

It could be a piece of chocolate. Mom says, "I only have one piece of chocolate, but I'm giving it your sister because I really don't like you as much." It could be a hug - Mom hugs your sister, then looks at you and says, "Uh. No thanks. No time for that, gotta run!"

A monetary inheritance just puts a dollar value on their feelings. It's easy to visualize. One moment you thought that your parents valued you just as highly as your sibling, and the next you find out that actually they think you're worth a lot less than her. Not only do they feel this way, but they have had a conscious and rational discussion about how much less you're worth to them, then put it in writing. At some point, it probably occurred to them, "Hey, maybe this should be equal, maybe this is going to hurt some feelings" and they still decided to do it. So now you know that not only are you valued less highly to them, but you are valued so much less that they don't even really mind that you're going to be hurt.

And now you get to wonder... At what point did it start? When did they first have the conversation where they agreed that they don't like you as much as your sibling?

It's not about the expectation of an inheritance. It's about the expectation of equality.

I don't think there is an absolute money = love equation.    It certainly CAN reflect love and attention.  But it is not absolute.  Two adults siblings are in a room, one is diabetic and shouldn't eat sugar.  The other isn't.  Their parent offers the non-diabetic half of her Twix.  Should the diabetic be hurt?  Really?  An adult?  Or if your Dad comes into the living room and gives you a hug, but not your brother who happens to be two states away?  One child got a hug. 

People will play favorites with their children. And some parents just like one kid more.  But there are also other good reasons why things may not be exactly equal.  I think it is too broad a brush to say any financial inequality indicates a lack of love.

I think this gets at the heart of the issue, and how different people are coming at this differently.  If dad give the Twix to the non-diabetic, or he gives 9/10 of his estate to the disabled child who can't work, there's a clear rationale there.  If mom hugs the child who is actually in her living room and not the one living on the other side of the word, or she gives 3/4 of her estate to the child who was local and came over to help with yard work and hang Christmas lights and let the plumber in when the toilet stops, and then let mom move in with her after dad died (when the other child choose not to pitch in in those ways), again, that's a clear rational.  None of those things have to do with "favorite". 

This is why I said I'd ask my parents if I knew ahead of time that things were set up unequally (because they've discussed their estate openly with my sister and me).  Maybe they do have a reason.  Maybe sister is secretly--to me--struggling financially.  Maybe she's been really struggling to get pregnant and they want to pay for her fertility treatments (ha!  This is laughable with my sister, but it's an example).  Maybe sister gave my parents money at some point (again, not applicable to my specific family). 

Maybe there is a diabetes/Twix or location/hug explanation.  I could readily accept those things. Even one where they left more money to my sibling because she squandered all hers (though again, in my specific family that would be more likely to mean they left her less, not more). I might roll my eyes a bit at that idea, but I could understand and respect it, and not be hurt.  But al those things being equal, then it would be incredibly painful.  And a parent who does an unequal distribution and doesn't explain it ahead of time (or can't explain it, because the explanation is just that they prefer John to Jane) should know that they are very much doing something that can cause a lot of pain to their child.  Not because that child is out $x0,000, but because it very much appears that dear mom and dad wanted to openly pick a favorite on the way out. 

It's not that financial inequality equals lack of love.  It's financial inequality, without an obvious reason or an explicit explanation is going to look lack a lack of love (in comparison).  And that's a really crappy thing to do to your kids on the way out.  If you got a good reason, be clear about it to all parties.  If you don't have a good reason (other than preference), then don't do it. 

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #175 on: February 06, 2017, 10:55:06 AM »
While I admire the posters here who (say they) could move on and not have any ill feelings for their parents, I know for sure I'd be righteously pissed off and not wanting to be in their company. It would take some serious work to get me to come around on that.  Hell, I'm struggling with speaking to my parents now after a far less personal affront. Forgiveness does not come very easily with me -- I wish it weren't the case, but it just is.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #176 on: February 06, 2017, 11:18:04 AM »
Just be thankful they will decide to leave you anything. There are a few adopted cousins in my family and they have been left out of wills.

Because they're adopted? Or some other reason (such as they are not nice people or something judgmental like that)?

Because they were adopted. Because they who wrote their wills like that were dicks.

Interesting. How fabulous would it be if the named beneficiaries stepped up and gave the adoptees a fair share?

This happened in my family- not adopted but one of my step cousins.  Because of the way the will was written the legal interpretation was that my step cousin was excluded. We couldn't imagine that was the intention, so she got the same as my other cousins.

(I will say this will was an unequal inheritance situation. It was my great-aunt, who had no children. She gave her older brother's children a higher percentage of the estate than her younger brother's children. That was intentional. But she left all the great-nieces and great-nephews, on the side of either of her brother's family, the same amount; and no one believed she meant to exclude the step-great-niece.)

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #177 on: February 06, 2017, 03:42:15 PM »
[Diabetes/Twix/etc]...all those things being equal, then it would be incredibly painful.

+1.

I think in this thread, most people who say they'd feel hurt are talking about a situation in which all those things are equal. I mean, a lot of us are intelligent, caring, generous people who tend to share, appreciate fairness, etc. We're talking about a situation of all those things being equal, and unequal gifting appearing random at best...and something just plain biased, unthinking, etc.

It's not that financial inequality equals lack of love.  It's financial inequality, without an obvious reason or an explicit explanation is going to look lack a lack of love (in comparison).

+1.

This said, if we do enough work (Byron Katie, other therapy, etc), we can probably eventually come out the other side released of that pain.

But, I don't put my kid through pain unnecessarily. He'll have enough life shit to ByronKatie out of his system without me putting a bunch of extra effort into causing him to wonder, question, fear, etc.

While I admire the posters here who (say they) could move on and not have any ill feelings for their parents, I know for sure I'd be righteously pissed off and not wanting to be in their company. It would take some serious work to get me to come around on that.  Hell, I'm struggling with speaking to my parents now after a far less personal affront. Forgiveness does not come very easily with me -- I wish it weren't the case, but it just is.

While I didn't dump my parents over this, and did find my way through the really tough emotional stuff, I sure appreciate the honesty in your words here, dude.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #178 on: February 07, 2017, 06:24:21 AM »

Implicit in your last paragraph (and in all the fretting over unequal inheritances) is the notion that it's any of your business in the first place.  It's not.  Grasping this fact is a key to happiness.  Life is not fair.  There is no fair share of someone else's money to which you are entitled.  People have their reasons, you will not always be privy to those reasons.   

My family has a history of unequal inheritances going back several  generations.  Some wealthy aunts left more money to neices than to nephews.  Their rationale was that the women in the family needed it more owing to having been stay at home mothers or earning less in the workplace.  They felt that this money represented security for the women in the family. One daughter was gifted the family home because her brothers and sisters had already owned their own homes.  The reactions from some of the male heirs run the gamut from "That's rentirely easonable" to "Not my choice, but it's her money" to "I'm opposed to generosity that isn't directed towards me and will carry a chip on my shoulder always."
I manage my mother's finances.  She does not make a point of giving everyone exactly the same amount.  She has her reasons and they are her reasons.  She gave to one child who had healthcare expenses and no insurance.  His health is his business.  It isn't something she would be at liberty to discuss or "be clear about to all parties."  I know, because I had to transfer the funds.  He knows because he received the money.  The others are in the dark.  If one should happen to find out, nobody owes them an explanation. If they would base a continued relationship with our Mother on knowing and agreeing with the reason, then it's abundantly clear who the Glass Bowl is.  You simply have to accept that other people's money is not your money.  Assume it all is going to hookers & Blow then be delightfully surprised if/when you get some.

This reminds me of a lot of stories about families with 'old money' or businesses and sort of makes me glad that my family has neither...

There is no historic baggage of first born sons inheriting and carrying on the family business and of daughters being minors for life and 'taken care of'.

While I don't expect life or people being fair I absolutely expect being treated fair by my parents and brother and would expect the same of a hypothetical husband. This is why I don't treat them like random 'people' and frequently go out of my way to help them. We have more than a ballpark idea of each other's finances and we know pretty much all details of each other's medical history. When I had a cancer scare my mother shared the info with my godmother and a few cousins but not a lot of other aunts and cousins. Because she knows whom I have a relationship to and whom I consider just nosy. We know who wants to donate his organs and who does not. We have powers of attorney should one become incapacitated.

We argue _constantly_, go on each other's nerve and sometimes shout at each other. But we don't keep big secrets.

As a teen I was puzzled that finances are a secret and taboo subject in a lot of families and marriages. I am still puzzled. On the other hand, friends of mine visiting with my parents are surprised how openly we deal with our conflicts and that we spend zero time tiptoeing around each other. I'm sure some consider us uncultivated and some kind of friendly but very strange barbarians...
« Last Edit: February 07, 2017, 07:15:48 AM by Lyssa »

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #179 on: February 07, 2017, 07:12:04 AM »
Yes! unequality, bothers me! In my family while I knew my parents loved us all, the two boys were treated differently than the two girls. Even though my sister and I were more responsible we had more rules and were typically not paid for chores, while the boys did the exact same chores were paid (babysitting, raking leaves, shoveling snow). There were also chores we were expected to help with that the boys were never asked to do (laundry, we made and changed the beds, including our brother's beds). However, while the boys got an allowance every week, when we asked for our allowance the response was "why do you need an allowance? If you need anything ask me." Which for me, was not the same as having our own money, to save or do as we wished.  The inequality continued as adults, where both brothers got a lot more financial support (in fact parents are still supporting oldest in their old age), while the girls did not.  I moved away to get away from that dysfunctional situation, and I disagreed with it, while my sister is still mired in it. So that's why it especially galls me, that at this point, there is this expectation the daughters are expected to rise to the occasion to somehow save Mom, either emotionally, materially or financially, when they weren't supported in the same way. If there wasn't all this baggage (that that essentially my brother and Mom are joined at the hip) I would be more inclined to help her.   
« Last Edit: February 07, 2017, 07:17:43 AM by partgypsy »

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #180 on: February 07, 2017, 07:22:02 AM »
Yes! unequality, bothers me! In my family while I knew my parents loved us all, the two boys were treated differently than the two girls. Even though my sister and I were more responsible we had more rules and were typically not paid for chores, while the boys did the exact same chores were paid (babysitting, raking leaves, shoveling snow). There were also chores we were expected to help with that the boys were never asked to do (laundry, we made and changed the beds, including our brother's beds). However, while the boys got an allowance every week, when we asked for our allowance the response was "why do you need an allowance? If you need anything ask me." Which for me, was not the same as having our own money, to save or do as we wished.  The inequality continued as adults, where both brothers got a lot more financial support (in fact parents are still supporting oldest in their old age), while the girls did not.  I moved away to get away from that dysfunctional situation, and I disagreed with it, while my sister is still mired in it. So that's why it especially galls me, that at this point, there is this expectation the daughters are expected to rise to the occasion to somehow save Mom, either emotionally, materially or financially, when they weren't supported in the same way. If there wasn't all this baggage (that that essentially my brother and Mom are joined at the hip) I would be more inclined to help her.   

It is fascinating to me that my family was the exact mirror image, where my sisters were supported far more than I was, as the only son. (Example: when I was 16 I was forbidden to buy a car with my own money. When my sister turned 16 she received an MG convertible sports car as a gift.)

partgypsy

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #181 on: February 07, 2017, 07:40:41 AM »
Yes! unequality, bothers me! In my family while I knew my parents loved us all, the two boys were treated differently than the two girls. Even though my sister and I were more responsible we had more rules and were typically not paid for chores, while the boys did the exact same chores were paid (babysitting, raking leaves, shoveling snow). There were also chores we were expected to help with that the boys were never asked to do (laundry, we made and changed the beds, including our brother's beds). However, while the boys got an allowance every week, when we asked for our allowance the response was "why do you need an allowance? If you need anything ask me." Which for me, was not the same as having our own money, to save or do as we wished.  The inequality continued as adults, where both brothers got a lot more financial support (in fact parents are still supporting oldest in their old age), while the girls did not.  I moved away to get away from that dysfunctional situation, and I disagreed with it, while my sister is still mired in it. So that's why it especially galls me, that at this point, there is this expectation the daughters are expected to rise to the occasion to somehow save Mom, either emotionally, materially or financially, when they weren't supported in the same way. If there wasn't all this baggage (that that essentially my brother and Mom are joined at the hip) I would be more inclined to help her.   

It is fascinating to me that my family was the exact mirror image, where my sisters were supported far more than I was, as the only son. (Example: when I was 16 I was forbidden to buy a car with my own money. When my sister turned 16 she received an MG convertible sports car as a gift.)

Yes. I don't see how these kind of situations cannot create resentments. I still remember this incident, where my sister as a kid asked my greek grandmother (who lived with us) to hide her candy bar so our brothers wouldn't eat it. So she put it up in a cupboard. As soon as my little brother walked by, my greek grandmother goes "__ would you like a candybar?" and gets the candybar from the cupboard and gives it to him.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #182 on: February 07, 2017, 02:42:27 PM »
I've known for a long time I'm not on my parents will. My brother will probably inherit the bulk and my sister some. I've essentially been cut out of the family de facto, I've been shown open hostility and shamed publicly because of my choices and outcomes in life such as divorce, unapproved relationship etc.  Funny I've been very generous with my parents - bought them a nice SUV, given them cash a lot. They're prob worth 500k in property. It's what it is.

Why is it like taboo to acknowledge that parents just don't love their children equally?

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #183 on: February 07, 2017, 03:57:47 PM »
Yes! unequality, bothers me! In my family while I knew my parents loved us all, the two boys were treated differently than the two girls. Even though my sister and I were more responsible we had more rules and were typically not paid for chores, while the boys did the exact same chores were paid (babysitting, raking leaves, shoveling snow). There were also chores we were expected to help with that the boys were never asked to do (laundry, we made and changed the beds, including our brother's beds). However, while the boys got an allowance every week, when we asked for our allowance the response was "why do you need an allowance? If you need anything ask me." Which for me, was not the same as having our own money, to save or do as we wished.  The inequality continued as adults, where both brothers got a lot more financial support (in fact parents are still supporting oldest in their old age), while the girls did not.  I moved away to get away from that dysfunctional situation, and I disagreed with it, while my sister is still mired in it. So that's why it especially galls me, that at this point, there is this expectation the daughters are expected to rise to the occasion to somehow save Mom, either emotionally, materially or financially, when they weren't supported in the same way. If there wasn't all this baggage (that that essentially my brother and Mom are joined at the hip) I would be more inclined to help her.   

It is fascinating to me that my family was the exact mirror image, where my sisters were supported far more than I was, as the only son. (Example: when I was 16 I was forbidden to buy a car with my own money. When my sister turned 16 she received an MG convertible sports car as a gift.)

Hey, I, too was forbidden to buy a car with my own money!   I just laughed and did it anyway!  (And it was a Triumph convertible... cousin to that MG.)
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SmartyCat

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #184 on: February 07, 2017, 08:16:19 PM »

But, I don't put my kid through pain unnecessarily. He'll have enough life shit to ByronKatie out of his system without me putting a bunch of extra effort into causing him to wonder, question, fear, etc.


Using ByronKatie as a verb totally made my night. /tangent

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #185 on: February 07, 2017, 08:33:00 PM »
Why is it like taboo to acknowledge that parents just don't love their children equally?

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I guess I thought this was common knowledge. Is it taboo where you are?

Some parents love their children equally, but it would seem to be very difficult to treat them equally, seeing as siblings are completely different people with completely different expectations, behaviors, thoughts, feelings and situations.  Fair treatment would be a better goal - equal not so much.
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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #186 on: February 07, 2017, 08:36:29 PM »
Using ByronKatie as a verb totally made my night. /tangent

:)))

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #187 on: February 07, 2017, 08:45:13 PM »
...I've been shown open hostility and shamed publicly because of my choices and outcomes in life such as divorce, unapproved relationship etc.

So sorry, babybug :(

babybug

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #188 on: February 07, 2017, 08:53:24 PM »
Why is it like taboo to acknowledge that parents just don't love their children equally?

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I guess I thought this was common knowledge. Is it taboo where you are?

Some parents love their children equally, but it would seem to be very difficult to treat them equally, seeing as siblings are completely different people with completely different expectations, behaviors, thoughts, feelings and situations.  Fair treatment would be a better goal - equal not so much.
No, on the contrary. I grew up in a culture of open favoritism and boys favored over girls, though the gender bias is changing. 

But I live in US, where it seems unthinkable that parents might not love their children equally or leave one child more inheritance than the other.  Which surprises me a bit I guess.

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jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #189 on: February 27, 2017, 09:31:49 AM »
According to a Google search, this matter (parents gifting one child far more than another, even when no issues exist) is widespread. I didn't enjoy the articles making excuses for it, assuming the non-giftee is evil, etc, but I did enjoy this piece:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/apr/26/when-parents-handouts-get-you-fuming

Across the (googly) board, it was interesting to note that many who got to acceptance, nonresentment of parents, etc, found it changed relationships anyway. i.e., Loss or respect for the enabled and/or enabling. An increased orientation of independence (geographical, emotional), etc.

When a parent clearly has a quality of generosity, has much to offer, and believes in giving to an adult child...but directs all of that toward one out of several offspring, and figuratively or (in some cases) literally says, "You're on your own," it turns out that's exactly what happens in many cases.

Of further interest, the same doesn't seem to happen when everyone receives nothing equally, and does seem to happen when the unequal gifting is to a neighbour or random stranger. It seems to be the "I have much to give, and love to give, and you're on your own with any challenges" that seems to be the clincher.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #190 on: February 27, 2017, 02:54:34 PM »
Laura 33...

My thought on a split, is that unequal gifting to set up a child who needs the money more, should happen while the person is still alive.   That way they can explain themselves.

e.g., set up a revocable trust for the one that needs help with basic mortgage... or just gift them money towards a downpayment, etc.

Then inheritance can be more equally divided.  What is equal in your situation is a mystery, though!

Eh, I don't particularly care whether "additional support" is actually set up during the parents' life (when it may not even be needed) vs.  through the will.  But ITA that the parents should talk clearly about what they are doing and why while they are still alive, so the kids can understand their thinking.  Disinheriting someone/cutting their fair share without telling them until the will is read is a dick move, period.
One set of grandparents did it actually! My grand dad said 'I won't write a will because after my death, I'll be gone and I don't care how you fight it out'. My grand mom still lives but follows the same principle since she wants to do an unequal spilt but knows the kids who get less wouldn't be happy about it and just wants to not deal with it before her death.

 To add to the issue, the assets not only include what they earned but also those that were passed to them by their parents and their grand parents. So the land has strong sentimental value in addition to the financial value on both sides.

I could see inheriting land can be difficult.

My grandparents had a farm that they recently sold for this reason. It was held by my grandfather and his sister. But, she had no children so he inherited her half. After he passed, my father and uncle met with my grandmother and they eventually sold it.

Passing it down to my dad and uncle wouldn't have been too bad. But, then what happens in the next generation when that piece of land gets divided between my brother and my 1st cousins. Then the next....

In our case it was easier because the farm land was only an investment. The land was rented out by the farmer (not my Dad or my uncle). I could see it getting messy if that were not the case. Especially if one person wanted to work it, but didn't have the capital to "buy out" the other inheritors.

Is this more evidence for amassing a large portfolio of index funds?

everinprogress

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #191 on: February 27, 2017, 04:31:04 PM »
Just be thankful they will decide to leave you anything. There are a few adopted cousins in my family and they have been left out of wills.

Because they're adopted? Or some other reason (such as they are not nice people or something judgmental like that)?

Because they were adopted. Because they who wrote their wills like that were dicks.

Interesting. How fabulous would it be if the named beneficiaries stepped up and gave the adoptees a fair share?

This happened in my husband's family. None of the living relatives have a problem with it ;)

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #192 on: February 27, 2017, 04:42:49 PM »
Do nothing. It's not your decision to make.

This. My father, while he was still alive came to me and asked me if it was OK with me if he gave my sister more than me since she needed the money more.

I was annoyed at first - "Why should I suffer just because I did the right things and she wasted her money" but then after some thought I told him that I wish he had never asked me that question, in fact that it was none of my business. It was his money and he should do exactly what he pleased with it. I told him I hoped he would manage to spend it all and leave us nothing.

Ends up we got a 50/50 split.
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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #193 on: February 27, 2017, 05:35:23 PM »
Do nothing. It's not your decision to make.

This. My father, while he was still alive came to me and asked me if it was OK with me if he gave my sister more than me since she needed the money more.

I was annoyed at first - "Why should I suffer just because I did the right things and she wasted her money" but then after some thought I told him that I wish he had never asked me that question, in fact that it was none of my business. It was his money and he should do exactly what he pleased with it. I told him I hoped he would manage to spend it all and leave us nothing.

Ends up we got a 50/50 split.
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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #194 on: February 28, 2017, 12:45:05 AM »
From all the posts in this thread it's clear that there is no one right answer. There is only what is right for your family. For some, absolute equality is expected (inheritance = estate divided by number of children obviously!). For others, "fairness" in whatever form that takes is most important(siblings who need or deserve more should get more but that's okay because they did more to help out dad).  And there is also a group who think their parents' autonomy should take precedence (the parents should do whatever they want with the money, it's none of my business).

I suppose if it was apparent that money = love, I'd be a little hurt.

In my family, my brother and I get along very well. We are both independent and economically stable. However, my father over the years has given a lot more money to my brother than to me. It is likely that he will inherit more too. But, I have a better relationship with my dad and my dad and I are closer than my brother is to him.  I think I'm coming out ahead on this one.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #195 on: March 01, 2017, 08:59:46 AM »
I just finished up a will with an attorney, and based on the comments on this thread, I decided to tell one of my brothers that there is an unequal share in my will that favors my sister.  I explained why  (sis and I have taken on the financial and physical responsibility of my mother, where my brothers have not contributed).

My explanation and my reasoning:  Sis and I both contribute and if either of us should predecease Mom, then we want to keep making our contributions, but without the time, hassle, expense of setting up a trust for Mom.  Setting up a trust for mom could also affect her Medicare and long term care costs.  So I split my estate to make sure that my contribution for Mom is sent to Sis.  I also explained that if the natural order of things occurs and I don't need to leave extra to Sis, then I'll rewrite the will. 

My brother said I didn't need to explain, but he thanked me for the explanation anyway.  I was really happy I told him and didn't just drop a bomb should something happen to me. 
Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #196 on: March 01, 2017, 09:10:04 AM »
Oh, BlueHouse, that is really, really cool. Every aspect of your post! Awesome that this thread produced something so good.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #197 on: March 03, 2017, 09:41:07 AM »
Oh, BlueHouse, that is really, really cool. Every aspect of your post! Awesome that this thread produced something so good.
Thanks Jooniperberries!  Yes, it feels great to be prepared and to have made arrangements for the future.   And things have been pretty tense with my brother, so it felt so so good to share with him and have him understand that this plan wasn't meant to cut him out of anything.   
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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #198 on: March 04, 2017, 06:58:06 PM »
Heard a story on Click and Clack the Tappit Brothers today.
Rich uncle Nef left his car collection to his three nephews.
Nef had 17 cars, he left 1/2 to Tom, 1/3 to Bill and 1/9 to Neezer.
The lawyer figured out 8-1/2 cars to Tom, 5-2/3 cars to Bill and 1-7/8
cars to Neezer. They were arguing about splitting the cars, when the
neighbor Willie stepped in and said, "listen, I'll loan you my 56' Pontiac
and that will solve your problem". They were surprised but went with it.
Tom got 1/2 of 18 cars, 9 cars, Bill got 1/3 of 18 cars, 6 cars, and
Neezer got 1/9 of 18 cars or 2 cars.  9+6+2=17
and Willie got his 56' Pontiac back.

 Well, it is an unequal inheritance!

Nudelkopf

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #199 on: March 04, 2017, 07:24:58 PM »
My parents have tried very hard to keep things equal between me & my two brothers. My eldest bro had some issues paying his mortgage for a bit, so my parents helped out while he got back on his feet. About 6 months later Mum told me about it & gave me & the other brother some money equal to what they'd given to eldest broter ($4000-ish). Totally wouldn't have mattered to me but it's nice to know they're thinking about it. My parents' wills are also split equally 1/3 to the 3 kids.