Author Topic: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?  (Read 31578 times)

Wilson Hall

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #50 on: January 26, 2017, 01:41:39 PM »
Here's a different and positive story.

The only daughter took wonderful care of her parents as she stayed nearby. The brothers lived much further away and did not even put in 1% of the effort. The daughter rightfully deserved to inherit a larger fraction or perhaps the entire amount. However, she was aware that if this were to pass, it could create friction especially among her sisters-in-law. She and her husband ensured that the inheritance was equally divided among all siblings.   

+1, only in this case the daughter agreed to accept 60% of the inheritance rather than the 100% her mother initially offered. The brother said he felt "less loved" by getting a slightly smaller cut, but hey, he didn't spend 5+ years taking daily care of his mother, which is what the daughter did.

In another branch of the family, I am happy to report that a sibling who received almost no economic outpatient help throughout his adulthood while his sisters and their kids got lots of support is going to inherit their parents' home. He's also the one who has been giving the most hands-on help with the aging parents. Seems fair to me.

galliver

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #51 on: January 26, 2017, 01:43:22 PM »
Finally, on a somewhat unrelated note, I always kind of hate seeing MMMers talk about being "punished for being responsible" etc. Are you being responsible so you can have independence, freedom, security, and the ability to take care of those you care about? Or are you doing it for a gold star and a prize?

Oh,  I like gold stars and prizes, especially from my family.  It make me feel great.

That's lovely but doesn't answer the question of whether that is *why* you do these things, or just a nice side effect. ;)

Goldielocks

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #52 on: January 26, 2017, 01:49:19 PM »
Finally, on a somewhat unrelated note, I always kind of hate seeing MMMers talk about being "punished for being responsible" etc. Are you being responsible so you can have independence, freedom, security, and the ability to take care of those you care about? Or are you doing it for a gold star and a prize?

Oh,  I like gold stars and prizes, especially from my family.  It make me feel great.

That's lovely but doesn't answer the question of whether that is *why* you do these things, or just a nice side effect. ;)
Why can't we have and want both?

The primary why is the feeling of independence and hope that others will respect me for my efforts.

So when those well deserved gold stars not only are not forth coming, but given to others (less deserving) in lieu of myself, by people I want to please, it is an impact out of proportion to the positive upside when it does occur.

Really.  People are people and just because it is not PC to have or reveal normal people emotions, it does not mean that they don't exist.

Slow&Steady

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #53 on: January 26, 2017, 02:37:28 PM »
I guess I'm in the minority, but I agree with this.

I think parents should make it as even as possible, barring situations like addictions, extensive criminal histories, patterns of irresponsible behavior, etc.

How is it any different than parents giving unequally to their kids any other time? Why is an inheritance different? I mean, I wouldn't take my girls to the zoo and buy Daughter A a $25 stuffed koala and tell Daughter B, "you get nothing" or "you get a $.50 plastic necklace from the vending machine in the vestibule" unless there was a DAMN good reason to support such a decision (see paragraph above).
Parents give unequally all the time (or at least in my world). 

My Dad was in college until I was 12, so my parents struggled all the time with money until he graduated.  I know they specifically had to has both of my grandparents for help in the past.  On my Mom's side, she is 1 of 4, one of her sisters still live in my grandparents house, another one only moved out 15-20 years ago, and her bother married a woman my Grandma didn't like so they never got any help.  On my Dad's side, he has at least 1 sister that I don't think ever received help from my Grandparents but got a very nice wedding, we used to receive some big family gift every time the came to see us (we brought you our oldish car, here is a new refrigerator/washer/dry/table set, let's go buy the kids school clothes), the other sister has relied heavily on them for the last 10ish years.  In both of my parent's families there is at least 1 sibling that has not been given to equally, as an adult.

In my family, both of my bothers were give cars in high school, I was not.  All of us have student loans (I am the only one that finished), but one of my brothers "HAD" to go to a private school so my parents co-signed private student loans for him.  About 2 years ago both of my brothers were fired in the same month.  My parents have been paying the private student loans that they co-signed on for the last 2 years and regularly provide additional money to each bother multiple times a year.  If they were equally giving to me what they have given to my siblings in the last 2 years my Dad would never be able to retire and I have no expectation that there will be an inheritance for them to be able to make it even in the future.  In fact, if they do run out of retirement it will probably be on me to support them until the end. 

All that being said, I completely agree with being equal for little kids, until they are old enough to understand fair does not mean equal.  OP I can see how you would be worried your kids will feel less loved if they receive a smaller inheritance but if you don't talk about it how will they know?  Not only that if you are inclined not to continue a relationship with your parents do to this than maybe your parents are aware that you are not interested in an unconditional relationship with them.  If you do not want to continue the relationship for other reasons then own that and do not make it about the money.

Duke03

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #54 on: January 26, 2017, 03:00:12 PM »
My wife has a half brother that is basically worthless.  Just plum lazy.  Her folks take care of him to the tune of 3k to 4k a month.  He's 38 years old mind you. In the last 45 days he's managed to work one day, but why work when mommy will pay all your bills.  My wife has already informed her parents that when they are gone he will live under a bridge and starve to death before we take care of him.  She also informed them that if their Will doesn't reflect all the money he has received during his life and things aren't made right that she will cease to have a relationship with him once they are gone.  I try to stay out of it because it's her family, but it's a mess all over.

I just can't fathom how her parents operate.  I grew up in a family where all kids where treated equal and if one got something everyone else got something also.  It might not of been the same thing, but equal dollar amounts. This is how I treat my children.  Their are no favorites.  Boy, girl, oldest, or youngest they get x amount each per Christmas and birthdays.  Her parents routinely shit on my wife and their only grand kids just to help their lazy ass son out.  It blows my mind. In the last year my wife has figured they've given him at least 50k. 

deborah

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #55 on: January 26, 2017, 03:22:12 PM »
People need different sorts of help at different times. My parents haven't needed to give me much, so I haven't received much. One of my siblings went through a very messy divorce, and had bank accounts frozen for a while, so my parents helped then. Another isn't well off financially, and has received assistance. However, I don't think that I should get "equal" help, so I'm not hanging out for anything. They did give me a very special present for my 40th birthday - I was told it was because the others had received wedding presents and I hadn't. I hope they give more to the one who isn't well off financially, because then, I won't be emotionally blackmailed for assistance (from the less well off sibling) after they die.

Duke03

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #56 on: January 26, 2017, 03:56:26 PM »
People need different sorts of help at different times. My parents haven't needed to give me much, so I haven't received much. One of my siblings went through a very messy divorce, and had bank accounts frozen for a while, so my parents helped then. Another isn't well off financially, and has received assistance. However, I don't think that I should get "equal" help, so I'm not hanging out for anything. They did give me a very special present for my 40th birthday - I was told it was because the others had received wedding presents and I hadn't. I hope they give more to the one who isn't well off financially, because then, I won't be emotionally blackmailed for assistance (from the less well off sibling) after they die.

Trust me you will be blackmailed regardless.  Once their host dies they will need to latch on to someone else for support.  Who do you think  they will look to first?  It's like a virus.

obstinate

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #57 on: January 26, 2017, 04:17:17 PM »
I wouldn't do anything. Any specific action you are likely to take in this direction is not going to make the situation better.

Then again, I don't believe anyone should count on receiving an inheritance. It seems more than a little morbid. Anything you get should be seen as a blessing above and beyond everything your parents have already done for you.

obstinate

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #58 on: January 26, 2017, 04:19:14 PM »
... however I am disinclined to go out of my way to continue a relationship with parents (we live a considerable distance from family so traveling to see them takes a great deal of effort and comes at the expense of other travel we might like to do) who are planning an unequal inheritance, and I feel that it is setting my children up to be hurt. Thoughts?
I think we may have figured out why the inheritance is unequal. Really? Your affection for your parents is predicated on getting what you see as your fair share of their money? Unless they were total dicks to you during your childhood, this is completely unacceptable.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2017, 04:21:20 PM by obstinate »

Dezrah

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #59 on: January 26, 2017, 04:39:54 PM »
Here's a different and positive story.

The only daughter took wonderful care of her parents as she stayed nearby. The brothers lived much further away and did not even put in 1% of the effort. The daughter rightfully deserved to inherit a larger fraction or perhaps the entire amount. However, she was aware that if this were to pass, it could create friction especially among her sisters-in-law. She and her husband ensured that the inheritance was equally divided among all siblings.   

+1, only in this case the daughter agreed to accept 60% of the inheritance rather than the 100% her mother initially offered. The brother said he felt "less loved" by getting a slightly smaller cut, but hey, he didn't spend 5+ years taking daily care of his mother, which is what the daughter did.

In another branch of the family, I am happy to report that a sibling who received almost no economic outpatient help throughout his adulthood while his sisters and their kids got lots of support is going to inherit their parents' home. He's also the one who has been giving the most hands-on help with the aging parents. Seems fair to me.

That was very generous of the sister and very ungracious of the brother.

Personally I think the only "fair" way to do it is to treat the caregiver almost like an employee.  Figure out the market rates for the same level of service and separate that out for the caregiver.  If there is a serious blow to earning potential because of the resume gap, that should be considered as well.  Whatever is left over can then be split among all the heirs.  If the parent was very wealthy and/or passed quickly, the caregiver would get barely above the 50%.  If the parent was poor and/or blessed with longevity, the caregiver may get 100% and possibly still not be fully compensated.

It'd be a lot of math, but maybe if the brother, sister, and mother from above had sat down and hammered out such an arrangement there might not be any hard feelings.

deborah

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #60 on: January 26, 2017, 07:22:38 PM »
Here's a different and positive story.

The only daughter took wonderful care of her parents as she stayed nearby. The brothers lived much further away and did not even put in 1% of the effort. The daughter rightfully deserved to inherit a larger fraction or perhaps the entire amount. However, she was aware that if this were to pass, it could create friction especially among her sisters-in-law. She and her husband ensured that the inheritance was equally divided among all siblings.   

+1, only in this case the daughter agreed to accept 60% of the inheritance rather than the 100% her mother initially offered. The brother said he felt "less loved" by getting a slightly smaller cut, but hey, he didn't spend 5+ years taking daily care of his mother, which is what the daughter did.

In another branch of the family, I am happy to report that a sibling who received almost no economic outpatient help throughout his adulthood while his sisters and their kids got lots of support is going to inherit their parents' home. He's also the one who has been giving the most hands-on help with the aging parents. Seems fair to me.

That was very generous of the sister and very ungracious of the brother.

Personally I think the only "fair" way to do it is to treat the caregiver almost like an employee.  Figure out the market rates for the same level of service and separate that out for the caregiver.  If there is a serious blow to earning potential because of the resume gap, that should be considered as well.  Whatever is left over can then be split among all the heirs.  If the parent was very wealthy and/or passed quickly, the caregiver would get barely above the 50%.  If the parent was poor and/or blessed with longevity, the caregiver may get 100% and possibly still not be fully compensated.

It'd be a lot of math, but maybe if the brother, sister, and mother from above had sat down and hammered out such an arrangement there might not be any hard feelings.
I live 7.5 hours drive from my parents, who are frail and elderly. I visit them quite often (probably on average every 3 weeks), for a few days, so I can do everything that needs to be done. I think I know every bush on the road. My siblings don't visit, or visit once or twice a year. While I'm sure they are told by my parents whenever I visit (another form of blackmail?), I'm also sure that they don't add up all the time involved, and would be very upset if I got any more than them - even if their will specifically mentioned payment for care! People DON'T reason when they are emotional about not getting a fair share.

Mr Dorothy Dollar

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #61 on: January 26, 2017, 07:40:15 PM »
I would make it clear that every action has consequences and that after they are dead the only thing left of them is the stories that are told. IT would be a shame to leave a tarnished memory as the only thing left.
My gay money blog: Dorothy Dollar

Vapour

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #62 on: January 26, 2017, 07:47:51 PM »
I think I'd talk with my parents to try to understand the reason behind the unequal inheritance.  The reason may be that the sibling is less well off and they'd be essentially rewarding the spendthrift behavior while "punishing" me for being responsible and financially stable.  It may not be a good reason, but one I think I could accept seeing as I truly do not need an inheritance.  If I felt like it was because they truly loved/cared about the sibling more than me, I could very much understand how that could affect my relationship with them and maybe make me decide to spend less time in their presence.

Now for my personal anecdote... My sister has always been a spendthrift and has never really had much savings.  She's been getting by on her own for several years, but she somewhat recently got herself into a bad situation which left her homeless, jobless, broke, needing legal fees, and without any prospects of getting a job in the near future.  My parents let her move back home and have been financially supporting her ever since.  Recently, my dad asked me if it bothered me that they were supporting her.  I'm glad he asked, and I was able to truthfully tell him that it didn't bother me in the least, and that I was happy that they were there for her.  I know they'd do the same for me if I ever needed it.  And I think it makes a difference the fact that he asked about it and they were concerned about being fair.  But I understand that fair doesn't have to mean equal.  At this time, she needs more support than I do and that's ok.  I'm already so thankful for all they have done for me.

Anyway, I understand it's hard to know what you'd really feel until you're in that situation yourself.  It's easy to say that it's their money and that it shouldn't affect your relationship, but without knowing the "why" behind it, it can be hard to not take it personally.  So my advice is to think long and hard before you make any major decisions about your relationship with your parents.  I would hate to lose a relationship with a close family member over money, but I understand that it may not really be about money.  I'd first try to talk with them to understand the reason behind the unequal inheritance and let them know that you are hurt by their decision.  Best of luck to you.

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #63 on: January 26, 2017, 08:44:41 PM »
I'd first try to talk with them to understand the reason behind the unequal inheritance and let them know that you are hurt by their decision.

Agreed.

I did that, and have been SO GLAD. It was hardhardhard for me to do, to speak and ask honestly, directly, kindly, calmly...with full presence and receptivity to whatever answer they gave.

It took me, I think, two years (!) to get up the oomph/courage/strength to ask, to bring it up.
The conversation happened in three stages, each many many months apart.

At points I was so devastated.
Alone, I cried and cried. Grieved. Saw our shared history in a new light.

The internal shifting was HARD.
Waves of pain.
Doubled over.

But one day, a tiny bit of light sparkled.
I began to see things I hadn't before.

How tired my parents were, of trying to figure stuff out.
How profoundly and explicitly one sibling was manipulating them, and how far back that behaviour went.
How there was a multi-person system of dysfunction.
My mum's belief that men need care and women don't.
Timing.
A comprehensive "forgetting" of history.
That it was nothing personal, not a reflection on me or my parents' love for me.

Within a few days of that glimmer of light—a terrifying and physically painful "seeing"—I had realized what was what, and what decisions I needed to make.
Now, I still don't love that my parents decided to gift one sibling over others.
And that's okay. It's okay that I don't agree with it, support it, endorse it, or love it.

But, I can absolutely accept that this is the decision they made, for the reasons they made it.
It is easy now to not let their decision change my relationship with them.

At the same time, I'm more aware now of my situation, of who is and isn't "there for" me, and in what ways, and I feel freed to make new decisions according to that new knowledge.
Visits are easy, as there is nothing unsaid, no excess pain, nothing tucked away.
This is, I believe, one of the most important gifts we can give ourselves (and our parents) before they pass.
I had said all of what was true for me, my parents heard it to the best degree they could, and they made their decisions with awareness of my views and feelings. I needed that more than I needed equality in generosity/gifting.

I genuinely believe my parents—both of whom went through crazy life stuff and did freakin' awesome with their starting points—did everything they could manage to do. That there was a limit to what they could see or take on or navigate or deal with, well... Once I saw what I saw, I felt no need for either of them to be more, do more, see more. Physically, psychologically, emotionally, and materially they'd performed miracles. There is a limit to the miracles any of us can perform; it's okay for a parent to reach a natural limit. When that light was shed for me, I found all their accomplishments to be enough, more than enough.

Now, several sibling relationships have been affected by my parents' decision to gift one and not others. And that's okay too.
These relationships are not affected "because: money". They're affected because of witnessing the stuff that resulted in the unequal gifting: manipulation, guilt-tripping, severe enabling, codependency, head-in-sand, dishonesty, etc. That kind of stuff often results in reduced respect, regardless of the situation.

But, me and my parents? Awesome Sauce!

sol

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #64 on: January 26, 2017, 08:54:51 PM »
I'd like to think I would STFU and not presume to tell other people what to do with their money.

But I'm human and flawed, and might not have that much virtue in me.

Jammu

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #65 on: January 26, 2017, 10:07:41 PM »
My dad almost got talked into doing something regrettable by my ex brother in law. At the time I was overwhelmed with my own personal business and I didn't really feel like asserting myself.

Sadly my dad passed but before he did my mom helped set things straight. It's not surprisingthat my sister got a divorce shortly after his death.

My mom did help my sister and her kids substantially during and after the divorce. I still help them even though our mom is gone too. I don't mind helping. I am just grateful my mom saw through my b.i.l.'s machinations.

So it could be some kind of interference from someone else.

firelight

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #66 on: January 27, 2017, 04:30:45 AM »
Following since I have something similar brewing at home. My sister has already gotten a lot of financial help(college, post grad, international travel) while I scrimped and saved and worked hard for it. Now she is back home with parents since she couldn't keep a job. She works at my dad's business (more a pity job than one for her abilities) and there are possibilities that she'll inherit more solely because she worked with my dad while I didn't.

Even though I know I shouldn't care, I can see they've already given her $400k+ and enabled her to be manipulative and greedy. She also lost a lot of confidence building opportunities due to that. Would I want to be her? No but it really stings when I think what the money could've done to our FIRE dates.

Anyways, right now I'm just glad they are helping her and I can cut her off after their death with far more surety and less guilt since she received way more and still squandered it. But I have a very very difficult conversation coming up with my parents where I'll be telling them I'm going to cut her out of my life after they are gone.

ETA: I know I don't need to tell them I'm cutting her off my life but they have a weird habit of sharing every info I tell them with my sister. So she'll really listen when they tell it than me telling her directly. I prefer to have all drama done and her finding another leach by the time my parents are gone. That would be the greatest inheritance gift my parents can give me.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 04:33:49 AM by firelight »

Milizard

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #67 on: January 27, 2017, 07:58:47 AM »
Two thoughts on the OP:
1. talk to your parents about it.  Find out their reasoning, and let them know how it makes you feel.
2.  I am my mother's primary caretaker.  It's been a huge financial and life sacrifice for myself and my immediate family.  After several years of my sacrifice, coupled with my siblings almost total lack of contribution despite their availability would justify 100% inheritance of her money on my part.  This isn't happening, partly because I talked my mother out of it at one point.

I guess I should add a third:  it's often impossible to figure out what is 100% fair and equal.  How far back would you take it?  This is very much an issue in my family, as my siblings' mother, who had died early on, initially purchased the family home.  They are to inherit this home.  I am left out, despite sharing the same father who continued to pay the mortgage.  I already received family money from my mother to compensate for this.   I truly don't know what is fair in this regard.  It initially hurt my feelings that I didn't belong to this family home.  Currently, everything I'm doing is effectively saving it from being used for funding my mother's care.

To summarize, it's often more complicated than what may be immediately apparent to you.

HipGnosis

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #68 on: January 27, 2017, 08:01:12 AM »
I've had the polar opposite of inequity.
My parents always treated us kids totally equally financially, and most other ways.
Dad was an only son and had 4 sisters.   He started working quite young while the girls were raised to be 'lady like'. He was expected to make his own way.  He clearly resented it deeply.
But it extended to the point of excluding celebrating most any individual accomplishments.
Which had the consequence(?) of no motivation for accomplishments.  Which is not a loving environment.
Because of the environment I dropped out of high school, got my GED and enlisted the Air Force.  I was in for 20 yrs, and away from them for 20 yrs.   
They helped my sister get a college degree (minor help by all accounts) and Dad resented that she never got a job that used her degree (she married and started a family).  I never asked my parents to help me.  Things would have had to be really bad for me to even consider it.  And I did go through some bad times.
Over the years I've gotten a few checks from my folks - all delivered coldly or in the mail.  'We had to help {sibling} so this is to be fair to you'.   I came to resent 'fair'.

Dad has passed away.  It will be interesting to see Moms will...  I aspire to give my inheritance to my siblings or charity - if it's a "fair" amount.

wenchsenior

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #69 on: January 27, 2017, 08:29:15 AM »
Does the other party who is getting a larger share live closer? Do they see your parents more often?

I have found that normally two types of individuals end up getting the most.

Either the least financially successful or the one who lives the closest and remains the closest with the parents.


I myself am incapable of what I am suggesting it takes a much better person than me.

The amount of money you may get should have no impact in the love you show them or the relationship your children foster with them.

That's what I've seen also. (note, the following story is not meant to imply any judgement from me about my grandmother's choices).

My paternal grandmother gifted me (eldest grandchild) 10K out of the blue, which helped DH and me buy our first house. My two younger sisters got nothing. At that time, none of the three of us lived near her.   

I'm not sure if she also gifted money at that time to my 2 male cousins (her grandsons), both of whom lived close to her.  However, in the next few years, she helped pay for law school for one of the two cousins and (possibly?) business school for the other one. She did not at any time contribute toward my college expenses.

One of my two sisters eventually also did go to college, after about 8 years in the work force. My other sister did not. Regardless, neither ever received any money from my grandmother. Many years later, when my grandmother died and my father inherited some of her estate, he called me to discuss gifting 10K each to my two sisters, to try to make things equal among the three of us (I argued they should get 10K adjusted for about 15 years' inflation, but Dad stuck to a flat 10K). 

So eventually, my sisters received a relatively comparable sum to the one I had received, but it wasn't my grandmother's idea, but my father's. I suspect our two cousins each received much more money, in terms of dollar for dollar support, than we did, via her helping fund college for them.

I have no doubt my grandmother loved all of us. I suspect I got the benefit of being her first-ever grandchild (even though I moved away first and farthest). But my parents divorced, and once my mother no longer had ties to my paternal grandmother, there was probably less 'reinforcement' of what was going in our lives. Whereas my two cousins grew up next door to my grandmother, who saw them and their parents nearly every day and was fully involved in their daily lives, so grandmother was constantly emotionally moved to help.

My two sisters ended up sort of 'forgotten', though I know grandmother loved them and there was no particular reason to take it personally.

Incidentally, the same grandmother poured resources into only 2 of her 6 kids during her lifetime in a way that was certainly unequal. It was the 2 that she judged to need help the most that got all the support.

I'm not sure there is much to be done in this situation but accept it and understand that these types of things are just likely to be unfair in many ways.

On the other hand, if the unequal treatment was due to maliciousness or true favoritism, I'm not sure how I would react to that....

Pigeon

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #70 on: January 27, 2017, 09:33:38 AM »
While I'm a proponent of leaving assets as equitably as possible, and am glad that my father and MIL have their estates planned out that way (should there be anything left), I could understand the reasoning behind leaving more to the one who is geographically closer.

In my husband's case, we live in the same town where she is.  He is the one who she relied on for maintaining her house for the years after FIL died.  We take time off work if she needs to go to the doctor.  We make sure her taxes get done and her bills paid.  When she moved out of the house, there was a flooding catastrophe that took a year to fix before the house could be put on the market.  A huge amount of work was involved.  There was the contents of her house to be dealt with.  DH and I did all of that, and it was endless hours of work and many sleepless nights worrying about the responsibility.  His brothers mostly just made this harder.  They wanted certain things from the house but never would put in the effort of fetching them.  They griped about dh's choice of realtor and lawyer, but didn't offer to come interview others.

DH won't be getting more, and we're happy about that.  I do think that often the ones who are local are the ones who do the heavy lifting, and I could see why parents might feel they should acknowledge that.  I don't think it's necessarily that the local offspring are advocating for more.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #71 on: January 27, 2017, 09:40:40 AM »
...I could understand the reasoning behind leaving more to the one who is geographically closer.

I think you are saying not the one who is geographically closer, but the one who is doing a bunch of work, yes? Sometimes the one who is geographically closest is doing literally nothing, and ones further out are travelling in to do big work.

To me, geographically closer doesn't in itself make a difference, but I 100% support the one doing a bunch of work to get more. Doing all of that does impact one's time (to do paid work, for example), energy levels, stress levels, etc. I like seeing a person infused to recover some of that, if possible.

In my family's case, the one furthest away, doing nothing, with the least live contact is the one receiving.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #72 on: January 27, 2017, 09:52:19 AM »
...I could understand the reasoning behind leaving more to the one who is geographically closer.

I think you are saying not the one who is geographically closer, but the one who is doing a bunch of work, yes? Sometimes the one who is geographically closest is doing literally nothing, and ones further out are travelling in to do big work.

To me, geographically closer doesn't in itself make a difference, but I 100% support the one doing a bunch of work to get more. Doing all of that does impact one's time (to do paid work, for example), energy levels, stress levels, etc. I like seeing a person infused to recover some of that, if possible.

In my family's case, the one furthest away, doing nothing, with the least live contact is the one receiving.

Yes, correct.  Although I think it would be less likely, but entirely possible I suppose, for the ones who live hours away to run over in the middle of the night when she hears noises, make the emergency trip to the dentists when her cap falls off, run over to fix the leaky pipe, etc.  I guess I could see some of his brothers living next door and not lifting a finger.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #73 on: January 27, 2017, 09:53:38 AM »
I think that unless people have themselves been on the receiving end of an unequal estate distribution, it can be hard to imagine what it feels like...money and death are both such touchy subjects anyway that people have a hard time engaging with them rationally.

On both sides I had great-grandparents whose wills did not distribute inheritances equally, and there were some very hard feelings. My grandparents and parents (who were both old enough to remember the fallout) have been very careful about equal divisions. (My parents thankfully are still here and healthy, but have been very transparent with their plans.)

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #74 on: January 27, 2017, 09:55:06 AM »
I think that unless people have themselves been on the receiving end of an unequal estate distribution, it can be hard to imagine what it feels like...

+1.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #75 on: January 27, 2017, 10:49:55 AM »
I think that unless people have themselves been on the receiving end of an unequal estate distribution, it can be hard to imagine what it feels like...

+1.
I wish this was true. My dad is going through an unequal inheritance battle from my grandparents. He is vowed to do everything equally but as I said before, I don't think it'll happen because my sister is such a mess and a manipulator that he doesn't even see the inequality. You can't fix something you don't see, can you?

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #76 on: January 27, 2017, 11:32:17 AM »
...my sister is such a mess and a manipulator that he doesn't even see the inequality. You can't fix something you don't see, can you?

Correct, yes.

At first I didn't quite understand what you meant, but I think you were saying: Your dad is on the receiving end of an unequal gifting, and feels pain in that. Even so, he may decide to plan unequal gifting, because he is unaware of how his daughter is attempting to manipulate him.

Yes, even going through a specific difficulty oneself doesn't mean we'll manage to avoid setting up the same. There are so many variables (emotional, psychological, practical, relational) affecting each person doing the planning.

sol

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #77 on: January 27, 2017, 12:02:27 PM »
At least in my family, the concept of "equal" is very subjective.

Should you evenly divide an estate if one heir was previously given a large chunk of money?  What if it was a house, instead of money?  What if one heir incurred large debts to help provide elder care to a dying parent, should they still get an equal share of the estate because that was their personal choice to incur that debt on behalf of their parent?  What if it was debt to have a dying parent live at home with them where they provided caregiving services for free, also by choice?

On the other side of the family, we've had conflicts over second generation heirs.  When grandma dies, should uncle Joe get a bigger than even share because he's supporting a child with special needs?  What about if he's supporting a child who is poverty stricken due to stupidity instead of genetic condition?  What if the child is a step child from a second marriage that grandma never knew about?

We've also seen considerable family conflict over personal effects.  Does each heir get an equal dollar value of personal items, or do people's varying levels of sentimental attachment come into play?  Who gets important heirlooms with little monetary value?

You can't answer these questions fairly.  You can only follow the deceased's wishes, whether you agree with them or not, or you can fight the deceased's wishes, in which case you are probably "that one" in the family.

If there is a will, I suggest you follow it explicitly and don't bitch about it.

I think my will should include a provision that says "any party who contests any provision of this will immediately forfeits all inheritance for themselves and all of their descendents forever.  Ya'll can suck it."
« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 02:17:04 PM by sol »

hudsoncat

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #78 on: January 27, 2017, 02:02:55 PM »
My grandparents have already told everyone that they plan to leave any money left (likely not a lot, they are having a fabulously fun retirement!) to the grandchildren rather than their own children (Fine with everyone, at least publicly). Except for me. Who they have deemed to be the most 'together' of all the grandchildren (true, at least at the time). My portion is  being split evenly between my siblings who... have taken a different, less productive path than me through life. My initial knee jerk reaction was, "WTF?!?!" Not because I need the money (I don't). Not because I want the money (I don't). But because it felt unfair. But honestly, after a bit of stewing I realized exactly what I said above. I don't need or want the money. I don't feel any less loved by my grandparents. And I chose to not let it be a big deal. This all came out about 4 years ago or so. I don't feel that our relationship is any different.

I understand you might also be thinking WTF?!?! right now, but it only has to be an issue if you let it to be. I do understand that is easier said than done, but as I tell my students, you cannot change the actions of others, you can only change your reaction to their actions.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #79 on: January 27, 2017, 02:39:24 PM »
My portion is  being split evenly between my siblings who... have taken a different, less productive path than me through life.

Sounds like you already have everything under control, but if you look at it in the right light, it's sort of a vote of confidence. If you squint a little, you could take it more like they feel you're something of a peer who has figured out how to maintain some level of wealth rather than a child that needs taking care of.

firelight

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #80 on: January 27, 2017, 03:17:42 PM »
My grandparents have already told everyone that they plan to leave any money left (likely not a lot, they are having a fabulously fun retirement!) to the grandchildren rather than their own children (Fine with everyone, at least publicly). Except for me. Who they have deemed to be the most 'together' of all the grandchildren (true, at least at the time). My portion is  being split evenly between my siblings who... have taken a different, less productive path than me through life. My initial knee jerk reaction was, "WTF?!?!" Not because I need the money (I don't). Not because I want the money (I don't). But because it felt unfair. But honestly, after a bit of stewing I realized exactly what I said above. I don't need or want the money. I don't feel any less loved by my grandparents. And I chose to not let it be a big deal. This all came out about 4 years ago or so. I don't feel that our relationship is any different.

I understand you might also be thinking WTF?!?! right now, but it only has to be an issue if you let it to be. I do understand that is easier said than done, but as I tell my students, you cannot change the actions of others, you can only change your reaction to their actions.
Kudos to you! I hope I can reach that level before things get ugly on home front and be happy that my parents consider me their equal than their kid. A part of me still wishes to be their kid and be taken care of like they do my sister but I hope it reduces and vanishes as time goes by.

Any books/talks that helped you reach there? Also, would you have reached the same conclusion if it had been parents instead of grandparents?

retired?

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #81 on: January 27, 2017, 03:25:46 PM »
Understanding why they are leaving unequal amounts may help to accept it.

I am in the camp of MMMers who don't like being punished for being frugal, hard-working, etc. that result in FI.  But, it happens all the time.  It's still better to work hard and be prudent to ensure your stability.

Thinking of my own situation - grandparents on one side left equal amounts to grandkids.  My parents are still alive (but it won't be a large estate), but I expect it would be even.

Grandparents on other side left all or most to the two siblings that lived nearby (eventually moved in) and helped out most.  My dad got close to nothing, but I expect he was fine with it.  Never complained.

My wife's mom is still alive, and while her sibling is much less well-off, I expect it will be split equally......partly b/c my wife is closer to the MIL and partly because the MIL knows how responsible the sibling is (not very).

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #82 on: January 27, 2017, 04:18:34 PM »
If there are no genuinely extenuating circumstances, like a disability, I think it's a pretty rotten thing for parents to do.

 I think it sends a message to the kids that they really aren't loved equally.  If a  parent wants to send that message, that's obviously up to them.   But I don't know how it wouldn't be perceived as hurtful.  it would change how I felt.

I concur. 100% 

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #83 on: January 27, 2017, 04:41:23 PM »
My wife has a half brother that is basically worthless.  Just plum lazy.  Her folks take care of him to the tune of 3k to 4k a month.  He's 38 years old mind you. In the last 45 days he's managed to work one day, but why work when mommy will pay all your bills.  My wife has already informed her parents that when they are gone he will live under a bridge and starve to death before we take care of him.  She also informed them that if their Will doesn't reflect all the money he has received during his life and things aren't made right that she will cease to have a relationship with him once they are gone.  I try to stay out of it because it's her family, but it's a mess all over.

I just can't fathom how her parents operate.  I grew up in a family where all kids where treated equal and if one got something everyone else got something also.  It might not of been the same thing, but equal dollar amounts. This is how I treat my children.  Their are no favorites.  Boy, girl, oldest, or youngest they get x amount each per Christmas and birthdays.  Her parents routinely shit on my wife and their only grand kids just to help their lazy ass son out.  It blows my mind. In the last year my wife has figured they've given him at least 50k.

I am in a similar situation. I understand why your wife feels the way she does.

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #84 on: January 27, 2017, 05:04:57 PM »
I think that unless people have themselves been on the receiving end of an unequal estate distribution, it can be hard to imagine what it feels like...

+1.

Okay.  When my grandfather died, my brother got his house.  I got nothing.

I'm happy with this situation!

For one, my brother isn't as financially successful as I am and I am glad he has a place to live.  Is it enabling?  Yes.  But it means he's not living with my parents (he started living there to "watch the house" when grandfather went into the nursing home and just stayed there).  Also, he lives in the same town as the family and does a lot of the little errands for the older generation.

Why do I want a house in a town I don't live in?  And I'm glad it stayed in the family.

Does this mean I'm qualified to have an opinion?

I think OP should think about "why" the parents would do that.  If they don't need the money like the siblings and if the siblings are legitimately contributing more to family care than they are, then I think that's the answer.   But maybe the siblings are deceptive manipulators or the parents have always subtly hinted that the OP was not "good enough".  I certainly can't claim to know more about the family than they do.

I just know that unequal distribution does not have to cause hurt feelings.  Edited to add: It's not because I am some enlightened saint or anything.  In an egotistical way I am proud of the vote of confidence my family gave and the fact that I am standing on my own adult feet now.  And in a selfish way it frees my of an emotional need to financially contribute to my sibling whom I love but is a little bit lazy (sigh!  our family has a slight enabling bent).  So try to filter it in a way that works for you!
« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 06:01:42 PM by Ann »

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #85 on: January 27, 2017, 05:08:15 PM »
I would cry a river, build a bridge, and get over it.
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hudsoncat

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #86 on: January 27, 2017, 06:48:29 PM »
My grandparents have already told everyone that they plan to leave any money left (likely not a lot, they are having a fabulously fun retirement!) to the grandchildren rather than their own children (Fine with everyone, at least publicly). Except for me. Who they have deemed to be the most 'together' of all the grandchildren (true, at least at the time). My portion is  being split evenly between my siblings who... have taken a different, less productive path than me through life. My initial knee jerk reaction was, "WTF?!?!" Not because I need the money (I don't). Not because I want the money (I don't). But because it felt unfair. But honestly, after a bit of stewing I realized exactly what I said above. I don't need or want the money. I don't feel any less loved by my grandparents. And I chose to not let it be a big deal. This all came out about 4 years ago or so. I don't feel that our relationship is any different.

I understand you might also be thinking WTF?!?! right now, but it only has to be an issue if you let it to be. I do understand that is easier said than done, but as I tell my students, you cannot change the actions of others, you can only change your reaction to their actions.
Kudos to you! I hope I can reach that level before things get ugly on home front and be happy that my parents consider me their equal than their kid. A part of me still wishes to be their kid and be taken care of like they do my sister but I hope it reduces and vanishes as time goes by.

Any books/talks that helped you reach there? Also, would you have reached the same conclusion if it had been parents instead of grandparents?

I really don't know. Neither of my parents are likely going to be in a position to leave inheritances. My mom mostly won't be because she spends most of her money keeping the aforementioned siblings afloat (As is grandma from time to time). That doesn't really bother me either other than I find it irritating that mom occasionally goes without things she'd like (little luxuries mostly) because of it. My dad (not the father of my siblings) and step-mom don't plan on leaving anything for me or my step-sisters and thats fine too. Both of my step-sisters (and one in particular) have also gotten more 'help' than I have over the years (Being bailed out of situations due to poor decision making). None of that has ever really bothered me. I like my life. I have everything I need and most of what I want (If only a Tesla wouldn't severely set back FIRE plans...).

Nothing really got me to that place in life (books/talks). I've just always been fairly independent and self-assured. I don't take a lot of things to heart unless it's something really important to me. I don't mean to imply that my family isn't important (or money for that matter), but really, the inheritance isn't important to me. Maybe it's about deciding what is most important to you. I think I should also note that while my grandparents were great savers, they are having a fun retirement and there are a lot of grandkids... so whatever is going to be left certainly isn't enough to be ruining relationships over either. I'm certain all those things go into my overall shoulder shrug feelings about the whole thing.

Edited to add: This does not mean I've never had (and occasionally have) moments where all the current money being funneled to my siblings doesn't irritate me (mostly because I want them to WANT to better their lot in life and they don't), but then I remind myself again that my life is great. And I go back to being fine with it in pretty quick order. Because I wouldn't trade places with them for anything.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 07:01:33 PM by hudsoncat »

frugalecon

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #87 on: January 27, 2017, 08:25:16 PM »
If this happened in my family, I would try to not let it bother me, but I have a feeling that I would feel rejected. But part of that is because it would tie into childhood feelings. As a kid, all of the relatives were nuts about my sisters, because they were the only girls on either side of the family. When we would visit aunts/uncles or grandparents, the sisters received bags of gifts, and there was nothing for me. Plenty of other differential treatment too. (Chores for me, tv for the sisters.) As a six or seven year old, I really didn't understand this, and I fault my parents for not putting a stop to it. I suspect that these inheritance dramas often tie into this sort of earlier drama; it is all of a piece.

Not surprisingly, the pattern continued into adulthood. My dad even once acknowledged it, and said he was going to do "something big" for me to make it up. He never did, of course. In a way, it was more undermining for me to have him recognize that he had not treated me equally, say that he would make it up, and renege than if he never had acknowledged it in the first place.

Still, when faced with unequal treatment, I think it is important to stay true to one's values, I believe in doing what I can to have a good relationship with family.


indentured4now

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #88 on: January 27, 2017, 08:47:59 PM »
To the OP Acorns,  From helping one parent live out their life and another who is really bitter in older age and threatens to disinherit me, they strike out at the ones they love.  Or more specifically, they strike out at those who don't love them "quite as much" as they become bitter in old age.   Really it's their bad choice.   Your life is your life.    Love them.  But itt's their money.   And it was never your money.   It's God's money.   If you get anything, then behave responsibly and use that money to make you comfortable.  The "favorite" sibling usually blows it.   The parent becomes the child in the infirmity of old age and generally turns toward the kid that sucks up to Mommy or Daddy (or lives out of town and doesn't have to be the "bad guy" to look after the parents.  It's sucks.   It's stupid.   It's not fair.  Be tough, be a role model for your kids if you have them (as they will treat you similarly some day) and love them anyway.   Peace!

kite

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #89 on: January 28, 2017, 07:48:39 AM »
Your children are learning how to treat you from how you treat your parents.  THIS is paramount.  If you raise them to believe that "other travel" takes precedence over a relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, that may burn you down the road very badly.
You could teach them to be decent to everyone, all the time.  Or you can teach them to only be decent to those who have first given them what they think is their fair share.  This will turn your kids into assholes.  Don't do that.  The thing about assholes is every single one of them feels justified because someone else once got a bigger slice of cake. 
« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 08:24:51 AM by kite »

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #90 on: January 28, 2017, 08:28:42 AM »
Interesting reading all the points of view here.

Personally, my (separated) parents are both reasonably well off with savings and public sector pensions - I tell them both to enjoy themselves and I'm not expecting an inheritance. If they ever need care, I'll make sure they start spending down their savings to keep them comfortable and staying where they want to live.

They however are keen to leave a bit of an inheritance, as they are both the first generation in their families to 'make it', and own homes/have savings etc. Any inheritance will be shared equally between siblings, and the only contentious item is a plant my mum currently has custody of that both my brother and I want! She was updating her will and asked us what we wanted, and the only thing we both wanted was the plant.


mrmiyagi

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #91 on: January 28, 2017, 09:41:57 AM »
I know there are a lot of emotions involved in parent-child relationships. But this is a forum of rational people. We have no claim to anyone else's money, and what they do with it is up to them. My parents could give their money to my siblings only, give it to charity, or light it all on fire Joker-style. Their call. Expecting money from your parents as an adult is irrational - while they're alive or dead.

Mikila

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #92 on: January 28, 2017, 09:51:24 AM »
Others can do as they darn well please with their own money and give it or not as they please.  As others have said, there IS a reason behind their plan to distribute their wealth, whether those who stand to inherit understand or approve.  Some common reasonings have been pointed out: child's need, child's care for the parent, child's responsible nature.  I have heard an old man say, of his granddaughter's husband, "I can't stand him.  He's worthless."  Consequently the grandchild married to him received very little.  Also, I have seen it where older people left more money to those of their descendants who are morally upright, or living in line with their own values.  For example, disinheriting a spendthrift child because they didn't want their life savings to be wasted (and they were great savers).

Ultimately whether someone chooses to pass some measure of their wealth to me has no bearing on my love for them.  If I began to feel differently, I would search  myself to root out any avaricious feelings.  I am pretty sure my grandfather will leave everything to one of his three children, my aunt, and that is fine by me.  It's his to do with as he pleases.

sol

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #93 on: January 28, 2017, 10:16:28 AM »
the only contentious item is a plant my mum currently has custody of that both my brother and I want! She was updating her will and asked us what we wanted, and the only thing we both wanted was the plant.

It sounds like it might be time to propagate that plant into two new ones, and then let the old one die off.

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #94 on: January 28, 2017, 11:02:51 AM »
...I tell them both to enjoy themselves and I'm not expecting an inheritance. If they ever need care, I'll make sure they start spending down their savings to keep them comfortable and staying where they want to live.

Yeah, my sense is that everyone on the thread so far lands here as well :)

Mezzie

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #95 on: January 28, 2017, 11:14:02 AM »
I'm going to pretend for a moment that my siblings and I will have anything to inherit.

I can come up with multiple reasons why such an inheritence could be unequal:
1. Those with kids vs. those without.
2. Those with debt vs. those without.
3. Those with property vs. those without.
4. Those with lucrative/stable careers vs. those without.

In all of these cases, I would completely understand if I got less than my siblings. I really think my parents would give equally, but if they didn't, I wouldn't even question why with such obvious reasons available. (Now if they gave ME more, I would be confused, but maybe they would have done so because they know I would immediately split things evenly with my sibs.)

Again, this is purely hypothetical; we siblings are all likely to pool our resources to help our parents age with dignity.
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jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #96 on: January 28, 2017, 11:22:52 AM »
I do wonder if some of us who felt pain upon learning an unequal gifting was planned have had different a different experience overall.

i.e., The ones who have experienced an unequal gifting, and have zero emotion about that, have they historically:

1. Felt less need for parental nurturing, from babyhood onward? i.e., Some people inherently feel less need, some more. If a person's need is fulfilled from the get go, do they feel completely detached about the final opportunity for nurturing? If a person's need is unmet from the get go onward, do they feel much pain at the "last opportunity"?

2. Felt more need for care, but on an emotional level gave up on that a long time ago, thus have no "need" or recognizable emotions about it at the last opportunity?

Personally, I was quite struck by the processing that happened for me when I learned of the unequal gifting (despite having financially supported a parent for a time, visiting lots compared to the recipient's never, supporting practically, etc).

When I processed it all at that primal, visceral level, I landed at a very new place—the reality of my family, past and present.

I think some people are so nurtured—so filled up by their parents (or parental replacements) throughout their lives—that a final gift is neither here nor there, emotionally or materially.

Conversely, I think some people in perpetually difficult family circumstances release the hope much earlier (e.g., teens), thus have no sense of engagement with this piece by their mid-life. My life (finances, relationships, etc) would have been very different had my body "gotten" this piece decades before it did. As it happens, though, my body just could not or would not see the whole of the family "stuff" until this final piece came up. I'm really glad it finally did, as it's lovely to feel peaceful and clear, to be lined up with reality, and to have a new freedom. But yeah, getting to reality much earlier would have resulted in a very different trajectory.

Cranky

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #97 on: January 28, 2017, 12:04:51 PM »
My mom let it be known some years ago that she was leaving more to my sister than to me, and I admit I was pretty startled by this. When I asked why she had decided this, she did say that she thought I was better off, which again surprised me because I thought it was the other way around (and my sister and I are both responsible people.) (The main difference is that I've raised 3 kids and my sister hasn't any, which is kind of why I thought she was ahead financially.)

It did hurt my feelings, and I did have to acknowledge that mom *did* like her better, and in some ways, it felt okay to realize that I'd already known that. (And my sister is very nice - I like her a lot!)

I don't have any great need for the money. Dh and I are just fine. It was a tough nut to crack open emotionally, but it was really okay.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #98 on: January 28, 2017, 12:13:07 PM »
the only contentious item is a plant my mum currently has custody of that both my brother and I want! She was updating her will and asked us what we wanted, and the only thing we both wanted was the plant.

It sounds like it might be time to propagate that plant into two new ones, and then let the old one die off.

It's been attempted, we've each got cuttings, but they just aren't as impressive.

Letting it die would be sacrilege, it's now a family heirloom.

On a serious note, glad a plants all that we disagree on!

gerardc

  • Bristles
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  • Posts: 420
  • Age: 33
  • Location: SF bay area
Re: Unequal inheritance - what would you do?
« Reply #99 on: January 28, 2017, 12:34:47 PM »
Wow, i just went through this exact scenario last week so I can understand the emotions.  It's not really about the money, it's about what the unequal division means.  I found out my parents are planning to let my adult sister live in their second property (worth millions, in the SF bay area) for free and she will probably eventually inherit it.  She's a Google tech employee and I'm a physician, so neither of us hurt financially. I progressed through three stages of dealing with this:

1. For days, I was irrationally angry at both my sister and my parents, and even threw out some things my mom had gotten my for my birthday as a child.  I felt I couldn't go to family gatherings as act normally towards them ever again.  I considered just asking them to leave me out of their will just to avoid the whole situation altogether. 

2. After a few days, some rationality came back (after some ranting phone calls with friends), and I was once again able to remember all the wonderful things they did for me while growing up.  I convinced myself that as their money has absolutely nothing to do with me, I should not be worried about where it goes.  I recalled what I had read in the book "The Millionaire Next Door" about how the more subsidies adult children receive, the LESS they are able to achieve financial independence. The MORE they receive, the LESS they accumulate. I feel sorry and a little worried for my sister.  I plan to just focus on continuing to reach my goals in life and have confidence that things will be great.  I dug the gifts back out of the garbage.  I thanked my parents for teaching me independence and self-confidence, thus leading to happiness in life.  So rationally I could think about it this way, but I wasn't really "feeling" it yet.

3. And after another few days, I feel back to normal now, and feel that I can have a normal relationship with my sister and parents, even if they leave almost everything to her. I realize it is because they worry about her since she's single, and they have enabled dependence in her due to all their past help, and now it continues. I am again able to see ALL the things my parents have done that show they love me  and appreciate those things, and it shouldn't all just be tossed out because of where they decide to leave their own stuff after they die.  Anyway, I hope that you are able to work things out because it is a very uncomfortable situation to be in.

Sorry but that just screams unfair. Giving millions more to your sister just because she's single and vulnerable? I don't really understand your parents rationale?

Re the bold, I don't think that applies to your sister. She's a Google employee with a million dollar house, she's mostly FI already. That only applies to spoiled children, not if you're already adult, IMO.