I've inherited some money and don't know how to share it.

(224 Posts)
Snowme Mon 01-Apr-13 23:29:54

I've inherited a significant amount of money. Not enough to buy a house or anything like that,but certainly enough to drastically improve the lives of myself and my two young children.

I have three step siblings but as I grew up with them from the age of 2.5 none of us have ever referred to or considered eachother stepsiblings.
Our Dad (my stepdad) died about 18 years ago and at the time I vaguely remember it being common knowledge that because I was the stepchild and I was going to inherit from my paternal grandparents one day, anything from my stepdad's will would not include me, as I was kind of catered for already. I believe the same is now also true with regards to my Mum's will.

Although my siblings spent an occasional school holiday with me and my paternal grandparents, and always received birthday presents with money and gifts throughout their childhood from them, they were not mentioned in my late grandmother's will. So whilst they were not especially close to them, they were familiar with them.

As there are no other beneficiaries to the will except myself, I would like to give some of the money to my siblings. But dilemmas keep presenting themselves. I'm also asking advice from a more practical forum, but Mumsnet will provide more direct views.

Basically, I'd like to know how much to give them.

Briefly, my recent background is that I left a DV 8 year relationship a couple of years ago and left their father with my then 4 week old newborn and toddler.

I've had massive financial problems since, inherited debt from our time together where he did not contribute financially, etc etc. I've recently filed for a Debt Relief Order (similar to bankruptcy) as it got to the point where I was evicted for arrears and then couldn't even afford to bus my daughter into school in the next town. The debt isn't huge and this inheritance could finally take away that 5 year long noose from my neck.

My youngest starts school this Autumn, so this money also makes the transition from depending on benefits to finding full time work again much easier.

But as I'm currently still on full benefits until the probate process is completed in several months time, once the benefits agencies are aware, I won't be eligible for housing benefit, income support or council tax benefit, so as I'm not working and it's unlikely I'll find a full time job quickly that can also cover childcare costs, I'm going to have to pay my own rent, living expenses, etc once I have that money, so at around £900 a month or whatever the cost is rent, food, utilities, council tax, etc that inheritance will trickle away very quickly.

The idea of stashing it for my children's future is becoming less feasible if I have to live off it instead until I find work.

So, with that in mind, firstly what amount should I be thinking of giving my siblings, and secondly, do I explain my reasons for that amount (ie that I need to think of my own children first and that they have already inherited from our Dad when I did not)
or not declare the full amount at all?

I want to be able to give the, something of course, I just don't know how much. I'm aware this is such a once in a lifetime blessing. What do you think ? Do I need to declare the amount here or can you figure out a reply without knowing it? It's to enough buy a house, nowhere near,for instance.

IWishIWasSheRa Mon 01-Apr-13 23:33:17

You sound lovely and I think that as one d

Annunziata Mon 01-Apr-13 23:34:06

If I were you, I would pay off your debts and come back to this look at how once you have found a job.

IWishIWasSheRa Mon 01-Apr-13 23:34:37

Oops... Door opens another closes re the benefits so you should not be too generous- how about taking them away for the weekend instead?

Annunziata Mon 01-Apr-13 23:34:41

I must be more tired than I thought, sorry blush *come back to look at this once

ImperialBlether Mon 01-Apr-13 23:35:51

I think you should never tell them the amount that you got. How lovely that you've inherited at a time when things are so hard for you financially.

How much could you keep and still have the support from the state that you have now?

aldiwhore Mon 01-Apr-13 23:36:23

I don't think you should give your siblings anything other than a token gesture, they don't need to know how much you've inherited, they don't expect it, so maybe enough to buy themselves a break away? It really does depend on how much you inherited.

If I were you I would concentrate on you and your children. The money could set you up for a long time if spent wisely could it not? Then that is what to do.

For myself I would probably separate the money into 'money to be used usefully' and treat money... so if, out of that treat money I was to take myself and the children to (for argument's sake) Centr Parcs for a few days, I might consider giving the equivalent to my siblings.

You are in danger of offending them whatever you do or don't do, so it really is down to you isn't it?

I am sure you will use the money wisely. I will say though that you really should use some of it to treat youself and your children, my Granny wanted me to buy a piano with her inheritence, but we were so so strapped for cash when she died we had to use it to live... I still wish I'd at least stubbornly spent some of it on a second hand piano. x

Gruntfuttocks Mon 01-Apr-13 23:36:23

If you were financially secure yourself, then it would be a nice idea to give your step-siblings a bung, but from what you're saying, it sounds like you really need this money for yourself and your kids. For goodness sake, be sensible and use the money for your own family. Will your step-sibs be looking to give you money when they inherit? The money was left you you, presumably with the intention of taking care of YOUR needs. Why not go with the wishes of the person who left it to you?

WafflyVersatile Mon 01-Apr-13 23:36:44

I think you need some proper financial/legal advice about gifting money and being on benefits etc. for starters.

Beyond any legal issues that might vary according to amounts gifted then it's totally up to you.

10% of the total amount between them?
50% of the total amount between them? How can we possibly advise?

Geordieminx Mon 01-Apr-13 23:37:44

Look after your own needs and those of your children first.

My advice would be to give nothing away at the moment as you don't know what the future will hold wrt benefits/finding a job etc

Take them out for a nice meal or something, then put the rest away, spend wisely and hopefully it sil enable you to change your life and those of your dc. If in a years' time you find yourself settled, with a job and no debt then that would be the time to look and see what you have left and perhaps give your siblings something.

The last thing you want to do is hand over £xx then in six months time be struggling yourself and end up back in debt.

See this as a new start for you and your dc, it sounds like you deserve it.

beanandspud Mon 01-Apr-13 23:38:53

FWIW I would wait until you actually have the money,pay off your debts and then see what's left and make a decision.

If at that point you feel that you can make a gift of a couple of hundred/thousand (?) pounds to your step-siblings then do it. Alternatively, if it's not possible then don't. I hope that you don't have to explain your decision. Try to think ahead and plan for the future. You sound lovely, please don't let an inheritance spoil the relationship that you have with your step-siblings.

Geordieminx Mon 01-Apr-13 23:40:10

Xposts with everyone grin

ImperialBlether Mon 01-Apr-13 23:40:27

I think you can only have about £16000 in savings (I say "only" because of the context of inheriting) but assume you could pay off all debts and still have £16000 before you need to worry about losing any benefits.

I think a lot depends on how much you have inherited. I'm not saying this to be nosy, but when you say it won't buy a house, a lot depends on where you live!

Lovelygoldboots Mon 01-Apr-13 23:41:13

You need to be sure when you are definitely getting the money. But the money has been left to you. That is the point of a will. It is not up to you to change a persons last will and testament. Keep the money. It's noone else's business.

BreconBeBuggered Mon 01-Apr-13 23:41:32

Until you've found yourself a permanent job, I don't think you should be in a hurry to give any cash away. Your children's security has to come first.

If you happen to know you're related to me, on the other hand, a few grand wouldn't go amiss.

Keep quiet about it for now. The thought of a legacy does weird things to people.

ImperialBlether Mon 01-Apr-13 23:41:32

But I agree with the others - look after yourself first. You've had really hard financial times and they did inherit from their father.

ImperialBlether Mon 01-Apr-13 23:44:03

Legally, I'm not sure whether you can give money away in order to remain under the threshold. I've just been reading about a woman who saved up more than £22000 whilst on benefits and she had to give the money back to the state. You have to be really careful. What if you gave away half and then the state claimed it back from you?

LazyMonkeyButler Mon 01-Apr-13 23:44:07

I honestly think it depends on how much you have inherited and how much your siblings stand to inherit from your Dad. As awful as it sounds, you cannot guarantee that they will share with you as you have (or are willing to) with them.

I agree with other posters that you must sort your needs out first and then see what is left over for potential sharing. If that is nothing then so be it.

cece Mon 01-Apr-13 23:44:29

I agree you need specialist advice on the legalities of all this with regard to your benefits and the implications of gifting the money.

I do agree thought that you should not tell your siblings the full amount of the inheritance.

I also agree that it should be more of a token amount or pay for a holiday/weekend away/meal.

I also agree that you need to focus on your own and your DC financial secutiry before considering your siblings.

MagicHouse Mon 01-Apr-13 23:44:59

If it's not enough to buy a house, then realistically, you don't have enough to be handing out huge sums. Especially of you have debts to clear and you will need to live off it. I also think you should get yourself settled and wait to see how much you can really afford before comitting yourself to anything.

As for the amount, no-one can decide that except you really. Are you worried about what your family will think of you if you don't share it? If it really bothers you, when you are clear about what you can afford just be honest and say you need most of it to live on as having it will affect your benefits and you also need to settle your debts but you would like to give them enough for a great holiday maybe? You have nothing to feel guilty about in receiving this money, or in using it to make a less stressful life for yourself and your children. It sounds like you deserve it :-)

Tortington Mon 01-Apr-13 23:45:39

whya are you giving away money?

sounds really daft to me.

not enough to buy a house - might be a significant deposit on a small flat or something?

I guarentee you - they wouldn't do the same

RaisingGirls Mon 01-Apr-13 23:45:52

It might not buy you a house outright, but once you have a job, maybe it could be a deposit with a mortgage.

I agree with others above, pay off your debt and wait until you are on your feet and then revisit.

If I understand properly from your OP, when one day in the future your mum dies, you will inherit from her? That might be the time, whenever in the future it may be, to think about this again?

TheCraicDealer Mon 01-Apr-13 23:47:03

Callous as this might seem, your step siblings are adults, with their own lives, jobs and potential inheritance some time down the line. Your kids are...well, children, and they rely on you for food, clothing, and a home. As well as love, which thankfully is free and appears to be in abundance in your house if this is something you're selflessly considering.

I'd keep the money until I had a proper permanent position and then turn back to this again. If the money's gone by then, better you used it to keep your home and feed yourselves rather than give away.

You should ask yourself why you're doing this. Would you expect the same off your siblings if the situation were reversed, if they had had a windfall after being forced from their home and in a difficult position financially for a long time? Because it sounds like you're trying to avoid making them angry at you rather than because you wish to share the money fairly.

Chandras Mon 01-Apr-13 23:53:17

Pay your debts, you will come out of benefits but can come back to them if needs be. But try to use the remaining money to improve your job prospects, perhaps investing some of it in gettting a new qualification, a more work oriented wardrobe or stuff your children need.

Don't discard the idea of using that money towards their child fund.

And don't discuss what you got with anyone. You will need that money to cover your expenses if benefits are suspended for a while. It is not that there is plenty of money to spare, is it?

Snowme Tue 02-Apr-13 00:01:07

Yes, it is over the £16,000 cut off so I will definately lose all entitlement to my current benefits.

It wouldn't even buy a third of a house,ImperialBlether, I'm in the East Midlands.

I've also discussed this with another person (non family member) and they also suggested treated my siblings to the cash equivalent of a holiday each could be a good use of the money. They could certainly all use a good holiday each, all in stressful employ really and two of them particularly deserve some quality time away together!

I haven't even begun the probate process yet so it will be end of summer I expect anyway before any money is ready to be credited to my account. So as someone has already said, perhaps I need to make a decision much nearer the time, ie when the money is through, because presumably my benefits will not stopped until then. I don't/didn't plan to find full time work until my youngest started school anyway, not because I'm being a dole scrounger, but because practically and psychologically even, I wanted to be a stay at home mother for them, being a one parent household, to bolster their early years really, more so for my eldest who does remember some of the bad times when I was with their father.

Also, should I actually discuss with my siblings/Mum whether they did actually receive anything from Dad whenhe died, as it was only vaguely referred to, I don't actually have it in concrete. And that should impact my own decision surely on how to share my money?

In January this year I had a bit of a brief breakdown I think, I just couldn't function physically or mentally for a week or so, my financial troubles, not processing my recent past, all came to a head. Then 2 weeks later my Gran died and suddenly I've inherited this money that takes away all my financial troubles and cushions the future for myself and two children. I feel blessed beyond belief. I want to do the right thing with this blessing, for all concerned around me, that's all.

I'll keep reading all your replies, Thankyou for your views so far.

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