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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.

I'm going to be blunt. Your Gran left this to you, they may already have inherited when you didn't, they are not in debt and struggling and you are. I wouldn't think about anything other than a token. You sound lovely but this money could change your life and that of your children.

Get good financial advice and don't discuss amounts with anyone except a financial adviser for the foreseeable. It is rare that when we really need it, something like this happens. You gran would have wanted you and your children to be OK after she passed. Make sure you don't endanger that.

AnnandBarryAgain Tue 02-Apr-13 00:27:51

Also not getting why you are so keen to share with step siblings. So what if they think you have kept it all. It's yours to keep. You are not obliged to share it nor should you be expected to share it.You need to think about you and your kids and nobody else!!! grin

TheCraicDealer Tue 02-Apr-13 00:28:12

Snowme, that is not a good idea. You've said yourself that they have an overinflated estimation of your GM's finances, you do not want them expecting a sizeable windfall and then be disappointed when presented with whatever figure you've decided on. Because, more than likely, it will never be "enough" in their eyes.

It seems like you're trying to buy their affection/goodwill. And believe me, if you were on the bones of your arse and they didn't help, you don't need their goodwill. Sort yourself out, you've had a hard enough time of it. It's time to put yourself and your kids first.

Lovelygoldboots Tue 02-Apr-13 00:29:51

<gives up.>

Snowme Tue 02-Apr-13 00:29:54

alibaba Because I've been in the most horrendous financial straits imaginable for 5 years and it resulted in what I presume was a bit of a breakdown this January mostly because of that, so I poignantly understand the value of money and I believe I know how much joy it would bring the to be given some money, to have a holiday or whatever they choose to use it for. It's like I am putting this blessing to good, productive use, I genuinely want to give them a bit of happiness, as my Gran has done by leaving this to me.

CandyCrushed Tue 02-Apr-13 00:30:03

You are right not to discuss it with anyone. I agree with everyone else that you should do nothing until you are up and running in a new job and have bought everything you need. You might find that you spend more than you think you will. You may also find you end up with less than you think.

If anyone asks you about the money be very vague and mutter about solicitor bills, your Grans debts etc, etc. You could also lie be a little creative and say that your Gran wanted some of the money to go towards your DC's University fees.
I think I would keep it all.

MagicHouse Tue 02-Apr-13 00:31:26

I think you might be over thinking things. I'm sure most people wouldn't assume the amount that has been left in a will. It sounds as though you think your step-siblings will be assuming you have been left the equivalent value of a massive London house and that you are desperate to put them right in case they think you are mean. You don't sound at all mean and I'm sure the people who love and know you best will know this about you.

What they received from your Dad is nothing to do with anything. If you were settled and were in the position of spending all the money on luxuries then maybe that would be different and you could share more of it out if that made you happy. But it sounds like this is a real break for you and you and your family need this money to get settled. You're simply not in a position to give masses of it away.

In your position I wouldn't discuss it. If you really wanted though, you could let it be known that it was enough to pay off your debts and live off while you find a good job to support you and your children (which is entirely true). The reality is they will probably be chuffed to bits for you that some good luck has fallen your way.

cantspel Tue 02-Apr-13 00:31:31

Their is an old saying that goes A fool and their money are soon parted. Dont be a fool.

When you have been in the most horrendous financial straits imaginable for 5 years and it resulted in what I presume was a bit of a breakdown this January mostly because of that did they give you money? A place to stay? Support you and the DC?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 02-Apr-13 00:33:40

Ok, that is fair enough.

But - if you give away a load of it, then in another couple of years you could be back where you started. Don't your DCs deserve better?

I am really struggling to understand your thinking. Your sister took money from you, knowing that you were being evicted?

Why would you want to bring joy to her, over and above the joy that a stable home could bring your children?

Forgive me, but you seem to be very focused on short term things you could do with it. Please speak to a professional about what could be possible in terms of giving your DCs a better start in life before you start promising your step-siblings money, although I'm getting the impression from what you have said that you have already made some promises?

Snowme Tue 02-Apr-13 00:33:55

Erk. Ok a few people are becoming shirky and resigned - sorry! I'm not trying to buy anyone's affections at all alibaba, I just want to use it wisely and with good conscience.

I agree I will sit on it until I'm more aware of priorities such as how it affects my state benfts, my likely employment situation when youngest starts school, etc etc.

zzzzz Tue 02-Apr-13 00:34:27

I think you should keep it and try to pass some on to your children in time.

Learn to drive. Buy some work clothes. Get a job. Put down a deposit for a modest home. Work and save hard and one day you will be in a position to give your children a hand up. Your siblings don't want your money, they want you safe and making a success of your life.

CandyCrushed Tue 02-Apr-13 00:34:32

Yikes, I hadn't refreshed my page before writing my post and can now see your post about your sister borrowing money from you and your suggestion of having a meeting with them. I think it would be a VERY BAD idea to discuss this with them. I really would not tell them ANYTHING. Tell them it can take years to sort out and your solicitor is dealing with it.

ImperialBlether Tue 02-Apr-13 00:35:41

Are you worried that they won't think you're one of their family if you don't share your money? They didn't share their money, nor should they have. You shouldn't either.

I think you're assuming that if you gave them money, you would then be able to continue to claim. Please, please check this out.

Let's assume you got £40,000. You are allowed to have £16,000 and still have housing benefit, so you think you'll get rid of your debts, let's say £9,000 and give them £15,000 between them.

The government, on the other hand, sees that you have had £40,000. It sees that after the debts were paid off, you had £31,000 in savings. It then says you can't have benefits until you only have £16,000. However, you've given away the £15,000 by then, but the government says no, that was for your rent etc.

Can you see that you could end up in a really awful situation?

Snowme Tue 02-Apr-13 00:35:52

MrsTerry No, they didn't. But they couldn't really have spared the cash the,selves anyway, so I wouldn't have dreamed of asking them to help.

Catchingmockingbirds Tue 02-Apr-13 00:36:58

Use it to pay off your bills, your siblings have had inheritance from their father already and everyone was aware that this inheritance would be just for you.

cantspel Tue 02-Apr-13 00:37:53

But you will not be using it wisely if you give chunks of it away when you have 2 children, debts and no job.
Your Nan left you this money as she wanted to see you alright. She had the option to include the steps but didn;t so if you give some of it away your are not listening to what your Nan wanted.

It would be different if they shared their windfalls in the past but as they didn't why should you take from your babies to give to them?

defineme Tue 02-Apr-13 00:38:27

I appreciate that you're a kind and lovely person, but I think you're getting carried away with wanting to make everyone feel good-that's not really your job though is it?
Your job is to look after your children.
As for the sister that's in debt to you-are you really truly unable to see that you're simply enabling someone who's crap with money/dishonest to keep being that way by giving her more money-that's not help...
I'd feel ashamed of myself if I used money that could secure a home for my kids on a holiday for a feckless sister that didn't help me when I was down but continued to leach off me.
Respect the memory of your Gran and spend the money on solid things to secure your children's future-driving lessons/house deposit and so on.

Snowme Tue 02-Apr-13 00:39:24

Imperial No, I can't even barely cope with mental arithmetic let alone fiddle a way of gifting inheritance to avoid losing benefits confused that isn't what this is about. I know I'll lose benefits, I'm prepared for that. But your figures are very close to the mark, so yes, I do see how it could all go pear shaped if I'm not careful and get some good advice.

happyAvocado Tue 02-Apr-13 00:40:37

I don't want to sound horrible but instead of giving them money perhaps pay for a series of counseling sessions for yourself to understand why you fee yo udon't deserve this money?

If you aren't careful in another 5 years you'll again get back to the same situation where you were few months ago.

Learn to use this money to your advantage - I guess your GP's wanted you to have money because they cared for you.

Your Mum decided she isn't giving you any share in her inheritance - why would you give your share to anyone?
Save that money for your kids education, as they grow older they may develop hobby which otherwise will be beyond your reach (most hobbies are expensive sad ).

Don't you want to have feeling that you have that ability to share your GP's money with your kids and make their life a bit better?

TheCraicDealer Tue 02-Apr-13 00:41:34

You might not have dreamed of asking them, but your sister thought of it. And then did it, knowing your predicament. Then, when you were about to be evicted she refused to pay you back.

Can you see now why other posters are wondering about your thought process here? Because a bunch of strangers on a forum seem to be more concerned about you than she did when you needed her.

cantspel Tue 02-Apr-13 00:41:36

You dont need to be good with figures all you have to bear in mind is that if you give it away the council will treat you as though you still have it. So if you get to the stage where you need to claim again you wont be able to.

Snowme remember what it took to leave the DV situation. You had to put the DC and yourself first for once. You had to protect your DC. Please try to do that now. By all means give a token if it works with your benefits but don't put yourself in a situation where you gave away the means to support them in the future to make other people happy briefly.

MagicHouse Tue 02-Apr-13 00:43:32

hmm, your latest responses do seem to put you in a more vulnerable light. People who borrow from you when you are being evicted are defintely not putting you first.
I agree don't mention anything about sharing - if they are interested in your money they will be imagining huge sums. It sounds like you could be in a position to be exploited (this has already happened with your lending money when you couldn't afford it). Keep your mind on your children and how this will impact them. Also second the advice to look into seeking advice on ways to use the money wisely so that it really supports you and your children. It sounds like you might start to be asked for "loans" anyway, so you need to think about avoiding this scenario.

You may say 'it's only money' and want to dole it out to them but it won't be long until your dcs need driving lessons, uni fees, and so on. They get more expensive as they get older. Time really does fly.

And sorry it does seem as if you're a bit in fear of their reactions towards you.

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