I know I am but can't help it (will related)

(38 Posts)
catwalker Sat 06-Apr-13 00:05:27

I had a fairly tense relationship with MIL when my kids were little as she was very controlling. DH is an only child but even when I produced my third she was still dishing out the advice and has never liked to be challenged on any of her - often quite bizarre - views. She always treated my kids as HER grandchildren rather than my children (if you see what I mean). She would come to visit and tell me she was taking them out without asking if that was OK and would be vague about where they were going and for how long (and I'm talking breast fed babies here), give them chocolate immediately before meals despite me asking her not to and just generally ignore mine and DH's views etc etc.

She and FIL live a couple of hundred miles away so as the kids got older it became less of an issue, but she still tries. She recently gave DS1 a couple of grand on his 18th birthday. She told us she was going to do this and we asked her not to or perhaps tell him it was there when he wanted it for something important as he's drifting at the moment, not achieving at school, not making any effort to line up something to do when he leaves this year. I know the money won't last for ever but at the moment he's got no incentive to start looking for a job or anything. But she knows best.

Anyway, MIL recently told DH that they've decided to redo their will so that instead of him inheriting everything he and our 3 kids will inherit one quarter of their estate each. They're quite comfortably off and both well into their 80s and neither is in good health. I don't want DS1 to inherit a large sum of money in what would probably be his 20s. He needs to sort his life out and develop some motivation about work/careers etc. Money wouldn't help him do that. And the other 2 kids are 14 and 16 so they too could inherit at too early an age.

It's difficult to broach the subject with MIL and FIL (if not impossible) as we would just sound grasping or as if we were suggesting they were about to pop their clogs. But even if we did, I know MIL would not concede that we knew what was better for our kids than her. I feel likes it's just another example of her controlling behaviour.

And, before anyone says it, I know it's theirs to do what they want with! It has just reopened a lot of old feelings.

babybarrister Sat 06-Apr-13 00:20:11

Can't you suggest they put it into trust for the kids instead so that there is some control ?

steppemum Sat 06-Apr-13 00:37:57

The simplest thing would be to put an age on it, or a restriction on it.

eg, they inherit it at 30, or they can use it for a deposit on a house

and it is held until then.

I know they wouldn't listen to you, but might they listen to advice from their solicitor?

My brothers and I inherited a large amount of shares when I was 21 and they were older.
I think both brothers sold theirs quickly and used money. One to start a business, and the other I am not sure.

I held on to mine for a while and then sold them for deposit on my house. Some of it (more than I care to admit) got frittered and used to pay off overdrafts etc.

It really didn't kill us, or make much difference to the long scheme of things.

It sounds as if you are mostly worried about ds1, but in 18 months time, you may look back and wonder what the fuss was about.

Doodledumdums Sat 06-Apr-13 01:05:53

I don't think YABU. As much as it is a generous offer, IMO it would be better for you and your DH to inherit the money yourselves and then you can give it to your children as and when you think it is appropriate. DH got quite a lot of money when he was 18, and other than the deposit for our house, most of it he wasted!

However I may mostly have this opinion because my inlaws drive me mental with their opinions/interfering regarding my parenting! My baby is only 13 weeks old...so I sense a long road of annoyance ahead!

catwalker Sat 06-Apr-13 01:50:08

That would be the logical thing to put it in trust but it's such a difficult subject to bring up and, even DH thinks it's more likely to make MIL more determined to do it her way!

Lilipaddle Sat 06-Apr-13 02:04:44

How about asking "What would you like DC's to do with the money from the will?" and then depending on what she says, suggest the age restriction in an appropriate way. That way she will feel like it's her choice rather than yours wink

Eg. "I want them to buy a house" "Oh that's sensible, you could put a restriction until it's for a deposit"
"I want them to go on holiday" "Oh that's a good idea, you could split it into age 25, 30, 35 restrictions, then they could have an amount every few years to pay for ones and do your holiday idea"

HollyBerryBush Sat 06-Apr-13 06:33:49

What do you define as a large sum though?

Enough to buy a car? Enough to take a year out and fund himself to go travelling? Enough to put aside for a house deposit? Enough to pay his own uni fees?

Definitions will vary wildly on what a large sum of money is

HollyBerryBush Sat 06-Apr-13 06:37:22

suggest the age restriction in an appropriate way

I don't think you can do that, not without a trust. We discussed this with our solicitor, as in house deposits, and we were firmly told you cannot place strings on the money. You either will it, or you don't, but you cannot choose how it is spent. Although I'm more than happy to be told otherwise.

catwalker Sat 06-Apr-13 08:41:11

Holly - they told dh that the last time they had their house valued it was around £500k and I'm sure they've got other assets. So on that basis it could be around £100k per child. Which is why I'm worried for ds1. If he is one of those people who is going to drift and then inherited that kind of money sooner rather than later he might continue to drift through his 20s. Then by the time the money's gone he might find himself without any qualifications and then it could be even harder for him to find a job/career.

Worst case scenario I know. It just infuriates me that MIL yet again thinks she knows best. She asked dh recently if ds had spent the money she gave him for his birthday. DH said he hadn't and we were encouraging him to save it for something useful - eg driving lessons, travel etc She said that was ridiculous - she'd given him it to spend on himself and he ought to have blown the lot by now .......

Of course if one or both in law needs care it could all go on that so I might be worrying unnecessarily!!!

We had a very similar situation with fil who was just as intransigent about it as your mil sounds. In our situation he wanted to put a grand every year into their child trust funds so they'd have 18k at 18. We were concerned for the same reasons as you are and told him so. He wouldn't budge so we decided that our only option was top do our best to teach the boys the value of money (and not tell then we were also saving for their future so they could use this money for uni / whatever at 18 and we could top up In the future rather than use our money for this)

This isn't that helpful for you as your children are older but I don't think there is any reason you can't talk to mil although I share your dh concern that it might well make her more stubborn to do it get way and not less.

FredFredGeorge Sat 06-Apr-13 09:25:00

Would it not be better to try and bring up your children now to be able to deal with the situation sensibly (what if they won the lottery, or robbed a bank and came into a load cash that way) rather than intrude in the relationship between them and their grandparents.

YABU, are you sure it's not missing out on the 75% of the estate that is getting to you?

jamdonut Sat 06-Apr-13 09:44:41

I have a 20 year old son, who doesn't have much direction,though he has a job and also goes to college at the moment. I have a similar situation in that if my stepfather dies, the house he and my mum(who died 3 years ago) shared will be divided between all three of my children (the other two are 16 and 13 at the moment) with me as executor. I personally think it is asking for trouble,but he is an adult and there's not a lot I can do other than try to instill the value of money into him and his siblings.

This is what his grandparents wanted, I don't think its up to me to dictate terms.

DeckSwabber Sat 06-Apr-13 09:46:05

When the time comes there will be several months between the death of your MiL and the money arriving. You will have time to talk to your children about what it could mean for them and how they can make best use of it.

And people waste inheritances at all times of life!

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 06-Apr-13 09:51:08

Since you can't control what your in laws choose to do with their money, can you work on changing your son's attitude? So that when the time comes, he is not the same person?

LIZS Sat 06-Apr-13 10:01:50

Realistically you are some time away form needing to deal with this . Presumably surviving spouse would inherit first. Agree with those who suggest you work on your children's aspirations and perhaps suggest at least half should be ring-fenced/invested for longer term but if they are adults at the time you actually have to just allow them to do as they see fit.

spottyparrot Sat 06-Apr-13 10:03:41

Agree with imtoohecsy, was about to post the same thing - don't think yabu but it is out of your control.

fuckwittery Sat 06-Apr-13 10:07:05

care home fees if needed if health fails can use up a lot of that inheritance so it may not be as much as you think

PetShopGirl Sat 06-Apr-13 10:09:05

YANBU. My maternal grandmother did exactly this and I ended up with £40,000 when I was in my early/mid twenties, single and living in Central London. I ended up pretty much frittering it away (mainly just subsidising my ridiculously extravagant lifestyle, and a couple of holidays). I so wish now that I had not had access to the money until I was a bit older/more settled. My brother settled down relatively young so used his wisely and now twelve or so years later they own one house mortgage-free, as well as a further buy to let property. I still feel awful whenever I think about what my grandmother, who I adored, probably imagined the money would enable me to do. Plus I am now married with a DC and a heavily mortgaged house, and there's so much we could usefully do with that money.

I really think you should do everything you can to get your MIL to set up some form of trust, even though it doesn't sound easy. Couldn't your DH have the conversation with them? Surely if they are well into their 80s they must realise that they don't have limitless time left? Even if they lasted another ten years to their nineties (which doesn't sound likely if they are not in good health), your DS1 would not yet be thirty.

FWIW, I was definitely brought up to understand the value of money, but when you're young, having loads of fun, have no immediate plans to buy a property/retrain/start a business etc, IME suddenly coming into a lot of money can really start burning a hole in your bank account...

MummytoKatie Sat 06-Apr-13 10:10:48

YANBU. My brother has a friend who inherited a lot if money at about 19 and ended up dropping out of university as a result (he was doing a really tough course at a top university and it is hard to motivate yourself to work 16 hour days when you don't need to). I also saw a difference in the urgency of finishing PH.ds between friends who knew if they dudn't finish and get a job by August they would not be able to pay their rent and the friend who is independently wealthy and will always be able to pay her rent.

We have no intention of dying until dd is at least 50 but have written our will so that she (and her soon to be born brother) inherits thirds at 18, 21 and 25. Our very financially astute fathers have been left in charge of the trusts with instructions to release the money early if they have a sensible plan for the money. (Which is basically house, sound business or education.)

But I'm not really sure what the solution is. Lilipaddle has probably the best idea but I don't know if it will work. Or possible for your dh to phone his parents and say "cat doesn't agree with me but I think you should......".

Other than that all you can do is keep dropping round articles on Saga cruises and Equity release and saying "of course we'd much rather you spend your money on yourselves - how about a five star six month cruise of Europe" and hope tha they blow the lot themselves!

HollyBerryBush Sat 06-Apr-13 10:32:51

If someone has a tendency to be feckless with money at 18 or 28 I cant see that changing when they are 38 or 48 TBH. I've never changed my prudent habits, and my brother has never changed his live-for-today habits.

MimiSunshine Sat 06-Apr-13 10:45:01

So they like to make their own decisions about what's best for your DC and don't take kindly to you telling them what to do as they "know best" (evident in that they are effectively cutting you out of the will so you as their mother get no say in what happens - controlling even after death) so I would appeal to that vanity, I agree with Lilipaddle, ask them then steer them the way you want.

Approach them for their wisdom I.e. "PIL we want to thank you for your generous suggestion regarding the children and your will but we wondering if you could help us out as we're worried and not sure what to do for the best <insert concerns that all 3 wouldn't understand the value of what they were given if they got it too soon and you want the children to make them proud and honour the PIL legacy (people like that love the idea of a legacy)> so can you suggest the best solution?"

Make the best solution in your eyes, their idea. I find its win win, you get what you want and they feel in control.

catwalker Sat 06-Apr-13 10:49:58

I knew somebody would suggest I was being self-seeking so you haven't surprised me Fred. DH and I are in our 50s, comfortably off, simple tastes and our kids matter much more to us than coming into a lot of money. They'd get it anyway - I'd just rather they got it at appropriate times (buying a house, going to uni etc) - not when they don't need it for anything in particular and are going to think 'hey, what shall I spend all this money on?'

I don't think DS1 has a particularly bad attitude to money, I just see it as a potential impediment to him getting off his backside. Why would he need to do anything if he had a load of money in the bank? He has a very good social life but, unlike his mates, doesn't have to get himself a part time job to fund it (thanks to grandma's birthday present). He has no idea what he wants to do when he leaves school this summer and is making zero effort to look into possible jobs/careers. He's been putting minimum effort into school for the last few years (despite very good predictions earlier on) and the looming possibility of him inheriting a large lump of cash before he's got his life on track fills me with dread.

DS2 on the other hand is as tight as the proverbial! So I have no particular qualms about him. He also works hard at school, gets excellent results and has already decided on his university course. No knowing what effect an inheritance at the wrong age could have on him of course but I'd be very surprised if he didn't use it wisely. DS3 would I imagine blow the lot on computer games!!

I have tried with all my kids to instill money sense in them - with varying degrees of success!

I don't think you are being very reasonable indeed.

I was a bit directionless at that age but I was absolutely driven by the fact that I needed to pay my rent at the end of the month, every month. A friend of mine had a yearly covenant payment that used to pay off his debts and set up his next trip. He once said to me that he wished he didn't have the safety net of always knowing there would be more money because it took away his need to strive.

I mean, I don't think y are being U blush of course

catwalker Sat 06-Apr-13 10:55:07

Mimi - that's a very sensible suggestion. I can almost guarantee that MIL's response would be "oh they'll be fine". She always knows best and, despite living a couple of hundred miles away and consequently not seeing them regularly, always gives the impression that she knows them better than we do! She wouldn't accept that HER grandson would behave irresponsibly.

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