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.

holly I'm confused why you mentioned me in your post. I was referring to the OPs son not your brother. Fair enough if you are 60 you can afford not to work when you inherit, but not when you are 20, unless you inherit millions.

FredFredGeorge Sat 06-Apr-13 12:38:12

Kat101 If the kids are going to get the money anyway when the parents die (ie if the OP is right that they won't be spending it...) then it would be more tax efficient to give some of it directly, since the GP's and P's allowances would be used (ie 800k estate given to P's would be 740k by the time they saw it, and then 686 by the time it got to the children, and in reality even worse as the parents presumably have other assets increasing the size of their estate) So lieing about the tax implications would be very silly as it immediately calls you out.

OP, if you're really not going to use, then please just let the kids have it without any attemt to control - you cannot anticipate what they might need it for, or what might be right for them. They will be adults, they should be free to make their own decisions, and could easily come to resent you if you've prevented it.

You obviously have a particular view of careers and how live should be - your son doesn't necessarily share it - but there is nothing wrong with not knowing what you want to at 18, and nothing wrong with having a safety net that allows you to find out. It's a lot worse than picking a career which you hugely resent 15 years later when it is much harder to then change.

You have to let your children make their choices, trying to control them even as adults will not help them, or your relationship with them.

HollyBerryBush Sat 06-Apr-13 12:32:33

akiss - my brother just didn't work for a year when he came into a large amount of money. To be fair, he doesn't like or want material things, and nearing 60, he could still pack his life up into his old seamans knapsack. Oh, and he didn't piss it up the wall, he's a dry alcoholic - I have no idea what he spent it on, the heady days of the 60's are behind him, he has no clothes to speak of, doesn't drive, or own property, a mobile phone or any other gadgets.

must have been fast women grin

LatteLady Sat 06-Apr-13 12:16:57

How about reversing this and saying to your MiL, "I am at the end of my tether with DS1," explain his attitude and then ask, "what would you do?"

This way, you will have informed her without telling her what to do and she may come to the conclusion that some form of restriction would be a good idea.

Your son would have to be pretty daft to piss the whole £100k up the wall. Say he blows 20k on frivolous stuff and keeps 80k for a deposit on a flat. Surely he's intelligent enough to realise that this is not the kind of amount that means he'll never need to work?

Bobyan Sat 06-Apr-13 12:07:15

I don't think it's unfeasible that a couple in their 80's living in a £500k house, who can afford to give a couple of thousand away as a gift would have more than £150k in other assets.

Not tax planning on the basis of guessing someone's worth is rather precarious.

Kat101 Sat 06-Apr-13 11:58:21

Tell MIL that inheriting the money directly has bad tax implications and would mean your DC may not be able to access jobseekers etc as they'd have too much in savings. Tell her that a good financial advisor will set up a decent trust(s) so that the DC's don't lose out in other areas. Keep on at her if poss. Tell her that their money and house is not protected and very vulnerable to care fees without a will trust in place.

Other than that, not sure you can do much. Her money, her lack of sense.

HollyBerryBush Sat 06-Apr-13 11:39:35

Right. So. Hypothetically. DS1, dreadful with money. What happens in 30/40 years when you shuffle off your mortal coil and he's still dreadful with money?

LIZS Sat 06-Apr-13 11:36:36

but Bobyan it won't take much for her to discover that is untrue. There will be 2 allowances for IHT (£650k) and by then some may well have been spent in care etc.

Bobyan Sat 06-Apr-13 11:32:53

I think you need to approach her from the point of view of having inheritance tax issues.
Tell her that she might be leaving a 40% tax bill and setting up a trust is the best way of protecting the dc's money...

MrsLouisTheroux Sat 06-Apr-13 11:24:33

You've met your match haven't you OP?
You want to control what your DC get and she wants to do it her way. Your DC are young now but what is the likelihood of them inheriting in the next few years?

I agree with the poster who said that all you can do is educate your DC about money. When the time comes, your DC will make up their own minds and you should really step back and let them do so.

ImperialBlether Sat 06-Apr-13 11:16:30

I would say that I would be worried about him getting involved in drugs and not ever having a career. Do you know anyone who fits that bill that you could use as an example? If not, make one up! "A friend of mine at work had a child who inherited young and he went off to Thailand and they didn't see him for years, till he turned up a junkie wanting money off them..."

Or you could stress the positive. "It would be so lovely for the children to have a deposit for a house. Could you possibly arrange it so that it's held in trust until they're ready to buy?"

Personally, I don't think your husband would be wrong if he was annoyed that he was only getting 1/4 of the inheritance. Your children will inherit from you; you should inherit (if there is anything to inherit) from your parents. I don't believe in skipping generations unless there's a really good reason such as drugs involved.

HildaOgden Sat 06-Apr-13 11:06:18

I'd approach it from the angle of working on your son.You've encouraged him to keep the birthday money for something sensible (driving lessons or whatever) and he seems to have listened to you on that.So he isn't totally feckless.Quite a few 18 year olds would have blown the lot by now,so all hope in him isn't lost!

You can't stop Grandma leaving him the money,and I have a feeling you and dh are right about the possibility of antagonising her into being stubborn about it if you try to claim some control of it (via a trust or whatever).By all means,suggest a trust to her,but don't bank on her agreeing.

I think all you can do is wait until it happens (eg both grandparents pass),when it does you will still have probably a few months until the estate is cleared and money released.Use that time to convince your son of how that money could work best for him (maybe suggest a percentage to 'blow',and lock the rest away in a high interest account or whatever).If he didn't fritter away the 1000 the minute he got it,there is a good chance he will show a bit of sense with the 100,000.

They could also live for another 10 years,so don't waste too much time worrying about this in the meantime.

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.

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

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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...

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

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.

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.

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?

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