Am I being grabby and selfish (long story - inheritance related)(147 Posts)
My mother has 2 children - me and my sister. My sister has 2 children and I have none.
For background - we are mixed - our father is English and mother Arabic. Me, my sister and mother and one of my nieces live in England, my other niece lives in our Arabic country.
My mother owns 7 pieces of land/houses all together (in her home country) - thus far, one piece is my sister's and another mine. The other 5 seem to be up for grabs. My mother has told me she'd like to make provisions in her will for both nieces wrt her estate. As I have no kids obviously there's nothing to be given to non-existent children.
My niece that is currently in the UK is severely disabled - she'll never lead an independent life and my other niece lives in our home country and is currently being supported by my mother wrt to school and upkeep etc - she's 21.
I should add that I have a massive family - my mum is 1 of 10 and I have countless cousins. My mother has paid a great deal of money towards their upkeep over the years - this meant paying for food, housing, bills, private education - the lot.
I've made it patently clear to my mother that I will not do the same. My niece often texts my mother asking for money and was surprised to learn that due to a sick spell my mother couldn't afford it. She is nearing retirement now and though she has a good nest egg for herself, she's now wondering what to do with the rest of her estate.
For one or two reasons I won't be having children in the near future. I can't afford them, I have no partner with whom I'd see a future with and I'm still changing careers.
My mother has a chronic condition which means she might not make it into her twilight years.
In her plans she'd obviously leave the 2 pieces of land that me and my sis already own to ourselves. But this leaves the question over the other 5 - which have appreciated quite a lot over the years. She wants to leave a provision for my niece over here who will need life long care when my sister can no longer manage it. She also wants to house 2 of my aunts and their children and also wants to leave my other niece something.
As it stands I'd only inherit my current bit of land. She's asking me to pay into the maintenance of the houses on the other pieces of land which I might not inherit - this isn't cheap and I'd feel resentful doing so. I'm now feeling like I want to walk away from the whole situation and let them all deal with it themselves when the time comes. Give up my bit of land and be done with. Perhaps only going back to home country for holidays if the feeling takes me. I've grown up here and don't feel the strong family ties with the others that she does. Despite being half Arab, when I'm there I'm still very much 'foreign'.
I love my mother and she's gone above and beyond in terms of paying for my education and lifestyle choices and also acting as a confidante. I suppose maybe I should take the view that I have a better way of living and more choices than the rest of that side of the family. When my father died over here, everything he owned went to his kids from his first marriage and his wife. My sister and I didn't get a look in and were lucky to be invited to the funeral.
I don't know what I'm asking, I suppose I'd rather just drop the whole thing. My mother's side of the family is full of so much drama - I don't even speak fluent Arabic (my sister does) and feel I'd end up getting screwed either way.
In your shoes i would remove myself from the entire thing.
Pay nothing, inherit nothing. Leave it to your mother to distribute her assets as she sees fit.
I'd just say to your mum that you are happy to just have piece of land already given and to pay for its maintenance? You could sell it? The rest she can give to whomever she chooses.
Walking alway from the rest of your own choice seems to be best way to 1) get rid of headache 2) not feel grabby,
If you feel resentful of her leaving more to your sister's descendants than you or the fact she gives her grandchildren money, that is unreasonable and distancing yourself in this way could help you get over that.
I think you should get your mother to see someone who specialises in inheritance and wills - because its highly likely if she JUST leaves property and bits of land to various people, thats not actually going to work out as the generous gift she thinks it will be.
Property and land require maintainance and work to provide an income - she would be well advised to consider selling some of it, or putting things in trust, or a combination of both.
i think you've had good advice - as widdlin said, if the maintenance costs aren't sustainable, an alternative plan needs to be made. I'd personally not contribute to maintenance of land I wasn't going to inherit, unless I felt strongly I was providing for my disabled niece, this would benefit only her, her parents couldn't afford to do it, and I could.
I'd second the advice for her to get legal advice. In a lot of Arabic countries there are controls over who your estate has to go to (because inheritance is generally ultimately based on French law or Shariah law). Your mum may well not be lawfully able to leave to the people she wants to (which isn't a mess you want to be left to sort out).
On the actual question, I ferl your pain. I think it will be hard to do in practice. My dad's planning on leaving me something I don't really want and I've just sucked me up. It's something that is worth a decent amount of money (so v. much first world problem!) but costs a lot to maintain. It would take a while to sell plus there's a lpt of sentimental value there meaning I'd feel bad selling immediately.
Thanks for your responses. I worried that no-one would bother to read after looking at the whole thing!
One of the pieces of land she owns is in the process of being divided up and sold; it's huge - that in itself could carry a whole family for life. Hence her wanting to have some cash to inject into UK niece's care.
I do feel bitter. I have no child but under her current plans it's looking like her estate will be 75% my sister (inclusive of my sister's dcs), 5% her siblings i.e my aunts with their various dcs, and 20% me.
I'd rather give up my 20% and go my own way. But that would also mean I want no more to do with her.
"In her plans she'd obviously leave the 2 pieces of land that me and my sis already own to ourselves."
If you already own them how can she leave them to you?
"She wants to leave a provision for my niece over here who will need life long care when my sister can no longer manage it. She also wants to house 2 of my aunts and their children and also wants to leave my other niece something"
Either she has enough to be able to make the provision she wishes or she doesn't. I'm unclear why this is your dilemma?
You don't sound grabby to me at all, but you do seem to be throwing aside cultural expectations that your mother holds dear and that may be partially responsible for your current fortunate circumstances (not that cultural expectations can't also have been a hindrance at the same time).
Would it hurt your mother if you refused? Can you talk with her about your concerns and come up with something that will help you both feel satisfied or is it a pretty stark "do as I've asked because you should" type situation?
I would also be concerned that she was prepared to set her affairs up in a way that would disaster ous for her if she survives longer than expected. So I'd be keen to ensure she wasn't giving too much away, upfront, to anyone.
Ultimately if there's no room for compromise I would walk away from long term commitments I didn't want or that seemed like I was expected to give up lots for the benefit of others, and I think you should too. But the interconnected news of family is difficult and can provide many benefits even when it seems remote.
All you can do is say yes or no to the helping with maintenance. Maybe point out the % split and exlain that it is highly likely that doing so would mean that all of your 'inheritance' will be spent maintaining everyone elses!!
Your mum needs to work it out... she can't pay for everyone, forever and it isn't fair to ask you to continue with her chosen largesse!
i wonder about the bitterness - is it that your mum is leaving your sister more to provide for your poorly niece, or do you generally feel that's not-needed and it's only favouritism? I hope I wouldn't feel bitter if it was simply my parents trying to provide more for someone in the family that would require expensive life long care.
^If you already own them how can she leave them to you?
flower because she bought them with our money under her name - she knew her way about and she told us it'd be a good investment. In principle it belongs to us but legally speaking it belongs to her at the moment. My sister isn't bothered by that at all as she knows her lot will be looked after but me... not so much.
Why would it mean you want nothing more to do with her?
Also, the bitterness is unreasonable. You've said you've benefited hugely. It's your mums money not yours. Not contributing to upkeep is definitely not unreasonable. If you're saying you would walk away from your mum over this, then that definitely is.
I think you need to shift your thinking on this.
She is planning on leaving a small amount to her sisters and their families and is splitting the majority equally between her direct descendants which happens to mean you, your sister and your two nieces.
You see it that she should split it equally between her children, she doesn't see it that way.
You have had a different upbringing to your mother and hold a different set of beliefs.
You could talk to her and explain how you feel but this may not help.
munch bitterness comes from the divide. If I had dcs then it'd be different but I don't. Much as I love both my nieces, I feel as though their share should come out of their mothers lot - they should not be considered as though they are my 'other' siblings. Taking out my aunt's share as they are my mother's own sisters then it should go 50&50 between my sister and I.
My parents have treated my siblings and I differently and I see with my children that they have different needs at different times. I just hope that they feel that they get what they need and get equal amounts of love. (Lofty ideals, and I know I don't always get it right.)
I think you're being selfish to resent the fact that she wants to leave something for her niece and grandchildren. If you had children, then she would have left something for them too. Your mum's land = your mum's choice.
However, I don't think its fair that you have to pay maintenance for the land that isn't going to be yours - although it would be lovely if you did help with the land going to the disabled relative. For the land your sister will inherit, she can pay the maintenance.
Ultimately though, any inheritance from anyone is a total bonus and wonderful gift, and shouldn't be an expectation by any of your Mum's relatives.
...except of course for the 2 plots of land that OP and her DSis paid for but are officially owned by their DM!
At the moment there isn't a will as she doesn't intend on dyeing anytime soon so if she dies intestate then I'll by default get half but the more I talk about it the more she's determined to make sure she makes it absolutely clear that I'm only owed the land I have. And even that isn't promised.
I want to walk away and tell them to go fuck themselves as I know they'll fight so hard over it.
i can see why it hurts and i wouldn't contribute to land i wouldn't benefit from, that's u, you should talk to your mum about it and explain you feel it's favoritism, but ultimately there's nothing much you can do. I expect your mum will say your sister needs the help more, the penalty of being competent for you! My p are similarly being unfair writing in some gc and not others and i'll have to execute the will which'll be fun...
oh and some siblings will get more than others too - I think you should walk away op. If your mum is only getting more U when you talk to her, disengage, don't contribute and leave it to her conscience to come knocking.
I don't think you are being unreasonable. I'd be annoyed too.
I don't think your mum is being unreasonable though - it's a nice thing, to care for her grandchildren, especially when one of them has expensive needs.
If I was in your shoes, I'd try and reconcile it mentally this way - niece x has care needs and clearly needs the money, it wouldn't be fair for niece y not to inherit equally since it isn't her fault she DOESN'T have care needs, it's all a bit irritating, but we are where we are.
What I definitely wouldn't do is pay any money into any of the land or properties that your sister or nieces will inherit. Absolutely not. That is your sister's responsibility.
I'm an executor of a will that distributes more assets to one of my siblings. I'm glad I got the heads up now, as I think if I received this news while grieving it would go down like a bag of sick. Cling to the fact that your mum is at least talking about it now.
Is your father not involved in any of this or are they divorced?
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