About inheritance dispute?(22 Posts)
First post, so please be kind!
So my wonderful DGM recently passed away at 97. It was expected, but still very difficult. However, it has been made a lot harder through the arguments around the will that have come to the surface.
My DGM had 3 daughters, with my DM being the oldest. Sadly, DM died when I was a baby, with my DF caring for her until the end. My aunts (I have been told) did not help him care for her, or offer to help with childcare or emotional support afterwards, which my DF has never forgotten. However, he let it go for the sake of me and DB. My parents also cared for my grandad before I was born - he had early Alzheimers which no-one else in the family could see. Parents saw it as their duty to care for him, no issue there, just it might be relevant to explain some of DFs anger.
Prior to my DM's death, it was known that DGM's will left everything to 3 daughters, split 3 ways. Like many wills, if one benefactor is deceased, the inheritance goes to their children. We were expecting this. However, we were told the day after DGM's death, that all grandchildren (me, DB, and one aunt's 3 children) and my DF had been left a small monetary gift from DGM, and my 2 aunts would be splitting everything else between them. About a year before, the will had been changed.
This happened 6 weeks ago. My DF and DB are livid. DF views it as my aunts cutting my DB and I out of the will, and benefiting from DM's death. We all agree that whatever DGM wanted should be respected, but in the later years DGM had some difficulties with family connections. I spent more time with her than any other grandchild, and whilst she knew I was her DGC, I don't believe it really clicked for her that my DB and I were her DD's children, through the way she would talk to me about my DM. I think (armchair psychologist) this was a way for her to deal with her grief for my DM, to only think of her as the little girl she used to be, instead of a mum. Therefore I don't think it would ever occur to her that we could be given our DM's inheritance, as it didn't occur that we actually came from her DD, or that there was any part of DM left.
We have just found out through the internet that aunts have put the house up for sale, with no mention to us. Also, all items of DGM have been taken from the house by aunts, without telling us. I understand they are her DDs, however I became very distressed on seeing all my female family members on that side wearing DGM's jewellery to the funeral, and discussing how much it was worth. I feel we are being told we aren't real family because my DM isn't here, and that's why we don't get anything. It feels like I'm being told that my love for my DGM wasn't real.
No conversations have been had with the rest of the family about the will, as we want to make sure everyone has time to calm down and be rational. I suppose what I am asking, is do you think it is unreasonable for us to react badly to this, and what are your thoughts?
I do apologise for the exceptional length!
I have had a very similar thing happen in our family - one uncle has profited HUGELY from the fact that our DM died. The uncle now owns multiple properties, takes £££ every year while I am left wondering if I can afford to pay my car tax without putting it on a credit card. All whilst saying how much he misses his 'darling sister'. In our situation, there wasn't a will, so that bit is a lesson to us but in yours I'm not sure what else could be done. I feel for you, I really do. For me it isn't just about the money, it is the fact that they clearly care more about the money than about being fair and equitable.
it should read: 'takes numerous £££ holidays every year'
OP your feelings are quite valid and reasonable. You and your DB have been treated very badly but the frustrating fact is that you can't do anything about the situation.
Unfortunately injustices like this are not at all rare and probably many mumsnetters including myself have personally experienced like situations.
The most hurtful thing, I think, is not having some little memento of the deceased. I would suggest that when and if you can afford it you get yourself a small pice of jewellery which you can wear in honour of your DGM. It may not have been owned by her but was bought to honour your mutual love. Collect all your pics of DGM and maybe ask your wicked aunts etc if you can borrow others to copy, and make a special album. Add memories you have of her, things she told you about her youth etc. This can be an heirloom to pass down to your DC and DGC.
I am so sorry you lost your mother, and now your GM has died
I can see just what you mean: morally, what should have gone to your mother - equal share of your GMs house, jewellery etc should go to your mother's children, but it has not.
If your GM changed her will, I do not know what you can do about it though.
If your DM's death meant all your GM thought she had were two children left, and she left most to them, I don't think you could challenge that.
If your aunts were nice, they could change the will (this is allowed) and make sure you and your b got the third, but it does not sound as though that would suit them.
Could you try talking to them to explain that it's as though you have been written out of the will all because your mother died, and it is as if your mother has been made not to have ever existed? Maybe they will think about it all if you talk to them.
Could you talk to a solicitor?
Did she have her faculties when she changed her will? Could undue pressure been put on her when she changed it by your aunts?
Sorry, I meant...
Could undue pressure have been put on her by your aunts, when she changed her will?
Sorry for your loss. I think you've been treated disgracefully and your aunts have it in their power to right this wrong, which they clearly aren't doing.
I always feel the best thing to do in these circumstances is to rise above it, say your piece and be prepared to walk away.
I personally would feel compelled to bring up the fact that your DM was her DD too. That when they die, I would imagine they would be dividing their estates equally between their children, thus inheriting what would have been a combined 3rd of what should have rightly gone to your to your family.
I do not believe they will give you back the money, but I feel they are selfish and this is your cue to walk away with some dignity intact. They are the ones who have wronged you
Very similar to my experience. My MIL and FIL had three sons, leaving one third to each son and if any of the son's had died prior to their death, the share would pass to their children. My DH (eldest son) unfortunately died after a long illness 8 years ago and I naturally thought that our two children would one day inherit their father's share. MIL died a year ago (FIL passed away a couple of years before) and I then found out that six months before MIL died, she changed her Will leaving 70% between the two surviving sons and the remaining 30% between 6 grandchildren (including my two DC), which resulted in a smallish inheritance.
I decided not to rock the boat. I never told my DC that the old Will favoured them and the new Will less so. But I will be leaving copies of both Wills in my papers so that one day after I've gone my DC will perhaps piece together what their grandmother did, probably under the influence of the two surviving sons.
I don't think there was anything I could do about it. MIL was of sound mind and the Will correctly witnessed etc.
I hate what money does to people. I still feel very angry and upset but have not openly expressed this to the sons. Like you I feel that we are not family anymore because the eldest son (my late DH) is no longer alive and I am only "family" by marriage - a 24 year marriage as well. In the year since MIL passed away, our contact with the family has been less and less and yet my DC are their niece and nephew.
I do feel for you OP, but I am not sure you will get anywhere with it and you could potentially waste so much time getting stressed and disheartened over something which is unfair. Unless you can prove your DGM was not of sound mind at the time of the new Will, you will struggle to fight your corner.
Very similar thing happened to DH. GF had married and had father then Wife died young so he remarried when DH 's father was seven and had two girls. DH father married had DH. So then had a step grandmother and DGF. Step Gm always treated DH as her GS and she only had daughters and grand daughters so only one GS. DGF died. Much later DH father died. Then DH mother died when DH 37. GM lived until 94. We visited with our children DH used to go over on his own too and visits alway welcome and everyone got on well. No sign of DH being any different to other DGC and our children DGGC. Grandmother had fall so I visited in hospital as DH away with work. Then DG died. DH came home for funeral and we both went. Never heard a thing afterwards and DH aunties never contacted other than Christmas cards as had always been the case but always got on well. I was told by colleague DGM house for sale. Aunties never called. DH always promised a pair of Wally Dogs eg those at yours and FIL had a corner cupboard which he lent DStep mother. Aunties arrived with a family tree done by Grandmother( step) for DH with glass broken in one corner 3months after funeral. Never been to our house before but rocked up together and told DH and I house sold. They didn't even ask DH if he would like momento. They had sold everything including cupboard( maybe) and DH and our children who loved her got not a bean. House alone would have been worth £100,000 ( 1995) as immaculate and good village. I was really upset that DH had been treated as DGS until she died and she had left him nothing not even Wally Dogs! Also it was DG who had bought property and antiques in it! Still send aunties Christmas card.
It wasn't the money although at the time we could have done with some but the fact they didn't even ask if he would like something. My DD was upset as she loved DGG and had no DGM in this country only one she never saw. She would have liked a little ornament.
Nothing as strange as families. I'm so sorry you lost your mum. Also apologise for length just so similar won't make you feel better but just understand how you must be feeling. I think it was very uncaring of them not to give you some jewellery as memento at very least.
Inheritance makes some people behave in horrible ways
At the very least can you not ask for a small momento or piece of jewelry? They would have to be very cold-hearted indeed not to agree to this, and sometimes the small tokens can have huge meaning
My MIL was furious when her parents died to discover that the children of her deceased brother inherited his share of the estate. She felt that, as their child, she was closer to them genetically and that should have been reflected.
My DH and I were hugely surprised by her reaction. One argument that she had was that her nephews had already received money through their father's life insurance etc.
We talked it through and she could, eventually, see our point that her nephews would have suffered twice by losing their father and then his share of the estate.
She felt that inheritance is for children with tokens for grandchildren. She just couldn't see the next step (that her children would have hugely profited from this plan, over her brother's).
People are weird over money.
Not sure of the chronology but if she was confused and forgetful to that extent and then changed her will... I would be very worried about coercion or financial abuse.
No way! Your aunts were discussing how much the jewellery was worth at the funeral? Dreadful!
It's very unfair , but I don't think you can do anything about it. Inheritance brings out the worst in people. They are willing to put their greed before family and cause rifts.
DPs family did the same as yours, he doesn't see them anymore. They were once incredibly close, it's such a shame.
Same story here. GM changed her will the week she died. Remaining uncle got everything. We didn't dispute as the lawyers would have got everything. It's very unjust and unforgivable.
There may be something you can do if it can be shown that your grandmother didn't fully understand the consequences of what she was putting in her will. There's a time limit for making a claim though so I'd speak to a solicitor asap.
Urgh. I would be tempted to rock the boat and speak to a solicitor. Family relations are buggered anyway.
My aunt tried this (my mother died 3 yrs ago and my maternal grandmother a year later). Maternal aunt bleated on about how unfair it was my Gran had left my siblings and I money and her children nothing.
However, she shut up pretty sharpish once I pointed out that if she was dead her children would inherit more than us (2 of them, 3 of us).
She behaved badly after my mother died and once my Gran died we stopped contact.
This article lists some reasons you can challenge a will, could be worth a read...
If you are left out of your parents will can you contest it
It's about challenging a parent's will, not a grandparent's but I imagine a lot of it still applies.
Thank you for all the comments, I really appreciate everything said! As you say, PippaFawcett, its not the money as much as prioritising it over family. I don't expect that we will ever get the money, as it has been made clear they would rather have the inheritance than us as family, and we don't have legal reason to dispute it, but its the fact they have done this that really hurts.
Not having a memento of DGM is very difficult, especially as I would like something to remind me of DGM, whilst the family members who do have her items appear to only want them for their monetary worth. Benedikte, thank you for the idea of buying a small memento for myself, that is a wonderful idea which I will do!
In the eyes of medical professionals, DGM did have all her faculties, but as I say, had trouble connecting the family together. So the only people she understood as her descendants were her DDs. I think she would have thought of splitting it between the 2 DDs herself, but I believe that my aunts had a responsibility to correct her, and remind her of my DM.
Spickle, it is so sad that this seems to happen so frequently. I have spent much of my childhood with my extended family, and I feel so completely betrayed that I was obviously never considered real family. However, as you say, there really is nothing to be done. I am just so sad that this is the end of my relationship with my family.
sofato, that would be exactly the logic of my extended family. I also don't think they trust myself or my DB with the money, as they believe it will be better used by their own children. They have always had a chip in their shoulder that my aunts husbands mother, so my cousins GM, died with no money. I think they see this as making up for that.
They 100% know that the money will go to the cousins eventually, and that is what they want, however this would not have occurred to DGM. One thing I should add, as much as I loved my DGM will all my heart, she would have no issue at all with cutting my DB and me out. Particularly as she disliked my other DGM, and felt bad that my aunts husband's mother, the DGM of my cousins, died with no money. She definitely understood what she did, but we don't think my aunts should have allowed it to happen.
Really, I'm just so very very hurt that this has been an issue when I just want to grieve for my DGM, and for another huge part of my DM's history passing away.
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