you looked after someone during their final years, are you then entitled to more of their inheritance?

(71 Posts)
jollyaround Fri 13-Jul-12 16:35:09

namechanger here. This is doing my head in, and strikes as just not right.

any opinions will be really welcome - have tried to be as objective as possible...

4 siblings. 1 elderly mother.

Sibling1: Single, self employed, grown-up children, lives close to M. Organises employment of carers for elderly mother's (with dementia) during last few years of M's life. The care is paid for by M's capital. Quite alot of admin and hands-on stuff done by Sib1. Sib1 also encouraged by other sibs to pay himself out of M's funds for time spent on these affairs.

Sibliing 2: Single, no children, private income plus very hands-on full-time job. Lives close to M. Provides much support to Sib1 & M, occasionally in person.

Sibling 3: Married, very young children, full time, high level, well-paid job. Does not live close to M but does as much as possible, when needed.

Sibling 4: Married, dependent children, full time job. Lives 3 hour flight away from M. Contributes to M's care through research/advice/phone and email contact. Visits as often as possible.

M has now died. There is a small inheritance £100k. The will leaves inheritance equally to all 4.

One sibling has suggested that 75% of inheritance be passed to sib1 in recognition of sib1's work and possible loss of "potential" income during the 4 or so years of M's illness.

With the other 3 sharing the remaining 25%.

My gut feeling is wrong wrong wrong but I can't work out why I think so.


Jemma1111 Fri 13-Jul-12 16:38:07

All 4 children should inherit equally in my opinion

FallenCaryatid Fri 13-Jul-12 16:38:28

M wanted the money split equally, so that's what should happen.
After that, it should be up to the individuals to decide what they do.

yousankmybattleship Fri 13-Jul-12 16:38:44

None of you is "entitled" to anything. It was your Mum's money. I assume she would have wanted it split evenly...? I think you are on very dodgy ground if you start trying to work out who is more or less deserving. I would defo want ti split four ways (even if I was sibling 1).

Dropdeadfred Fri 13-Jul-12 16:40:38

Divide equally unless the mother said differently.

ANTagony Fri 13-Jul-12 16:40:51

It isn't for the siblings to divide law in Uk, if no will would be four ways. If one sibling wants to give majority of their share then fine but they can't give the others shares. However out of pocket expenses of sibling 1 should be taken from estate before its divided.

Are you one of the siblings?

dillnameddog Fri 13-Jul-12 16:41:34

I would split it equally, and if any sibling wants to give up their share to sib1 in recognition of their efforts then that is lovely. But they shouldn't make the decision for everyone, nor should sib1 expect to be repaid for their very lovely efforts.

It is possible that sib1 had a lot more support from the mother before she got ill too.

Dropdeadfred Fri 13-Jul-12 16:41:45

And since when was £100k a small inheritance???

Pascha Fri 13-Jul-12 16:42:46

The inheritance should be divided according to what M requested, or if she died intestate then in accordance with the law of the country. If any siblings do or don't wish to donate their share to Sib1 afterwards that is entirely up to them.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 13-Jul-12 16:44:30

I would split equally, looks like you have all done what you can to help out.

If sibs 2,3,4 had done bugger all, and not visited mum for the last 20 years then maybe morally sib1 should get more.

Which sib are you ((nosy))

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Fri 13-Jul-12 16:45:48

Should be split as the mother intended, imo. Those were her wishes.

And one definitely shouldn't look after a parent with the expectation or hope that there may be something in it after they die.

As ANTagony said, if one sibling wants to give up their share to sib 1, then they are free to do so, but what the other siblings do is up to them.

No. Mother's wishes are what counts surely

Secret7 Fri 13-Jul-12 16:46:31

Shared equally according to M wishes.

Which sibling are you?

BackforGood Fri 13-Jul-12 16:46:42

The Mum's wishes should be abided by. That's why she went to the trouble of leaving a will.

lopsided Fri 13-Jul-12 16:47:37

Tricky, in my own family it was split equally between 2 (one carer, one not). I think that the carer should have received more (the total was a lot less than you are talking about though, I think it was about 15k). It is very difficult though, 100k inheritance would be thought of my many as a lot of money.

StarryCole Fri 13-Jul-12 16:49:06

I've just done my wills. The drafting of wills make it explicit who inheritance what. You should all honour and inherit your mother's wishes as it has been described in her will.

Once received - how you then each choose to spend your inheritance is down to you. If you're happy to hand it over to another sibling then fine. If not, then don't.

Two different issues IMO/

My opinion: It should be given as set out in the will by the person who is leaving the money.

If one of the siblings then decides to give his/her share to someone else having inherited it, then it is up to them to do so. It is then their money to spend as they please.

(I always hate the word 'entitled' - sorry!)

sherbetpips Fri 13-Jul-12 16:50:12

split equally - it was her wishes not yours. Plus its not as if the rest of you did bugger all.
Have threatened my parents several times not to split our inheritence unfairly. They feel my brothers and sisters have more money so dont need as much - I do not want to have to deal with that on top of them dying!

StarryCole Fri 13-Jul-12 16:50:13

Otherwise it completely negates the point of wills (and they are law abiding). If my children were not honouring my will I'd be very upset by this.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Fri 13-Jul-12 16:50:22

Equally split. Anything else would foster resentment and is not really fair.

You do what you can for family because you care for them, not for what you get or don't get when they are gone.

Dh, I and his dbro and SIL did a lot more than their dsis to support his dad during his final years. As far as I'm concerned dsis has to live with the fact that she was a selfish cow didn't visit often, the guilt will catch up with her one day I'm sure. The money was split evenly and really, anything else would have destroyed the family.

It's not worth it.

nosleepwithworry Fri 13-Jul-12 16:51:04

Agree, if the one suggesting the unequal split wants to give their share to sib 1 then let them. Should not make that decsion for all though.

Can i just say that it sounds like a wonderfully supportive and loving family.
This must bring you such comfort because its really tough doing it alone knowing that other members of the family could help out but wont.

Warms the cockles of my heart x

lambethlil Fri 13-Jul-12 16:51:47

Follow the will.

BTW I think you are Sibling 3 and it is Sibling 4 who has suggested the change.

I am right?

BalloonSlayer Fri 13-Jul-12 16:51:59

The will is the will. The executor's role is to distribute the estate according to the terms of the will.

If the executor does not do this, then they are not carrying out their role properly. It's quite a serious matter actually.

kilmuir Fri 13-Jul-12 16:54:15

Blimey, they are the children, do they need rewarding for caring for a parent?
I agree with taking any expenses sibling 1 may have incurred before dividibg up any inheritance.
Whatdoes the parent want to happen ?

jollyaround Fri 13-Jul-12 16:56:31

wow, thanks for comments

will post later when read them!

LegoAcupuncture Fri 13-Jul-12 16:57:57

Do as the will says. The will was written before Mother was seriously ill and needing such care (I assume).

Which sibling are you then?

lopsided Fri 13-Jul-12 16:58:27

Depending on how much sib1 was paid might also come into it. 4 yrs of care for someone with dementia is heroic, organising carers and SS and doctors and assessments saps the life out of you.

No small time commitment.

YoYoYoItsTillyMinto Fri 13-Jul-12 17:03:29

you can use a Deed of Variation to change a will i.e. give away part of your share. its a bit like being given the money according to the will then passing it on. you just miss out the middle part.

if the other siblings agree, its a great idea. if you dont, can you agree on a smaller amount? if not, just go with the will.

runnindownadream Fri 13-Jul-12 17:29:54

Somehow these situations seem to bring out the worst in people although Op this family seem to be quite kindly.

I am of the belief that the will should be honoured as written unless the person lacked capacity at the time of writing it. If a beneficiary wishes to pass some or something they have inherited on then that is up to them.

jollyaround Fri 13-Jul-12 17:39:55

Thanks everyone, it's so interesting that most of you say follow the will and then donate to sib1 individually. You echo my thoughts.

She had no intention of having one of us give up a part of income to care for her. Sib1 was the only one of us that had the "choice" to do so.

She could have gone into a theory - through sib1's efforts she was able to stay at home. (though with her dementia I'm not sure how much of a difference that made)

Lopsided you're so right, and not one of us siblings underestimates the fact that, even with carers the whole situation saps the life out of ya!

100k IS a lot but was a lot MORE than that before we had to pay for her care. And it was money bloody well hard earned by my parents. Split 4 ways it doesn't go very far, but it would be the little "help" that my parents wanted to give us.

I'm sib 4, it was sib3 who suggested it.
Am not clear yet what sib2 thinks of the suggestion.

Think that sib3 is generously (and incorrectly) assuming that sib1 is the least financially secure of all of us.

jollyaround Fri 13-Jul-12 17:44:49

and, yes, we are a happy supportive bunch. We're very lucky. I don't want to spoil that. I don't want the worst brought out in any of us. Including me!

that's why I posted this as objectively as poss....without saying which sib I was! To get your impartial thoughts! Couldn't work out if I was wrong or right.

Cheriefroufrou Fri 13-Jul-12 17:46:22

shared equally

then once shared out if any individual sibling wants to quietly give part of their share to sib 1 they are more than free to do so!

LST Fri 13-Jul-12 17:46:29

Defo equally IMO.

You split according to the will. As you should in any situation like this, regardless of the financial situation of the recipients.

it was your mothers' money, and her will says what she wants to happen.

runnindownadream Fri 13-Jul-12 17:55:19

I guess I base my view from family experience - a bitter one at that - which happened 30 years ago.

My great grandmother excluded people from her will purposely following their less than honourable behaviour towards her but who on her death swarmed round like bees round a honey pot. It became very acrimonious and nearly ended up in court. My grandmother and her sister didn't speak for years because of it - mainly because of the accusations of her capacity when writing it and attempts to get her to change the will.

Anyway my GGs reasons were her own and she felt justified in her actions. Her will was upheld.

jollyaround Fri 13-Jul-12 18:03:56

gawd runnin, how awful. I can see how things can end up like that. I really don't want that to happen.

I've just realised something else. I'm really angry that I've been put in this position.

The only fair and honourable thing to do is to follow M's will.

Tiago Fri 13-Jul-12 18:12:58

Assuming the will is valid, the executors have to follow the will. Depending on drafting - you could, if you wanted, possibly disclaim your entitlement (but you'd need legal advice as to how this would work as it depends on what the provisions sepcifically say re: residue, etc).

If you plan to gift the money to your sister later, it will be subject to income tax as it won't be inheritance at that point. Because of the tax issues, if you want to give her money but not lose a huge chunk to HMRC, you do need legal advice. There are ways round the issue, but it will likely involve a court application.

jollyaround Fri 13-Jul-12 18:16:33

thanks tiago, that's something else to consider.

sharklet Fri 13-Jul-12 18:18:52

Fraid not. Follow the will, that is all there is to it. You don't care for a loved one for financial gain. Messing witht hings will only cause anger resentment and the like in the future. Been there, believe me. I doubt very much the older sister has a leg to stand on legally and it would be very wrong.

Mintyy Fri 13-Jul-12 18:20:17

I think sib1 definitely deserves a bit more money.

ClaireBunting Fri 13-Jul-12 18:22:47

She has a will, so that's how it will be divided up. If she died without a will, the money would also go equally to each sibling.

If the siblings want to make a subsequent arrangement as to what to do with their own money, that is up to them.

Perhaps the carer sibling can be recognised by getting first refusal over the personal affects if these aren't mentioned in the will.

runnindownadream Fri 13-Jul-12 18:37:16

jolly it was awful. I was only young but I can distinctly remember the rows about it to this day.

It became extreme to the extent family members tried to enter the house when they had no right to and to the point that noone trusted anyone else. Ridiculously it wasn't particularly a substantial amount really compared to the relationships it wrecked. It has led me to the point where I believe that a will should be honoured as that is that persons wishes.

Interestingly we never heard from the others after the will was upheld - despite some of them living round the corner from us. Read into that what you will ........

sharklet Fri 13-Jul-12 18:52:47

My family was similarly ruined run down....

jollyaround Fri 13-Jul-12 19:28:19

sharklet, yes, am afraid of the resentment all round.

I'm already feeling my own. So glad I asked you lot before expressing it!

Agree that sib1 shouldn't be left out of pocket (sib1 was encouraged to, and did, take some payment for the time involved in admin etc.) But equally, it was sib1 who CHOSE to do this. Nobody begged her, forced her.

cormsilkye Fri 13-Jul-12 19:32:54

if 3 of the siblings wanted sibling 1 to have 75k and so they went ahead as they felt they were the majority but one sibling didn't agree with the new arrangement then what could do the other sibling do about it? <nosy>

Dropdeadfred Fri 13-Jul-12 19:40:36

But the solicitor will pay each sibling £25k so the siblings cant control that

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 13-Jul-12 19:46:16

Sorry for your loss.

I'd follow the will but sounds like sibling 1 did a lot more than any of the rest.

Floggingmolly Fri 13-Jul-12 19:54:07

You can't change the terms of someone else's will.
It will be paid out as it's written in the will - what each individual subsequently choose to do with their own share is up to them, but no-one should be coerced into doing what the majority decide.
Btw, you mention sib 1 was paid from the mother's funds for time spent working on her affairs, why should they then feel they're due the lion's share of the inheritance?

ChunkyPickle Fri 13-Jul-12 19:58:49

I know someone in the opposite situation - her mother left her the bulk of the will because she was the one who looked after her in her last years.

My friend thought this was unfair, and instead split the money half/half. For some, unknown reason, her sibling was upset about the original will, and has made her life a misery ever since by putting all sorts of limitations and solicitors letters etc. on the trust she set up to divide the inheritance equally.

There is not a day that goes by that she doesn't regret not just following the will.

Sib1 looked after your mum because she is your mum - not for extra consideration in the will (I presume from how you wrote the OP). You all pitched in where appropriate too. Divide the money equally - let sib1 have the priority when it comes to mementos.

jollyaround Fri 13-Jul-12 20:56:59

"Sib1 looked after your mum because she is your mum - not for extra consideration in the will (I presume from how you wrote the OP). You all pitched in where appropriate too. " Yes chunky that's pretty much it.

Flogging, I think that sib1 feels that, apart from being paid some "salary" from M's funds, there was potential income lost due to the time she sacrificed. She's self-employed remember.

MrsCampbell, yes, sib1 did a lot more than the rest. That's the whole problem. But sib1 was the only one able to even CHOOSE. Ok the others did not have to give up their jobs, but then we couldn't - two of us have dependent dc's.

I keep going round in circles in my head argh. But your comments are really helpful.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 13-Jul-12 21:22:17

I think its really tough when the burden of caring for a parent falls on one sibling more than the other. I don't live close to my mother but my sister does and am well aware that she'll probably end up doing the lion's share and I guess I'd feel she should be compensated for this in someway.

But its so tricksy and like you I wouldn't want to be seen to be the bad one - any ideas as to how sib 2 feels?

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 13-Jul-12 21:23:11

And has sib 3 mentioned this as yet to sib 1? Because I bet sib 1 had never considered such a thing but if its now out there . . .

Also easy for a 'richer' sibling not to be so worried about the money.

Split equally as per terms of the will, and then adjust accord to the wishes of each sibling.

We will a have a similar-ish issue to deal with. DH, DS and I live with my very elderly mother in her house (our childhood family home) , which represents approx. 90% of her capital. DB and his family live in Australia.

We live rent-free (the mortgage was paid off years ago) but we pay all the household bills, organise repairs, buy household furnishings and equipment, pay for cleaning and generally take care of DM who is becoming quite frail. We organise trips out and and holidays for her, help her with paperwork and shopping and take care of her when she is ill, but the house is large enough for her to live independently of us, unless she actually feels like our company or needs our help. grin

I am currently a full-time (very) mature student, DH works from home and DS will be at school for another 2 years, so the issue of any "loss of earnings" hasn't arisen for us. Aged Mama comes from a v. long-lived line of females and at 83 is pretty healthy, although her memory is poor. But things could change very rapidly, and we have always hoped that us living here will mean DM can live in her own home for the rest of her life - we have enough space and she has sufficient income to be able to arrange for live in-care, provided she is not seriously ill.

When DM dies, her (IHT liable) estate will be split equally between DB and myself. There will be just about enough liquid capital and insurance to pay the IHT but to avoid us being forced to sell the family home right away, (DH is self employed and we can't get a mortgage) DB and I have verbal agreement that his share of the estate will be left in trust for his young daughters, until the youngest is legally an adult and then they can make a decision about what to do with their inheritance. Leaving it in bricks and mortar is probably as safe as anything could be - property is still booming in our neck of the woods hmm.

jollyaround Fri 13-Jul-12 22:20:45

yes, it has been suggested to sib1, though I'm not sure who's idea it was. Don't think that sib1 would have suggested it. Also not entirely sure what sib2 thinks. I needed to get my head round the whole thing before discussing.

MrsC you're right it's probably easier for the "richer" sibling to be generous. I have 3 school-age dcs, and a self-employed dh who's earning very little at the moment. I work full time and I'm bloody tired. We have 2 cars - both 10 years old.

I know many people are far worse off than me, but should sib1 really have 75% of what my parents wanted me/us to have?

Am sad (and angry) about it. I almost feel like stepping completely away from it.

HeathRobinson Fri 13-Jul-12 22:24:25

I'd say follow the will. Your mum presumably wanted her children to inherit equally and for a fair amount to trickle down to each set of grandchildren.

Sib1's time should have been paid from your mum's funds. If it became too much for them, shouldn't they have spoken up and perhaps your mum could have received care in a home?

Sorry for your loss.

Viviennemary Fri 13-Jul-12 22:28:13

If your Mum has stated in her will she wishes the money to be split equally four ways that is what should happen. If one of the people wishes to give up their share to somebody else because they need the money more then that's up to them.

LemonEmmaP Fri 13-Jul-12 22:49:55

As much as I think there is some justification for Sib1 having a bigger share, I would say that 75% is too much - each of Sib 2-4 would get around 8% and sib1 would get 9 times as much as anyone else. If you wanted to shift the money in her favour, my personal view is that perhaps you should split the pot in fifths, with Sib1 taking two fifths, and everyone else taking one fifth. That way, Sib1 gets double what anyone else gets, but the share is not so disproportionate.

Otherwise, I think you should stick to the even split as per DM's will.

jollyaround Fri 13-Jul-12 22:56:05

lapsed, btw,

Your arrangements sound great - and how lovely for your dm to have you nearby.

Hypothetically, (and I hope this doesn't happen obviously!) if your dm declines and needs 24/7 care for years, and the income doesn't cover it, and you end up doing a lot of organising and your dm is confused and depressed and distressed most of the time, and you can't study and you can't work full-time. Say in 10 years time, will you then feel you deserve a little more of the inheritance than your db?

sharklet Sat 14-Jul-12 00:49:44

I have to agree with the posters above who have mentioned this is something that has to be dealt with when the person is taking on the bulk of the caring. On the other side of our family (which was not destroyed by what this kind of thing can result in) the siblings all got together and discussed the options for care, and agreements were made as to how the sibling who was doing the bulk of work as a carer would be supported. (there is always one who ends up bearing the brunt) in our case this was done by her keeping reciepts for purchases and outgoings for grandpa and claiming that back from grandpa's account. She was also supported with money towards her mortgage being paid as she was unable to take on work. No piss taking took place, and when she needed respite then either wnother sister or organised respite care for grandpa happened. This way it did not affect at all the will, pnce you start messing with that then resentments occur and it becomes bad, even if if it doesn't happen immediately this kind of thing can fester and cause huge rifts.

I really hope it all works out for you in the end.

joanofarchitrave Sat 14-Jul-12 00:57:19

Follow the will and leave it there.

And of course you will be particularly pleased to support Sib 1's children when they are looking after Sib1 -assuming you are still around at the time.

Newbizmum Wed 25-Jul-12 03:36:24

I suspect the will was drafted some time before the burden of care fell on what I presume to be the closest child or at least the one able to devote more time.

Were I in this situation and if the more involved sibling needed the money and I did not or felt so strongly about it that I wished to change the distribution, I would just ask the other two siblings whether they wished to wished to match my £5k redistribution. If they did, then the split would be 40/20/20/20.

sleeplessinsuburbia Wed 25-Jul-12 03:46:14

Equal. Unless arranged while she was living to give a little bit extra to the sib who was most hands on. To be honest I'd say equal and if I was a non contact sib I'd organise a nice gift in appreciation of hands in sib's efforts.

sleeplessinsuburbia Wed 25-Jul-12 03:47:16

Sorry, it should have said present for the most hands on sibling!

AThingInYourLife Wed 25-Jul-12 05:26:11

Equal - you all helped according to what your situation allowed.

Sib 4 has a bit of a cheek to be giving away other people's inheritance without their agreement.

People who are "generous" with other people's money are infuriating.

sleeplessinsuburbia Wed 25-Jul-12 07:38:36

And another thing... I was a sibling who reduced my work days to be a carer. It never occurred to me to be rewarded, I did what I was able and very willing to do. In fact my gran often treated me to lunch when we were out and made it very clear that I was appreciated. The reason I suggested a gift was because I was surprised with one after the will had been finalised and it was lovely and unexpected!

DinahMoHum Wed 25-Jul-12 07:53:24

i think sibling 3 feels guilty and assumes this will make up for it, and is also trying to look good.

I personally would think it should be split equally

RillaBlythe Wed 25-Jul-12 08:04:19

Interesting. I think it should be split equally.

My grandparents have 4 children, one of whom lives nearby & does a lot of popping in, driving to appts etc. I haven't heard any talk of that sibling having a bigger share, but one of the four sibs is being left out as my grandparents feel he has inherited enough through other family members already. So the estate will go three ways. S

IfElephantsWoreTrousers Wed 25-Jul-12 08:11:38

If sib1 was already encouraged by other sibs to pay himself out of M's funds for time spent on these affairs then no further disparity is required, the split should be according to the mum's wishes equal all round.

If any of the sibs want to make each other gifts out of their share that is up to them.

ErnesttheBavarian Wed 25-Jul-12 08:38:15

I agree with AThing, except it's sibling 3 not 4 who is being generous with everyone else's money.

Sib 4, I would just tell sib 3 that the will is written, that's what it says. it isn't so simple to just do something different for legal and tax reasons. Just stfu and do what it says. If sib 3 feels s/he wants to 'make it up' to sib 1 s/he can, as can all of you, in other ways, but just leave the will be, and sort it out later. So close to the death, emotions and feelings etc are running too high. So many families fall out over this. RTFM(Will)

AThingInYourLife Wed 25-Jul-12 09:32:34

Yes, sorry, I got the siblings mixed up.

I've been thinking about this further based on my Dad's family. DGF had Alzheimer's before he died and DGM is 94 and well, but still elderly and needing a fair bit of TLC.

Four siblings

Sib 1 - lives a short flight away, visits whenever possible, very much involved in care of parents

Sib 2 - lives on the other side of the world, other than very big decisions (eg DGF going into a home) has no input into care

Sib 3 - lives nearby, did all admin related to DF care, sees DM weekly socially and for medical appointments, DW did a lot of care of DGF when in care home

Sib 4 - DPs lived with her and family (until DF went into residential care), DM still lives with her

Between their 4 children they do as good a job as they can together to look after their parents.

Sib 2 can't do much from where she is. That's tougher on her than anyone else.

Sib 1 isn't around day to day, but pulls out all the stops when she comes over or has her DM to visit, giving the others a break

Sibs 3 & 4 do all the day to day caring for their parents. Sib 3 does as much as possible to reduce the burden on live-in Sib 4.

I think a suggestion such as the one described would cause a lot of hurt feelings at a very sad time - it seems to say that some children were better than others.

My Dad is Sib 3. He (and his sisters) look after their parents because they love them. They are all doing their best and I don't think either of my GPs would be anything but proud of how they have managed it.

To start dividing up money based on who did most when all are grieving seems crass and insensitive.

Alabama100 Wed 01-Aug-12 19:22:09

Sorry foryour loss op.

In mt opinion I think the will should be split evenly as requested by your late mother, however if I was one of the siblings I would personally give sib1 say an extra £3-5k out of my share. If the other siblings wanted to follow suit fine but I wouldn't push the matter. Good luck in your decision.

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