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resentment over will

(55 Posts)
TaytoCrisp Thu 21-Jul-11 08:55:49

My father is seriously ill. I have two siblings; my mother died several year ago. We are a very close family and apart from occasional disagreements we tend to get on very well. The news of dad?s recent illness has been devastating. He is the nucleus of our family and it is hard to imagine him no longer being here. He has a short prognosis, we are all coming to terms with this and doing our best to help. He lives at home and would like to stay at home as long as possible.

My siblings live near my dad, but i live in another country. They are great and visit at least once every day. They have always done this in recent years. I have always travelled home very frequently ? about once every 6 weeks for a weekend and then longer at holidays. These days, i visit a lot more, and stay for a week at a time. We all have children and work.
My sister is particularly helpful. She spends a lot of time with dad. She also works in the medical professional so has been able to advice him medically which he feels has helped him enormously. She is also very practical and thinks of everything (e.g. makes dinners, buys clothes, visits with grandchildren etc), which i am not in a position to do as i live abroad; though i would love to be more involved. My other sibling visits a lot but is not very practical in the same way.

The problem is that my dad has decided to change his will. He has always said that everything would be shared equally and in the past things always have; and he has said that there are no favourites in the family. But now, when it comes to it, he seems to feel slightly differently. Basically, he now wants to leave a larger proportion to my sister than me or my other sibling. I understand this is some ways ? i think he is very grateful for all her help recently, and he wants to show her this. However, I am becoming very jealous and resentful ? traits i would never ever have recognised in myself before ? i am upset that she is the favoured one. I always thought that my dad and i were extremely close ? and feel resentful that she now seems to be the person most important to him. I tried to broach it with him ? and he has stated that there are no favourites.. he thinks my other sibling and i should not ?begrudge? my sister after all she has done. I appreciate all she has done, but would have done exactly the same if i were here ? but i?m not.

This is now praying on my mind at a time when i need to focus on my dad and my siblings. I know i will lose my dad soon, which is heartbreaking; i am also very upset that i will also lose my sister as i am feeling this resentment. Maybe i feel like this because emotions are so high at the moment. I don?t want to discuss it with dad ? he has finalised things recently and feels relieved ? he knows exactly what he wants to do and i will not interfere. I just need reassurance that he loves us all equally and feels that we are all doing as much as we can for him.

Any advice that would help me focus on important things like my family and relationships would be helpful. Do tell me i am being unreasonable.

porcamiseria Thu 21-Jul-11 09:01:42

how you feel is understandable. BUT when you chose to ive abroad are are n effect making a decson that when you parehnts get old and infirm you wont be there. I would one day like to go to the Med, but this issue will be on my mind too

I think you have to suck it up. sorry.

how much in monetary term extra will your sister get?

BoysAreLikeDogs Thu 21-Jul-11 09:03:59

I am so sorry

He can leave what he wants to whom he wants, and the fact that he is open about the changes means that you won't have a great shock at the solicitor's later on

It's not about your sister being the favoured one, it's reflecting her increased responsibilities that she has taken on latterly and he wants to acknowledge them

Please don't get hung up about money, love is not measured in £££

rainbowtoenails Thu 21-Jul-11 09:06:54

What exactly is he changing? Is it a lot of money or more about the principle? How do the others feel? Is the helpful sister not as well off? Is he leaving anything to any grandchildren? Is he of sound mind? Who is the executor?
Depending on circs you may need to just accept this and not blame your sis, unless she pushed hin. Be grateful that he has anything to leave at all.

potoftea Thu 21-Jul-11 09:08:47

You said you would've done the same as your sister if you'd been living near. Well you don't live near and so didn't do the stuff she did, so it's irrelevant what you would've done in a parallel world.

But, I understand your hurt now thinking your father loves and appreciates her more than you. However he isn't saying that, by giving her more money. He is saying he appreciates the practical things she has done. Maybe it makes it easier for him to be a care and burden, knowing he is "paying" for it somehow. Maybe it makes him feel more independent.

What you have had with your df for you lifetime is not changed now by the last few months of his life. Your emotions are all over the place, so please don't over-focus on this one small aspect of the long relationship you have had with your father.

Maryz Thu 21-Jul-11 09:09:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wonderstuff Thu 21-Jul-11 09:12:21

I think you need to see it not as him loving her more, it sounds like that is unlikely, but recognising the greater sacrifices she has made to support him.

VampiresReflection Thu 21-Jul-11 09:14:09

You cannot represent love in money. Please do not allow this to cause any upset. Spend this time making the most of what you have right now.

My nan died last year and since then my (narcissist) mother has poisoned the family with her bitterness over the lack of "fairness" in the will.

FetchezLaVache Thu 21-Jul-11 09:19:02

Please don't lose your sister as well as your dad. Your dad doesn't love her more than the other two of you, he just wants to acknowledge the hard work, consideration and sheer number of hours she's putting in. Surely that's fair?

DeWe Thu 21-Jul-11 09:21:34

My mum was the only one of her siblings to live close. They did what they could, but it would always be her who had to deal with the 7am phone call "can you help with * urgently?" and the day to day stuff. I don't think her siblings realised how much it took over her life to a certain extent in the last few years of their life. Certainly caused a lot of stress because she never knew when she'd get a desperate phone call, or dealing with finding the carer had been stealing (lots ggrrrr!) or just making sure they had food where they could reach it etc.

VirtualWitch Thu 21-Jul-11 09:24:35

YANBU. Anything other than an equal division between children is likely to create resentment, whether you just feel it or say something.

Surely your father should be pleased that he has brought you up to be independent and live abroad? I'm a bit shocked at the suggestion above that no-one should move out of visiting distance of their parents, in case they become ill later in life and need care!

Not saying for one moment that your sister is doing this, but I've seen some children in families start to show great interest in visiting their parents once they are getting a bit older (not necessarily due to health concerns but perhaps around the time a will might be changed) and I find it a bit stomach churning.

Loads of people's children live abroad without having their inheritance reduced. Unfortunately some parents will see lack of constant attention in their later years as some indicator of the importance of their children to them, and alter their wills because of this. Ditto sometimes if one child chooses not to have children themselves, they will recieve less.

In my OH's family, they seem to reward the child that is making a mess of their lives by leaving them the bulk of any inheritance! (which has invariably led to family falling outs and in one case, legal action, which I think illustrates how upset people can get by such things).

Mitmoo Thu 21-Jul-11 09:25:12

I am the child who does all of the caring. My other siblings have lives which mean they can't help. They are not bad people they just can't. I am fairly sure that your Dad has been relying on your sister for a lot longer than the recent diagnosis. I've been the unofficial carer for my Mum for years.

I take her to the doctors, hospitals, shopping, bills, am here when she feels down and when she feels up, I give her lifts to trips and pick her back up afterwards, I do her shopping when she's too tired or ill to do it, she has actually said she doesn't want to her here if anything happened to me. She can't cope with everyday things that are out of the ordinary.

Be grateful to your sister and if your Dad wants to give her a token of his appreciation in his will, think of all of the times when he needed her, when he relied on her and she was there.

PrincessJenga Thu 21-Jul-11 09:34:50

Sorry, but YABU. It doesn't sound like this is about favouritism, or love, but about practilities. If your sister is the one who's closest (geographically) to him and is doing a lot of shopping, caring, hospital visits etc then she will have already sacrificed a lot (financially and socially) and it sounds like your dad is trying to repay her for that. It also sounds like he's being open about it now to avoid issues later.

I'm truly sorry that your dad's ill and that you're having these resentful feelings, but like you say, if you don't get over them then you are going to lose your sister too. Please don't let that happen.

Your dad loves you. It's clear from your OP what a loving and supportive family you have. You need to move on from the will so that you can focus on enjoying the last times you have to spend with your dad and maintain the close relationship with your siblings.

FWIW, I don't think this is too unusual an arrangement. My mum is one of three sisters. Two of them (including mum) live in my hometown and visited their parents about as often as you describe. The third lived in the next street to their parents. In my grandparents later years my aunt visited every day, did the shopping, accompanied them to hospital, etc etc. Ultimately, she also arranged the funerals. This aunt got more money in the will. No-one was surprised, no-one resented it. They all knew that would happen. It didn't mean she was the favoured daughter, just the one who had given up a little more duirng the previous fee years and deserved a little more thanks and repayment.

I hope you reconcile yourself with this and feel better about it soon. Good luck.

Icelollycraving Thu 21-Jul-11 09:41:59

Sorry to hear about your dad.
You are lucky to have the family you do that all supports each other. I think your dad's choice is just that,his choice. I think it is a way of thanking your sister for everything that she has done. You are lucky she has done it,what would you have done if she hadn't?
Please try to focus on the time left with your dad,resentment is pointless,it's not about who he favours but who he wants to thank in his own way. Let him,it's his money. Don't make his choices more difficult,you will just be seen as grabby & unreasonable. See his extra proportion to your sister as his way of paying her back financially & in gratitude.
He loves you all,of course he does. Focus on that & try your best to move on from the jealousy,I expect your sister is aware of it & it is probably making her uncomfortable too.

venusandmars Thu 21-Jul-11 09:49:08

When I read your post, I read a lot of sadness and grief (not surprising), and shock and adjustment at your df's illness. At times like this it is natural to feel a whole range of wild emotions. Perhaps you even feel some guilt and sadness that you live far away and can not be a practical daily help or take your children to see him. Again, these can be very normal feelings, even though you know (in your head) that it is not your fault, and that you are doing whatever you can to see him frequently. If you have any of these feelings, it can feel doubly unfair that you are being 'punished' for you domestic circumstances, or for trying to take account of the needs of your own family.

Please do not let your current turbulent emotions spoil your long term relationship with your siblings, you all need each other now. Sometimes it is easier to displace grief, sadness, guilt into anger and resentment, and perhaps this is what you are doind with the decision about your df's will? Sometimes we also feel some anger towards the person who is dying (how dare you leave me...) and again this can feel illogical so it is easier to direct the anger towards particualr actions they are taking.

Please see your turbulent emotions as part of your gireving process, try to observe them, and not let them eat away at you. Ad take care of yourself at this difficult time.

AurraSing Thu 21-Jul-11 10:01:29

I don't think it's fair what your father is doing, but I don't know what you can do about it. I think as your sister is doing so much for him he wants to repay her somehow and the only way he can is by giving her more in his will.

If you want to maintain a relationship with your sister, you will need to rise above it. But I appreciate that wouldn't be easy.

Mitmoo Thu 21-Jul-11 10:10:00

I don't see why it is unreasonable, is it fair that one of the family get to do all of the caring for years, and the others can carry on with their lives?

In a way it is unfair for the rest of the family to let all of the responsibility for caring, which takes over your life, fall on to the shoulders of one of them.

Not often but sometimes when it the caring is really intense I resent my family for not helping, it is not about anything in wills for us, it is their lack of responsibility and willingness to let me shoulder it all that sometimes annoys me.

They'll be there for their share come the will day though they just haven't been their for the years of caring. I really believe if your Dad wants to say thanks to your sister, you'll just have to get your head around it.

Don't waste the last months with your Dad on this nonsense. I remember begging God to give my Dad back to me for an hour after he died and He could take my arm after I lost my Dad.

Just appreciate every last moment with him because the whole is huge when they've gone.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Thu 21-Jul-11 10:21:02

I agree with many of the others on this thread. It's not about who he loves more, but about recognition for the different roles.

So he loves you just as much as he loves her, but she has been there for him, day in, day out, put, to a certain extent, her life on hold, while you have lived yours. Perhaps she has incurred many expenses, or lost out on work?

Now, of course she didn't do this to get paid for it! And of course you didn't live abroad to not help. It is just the way it is. Just how it's worked out. But maybe he feels it's not about favouring her, but it is about recognition of the help and support and all the practical assistance she has given?

My grandad was such a proud man. It was so important to him to pay his way. Even with us! Oh, the rows I had with him when he tried to slip me some petrol money when I took him shopping! I don't want your money, I'd say. I'm not taking it! So he'd give my children some spending money. Co-incidentally the exact amount he had tried to give me for petrol! Stubborn old sod! grin

My point is, maybe it is pride. Maybe he feels, wrongly of course, but feels nonetheless, a burden. Perhaps this gesture makes him feel like he is not taking advantage of his daughter - he isn't! But people who become dependant on others have very many emotions about that. My grandad HATED being dependent. Slipping my children some pocket money made him feel better. Putting a tenner in my glove box while I was in the shop, the old goat!, made him feel better.

Don't look at this in terms of pounds and pence. It's not about that at all. And it's not about who he loves more.

yellowkiwi Thu 21-Jul-11 10:25:18

When my Dad got ill he made a new will and I'm not sure it was as fair as his original will. I think the cancer had an effect on his mind and he was not able to think as clearly as he had done in the past. In the last months of his illness he said some pretty upsetting things, especially to the women of the family. Do you think your Dad might also not be thinking straight? If so, try to remember that before his illness he regarded you all equally and loved you all without favourites.

The most important thing is not to doubt how your Dad feels about you - could you talk to him about how you feel about him and give him a chance to say how he feels? You might want to do this so that these feelings don't linger.

Try not to allow this to come between you and your family as you will need each other so much in the coming months.

Inertia Thu 21-Jul-11 10:31:52

Sorry to hear of your father's illness, and the loss of your mother.

Just lost a huge reply but my MN crashed. To summarise: Your sister providing the personal, practical and medical help your father needs may be all that's preventing him from needing paid care or residential care which he might otherwise have to fund. She is incurring costs, either directly or indirectly, and it seems reasonable that your dad should want her to not be out of pocket after all she's done to help him.

Your sister might well be protecting your inheritance by providing the means for your father to avoid paid residential care.

I'm sure he loves you all, but feels the need to reimburse your sister in some way. I hope you are able to have some peace and build happy memories in the time you have with your father.

GruffalosGirl Thu 21-Jul-11 10:35:45

I think sometimes when we realise that there's not much time left it's easy to feel we could have made different choices. Add this to what your dad is doing and you could be subconciously thinking there is some sort of negative judgement from your dad on the care you've provided.

By your dad recognising all the help your sister has given he is not criticsising you for you not providing this help at all. We all see other people's actions in relation to ourselves and sometimes give ourself too big a part in it. All he is doing is thanking your sister for the help he feels she has given, it has nothing to do with you and your relationship with him, he loves you all the same.

Try not to take it in a negative way and don't let it affect the time you have left or you will end up regretting it.

thestringcheeseincident Thu 21-Jul-11 10:38:19

You've had really good advice here by everyone.
My mother just received the lions share of a large inheritance from her uncle. She had done EVERYTHING for him for the last 5 years and I think he wanted to show his appreciation for all she had given up. It didn't mean he loved her more than his other family members.

Be kind to yourself and try not to let this ruin your memories of your lovely dad.

FakePlasticTrees Thu 21-Jul-11 10:42:34

I think you need to think about what the alternative would have been. If it was just you and the other sibling, what would have happened to your Dad. Would you have given up your overseas life and come home to care for him? Would your other sibling have given up their job/life and moved close to help? Or would your Dad had to go in a home/hire in the help your sister provided from love.

If it was a home, then there would be very little, if any money left. If you had given up your life abroad, then it would cost you far more than you are losing in inheritance. (not just financially, the stress and lack of freedom caused caring for an elderly relative shouldn't be underestimated).

Your sister has shouldered that burden for the whole family. She's stopped you from having to make those difficult decisions, you've not had to make those sacrifices. That you would have done if forced isn't the issue, she's done it, and your father wants to honour that.

You should also take time to thank her, think about what your life would have been like the last few years if she's not done this. Think about what your father's life would have been like if she'd not done this. It's only money, but she's given up part of her life so you and your sibling didn't have to. That should be respected by the whole family.

corygal Thu 21-Jul-11 10:45:01

YABU – but I can see it's difficult.

The truth is, sadly, it’s only thanks to your sister that yr Dad has got any money to leave anyone. Without your Dsis’ hard work it sounds as if DF would have been in care at £600-1,000 a week for some time. Even help at home costs about £400 a week these days, and the state don’t pay much towards it.

Having said that, the raw unfairness must sting – but yr Dad’s decision isn’t unfair. See the extra he is giving your Dsis as compensation for care, and recognise her for allowing you to inherit what you have.

GwendolineMaryLacey Thu 21-Jul-11 10:49:53

On the flipside, my gps left everything to the eldest son. He had done nothing for them in their later years. My aunt, who lived down the road and reorganised her life in order to take care of them, plus the other four siblings, got nothing. They didn't mean to cause a rift, it was just an olde worlde eldest son thing. It took a lot of swallowing of resentment, not by my aunt but by the rest of us on her behalf but it's behind us. Some things are more important.

So, YANBU to feel how you do but it's just something you have to learn to live with. I'm sorry about your father's illness.

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