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I've inherited some money and don't know how to share it.

(224 Posts)
Snowme Mon 01-Apr-13 23:29:54

I've inherited a significant amount of money. Not enough to buy a house or anything like that,but certainly enough to drastically improve the lives of myself and my two young children.

I have three step siblings but as I grew up with them from the age of 2.5 none of us have ever referred to or considered eachother stepsiblings.
Our Dad (my stepdad) died about 18 years ago and at the time I vaguely remember it being common knowledge that because I was the stepchild and I was going to inherit from my paternal grandparents one day, anything from my stepdad's will would not include me, as I was kind of catered for already. I believe the same is now also true with regards to my Mum's will.

Although my siblings spent an occasional school holiday with me and my paternal grandparents, and always received birthday presents with money and gifts throughout their childhood from them, they were not mentioned in my late grandmother's will. So whilst they were not especially close to them, they were familiar with them.

As there are no other beneficiaries to the will except myself, I would like to give some of the money to my siblings. But dilemmas keep presenting themselves. I'm also asking advice from a more practical forum, but Mumsnet will provide more direct views.

Basically, I'd like to know how much to give them.

Briefly, my recent background is that I left a DV 8 year relationship a couple of years ago and left their father with my then 4 week old newborn and toddler.

I've had massive financial problems since, inherited debt from our time together where he did not contribute financially, etc etc. I've recently filed for a Debt Relief Order (similar to bankruptcy) as it got to the point where I was evicted for arrears and then couldn't even afford to bus my daughter into school in the next town. The debt isn't huge and this inheritance could finally take away that 5 year long noose from my neck.

My youngest starts school this Autumn, so this money also makes the transition from depending on benefits to finding full time work again much easier.

But as I'm currently still on full benefits until the probate process is completed in several months time, once the benefits agencies are aware, I won't be eligible for housing benefit, income support or council tax benefit, so as I'm not working and it's unlikely I'll find a full time job quickly that can also cover childcare costs, I'm going to have to pay my own rent, living expenses, etc once I have that money, so at around £900 a month or whatever the cost is rent, food, utilities, council tax, etc that inheritance will trickle away very quickly.

The idea of stashing it for my children's future is becoming less feasible if I have to live off it instead until I find work.

So, with that in mind, firstly what amount should I be thinking of giving my siblings, and secondly, do I explain my reasons for that amount (ie that I need to think of my own children first and that they have already inherited from our Dad when I did not)
or not declare the full amount at all?

I want to be able to give the, something of course, I just don't know how much. I'm aware this is such a once in a lifetime blessing. What do you think ? Do I need to declare the amount here or can you figure out a reply without knowing it? It's to enough buy a house, nowhere near,for instance.

DramaLlamaFarmer Tue 02-Apr-13 00:02:41

You could buy me a Russell Brand for the evening? I think that would be incredibly charitable of you.

Apileofballyhoo Tue 02-Apr-13 00:02:58

Echoing everyone else - keep it until you have a job. Your DCs come first. You may be in a better position to share at a later date. (did they share with you when your Dad died?) It might also be a comfort to your siblings to know you have savings if they have an emergency that you would be able to lend (assuming decency about paying back etc). My Mum has this arrangement with us - interest free loans, provided she has the money to lend and we have the wherewithall to pay it back.

sayithowitis Tue 02-Apr-13 00:06:04

How much did they give you when your step-dad died? Since you did not mention receiving anything then, I will assume that you got nothing. Why on earth would you be thinking about giving away an inheritance when you clearly have financial problems and this could help get you back on your feet? It is very generous of you, but I would think, unnecessary. If you really wanted to give them something, then treating everyone to a family day out or buying them something small that you know they would like, should really be sufficient.

I am all in favour of being generous with money in situations like this, but only after you have ensured a financially settled future for yourself and your own children.

steppemum Tue 02-Apr-13 00:09:24

How lovely, you sound as if this is just the break you need.
How lovely of you to think of giving it away too. Do think carefully about it though, money doesn't go as far as you would like it to.

Be careful about who you talk to and be careful saying how much. The more people know the more they put their expectations on you.

If you want it for your children's future, you may be able to put it into a savings account for them that means it doesn't count for benefits. You need some professional advice on this. Get yourself an appointment with an adviser, both for the benefits and for financial advice.

Snowme Tue 02-Apr-13 00:11:32

A couple of you have asked if I'm worried about what my siblings will think. Yes. I am.
they've always been of the opinion my Gran was very comfortable because their childhood memories are of her living in one of those London 'mansion flats' but they thought it was the entire building (what was then a very run-down Streatham Hill before you ask, not Kensington!) was her house, not the actual tiny one bedroom flat she had in one corner of it.
And no, I wouldn't expect them to do the same thing if they were in my financial position. Although they all have secure jobs and as far as I'm aware no debt, I just want to be able to give something to bring them a bit of unexpected joy.

I want to learn to drive as this will improve my job prospects and hopefully buy a secondhand car, and yes it could be enough for a deposit on a small house, I didn't think of that actually, but even then if they saw me buying a cheap car or deposit on a house, would they feel cheated or that I didn't love them enough to give them more of an equal share of the money?

lottiegarbanzo Tue 02-Apr-13 00:11:43

Ok, agree you should not discuss the amount. Context is all, so the same amount means very different things to different people. The resulting perceptions and inferences are a can of worms you needn't open. Do you know how much they inherited from your shared Dad? Doesn't sound like it. Why should anyone need numbers?

What to do with it? Definitely seek independent financial advice. Given your situation, the course that appears obvious to my inexpert mind is:
- Clear your debts
- Put what you can, without losing benefits, into suitable savings.
- Put what remains into accounts in your children's names. It is then not yours.

It really isn't, it's not just a ruse. This results in them owning the money at 18 though. You might want to think about not telling them until later, as 21 or 25 might seem a more sensible age - or age when they might be more sensible with money. Not sure you can stop them knowing though.

That deals with everything without affecting your benefits (caveat, get proper advice) as you would be openly declaring everything that was yours and operating within the rules. Actually, I bet it's set up so you can't do that and, as the full sum will come to you initially, you'll have to declare it. If you do then give some away to your DCs though, then what? Again, seek advice! Morally, I wouldn't have a problem with that, as the money for your DCs could just as well have been a direct inheritance of their own.

If that's not possible, then consider costs of living until you can get a job, setting something aside for your DCs, retaining a cushion of at least six months costs of living, preferably a year - such peace of mind, just in case of all sorts of eventualities. You say not enough for a house but enough for a deposit once you're earning?

Think all that through, then consider a gift for your siblings. So, not a fixed proportion of the total but of what's left after you've made yourself and DCs secure.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 02-Apr-13 00:12:51

For now, do nothing.

Wait for the money, then pay your debts and then look at what you've got left.

You need some legal advice, for example it might be possible to pass some of the money directly to your children and thereby avoid losing any benefits in the short term.

I really hope you aren't doing this hoping that they will do the same for you when their turn comes. Because it may not come, and when it does they will in all likelihood prioritise themselves and their families - which is what you should be doing right now.

If your grandmother - is that right? - had wanted them to have something then she would have made provision in her will, but she didn't. She wanted her money to go to you and your children.

Apileofballyhoo Tue 02-Apr-13 00:13:33

I thought of something else OP - my DH and his siblings have issues where his parents gave time/gifts to their own siblings/nieces/nephews rather than to them. If you are giving out money for your siblings to go on hols will there be enough for your DCs to go on hols? I don't mean to sound harsh, I think you are very generous and loving. I hope you are appreciated within your family and that they would do same for you.

Snowme Tue 02-Apr-13 00:14:11

I wasn't given anything when my stepdad died, sayithowitis. I don't know how much they were given, if anything, I've never asked :/ it was always just an unspoken intent. Do you think I should establish this fact before I make a decision??

Lovelygoldboots Tue 02-Apr-13 00:14:45

Keep your counsel on this OP, until the money is yours. If you discuss it beforehand and it causes animosity then no win no fee solicitors can come out from under their rocks and halt the probate process in its tracks. Just my experience with family.

TheCraicDealer Tue 02-Apr-13 00:16:11

Ok so it's not enough to buy a house outright, but if you start looking at roles now (with a view to starting work once the little one's in school) you could work a few months and then use the rest of your Nan's money for a deposit. A bloody good deposit on a house that would mean real security for you and the kids.

Remember as well that this is your Grandmother's money. You say in your OP that she knew of them but they weren't what you'd say "close". You have to consider whether it would be her wish that you sort yourself and your children out the best you can, or whether three other people who occasionally visited might have a nice, well deserved holiday.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 02-Apr-13 00:16:46

I don't think you should discuss it with anyone, in all honesty.

malovitt Tue 02-Apr-13 00:17:26

Probate for my father's estate, which was very straightforward, took nearly nine months to complete.
So definitely wait until nearer the time.

cantspel Tue 02-Apr-13 00:18:15

If you give a chunk of the money away then at a later stage need to claim benefits again you could be treated as though you still had the money. Google
deprivation of assets for further info and to see if it is likely to apply.

But imo you should keep the money as frankly you are not in a position to be giving even small chunks of it away.

happyAvocado Tue 02-Apr-13 00:19:05

apart form good advice above I suggest you have at least 6 monts worth of monthly income (or expenses) put aside for rainy days, make sure you have at least that much in a separate account

you are hoping to share some money with them - have they shared money with you when you didn't have enough to pay your bus fare?

Snowme Tue 02-Apr-13 00:19:51

This is all really helping,thanks everyone thanks

What I'm taking mostly from it so far is that I should clear the debts first, get some financial advice on how it affects my current state benefits, and then make a decision on how much to give my siblings when that's all in place. I just hope they won't think I've decoded not to give them anything at all in that meanwhile because it will be several months away yet! I don't want them to think Ive just kept it all! I'll perhaps have to have a semi formal discussion with them soon, to explain there is enough money to be ale to share with them, but I don't know how much yet, or when.

Casmama Tue 02-Apr-13 00:20:06

I think your siblings didn't feel the need to discuss any inheritance with you so don't feel obligated.

allagory Tue 02-Apr-13 00:21:11

You sound very generous - but this was your grandparents' money. I am sure they they worked hard for and their wish was for you to have the money. They could have left money for your step siblings, but they chose not to. I think you should honour their wishes. Make your plans carefully and only spend for a better life for you and your children, not just a better day or week.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 02-Apr-13 00:21:38

Really not understanding why you are so keen to share. Did they share with you?

CocacolaMum Tue 02-Apr-13 00:22:30

I think you should give yourself a year, maybe even 2 to sit on it and see how life takes you.
You were left that money. Your Grandmother knew of your siblings but it was her wish that YOU have her money and it is clear from what you have shared that she was correct in her decision.

Don't give it away. Your siblings are able to provide a secure future for themselves which means I am sure they can budget for a holiday, until you can say the same then use it as a cushion.

StuntGirl Tue 02-Apr-13 00:24:00

They obviously kept the money from their dads will though, why are you so worried about what they'll think?

You don't sound in a strong enough financial position to be giving it away. Wait and see what happens in the meantime, it doesn't matter what they think while probate is going in.

Lovelygoldboots Tue 02-Apr-13 00:24:33

You don't need to discuss anything with them. It's your money. Left to you. Your gran wanted you to have it. Not them. That's why she bothered to make a will. It's what she wanted. Let her have what she wanted as her last wish.

Snowme Tue 02-Apr-13 00:25:02

happyavocado Sadly no, I've lent one sister large sums of money in the recent past and she hasn't repaid it. I was evicted for rent arrears last year and she continued to borrow money from me then, she must have known my money was tight then :/ Ah well. That doesn't stop me from wanting to gift her though. I might look a mug on the face of it, but it's only money, not worth holding grudges for. Life's short and precious, is the only good thing that came out of my recent past's experiences with the children's father.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 02-Apr-13 00:26:14

See now I think you are a fool. Are you trying to buy affection?

I am genuinely confused confused

lottiegarbanzo Tue 02-Apr-13 00:26:21

Why would you want to be trying to sustain an illusion you think they had about you grandparents' home? Why the sense of guilt and sensitivity about appearances? If they care about you as much as you clearly care about them, they will be really pleased you are more secure. It may be quite comforting to them, given your recent history. I think you need to allow yourself to be loved and cared for now.

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