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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.

AThingInYourLife Wed 03-Apr-13 08:37:34

Your siblings have no cause to be offended here.

You should only give them as much as you can comfortably afford.

Which, given your straitened circumstances, is very little.

I would go with extra nice Christmas presents.

QuintEggSensuality Wed 03-Apr-13 08:44:57

You sound very kind and thoughtful.

But I dont think you should discuss it with anyone, nor share it.

They would not shared with you. They are financially secure - you are not.
If you think that a holiday would bring unexpected joy, as opposed to cash to buy food and essentials, you are I fear, doing this for posterity and not looking out for your own and your dc interest.

You risk opening a can of worms.

Keep the money, invest it as best as you can. Pay your debts and look into spending the money on a home one day.

LemonBreeland Wed 03-Apr-13 09:28:21

snowme I'd be interested to know what the views were of people on the financial forum. Do they differ greatly from the ones on here?

Also can you please clarify about your Mums will from your OP. Many people are assuming you will be left out of your Mums will as you are inheriting from your paternal GPs, I had originally read it as you would be the only recipient from your Mums will. It remains unclear ot me, but if you are not in your own DMs will that is not very fair treatment.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 03-Apr-13 10:08:12

Hi again OP, I think it's impossible for us to understand your motivation as we don't know about your family relationships. We can just offer general financial advice and try to assess fairness, as asked, based on what you've told us.

An obvious inference is that you think your siblings will inherit less in total than you have, so you have some obligation to make up or at least acknowledge the difference. Have you talked to you mum about that? Would she give you some indication of how much they inherited from their father and are likely to from her? Or is that not the point at all?

lottiegarbanzo Wed 03-Apr-13 10:20:31

Also, are these actually step siblings or are they half siblings, sharing your mother? If step, what happened to their maternal grandparents? If step, the idea that they but not you would inherit from your mother is much harder to understand.

Snowme Wed 03-Apr-13 22:21:42


The other forum is much the same,I was surprised to find.
No, the unspoken consensus was that I would not be included in my Mother's will as I was 'catered for' already by my paternal Grandparents. I don't actually know if this is concrete, I'd have to ask my Mum. Not a conversation you can exactly open with ease!


I wasn't aware of variations on the terminology :0
We share the same mother, that's all.
Their paternal grandparents died around 10 years ago, after their father.

In that case, your step siblings have most likely inherited from their father, their paternal grandparents who outlived him (without saying or sharing anything with you) and are also set to inherit your mother.

Not quite sure why you want them to share in a 4th inheritance from somebody that is not a birth relative to them, even though they are already financially secure?

Snowme Wed 03-Apr-13 22:30:53

I have had a lot of useful advice and views on here for which I am warmly thankful.

Summarily, what I have taken from this is that I need to re-evaluate circumstances nearer the time of Probate completion, as at this stage it hasn't even begun and I don't actually know what the total figure is, I was just going on figures already trickled in and a presumption.

Someone most succinctly made me aware today that as my lone parent benefits will all be stopped immediately I declare the inheritance, until I find emploment I will have to use this money to live off, and it will barely give me a couple of years in that case.
So I think for the time being, unless the total figure increases significantly or until I am in a more stable financial position working and securely housed with my children, my siblings may well not be receiving any amount at all just yet :/ or at the very least, a much nicer Christ,as present this year. Believe it or not, I have £1.86 in my bank today, no savings, overdrawn to the max, and cannot spend anything until Child Bemefot is paid in this Friday. Yet I have thousands of inheritance sat in the system waiting for probate to start. I think you have all helped me to see much more clearly indeed. Thankyou.

DontmindifIdo Wed 03-Apr-13 22:31:16

So, they've inherited from their dad and didnt offer to share that with you because you'd be getting this inheritance, and theyre going to inherit from your joint mum, but you are also being left out if that because of this inheritance, and they potentially have also inherited from their grandparents that you don't share, but you don't know about that and again, they didn't offer to share any of it...

It does rather sound like the assumption is you will be getting a larger sum than you are and the whole family have based their financial inheritance planning around the idea you would be getting a lump sum that you wouldn't be expected to share.

DontSHOUTTTTTT Wed 03-Apr-13 22:52:26

Snowme. I am glad that you have found the advice given to you useful and I hope everything gets sorted out sooner rather than later.

Good luck for the future. I really hope you get to 'enjoy' a little of the money rather than it all being tied up with necessities.

I hope you are not pressurised into lending anymore money to your sister.

Murtette Wed 03-Apr-13 23:01:00

Snowme - I'm relieved to see that you're already finding out what benefits will be stopped when you declare your inheritance as, I've just read the whole thread, and alarm bells were ringing for several pages about the position you'll be in if/when you lose your benefits.
You say you're going to look for a full time job when your youngest DC starts school this autumn but, realistically, how easy will that be to find and what is your earning potential? What hours will you be available for? What about during school holidays? What qualifications do you have? Will you be able to earn an amount equal to or more than you receive in benefits? And what about where you live? Will you still be entitled to live there if you have capital savings?
If the answer to either/both of those is no then you're actually going to have to live off the inheritance and it may be used up much faster than you imagine. You'll spend at least as much per month as you do now and possibly more as you'll know you have more money & so may treat yourself more often. Whilst I agree that having your own house gives you a huge feeling of security, remember that you will be liable for everything in it, so, stating the obvious, if something breaks or is in poor repair (and its amazing how easy it can be to overlook something in the excitment of viewing a property which you like & can afford) you have to pay for it.
I'd also be cautious about putting too much money aside for your DC. Once in an account, you probably can't access it again. Yes, it would be nice for them to have a lump sum when they're 18 but very few DC actually have that and, by the time they're that age, they have earning potential themselves. Over the next few years though, they're entirely dependant on you & may well be happier if you can afford to go on the odd holiday/day out, have nicer Christmas presents etc or simply grow up in a household with a mum who isn't constantly worrying about how to stretch her money to last the week in a way you are now. Essentially, what I'm saying is, whilst it may go against your generous nature, I wouldn't get too carried away giving out gifts here & there when you may need the money just to live on or to make the difference between a lifestyle where you are surviving from day to day and a lifestyle where you can be a bit more relaxed.

olivertheoctopus Wed 03-Apr-13 23:06:45

I think it depends on how much you have inherited and how much they inherited from your dad if you want it to be fair. That said, given what your father intended, I don't think you could be criticised for not giving them anything at least until you have sorted out and stabilised your own financial position.

I'm really glad you've had a further think about this.

I think Murtette makes some very good points. Just imagine the difference between your DC coming in with broken school shoes today and them coming in with broken shoes when you know you have cleared your debts and have a safety net of cash behind you.


HazleNutt Thu 04-Apr-13 06:51:37

Oh and I would be asking the sister who borrowed the money to pay it back now. You have 1.86 in the bank!

tholeon Thu 04-Apr-13 07:13:51

If you had won ten million in the lottery then maybe share it with your siblings. Please keep what your dgm left you for you and your children, you need it. Use it to help put yourselves on a secure financial footing and off benefit dependence. You deserve it. Repeat: you need it and you deserve it.

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 04-Apr-13 07:29:43

Good decision snowme.

ediblewoman Thu 04-Apr-13 07:44:40

I am sorry if this has been mentioned already but the other benefit issue is that were to gift any money to your siblings (and given the way their inheritances have worked I wouldn't in your position) and needed to claim benefits at any point the gifts would be seen as 'wilful deprivation of capital' and you could be treated as if you still had the money.

Welovegrapes Thu 04-Apr-13 07:50:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Welovegrapes Thu 04-Apr-13 07:51:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MyDarlingClementine Thu 04-Apr-13 10:01:21

you are going to be in an extremely precarious position, your first duty is to steady your own boat before going on to be helpful to others.
money unfortunately is very emotive, if you gave a grand each., that might not be enough.... in their eyes, its human nature sadly.

I wouldn't mention anything to anyone yet and you do not know what debts the estate has incurred.

Keep your own counsel and think about yourself first.

whatever you have been left may sound like a lot. but trust me - it dwindles.

Owning property is expensive. It is much better to rent and have a decent landlord who can fix things for you.

We will need to replace our boiler soon, it is nearly 10 years old, and that is another 1.5k. We recently had to spend 8k on new windows. sad The joys of property ownership.

Maybe the inheritance means you dont have to put up with living with a crap landlord for example, but can budget a bit more for rent, or a different neighbourhood.

Remember that you have TIME to think about what you want to do. Use it wisely. But dont go and spend a fortune on paying a financial adviser... wink

LemonBreeland Thu 04-Apr-13 12:25:34

snowme I find it really quite shocking that you inherit from your DFs family. Your half-siblings inherit from their DF, and they will also inherit from your Mother but you won't. Surely as you share the same Mother you should all inherit from her.

You really don need this money for yourself. You are obviously a lovely generous person but be generous to yourself.

maninawomansworld Thu 04-Apr-13 15:32:45

First of all, sorry to hear you've lost your gran. It's a horrible time and making big decisions while you're emotionally wrought up is a horrible thing to have to do.

My 2p worth is as follows:

I think that you should use the money to get off benefits, retrain and enter a profession which enables you to support yourself without drawing any more benefits from the state. If you've inherited more than the threshold for loosing your benefits as you say then you should have enough to bankroll yourself for the next couple of years through whatever courses are necessary to enable you to enter a reasonably well paid profession.

Then and only then should you think of giving any away / blowing it on luxuries.

I'm not trying to be harsh or start a debate on here but you have a chance to set yourself up to be able stand on your own two feet forever more and ease the burden on the welfare system (and the rest of us who work all the hours god sends only to loose half of it to the state!).

If you choose to blow it / give it away without attempting to use it to set yourself up for the future I don't think you should ever be allowed to claim benefits again.

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