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to think that my cousin has been greedy and moneygrabbing (sorry - long!)

(256 Posts)
tinkerbel72 Thu 28-Aug-08 11:38:52

Please bear with me on this, it needs some back story, but I would really appreciate views on this.
I have three cousins, let's call them A (female) B and C (males). I have two brothers. The cousins are on my father's side. My father (still alive) had a brother (cousins father, dead) and a sister (unmarried, now dead). Basically, my father's sister was a real cow, miserable old spinster who never got any joy out of life. At various points during her life she had imaginary fall outs with family members, and always threatened to cut people out of her will etc. Anyway, she died about 18 months ago, and left a will which must have been guaranteed to cause a family rift! She left a sum of £5000 to each of: me, my brothers, and cousins B and C. Her house, she left to cousin A. Cousin A had always been the 'favourite' niece, in fact, I don't think any of the nephews were particularly favoured (she didnt 'like' boys!!) though having said that, of course I am a niece, so obviously not as favoured as A! Anyway, the bottom line was that none of us as nephews or nieces were close to the woman, none of us lived near etc so the will was clearly very unfair. Cousin A, at the funeral, admitted this, and said that she would feel dreadful taking the house, and she made a speech to all the family saying she would sell the house (she was an executor of the will) and then everything would be split equally 6 ways ie between the cousins. Another reason this seemed fair to us all, was that the £5000 legacies were not money she had in addition to the value of the house; she had asked that the house be sold and then the £5000 each be given out of the proceeds, with the remainder going to cousin A. Taking the date of the will into account, we realised that in fact at the time of writing, this would have been more equitable ie the house at the time would have been worth only about 45k, so 25k would have gone to five cousins, and then 20k to cousin A - still not equal, but not the huge disparity considering the value of the house at the time of death. Now, 18 months on, the house has been sold for a sum of about 140k. Cousin A suddenly announces that she has had a change of mind, and she will give the other five cousins 10k each, and then keep the rest ie around 90k. The reason she gave is that her children have university costs, will want deposits for houses in the future etc - all very well, but all of us have children who would benefit from the money.I think cousin A is hugely embarrassed about it, having done a U turn, but obviously not embarrassed enough to not be greedy.
I am pretty pissed off, but not really sure how I should be responding. On the one hand, she has given the rest of us 10k each, when actually she could have got away with 5k, and she certainly hasnt acted unlawfully. She's followed the terms of the will, but it's a will that was clearly going to lead to conflict! What also grates a little is that my father is the closest living relative left to the woman anyway. Maybe that shouldnt make a difference, but if kind of makes it seem more of a kick in the teeth. I've talked it over with DH, and he thinks the best response is just to acknowledge the money with a curt note, but then stop any further contact with cousin A. We arent close, but keep in touch at Christmas, occasional meets etc. DH thinks I should be dignified and not start up a family row about it, but at the same time, make it clear through my actions that I think she's being selfish and greedy.
Now - if you've managed to get this far, well done, and please tell me what you think!!

mumblechum Thu 28-Aug-08 11:41:31

YAB TOTALLY U.

Be grateful that your aunt was kind enough to give you £5k and even more grateful that your cousin was kind enough to double that without any legal obligation whatsoever.

memoo Thu 28-Aug-08 11:44:18

to be honest I think you should just accept what you have been given, it sounds to me like you are the one who is being a tad "money grabbing"

tinkerbel72 Thu 28-Aug-08 11:44:27

mumblechum - I wouldnt have expected anything from my aunt in the first place! She was the kind of miserable and strange woman who I half expected to leave it all to the dogs home anyway! I just feel that to leave a will which is so blatantly designed to cause a rift is a nasty thing to do. She wasn't close to cousin A (cousin A admitted at the funeral that she was thoroughly embarrassed to have been singled out).

2point4kids Thu 28-Aug-08 11:44:29

I think you were left £5k by a woman you were not close to and call 'a real cow, miserable old spinster who never got any joy out of life'
You get that upped to £10k by your cousin, when she didnt have to give you any of her money at all.

Count yourself lucky I sayand just say thanks and that you appreciate the money from your cousin as you know how tough the uni fees are etc.

You sound a bit greedy and money grabbing yourself imo, sorry.

ZacharyQuack Thu 28-Aug-08 11:45:09

YABU.

Actually, you sound a little greedy and moneygrabbing.

tiggerlovestobounce Thu 28-Aug-08 11:45:51

She isnt being unreasonable, you are. You are lucky that she decided to give you £5000 that she didnt have to. I think that you should be grateful, and aknowledge the difficult situation that this will has placed your cousin in. Your aunt obviously wanted her to have the money, and that is your aunts choice to make.

coppertop Thu 28-Aug-08 11:46:03

Sorry but I think YABU here. The will was unfair but you can't blame your cousin for that. She's given you all extra money when she didn't have to.

I completely understand why you feel upset about it but I don't think your cousin is greedy or selfish.

tinkerbel72 Thu 28-Aug-08 11:46:44

It might also be helpful to add that DH and I are fortunate to not have any money issues, we are comfortably off (a few years ago we werent and I would have been VERY pissed off at the situation!).
It's not about the money so much as the fact that it is not an equitable situation. I just find it strange that my cousin can acknowledge this, and then do a U turn 18 months down the line.

mumblechum Thu 28-Aug-08 11:47:30

You're not listening, are you?

ZacharyQuack Thu 28-Aug-08 11:48:01

Your aunt's will isn't causing a family rift; it's the family's reaction to the will that will cause (or avert) a rift.

WickedBitchoftheEast Thu 28-Aug-08 11:48:46

you got 10k instaed or 5K and you are moaning.

you Sound like a typical money grabber to me

pigleto Thu 28-Aug-08 11:48:51

yes YABU. It is not your cousins fault that she was the favorite niece. You can be pissed off with your aunt if you like as you clearly didn't like her when she was alive. Your cousin has acted really well over this and has given you a gift of £5k. You should say thank you kindly and send her a bunch of flowers.

I know that you think that you would have behaved differently and split the money equally between the cousins but you can't know that unless you are put in that situation. If I were in her position I would be thinking that I would be disadvantaging my own children as well as disrespecting the wishes of my dead aunty by dishing out more cash.

Dropdeadfred Thu 28-Aug-08 11:48:54

Wow - you are lucky to have been given anything. And to be honest if you are going to cut your cousin out of your life over money then you sound like you could end up as 'endearing' as you obviously cnsidered your aunt

2point4kids Thu 28-Aug-08 11:50:37

So if you dont need the money and your cousin A does, why are you angling to get her to give you more?

Maybe your aunt knew she needed the mone more than you?
Maybe your aunt knew how you felt about her?
Maybe even though they wrerent close, your cousin A just gave your Aunt a little bit of kindness and pleasant company when they did see each other.

RubySlippers Thu 28-Aug-08 11:51:00

farking nora!

someone who has no obligation to, doubles your legacy from someone who clearly though enough of you to leave you a gift and you are upset?

<<boggles>>

tinkerbel72 Thu 28-Aug-08 11:51:13

The woman WAS a miserable cow, I can promise you that!! She never had a nice thing to say about anyone. TBH I never expected to get anything in her will - as I say, she made various threats throughout her life, but I would have expected her to leave it all to a pets home or something.
You all seem to think I'm being unreasonable, that's ok, I can live with that! Yes, one way of looking at it is that I'm 10k better off which, yes is great, I said in the OP that my cousin didnt have to give us any extra etc. Though it's very obvious the extra 5k is to salve her conscience - she didnt feel comfortable with doing what she did, and actually communicated her U turn decision through another family member as I think she was embarrassed to tell us upfront that she had changed her mind!

gingerninja Thu 28-Aug-08 11:51:19

I don't think it matters what your dead Aunts motives were, you have benefited by £10k from her death which is an extraordinary amount of money to be given.

I do see why it might stick in your throat that one person, no more deserving, got more but frankly, that is life. £10k is a lot, be grateful you got anything, like you say she could have given it to a dogs home.

RubySlippers Thu 28-Aug-08 11:52:30

don;t acknowledge it with a curt note!

say thank you - how pleased you are that she had DOUBLED the gift

it is your behaviour which will cause a rift

beanieb Thu 28-Aug-08 11:52:33

YABU.

Backgammon Thu 28-Aug-08 11:52:58

Yes YABU to think those things of your cousin, you are also BU to be slagging off a dead person - put it behind you and enjoy the money, although I would feel guilty spending it if I were in your shoes given the names you've called your Auntie.

RubySlippers Thu 28-Aug-08 11:54:01

this woman who was a "miserable cow" thought enough of you to leave you £5K!

you are terribly ungracious

and so what if the other £5K is to "salve a conscience"

most Mnetters would be OVERWHELMED to receive £10k

tamarto Thu 28-Aug-08 11:54:09

What everyone else said, YABU you got double what the will said, be grateful.

gingerninja Thu 28-Aug-08 11:54:29

Actually I agree Backgammon, I couldn't benefit from money from a person I disliked so much. Perhaps you should donate it to the dogs home.

Dropdeadfred Thu 28-Aug-08 11:54:45

If I were you I would be inclined to give the money away....you hated the poor woman and obviously never visited her.

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