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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.


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.

PfftTheMagicDraco Fri 13-Jul-12 17:53:10

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.

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