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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.


Alabama100 Wed 01-Aug-12 19:22:09

Sorry foryour loss op.

In mt opinion I think the will should be split evenly as requested by your late mother, however if I was one of the siblings I would personally give sib1 say an extra £3-5k out of my share. If the other siblings wanted to follow suit fine but I wouldn't push the matter. Good luck in your decision.

AThingInYourLife Wed 25-Jul-12 09:32:34

Yes, sorry, I got the siblings mixed up.

I've been thinking about this further based on my Dad's family. DGF had Alzheimer's before he died and DGM is 94 and well, but still elderly and needing a fair bit of TLC.

Four siblings

Sib 1 - lives a short flight away, visits whenever possible, very much involved in care of parents

Sib 2 - lives on the other side of the world, other than very big decisions (eg DGF going into a home) has no input into care

Sib 3 - lives nearby, did all admin related to DF care, sees DM weekly socially and for medical appointments, DW did a lot of care of DGF when in care home

Sib 4 - DPs lived with her and family (until DF went into residential care), DM still lives with her

Between their 4 children they do as good a job as they can together to look after their parents.

Sib 2 can't do much from where she is. That's tougher on her than anyone else.

Sib 1 isn't around day to day, but pulls out all the stops when she comes over or has her DM to visit, giving the others a break

Sibs 3 & 4 do all the day to day caring for their parents. Sib 3 does as much as possible to reduce the burden on live-in Sib 4.

I think a suggestion such as the one described would cause a lot of hurt feelings at a very sad time - it seems to say that some children were better than others.

My Dad is Sib 3. He (and his sisters) look after their parents because they love them. They are all doing their best and I don't think either of my GPs would be anything but proud of how they have managed it.

To start dividing up money based on who did most when all are grieving seems crass and insensitive.

ErnesttheBavarian Wed 25-Jul-12 08:38:15

I agree with AThing, except it's sibling 3 not 4 who is being generous with everyone else's money.

Sib 4, I would just tell sib 3 that the will is written, that's what it says. it isn't so simple to just do something different for legal and tax reasons. Just stfu and do what it says. If sib 3 feels s/he wants to 'make it up' to sib 1 s/he can, as can all of you, in other ways, but just leave the will be, and sort it out later. So close to the death, emotions and feelings etc are running too high. So many families fall out over this. RTFM(Will)

IfElephantsWoreTrousers Wed 25-Jul-12 08:11:38

If sib1 was already encouraged by other sibs to pay himself out of M's funds for time spent on these affairs then no further disparity is required, the split should be according to the mum's wishes equal all round.

If any of the sibs want to make each other gifts out of their share that is up to them.

RillaBlythe Wed 25-Jul-12 08:04:19

Interesting. I think it should be split equally.

My grandparents have 4 children, one of whom lives nearby & does a lot of popping in, driving to appts etc. I haven't heard any talk of that sibling having a bigger share, but one of the four sibs is being left out as my grandparents feel he has inherited enough through other family members already. So the estate will go three ways. S

DinahMoHum Wed 25-Jul-12 07:53:24

i think sibling 3 feels guilty and assumes this will make up for it, and is also trying to look good.

I personally would think it should be split equally

sleeplessinsuburbia Wed 25-Jul-12 07:38:36

And another thing... I was a sibling who reduced my work days to be a carer. It never occurred to me to be rewarded, I did what I was able and very willing to do. In fact my gran often treated me to lunch when we were out and made it very clear that I was appreciated. The reason I suggested a gift was because I was surprised with one after the will had been finalised and it was lovely and unexpected!

AThingInYourLife Wed 25-Jul-12 05:26:11

Equal - you all helped according to what your situation allowed.

Sib 4 has a bit of a cheek to be giving away other people's inheritance without their agreement.

People who are "generous" with other people's money are infuriating.

sleeplessinsuburbia Wed 25-Jul-12 03:47:16

Sorry, it should have said present for the most hands on sibling!

sleeplessinsuburbia Wed 25-Jul-12 03:46:14

Equal. Unless arranged while she was living to give a little bit extra to the sib who was most hands on. To be honest I'd say equal and if I was a non contact sib I'd organise a nice gift in appreciation of hands in sib's efforts.

Newbizmum Wed 25-Jul-12 03:36:24

I suspect the will was drafted some time before the burden of care fell on what I presume to be the closest child or at least the one able to devote more time.

Were I in this situation and if the more involved sibling needed the money and I did not or felt so strongly about it that I wished to change the distribution, I would just ask the other two siblings whether they wished to wished to match my £5k redistribution. If they did, then the split would be 40/20/20/20.

joanofarchitrave Sat 14-Jul-12 00:57:19

Follow the will and leave it there.

And of course you will be particularly pleased to support Sib 1's children when they are looking after Sib1 -assuming you are still around at the time.

sharklet Sat 14-Jul-12 00:49:44

I have to agree with the posters above who have mentioned this is something that has to be dealt with when the person is taking on the bulk of the caring. On the other side of our family (which was not destroyed by what this kind of thing can result in) the siblings all got together and discussed the options for care, and agreements were made as to how the sibling who was doing the bulk of work as a carer would be supported. (there is always one who ends up bearing the brunt) in our case this was done by her keeping reciepts for purchases and outgoings for grandpa and claiming that back from grandpa's account. She was also supported with money towards her mortgage being paid as she was unable to take on work. No piss taking took place, and when she needed respite then either wnother sister or organised respite care for grandpa happened. This way it did not affect at all the will, pnce you start messing with that then resentments occur and it becomes bad, even if if it doesn't happen immediately this kind of thing can fester and cause huge rifts.

I really hope it all works out for you in the end.

jollyaround Fri 13-Jul-12 22:56:05

lapsed, btw,

Your arrangements sound great - and how lovely for your dm to have you nearby.

Hypothetically, (and I hope this doesn't happen obviously!) if your dm declines and needs 24/7 care for years, and the income doesn't cover it, and you end up doing a lot of organising and your dm is confused and depressed and distressed most of the time, and you can't study and you can't work full-time. Say in 10 years time, will you then feel you deserve a little more of the inheritance than your db?

LemonEmmaP Fri 13-Jul-12 22:49:55

As much as I think there is some justification for Sib1 having a bigger share, I would say that 75% is too much - each of Sib 2-4 would get around 8% and sib1 would get 9 times as much as anyone else. If you wanted to shift the money in her favour, my personal view is that perhaps you should split the pot in fifths, with Sib1 taking two fifths, and everyone else taking one fifth. That way, Sib1 gets double what anyone else gets, but the share is not so disproportionate.

Otherwise, I think you should stick to the even split as per DM's will.

Viviennemary Fri 13-Jul-12 22:28:13

If your Mum has stated in her will she wishes the money to be split equally four ways that is what should happen. If one of the people wishes to give up their share to somebody else because they need the money more then that's up to them.

HeathRobinson Fri 13-Jul-12 22:24:25

I'd say follow the will. Your mum presumably wanted her children to inherit equally and for a fair amount to trickle down to each set of grandchildren.

Sib1's time should have been paid from your mum's funds. If it became too much for them, shouldn't they have spoken up and perhaps your mum could have received care in a home?

Sorry for your loss.

jollyaround Fri 13-Jul-12 22:20:45

yes, it has been suggested to sib1, though I'm not sure who's idea it was. Don't think that sib1 would have suggested it. Also not entirely sure what sib2 thinks. I needed to get my head round the whole thing before discussing.

MrsC you're right it's probably easier for the "richer" sibling to be generous. I have 3 school-age dcs, and a self-employed dh who's earning very little at the moment. I work full time and I'm bloody tired. We have 2 cars - both 10 years old.

I know many people are far worse off than me, but should sib1 really have 75% of what my parents wanted me/us to have?

Am sad (and angry) about it. I almost feel like stepping completely away from it.

LapsedPacifist Fri 13-Jul-12 21:34:42

Split equally as per terms of the will, and then adjust accord to the wishes of each sibling.

We will a have a similar-ish issue to deal with. DH, DS and I live with my very elderly mother in her house (our childhood family home) , which represents approx. 90% of her capital. DB and his family live in Australia.

We live rent-free (the mortgage was paid off years ago) but we pay all the household bills, organise repairs, buy household furnishings and equipment, pay for cleaning and generally take care of DM who is becoming quite frail. We organise trips out and and holidays for her, help her with paperwork and shopping and take care of her when she is ill, but the house is large enough for her to live independently of us, unless she actually feels like our company or needs our help. grin

I am currently a full-time (very) mature student, DH works from home and DS will be at school for another 2 years, so the issue of any "loss of earnings" hasn't arisen for us. Aged Mama comes from a v. long-lived line of females and at 83 is pretty healthy, although her memory is poor. But things could change very rapidly, and we have always hoped that us living here will mean DM can live in her own home for the rest of her life - we have enough space and she has sufficient income to be able to arrange for live in-care, provided she is not seriously ill.

When DM dies, her (IHT liable) estate will be split equally between DB and myself. There will be just about enough liquid capital and insurance to pay the IHT but to avoid us being forced to sell the family home right away, (DH is self employed and we can't get a mortgage) DB and I have verbal agreement that his share of the estate will be left in trust for his young daughters, until the youngest is legally an adult and then they can make a decision about what to do with their inheritance. Leaving it in bricks and mortar is probably as safe as anything could be - property is still booming in our neck of the woods hmm.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 13-Jul-12 21:23:11

And has sib 3 mentioned this as yet to sib 1? Because I bet sib 1 had never considered such a thing but if its now out there . . .

Also easy for a 'richer' sibling not to be so worried about the money.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 13-Jul-12 21:22:17

I think its really tough when the burden of caring for a parent falls on one sibling more than the other. I don't live close to my mother but my sister does and am well aware that she'll probably end up doing the lion's share and I guess I'd feel she should be compensated for this in someway.

But its so tricksy and like you I wouldn't want to be seen to be the bad one - any ideas as to how sib 2 feels?

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.

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.

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?

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.

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