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I feel so guilty

(64 Posts)
Loulou31 Mon 01-Feb-21 11:19:24

Warning ,long post
I married, left home and had a baby in my teens not long after my father died, my mother was left with my brother who were several years younger than me. Back in the early 70s, no phone, no car we rarely saw my mum for several years and hardly ever the boys. I know she spoilt them (understandably) and as they got older was always lending them money. I suppose it was over 20 years before mum and I saw each other more, we lived in the same city but she often went away. Anyway we gradually got closer and the boys were going their own way and mum decided as they only got in touch when they wanted money and I was the one who never had any , she made her house over to me. When she passed 10 years later I got the house and my share of her cash. One brother has never been in touch since. The other, who’d disappeared for 15years at one point and had reconnected a few years earlier, lives abroad and we have got closer and talk regularly. Now to the main point, he is always complaining about lack of money and I wonder if it’s because I had so much and he thinks I should help him. I feel guilty that I got more than him but we have 2 children one of whom has 4 kids involved in various things (normally) which we often help out with money . We are not wealthy but have a little in the bank but of course need to exist in our old age. My husband would certainly refuse to help him but should I? Thanks for reading

Oopsadaisy1 Mon 01-Feb-21 11:27:35

You don’t say how old your brother is , but presumably he is at a stage where he has sorted his life out. Maybe he is short of cash because he wastes money?

Whatever the reason it isn’t yours to sort out for him, your Mum left her property to you because she wanted too, don’t feel guilty about it.

Of course he might only be in touch with you because he thinks you will give him money, my brother was like that with my Mum and it didn’t end well.

silverlining48 Mon 01-Feb-21 11:31:03

Your mum decided to leave you her house as she was entitled to do and your share of her cash which implies your brother/s got their share.
It’s up to you if you want/can offer him money but he hasn’t asked and even if he had there is no obligation to give it.

cornishpatsy Mon 01-Feb-21 11:57:25

I would feel guilty in the same position, inheriting the house and money.

I suspect my mother will do the same thing and not leave equal amounts to myself and siblings. We will share it equally after she has gone so as not to cause resentments.

I dare say people will say those were her wishes and should be respected but she will not know about it, the people it effects will.

Redhead56 Mon 01-Feb-21 12:08:29

My mum passed away three years ago we all seven of us got the same amount of money. A family member paid debt off and has not stopped complaining about money since. I have helped in the past but I have decided some people never stop asking for handouts.

Toadinthehole Mon 01-Feb-21 13:00:29

I think it all depends on how you would feel if you didn’t help. They were your mother’s wishes....but the money is now yours to do with as you see fit. I don’t think others can really answer this, as we haven’t lived your life. If it were me.....hypothetically, because I know I would never get an inheritance anyway, I think I would want to help, but obviously can’t know for sure. Go with your gut. It’s about being at peace, and drawing lines under past events.

M0nica Mon 01-Feb-21 13:18:58

It seems to me that you have not received more money than your brothers.

You obviously left home very young and did not sponge off your mother when times were tight. Meanwhile at home your brothers were, as you say, spoilt rotten and later your mother was always 'lending' them money, which I doubt was ever repaid.

You had nothing from your mother until she died, as I understand from your post, so your brothers received their share of the value of the house in all the other money your mother gave or 'lent' to them during her life.

Your mother saw this inequality, so evened it up by giving you the house. So, sympathise with your brother, but do not succumb to any emotional blackmail, should your brother try and touch you for a loan. You have all three over your mother's lifetime and through her will had roughly even shares of your mother's assets.

GillT57 Mon 01-Feb-21 13:35:08

Although this was not what you asked, I have to say this is rather a sad story, certainly from your Mother's point. Many of us managed to keep in touch in the pre historic 70s, even without a car or a phone, and how do you know she spoilt your brothers if you hardly saw her and never saw them? You must do as you see fit, but frankly if I had been your Mother I would have disinherited the lot of you and left my money to a worthwhile charity!

Nannarose Mon 01-Feb-21 13:41:45

I would broadly agree with those who say that your mum took into account any possibly 'inequality' when she made her will, and that is that.
Having said that, I think most of us in a similar position would feel a bit uncomfortable. I am interested in your husband's position on this and wonder how you divide up money in your household? For instance, when we inherited our parents' money, my sister felt quite strongly that it was 'hers' - not her husband's. She keeps it for treats, for helping out family etc. (FYI they inherited nothing from her husband's family)
We however, have always pooled our money, and so decisions about 'helping out' family members has always been a joint one - and indeed did cause a little friction awhile ago.
So in your position, my sister would make the decision completely for herself, whereas I have to make it jointly with DH (and so would he)

I would say that if you decide to 'help out' make it one-off, so you know where you stand both emotionally and financially. Set aside a similar amount should the other brother come calling. Certainly don't make it any more than you can reasonable afford. If you had a baby young, you must have had some tough financial times, so don't make yourself short now - I'm sure your mother wouldn't wish it!

M0nica Mon 01-Feb-21 13:54:22

I can understand feeling a need to help the brother if the OP had had a long continuous close and loving relationship with her brother, but although they speak regularly now, she seems to previously to have had very little contact with him.

I would be nervous that this relationship had grown up now because he needed money and hoped that his sister would take over 'lending' him money now their mother has died.

I would close your ears and purse to requests for loans or gifts.

Feelingmyage55 Mon 01-Feb-21 14:26:17

Your mum made her will 10 years prior to her death so had plenty of time to change it, had she wanted to. It sounds as if she wanted to even things up and that was her way of doing it. You don’t say you lost contact with her so I presume the difficulties of distance, lack of money and no phone restricted contact to letter writing and cards. She wanted you to have it, don’t feel guilty and enjoy helping your grandchildren. Ignore your brother’s hints.

Jaxjacky Mon 01-Feb-21 14:31:42

I agree with you MOnica and would be very suspicious of this relatively sudden appearance by the brother. Loulou31 I wouldn’t feel guilty, you are in accordance with your Mother’s will and I’m sure she’d be pleased you are looking after your future too.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 01-Feb-21 14:34:54

Try not to feel guilty. I cannot see that you have any reason to do so.

Your mum made a decision regarding how she wanted to leave her property and I assume she had thought it through.

Whether she did or not, there is nothing much you can do about it.

If property is not left equally between siblings and sometimes even if it is, one of them will always feel ill done by.

I am not trying to hint that your mother was wrong. I am sure she had good reason for what she did, as did you when you accepted the bequest. I'm just trying to say that inheritance in nine cases out of ten causes hard feelings to some extent and I think you should just try it ignore your brother's hints.

Loulou31 Tue 02-Feb-21 11:10:09

Thank you all for responding.
GillT57 the main reason I rarely saw my mother in the 70s and 80s was she was often abroad for months at a time sometimes taking youngest brother with her. While I understand I could’ve bused to see her equally she could’ve visited me, I did have 2 children. As years went on I was the only one who did visit or look out for her. The money from her house went towards buying a house when my husband retired as before that the house we lived in went with his job.

red1 Wed 03-Feb-21 10:15:37

your mother said she only saw her sons when they wanted something, now they want something off you. Where there's a will there's a relative'. Why don't you ask your brother if he thinks your mum should have give him part of the will?
a delicate area, but it could be worded in some way?

tarakate Wed 03-Feb-21 10:16:09

It shouldn't be a matter of conscience. More a matter of, if he is genuinely in need, do you want to, and are you able to, help him out, as a human being and friend and relative. You've certainly no moral obligation, your Mum left her money as eh saw fit and, as has been pointed out, had time to change her will if she wanted. But if you do want to give him money - which would not be going against your Mums wishes, your assets are yours to do with as you wish - I'd suggest making a one-off gift (not loan) and making it clear that it is just that.

EileenCl Wed 03-Feb-21 10:21:45

I was in a similar situation, LouLou, and I would say that your Mum left you the house and that is now in the past - you should not feel guilty about it. I went on feeling responsible for my brother for some years, but recognised that my real responsibility lay with my husband and family. My aunt, who knew all the circumstances and history, and had no doubt talked with my Mum about it all, told me that my brother was not my responsibility, and to let it go. So I did! Hope you can too. Good Luck.

buylocal Wed 03-Feb-21 10:23:15

Guilt is an emotion felt when we knowingly do something wrong. You are not guilty you are confused. You are wondering whether you have some responsibility to your brother in terms of money. You don't. Focus on your own family.

GinnyH Wed 03-Feb-21 10:26:18

My Nan left everything to me. When she died, following a long stay in care, there was only £21,000 left. I felt guilt and split it with my mum (her daughter) and my brother. My brother is feckless and paid off debts with it and Mum banked hers. On Mum’s death (not too long after)it went to Dad (still in a lump) and he almost immediately transferred all his savings to to a new woman! I feel guilty again, I should have gone with Nan’s wishes. She wanted me and my girls to have the money and I let her down.
My advice would be to do exactly what you Mum wanted!

Mooney59 Wed 03-Feb-21 10:28:38

Woah! You don’t have your own money! It’s a marriage. You both own everything. Whatever you decide must be a joint decision.

timetogo2016 Wed 03-Feb-21 10:30:09

M0nica is spot Loulou31.
They had their share when you mother was alive.

Azalea99 Wed 03-Feb-21 10:30:17

You are not being unreasonable, and you are not being selfish. I have been in a similar position myself. When your brother starts his self-pitying mewling just tell him that you know exactly how he feels. No comments, just fake sincerity. He will get the message, believe me. Don’t feel guilty, think of your children, which is exactly what your mother did & what she would want you to do. Good luck.

HannahLoisLuke Wed 03-Feb-21 10:32:24

I don’t think you owe your brothers anything. They had more than their share while your mother was alive. You got the house which has put a roof over your head and the cash was divided equally. If your brother has squandered his share you don’t have to give him yours.

LeeN137 Wed 03-Feb-21 10:37:51

Lots of people complain about not having (enough) money, even when living relatively comfortable lives. It doesn't always mean they actually need money, and can be the same as the British always complaining about the weather.

You don't say he's actually asked for money, so until that day, I wouldn't worry - maybe he never will ask.

GoldenAge Wed 03-Feb-21 10:52:17

Loulou31 - the facts are that your mother made a will when in sound body and mind, and decided that you should inherit. You were out of her life for around 20 years as you say and you have no idea what she did/didn't give to your brothers. She may very well have allowed them to live rent free and in fact substantially underwritten their future with gifts of money that you don't know about, whereas she didn't do that for you. Her decision to leave you her estate would have been made taking into account how she wanted her children to benefit. Communication is the best strategy in my mind - your brother who is always moaning about money may well have used this tactic with your mother and she may always have bankrolled him, enabling him in his mis-management. So I think and full and frank conversation about what he does with his money is in order before you even think about deciding to share out what you have. If your mother had wanted that she would have said so. As for the idea that it's all yours and you can over-ride her wishes and divide it out amongst yourself and your brothers if you wish, yes of course it is legally yours to do with as you want but morally it's wrong to do that and once you start to give/loan money you may find it very hard to say no further down the line. You do also need to consider your husband in this. He's likely to be more objective.