Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Any suggestions?

(75 Posts)
Ceesnan Tue 17-Jan-17 07:01:37

I've been caught up in a family problem and really need the collective power of GN to see if I can find a solution. It's long, but bear with me ....DB died last year, leaving everything to his wife. They both made wills at the same time, the content being that the remaining spouse got everything and if they had predeceased then everything was split equally between the five children. I should say here it was a second marriage for both and they each had adult children when they married. During the marriage the relationship between DSIL and her stepchildren wasn't great, to be honest my nephew and nieces caused a lot of problems and I was ashamed of the way they tried to break up a happy marriage. Now it seems the chickens have come home to roost and DSIL has told me in confidence that she has changed her will, leaving the bulk of her estate to her two children and a token amount to her step children. I am very fond of her, she made DB incredibly happy, and she purt up with ttreatment from his children that would have tried the patience of a saint, but I feel she is going sgainst DB's wishes in this. Has anyone got any advice? In case you feel it isn't any of my business I will say that she has asked for my opinion. Thanks in advance

kittylester Tue 17-Jan-17 07:06:58

I think if she has asked for your opinion you should give it to her as gently and kindly as you can.

How much of the whole came to the marriage from your sister in law? How long were they married?

Grannyknot Tue 17-Jan-17 07:58:47

I agree with kitty, gently remind her of her late husband's wishes.

Unfortunately, unless legally binding instructions were set out in the will protecting his half of the assets for his children in the future, she can do what she likes.

Ceesnan Tue 17-Jan-17 08:12:20

They were married for almost 20 years. When they married DB moved in to her house which she owned - he was in a rented flat at the time. About ten years later they sold that house and used the profit from it as a sizeable deposit for the one she now lives in. It is now mortgage free.

Anya Tue 17-Jan-17 08:21:24

I totally sympathise with your SiL. While I understand that she is going against your DB's wishes, as you say the chickens are coming home to roost. There is also the possibility that these stepchildren have been even worse than you know to her.

She also put a sizeable amount of her own money into the marriage through then sell of her own house.

You could persuade her perhaps to leave just a tad more than a token amount, but really your SiL sounds like a lovely person and the fact that she has discussed this with you shows she's not doing this lightly, and that you have a close relationship.

kittylester Tue 17-Jan-17 08:22:26

Does that suggest that it is more her money than his? That puts a slightly different complexion on it however happy they were if she has been badly treated by her stepchildren.she perhaps would welcome a general chat around the subject.

kittylester Tue 17-Jan-17 08:23:42

Well put, Anya. More or less what I was getting at.

annsixty Tue 17-Jan-17 08:28:30

Anyone who tries to break up a happy marriage deserves to be treated accordingly. However it wouldn't be what your B intended. If the main part of the estate came from the wife as it seems she Is entitled to divide things pro rata but
I don't think she should leave her own children assets which came from your brother.

jusnoneed Tue 17-Jan-17 08:35:48

Personally I wouldn't say she is going against his wishes, he wanted to leave his money to her if he predeceased her and that's what has happened. It is now up to her what she decides to do with her money.

Anya Tue 17-Jan-17 08:37:24

Just one question. Are any of the 5 children, children they had together?

glammanana Tue 17-Jan-17 08:42:03

I would tend to go with your brothers first wishes,how would it be if the scenario was changed and your brother left more to his children than to his wife's children its a very difficult decision to be in sadly.

Christinefrance Tue 17-Jan-17 08:44:05

I think it's entirely up to her now. If as you say your sister in law was not treated well by your brother's children then I can understand her feelings.
As you have been asked for your opinion then you could suggest the token amount be increased but don't lose her friendship over this. I feel always that adult children have to take responsibility for their actions.

FarNorth Tue 17-Jan-17 08:52:32

I agree with jusnoneed.
Can you do a thought experiment whereby you imagine asking your DB's opinion on this? What do you think he might say about it?

If you do decide to give your opinion that she should not treat your DB's children in that way, ensure your DSiL knows that you do not condone their bad behaviour at all.

Starlady Tue 17-Jan-17 09:09:26

Was it really all the stepchildren's fault? Perhaps she wasn't as nice to them as she was to db? You say they were married 20 years - for how much of that time were his kids adults?

No matter, it doesn't surprise me that she has changed her will, considering her poor relationship with her SC and the fact that she brought most of the money into the marriage. Legally, she can do what she wants now that it's all hers. His kids are lucky she is leaving them anything at all.

Her asking for your opinion does not seem that genuine to me since she already made the change. I would still be honest and give it, but I would add that I respect her right to make this decision.

Starlady Tue 17-Jan-17 09:12:59

Imo, the way they wrote their wills originally would have been fine if the ac were theirs together. Under the circumstances, I think they each should have made separate provisions for their own ac.

Starlady Tue 17-Jan-17 09:24:22

Also, so sorry for the loss of db! (((Hugs)))

NonnaW Tue 17-Jan-17 09:32:08

I don't see why separate wills would be needed starlady, DH and I are in a similar situation whereby we are on second marriage, both have adult children and have made exactly the same provisions as outlined in OP. We are lucky in that we both get on well with the others offspring. I think it a difficult situation and I sympathise but can offer on solutions.

Jane10 Tue 17-Jan-17 09:39:28

Who will be executor? Might it be you? If so it could be a nasty situation to deal with -angry family members set against each other etc. Get her to give some thought to who might be executor so she can brief them in advance if she goes ahead as she seems to be planning.

Ceesnan Tue 17-Jan-17 09:58:06

Anya you are quite right, she really is a lovely person and I treasure the fact that we have a close relationship. She has a warm, caring nature and she tried so hard to develop a friendship with DB's children but they were not prepared to give her a chance. The girls (twins) were 20 when they first met her, and my nephew 18. DSIL has two boys who were 21 and 18. They, incidentally, were happy to welcome DB into their family and have tried to keep a cordial relationship with the others, but have struggled with this since DB died. They had no children together, possibly just as well! Starlady, obviously I don't know the full relationship between DSIL and the children but I saw and heard enough myself to know that they resented her and would be unpleasant in many ways ( think Christmas card addressed only to Dear Dad for example) an invitation, again addressed only to him, to a party. Do you get the gist? She laughed them off and refused to let DB say anything to them, saying it would only make things worse - and she was probably right.

marionk Tue 17-Jan-17 10:12:48

Oh goodness how this resonates with me. I am in a similar position with my DH's (still with us thank goodness despite serious health issues) eldest son. We have seen him 4 times (grandfathers funeral and DH hospitalisation) in the 13 years we have been together and he always finds a way to niggle away at me. He has ignored all DHs birthdays, fathers days, the invitation to our wedding and sends a small token hamper type gift at Christmas addressed only to my DH. Not sure I could find it in my heart to leave him a great deal if my DH goes first 😠

foxie Tue 17-Jan-17 10:17:14

Where there's a will there's relations. Whenever anyone makes a will and we all should then avoid the 'Peter Sellers Symdrome' which is a way for the will to be contested

janetmaile Tue 17-Jan-17 10:24:06

The only certain thing about DB's wishes is that he wanted his wife to have everything. It cannot be assumed that he wants her to split the money equally upon her death. He knew when he signed his will that the money would be hers to do with as she wanted. Unless they had a verbal agreement to split the money equally five ways on her death, or had a conversation in which he expressed his views, I don't think we should put words in his mouth.

Lewlew Tue 17-Jan-17 10:28:18

This was exactly my SIL's situation... the only difference being my DB's kids did 'grow up' and helped out upon his sudden death. She has changed her arrangements as well and I definitely support her.

But the actuality is...she may well need any money for her long term care as she is not well herself. So DB's kids know it's for that, not for them to inherit. So if anything is left, it will go to her nieces by her late brother (she had no children of her own) and 'some' to my DB's kids.

Also SIL contributed a huge part of her inheritance from her mother's estate to build their new home in FL a few years ago so they would not be burdened with another mortgage. Much of the cash has flowed through her and not all through my brother via our dad.

radicalnan Tue 17-Jan-17 10:32:34

She was loved by her husband who trusted her opinion. She inherited from him and is at liberty to provide for whom she now chooses. When alive your brother did not see fit to outline inheritance for the children as a priority over his wife. The money is hers and for her to decide what to do with it is fine.

It is regrettable that the children were so irresponsible towards their father's happiness as to cause trouble, perhaps they are still selfish and undeserving?

If you value your friendship with her I would support her choices made with her money, entrusted to her by your brother. He will have experienced the sting of the children's behaviour and may well think things done properly now. The former bequest for an equal sharing was only if his wife predeceased him just to make things simple.

It won't hurt the undeserving to be passed over.

Lilyflower Tue 17-Jan-17 10:32:52

Whatever you say the money is hers to do with as she pleases and you cannot make her change her will. However, if she has consulted your opinion tact and goodwill might do much. Perhaps you could influence her to increase the amount she leaves to your young relatives even if it is not a straight five way split.