Sometimes the loss of a family member is only the beginning of the difficulties.
Whether it’s the bills left behind or the problems surrounding the funeral, the pain seems to just grow.
This isn’t helped when someone comes looking for a cut of the inheritance.
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Tired-Bookkeeper-954 when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for refusing to help someone until they take a paternity test?”
OP began with tragedy.
“My brother ‘Drew’ unfortunately passed away a month ago.”
“Drew was an addict since his late teens and was engaging in all sorts of destructive things, and it tore our family apart.”
“We tried rehab, therapy, support groups and interventions but nothing was working. He eventually died of an overdose.”
Then they got to the situation at hand.
“A week ago, a girl, ‘Zara’, got in touch with my parents online, claiming to be pregnant with Drew’s baby.”
“My parents got too overwhelmed to talk to her so I messaged her from my own account to continue the conversation.”
“I already recognized Zara, she was Drew’s ex-girlfriend from high school.”
“Zara said she just found out she was around 10 weeks pregnant and that she was really struggling for money and could become homeless very soon, and asked if me or my parents could help her out.”
“After doing my research, I told Zara that she needs to do a paternity test first.”
“Even though Drew is gone, the test can be done with our dad’s DNA. I said I’d pay for the paternity test.”
“Zara got offended and upset, and said she thinks I’m horrid for calling her a liar. She sent me a voice message of her crying which I thought was a bit out of the blue.”
“I told Zara she can either take the test or not but we aren’t giving her any financial help until she takes the test. Zara left me on read.”
OP was left unsure.
“I told some of my friends about the situation and they think I could’ve been more understanding and kind to Zara.”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Many cautioned OP about a possible scam.
“A woman, out of the blue, contacts your traumatized and grieving parents and says she’s carrying your late brother’s child and wants you to send her $$$ and gets all kinds of angry and manipulative when you won’t just pony up, no questions asked.”
“No. Noooooooo. You were plenty ‘understanding and kind’ to offer to pay for a paternity test.”
“Edited to add: You don’t even know for sure that she’s pregnant—just that she wants money and is going to send recordings of her crying if she doesn’t get it” ~ HeartpineFloors
“You don’t even know for sure that she’s pregnant—just that she wants money”
“That was my first thought.”
“If brother was an addict, it’s likely the ppl he associated with were addicts and addicts are going to addict, meaning they’ll do/say anything to secure their next fix.”
“That includes lying about being pregnant with a dead man’s baby in hopes the parents will blindly send money in their grief.”
“It’s possible this girl is 100% clean and being honest, they might have had just a couple nsa hookups given their prior relationship.”
“But it is not even a little unreasonable for op and the parents to request proof.” ~ Merdin86
“Yeah, if it was his brother’s wife or something it would be one thing – but this is an ex they didn’t know he was in contact with, a little proof is necessary right now.” ~ maggienetism
“I know of at least one other person who has recently had someone call claiming to be pregnant by their deceased son and asking for money.”
“It’s not an uncommon scam (in this other case, the scammer screwed up because the son had been dead too long for it to be possible).” ~Junior_Ad_7613
Of course, there were personal stories.
“I agree op is NTA but don’t jump to conclusions.”
“I bumped on a lot of stubbornness from my former stepmother and her parents when we found out that my youngest brother was not recognized by my father when he passed away suddenly.”
“He died when brother was 12.”
“My entire paternal family did not believe he was his and did not want me to include him in the inheritance.”
“I didn’t feel that that was fair since my father had treated him as his son.”
“But the law in my country states you have to be a legal child to receive an inheritance (taxed are also lower).”
“She pleaded, sended texts where my father referred to N as his son asking me to make a statement sayings he was my brother and not take a test.”
“Family on dad’s side was convinced it was a lie to get money.”
“I believed my father was his dad too but we did insist to ask a test.”
“AsI suspected, my brother was officially our brother.”
“Why she didn’t want the test , I’ll never know. Some family members still don’t believe it though and are convinced she somehow cheated….” ~ Petrake
“My ex was an addict and he’d lie so convincingly in the beginning to just get what he wanted.”
“They know how to play on emotions.”
“In the end, I didn’t trust him or anyone who spent any real time with him. My price to pay in being caring was missing electronics, any cash I had, and heirloom jewelry.” ~ Lolztallestmidget
Some pointed out that OP was not responsible for Drew’s choices.
“Be more understanding and kind HOW exactly?”
“OP, you honestly owe Zara precisely NOTHING.”
“It’s not your child. You are not responsible for the care of the baby. Even if it is Drew’s child, YOU are still not personally responsible.”
“But I think that if Zara honestly expects financial assistance from your family–even though she is entitled to precisely nothing from your family–“
“I think that agreeing to a paternity test is the very easiest of hoops for her to jump through.”
“NTA.” ~ lemonlimeaardvark
Commenters suggested Zara look elsewhere for assistance.
“If this is U.S. baby might be entitled to social security survivors benefits.” ~ JohnNDenver
“Minor Or Child with a disability”
“If you are the unmarried child under age 18 of a worker who dies, you can be eligible to receive Social Security survivors benefits.”
“You can also be eligible, if you are up to age 19 and attending elementary or secondary school full time.”
“And you can get benefits at any age if you have a qualifying disability that began before age 22 and remains the same.”
“Besides the worker’s natural children, their stepchildren, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, or adopted children may receive benefits under certain circumstances.”
“It doesn’t state, but if Zara expects her baby to receive benefits I do suspect she’s going to need to provide a marriage license, evidence of at least sharing a residence, or similar if not a paternity test.”
“I’m not sure how the SSA would establish paternity without a sample of the alleged father’s DNA so it would likely get turned down.”
“Comparing to Drew’s father’s DNA would prove it was his grandchild, which would likely be enough for the family (And why OP asked for it) but I’m not sure it would be for the SSA.”
“OP is NTA” ~ dublos
Responders even tried to see both sides.
“Okay, I agree with the NTA verdict, but saying that if it’s really OP’s brother’s child then Zara should have no problem submitting to the test reads a lot like ‘people who haven’t done anything wrong have nothing to worry about from the police.'”
“Zara is perfectly within her rights to say no to the test.”
“She is not within her rights to cry and be manipulative when OP says no test = no financial help, which is OP’s right to do.”
“TL;DR – Zara doesn’t have to take the test, but OP is NTA for requesting or requiring one” ~ Nara_Hale
“She’s within her rights to say no to the test, just like OP and OPs family is within theirs to not give money or resources to someone who is making an assertion that they are unwilling to confirm (with a paternity test)” ~ WilzAngie
“She also may just be hormonal and emotional.”
“My ex suggested a paternity test and I did not take it well.”
“I was in the early stages of pregnancy and super hormonal. I was utterly insulted because that implies I CHEATED.”
“I said yes, but I wasn’t paying for it and he had to wait until after the baby was born. (Because I thought it could harm the baby, but testing is much more advanced now and is no longer the case.)”
“I don’t blame Zara for acting the way she did. Give her some time and maybe point her to other resources.” ~ Personal_Use3977
Some even wondered if the baby was real.
“Am I the only one who’s wondering if she’s actually pregnant?” ~ DeVitreousHumor
“Not at all.”
“More than likely, if she relents to the DNA test, she’ll claim the amniocentesis caused her to miscarry and try to Garner sympathy that way.” ~ Sad-Raise-754
Of course, none of this is meant to minimize the loss itself.
The tragedy of losing a loved one is unparalleled, which makes those who try to profit from the passing truly despicable.