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Dad Refuses To Accept Large Cash Gift For His Kids From His Estranged, Dying Father

Sick man in hosptial
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It’s always sad when family members become estranged.

Perhaps the most difficult element is dealing with your feelings toward your estranged family members.

No matter how angry or hurt you are by them, they are still your family, and you often find yourself unable to completely let go of them.

Saddest of all are cases where people are unable to reconcile before one of these family members dies.

Redditor BitFlashy1566 had become estranged from his father at a young age.

As a result, when the original poster (OP) heard from him with sad news, he was understandably conflicted about his feelings.

Particularly, his announcement of something he wanted to bequeath to his grandchildren.

Unsure of how he wanted to handle this, the OP took to the subReddit “Would I Be The a**hole” (WIBTA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“WIBTA for refusing a large cash gift on behalf of my children?”

The OP explained how his own strained relationship with his father made him wonder if he could accept a gift he wanted to give to his own children.

“My two kids are 15 F[emale] and 13 F[emale].

“My dad very unceremoniously left our family when I turned 20.”

“He wasn’t a bad guy necessarily.”

“To him, he fulfilled his obligation to raise me to an adult and wanted to cut ties and live his own life because he became a father very young.”

“In the 25 years since he left, he’s lived his dream with lots of travel.”

“I know it shouldn’t have affected me as much as it did, since I was an adult, but it devastated my mom, and he promised he’d keep in touch with all of us.”

“He never did.”

“Since then, I’ve only spoken to him 4 or 5 times, and I haven’t met with him.”

“My mom has never spoken to him again.”

“This was all on his end: we tried to no avail.”

“When I had kids of my own, we didn’t pretend I didn’t have a dad or he passed or anything like that.”

“I was always forthright and told my daughters that he decided not to be a dad anymore, and it hurt grandma and me deeply.”

“If my kids had any questions, I told them the truth about how it affected us, but also more menial things like how he was, who he was, and so on.”

“My kids have a generally negative view of him, and they came to their own conclusions given all the facts with no hyperbole or sugarcoating.”

“He emailed me to talk on the phone last week, and he told me he’s dying of Stage 4 lung cancer.”

“We talked a bit about him leaving, and he said he doesn’t regret his decision because his life was ‘taken from him’.”

“He said he respects that I turned into a well-adjusted adult and he’s proud that I’ve got so far, even without him, but that he doesn’t love me and has no intention of seeing me before he goes.”

“He did say, however, that he is dividing his assets between a few close friends and wanted to leave $25,000 each to both of my kids.”

“He was a penny pincher but still lived modestly, he only ever worked to maintain, never to grow, so I don’t doubt this is a large chunk of his total assets.”

“He said it’s only right that they get this money because they’re his only grandchildren.”

“I’m conflicted because accepting this money means, at least how my brain rationalizes it, that I forgive him or that it’s okay or healthy to have lived how he did.”

“I don’t want my kids to get a lump sum and suddenly have a change of heart about him.”

“I’m thinking of refusing the money on their behalf because it sets a bad example.”

“My wife stands by my decision.”

“They don’t know about it, and my plan is to keep them in the dark about it, possibly forever.”

“But WIBTA to my kids for taking this choice from them?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The OP’s decision did not sit well with the Reddit community, who unanimously agreed he would be the a**hole if he deprived his children of his father’s money.

Everyone agreed that the OP needed to put his own relationship with his father aside, and should only think about all the possibilities accepting this money could open for his children, with others pointing out how this could be a feeble step of his father showing repentance.


“25k for each is no petty change, they’d have a safety net to start in life.”

“You shouldn’t be punishing your kids for (understandably very grave) mistakes someone else made and they may come to resent you if they find out in the future.”- Ari_ofAthens

“I do think YWBTA for putting your feelings before this financial freedom that you could offer your kids.”

“Imagine 18-year-olds starting out with a nest egg like that.”- Spare-Article-396

“Soft YTA.”

“Damn, accept the money. I know it’s hard, but at the end of the day, it’s just money, and where it’s from is pretty irrelevant if it helps your children get a good start in life.”

“Your love for your children should be bigger than your hate for your dad.”

“It doesn’t have to mean you forgave him.”

“You can make it clear to your child that he is still a bad person.”- MaybeAWalrus

“Are you crazy?”

“TAKE THE F*CKING MONEY, don’t let your emotions f*ck up a good thing!”

“Never turn down free money!”- DannyRand72

“YWBTA. take the money for your kids.”

“Put it in a trust.”

“This is money for college.”

“This is money for a start in life.”

“This is money that few people have access to.”

“I get your hurt feelings but don’t cause your kids to struggle more than they need to when they get older.”

“I promise years from now when you see them saddle with debt that could have been at least partially avoided you will regret not taking it.”- Psychological_Tap187

“This is why YTA.”

“You’re thinking about your own feelings and what it ‘means’ instead of how incredible it is to have that amount of money.”

“It’s 25 thousand dollars.”

“25 thousand dollars that can be used to create a life.”

“It doesn’t matter what it means or how your brain rationalizes it, it’s 25 thousand dollars you’re effectively stopping your children from having just because you don’t like the person giving it.”

“That amount of money can change a life.”

“I know I’m putting down the neglect with ‘just because you don’t like the person’, but the point is that it doesn’t matter how OP feels.”- superanxietyrabies

“YWBTA to your kids.”

“With all this man has taken from you, why not take his money to help your kids?”

“I don’t think accepting the gift means you forgive him at all, it just means you’re getting what your kids deserve.”

“Take the damn money and forget the old man.”

“He doesn’t deserve your thoughts, but your kids deserve his money.”- Little-Martha31204


“You said it yourself.”

“You want to preserve your kids’ negative opinion of him.”

“That’s very selfish of you.”

“You want to ensure he dies without ever having done one single nice thing for your kids.”

“Out of spite, you’re going to punish your kids because of being mad at your father.”

“And, if your kids ever find out, you’re the one they’ll be mad at.”

“Sounds like a bad idea to me.”- throw05282021


“He has been honest.”

“He’s not asked you for anything, and he’s giving away what he’s got to people he thinks will benefit from it.”

“Fair enough.”

“If I won the lottery and offered you 25k for each of your kids with no strings attached would you take it?”

“That’s what you have here.”

“A no strings attached gift to your kids from a stranger.”- Fit_General7058


“Look, if your Dad was going to live and he offered a large cash gift for your children, I would understand not wanting to accept it if you felt he would use that as leverage to force some sort of relationship.”

“But he’s not.”

‘He’s dying.”

“This gift will only be given when he’s dead.”

“There is no way for him to use this gift against you, if he wants to believe you saying ‘yeah, when you die, my kids will accept whatever money you leave them’ is equivalent to ‘I forgive you for emotionally abandoning me’, that’s on him.”

“You can correct him you want to, or not, but only you can decide if accepting that money actually means you forgive him.”

“And you don’t, so that’s that.”

“Unless you are already incredibly independently wealthy, $25k for each of your children can and will make a significant difference in their lives.”

“The only ‘downside’ to accepting this money is your own anxiety around what he will think it means.”

“And gently, he has made it clear to you, throughout your entire life and again in your phone call last week, that he doesn’t love you, that he doesn’t want to be a parent to you, and that he doesn’t regret his actions.”

“And I’ve gotta be real: that is f**king heartbreaking.”

“I’m appalled he felt comfortable telling you all that while on his deathbed, but that knowledge should set you free.”

“Because he isn’t worried about dying without your forgiveness, he doesn’t think he did anything that needs forgiveness.”

“He doesn’t want to make amends.”

“So I genuinely do not believe that accepting this gift on your children’s behalf will have any underlying meaning to him because he’s not looking for anything other than to get his affairs in order.”

“And while I understand this is really emotional and heavy for you and don’t fault you for feeling conflicted, ultimately this is about what is best for your kids, not what is easiest for you.”- El_Ren

It’s understandable, given the OP’s history with his father, that he doesn’t want to hold on to any sort of reminder of him.

However, even if this can’t make up for his past behavior, the OP shouldn’t ignore the fact that his father wants to contribute towards his grandchildren’s future.

A small and significant gesture all at once.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.