No matter how much parents might try to keep everything equal, there will generally always be a “favorite” child.
And sometimes the jealousy surrounding that runs much deeper than the parents might expect, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
After his brother passed away, Redditor Foreign-Appearance40 discovered he was his sibling’s life insurance beneficiary, despite his brother getting married and having children since making the arrangement.
When his sister-in-law attempted to reason with him about the funds, the Original Poster (OP) cited the legal arrangement and refused to help his sister-in-law, nieces, and nephews out.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for keeping my brother’s life insurance money?”
The OP’s brother recently passed away in a car accident.
“I (40 Male) lost my brother, ‘Jay’ (42 Male), in a car accident a few months ago.”
“Growing up, he was the golden child. He got a full ride to a prestigious college while I had to pay my own way and eventually drop out.”
“He went on to grad school, but I got married and settled down with my wife, ‘Brittany’ (42 Female), early on.”
“We have had financial struggles, which caused us not to be able to start a family. We live paycheck to paycheck in a one-bedroom apartment.”
“Jay always made good money but wasn’t lucky in love. He was very picky, and while he had some longer one- or two-year relationships, he was looking for perfection before getting married.”
“He finally married his wife, Mary (40 Female), in 2019.”
Jay and the OP’s Sister-in-Law (SIL) made a good life for themselves.
“She also made good money, like Jay. She also had two children from a previous relationship, now 18 and 19. One is in college, and the other will be starting next year.”
“She and Jay also had twin girls about a year ago. Mary and Jay both worked and have a nanny they share with a neighbor for their girls.”
“When they got pregnant, she sold her house where they were living, and he sold his condo that he had been renting out, and they bought a larger family home together.”
“All this to say, money is not a problem for them.”
The OP then accidentally came into some of his brother’s money.
“Like I said, Jay passed away recently in a car accident, and Mary found out that I was the beneficiary of his 401(k) and life insurance policy through his employer.”
“The life insurance is 150k, but the 401k is much more substantial. He set it up that way years ago before Mary was in the picture and never changed it.”
“Mary begged me to give her a portion of the money, but I said no.”
“She inherited his part of their house and their joint savings account, which is about 50k.”
“She said that she paid for his funeral, and to make it work on her income alone, she will have to sell the house, give up the nanny, put the girls in daycare, and won’t be able to help her older kids with college the way they planned.”
The OP put his potential family before his brother’s.
“I told her it’s not my fault. If he wanted to change the beneficiary, he should have done that. But he didn’t, so now the money is mine.”
“My wife and I plan to use the money to buy a home and finally start a family.”
“She says her husband’s money should go to his children, but she doesn’t see that my using the money to have my own children is more important.”
The family was furious with the OP.
“Our parents think I’m an a**hole because the money should go to his kids.”
“I offered to take 50k and put it in trust for the girls’ education.”
“But they said Mary needs the money now. They said the life insurance would pay off their mortgage and the boys’ college and put money away for the girls’ future, and her income would cover the rest so they wouldn’t have to move.”
“But what about my family?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some criticized the OP for taking advantage of his brother’s mistake.
“Yeah. Your life sucks, but there is no world in which your brother would not have wanted to take care of his wife and their children.”
“You’re exploiting a lapse of attention on his part to profit from his death. That’s just gross as h**l.” – iamrealmonkey
“It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which he would not want his own children to have the money and be cared for. He should have updated his affairs but didn’t.”
“OP is greedy and morally wrong here, even if he is legally entitled to the money.” – ParkerBench
“OP’s older brother got married three or four years ago in 2019 to a woman with two teens and had twins about a year ago. He died unexpectedly and suddenly at 42 years of age.”
“I think it’s a safe bet that he was originally looking out for his younger brother as far as his estate planning went and simply overlooked changing beneficiaries when he got married. He would have been mighty busy at that point and especially the past year or so.”
“The absence of any information or documents suggesting that this is intentional means that it is the sort of tragically common oversight made by young, healthy people around their estate planning.”
“Perhaps OP should recognize that his brother would want his wife and children to be his new beneficiaries, and also ask his sister-in-law for some money from his estate as he clearly cared for his younger brother.” – RichardBonham
“My employer and my husband’s employer require our signature every year regarding our beneficiaries for our 401k and employee life insurance (we have outside separate policies, too).”
“If you don’t want your spouse listed as a beneficiary, you have to their (spouse’s) approval with a notary.”
“Mary should ask the employer for the last known dates documentation. Maybe her husband actually didn’t want her to have it. Four years is a long time to go without updating, but there WAS a pandemic involved.”
“But, OP, I doubt all of that. It’s her money.” – MegMRG
“OP is treating this like he has won the lottery. But this isn’t a golden ticket, his brother died, and OP is s**tting on his grave. What kind of person decides that they are more entitled to this money than his brother’s own family? It’s reprehensible in the extreme.” – Consistent_Charity49
Others were sure the OP was using this as an opportunity for revenge.
“Jay passed away in an accident, something unplanned. He most likely thought he had more time to update all of this.”
“Sounds like OP is resentful that his brother got lucky and is now taking it out on his SIL and his baby nieces.” – The_Death_Flower
“The crazy part, she didn’t ask for everything. A portion of it. ‘Mary begged me to give her a PORTION of the money, but I said no.’ She already acknowledged that OP should get something, despite this all.”
“A portion, which would still be significant to OP considering how much he harps on having nothing.”
“It’s crazy how greedy OP is. I get that money is life-changing. But how scummy is it that his brother was kind enough to make sure OP would be taken care of if he unexpectedly died, while OP cannot even do the bare minimum for his wife and kids in return?”
“Genuinely disgusting, sincerely hope this is fake. If not, I hope karma gets OP badly.” – Altruistic_One8131
“‘Mary BEGGED me to give her a portion of the money, but I said no.’ This is the part that really sickened me. I hope and sincerely pray the SIL sues and is able to get it all… a good lawyer could probably get the 401K.”
“OP seems like he feels his brother got a leg up on him. Based on what was written, the brother seems to have worked hard and made different choices than OP and the resentment is obvious.”
“Based on this, I wager that if OP does keep the money, it won’t last, he’ll spend it all, he won’t get his happily ever after… and OP will believe it is someone else’s fault.” – amhfrision
“When my dad passed away suddenly last summer, I took that as a shot across the bow to at least finally put a beneficiary on the books for my 401k. I don’t have kids and probably won’t ever. Happy living the single life. So I never bothered.”
“My brother and his wife have a kid, who my dad thankfully got to meet and play with for over a year. Wish it was more. I made sure to update my affairs to make sure that kid gets every penny of what I don’t get to use. I, at the very least, don’t want that s**t to just disappear.”
“From what it honestly sounds like, OP’s brother felt bad for the PARENTS’ unequal treatment of them and made him the beneficiary partly out of guilt and partly because he too didn’t want to see that sum just vanish.”
“Not updating it once he found his wife and had kids was an absolute oversight. To not even agree to split is morally theft. OP’s post reeks of misdirected resentment. OP is about to find out this money isn’t going to fix any of that.” – devsfan1830
“Not only is he greedy and morally bankrupt, but he’s made excuses for himself this entire post on why he deserves his pity party.”
“His brother studied hard and got a scholarship, but OP didn’t, so he dropped out after deciding to not pay for it anymore. He got married early on but is now 40, and his wife is 42, so it’s now the time to have kids? What happened in the 20-something years between?”
“Hate to break it to you, but people who aren’t well off financially and who live in apartments (I should know, I have a family of four with a toddler above my apartment) have kids all the time; I feel OP is leaving a s**t-ton of info out because he’s afraid it will make him look bad.”
“You’re now trying to profit off your brother’s death at the cost of your niece/nephew. How about working hard at finding a situation/job that can help you get your dream home without having to kick your brother’s wife and kids out of theirs?”
“Also, you expected the wife to pay for all of your brother’s funeral and didn’t even offer to pay for it even though you took all his money?!? If she was only left 50k in their life savings, I guarantee a good chunk of that went to pay for his unexpected funeral. Caskets alone can cost up to $5k, and that’s not even including the funeral costs.” – Sososoftmeows
The subReddit was heartbroken for the OP’s brother, sister-in-law, nieces, and nephews. Not only had they suffered a terrible loss, but the OP was doing nothing but make their new reality that much worse.