in , ,

Groom Livid After Wealthy In-Laws Demand She Return Wedding Jewelry Gifted By Late Husband

A groom slipping a wedding band on his husband-to-be's finger.
franckreporter / Getty Images

When a spouse dies, nothing makes sense.

There is so much to do, so much to plan, and so much to grieve.

It’s especially difficult when the in-laws are part of the battle.

And when property and wealth have to be divided, that is when the claws can come out.

Case in point…

A deleted Redditor wanted to discuss his experience and get some feedback. So naturally, he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

He asked:

“AITA for Not Returning My Deceased Husband’s Wedding Jewelry to His Family?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“So, the situation is complicated, and I’m (35 M[ale]) really torn about whether I’m the jerk in this situation.”

“My husband passed away recently, and we had this beautiful wedding jewelry set that he gifted to me.”

“Now, his family is pressuring me to give it back, but it’s not as simple as it sounds.”

“First off, the jewelry wasn’t some family heirloom; it was a gift from my husband.”

“He knew I came from a less affluent background, and he always tried to make me feel comfortable in his world.”

“The jewelry set was a symbol of our love and commitment, not just a shiny accessory.”

“The real issue here is the strained relationship I’ve had with my in-laws from the start.”

“My husband was from a wealthy family, and they never fully accepted me because of my modest background.”

“They were always polite, but you could sense the judgment and the subtle digs.”

“Now, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law are insisting that I return the jewelry set.”

“They claim it holds sentimental value to the family, but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s more about their disdain for me than any genuine sentiment.”

“I’m stuck in this moral dilemma – do I honor my late husband’s family wishes, or do I hold onto this piece that means so much to me?”

“The tension has escalated to the point where they’re threatening legal action, and I’m afraid I might end up losing something that means the world to me.”

“On one hand, I want to respect my husband’s memory and our relationship, but on the other, I don’t want to be seen as the villain in this family drama.”

The OP was left to wonder:

“So, Reddit, AITA for standing my ground and keeping the wedding jewelry set, or should I just give in to my in-laws’ demands and avoid making a difficult situation even worse?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

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

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“NTA. You should contact a lawyer to be sure, but a spouse typically gets the whole estate unless a will says otherwise.”

“Your jewelry is yours by right, by his wishes, and most likely legally.”

“You don’t need to deal with them anymore.”

“Cut ties and move on with your life.” ~ nome5314

“NTA – I think it holds much more sentimental value for you than it does for them!”

“Just because your sister picked it up at the store for him doesn’t give her any rights or any sentimental attachment.”

“They are either being nasty or greedy.” ~ NobodyButMyShadow

“Just because your sister picked it up at the store.”

“That’s what gets me.”

“S[ister] I[n] L[aw]’s only ‘attachment’ to the set is as OP’s husband’s ‘errand girl.'”

“The set has nothing to do with the family, even more so if OP and hubby co-mingled finances in any way.”

“The in-laws really are disgustingly entitled AHs.”

“OP doesn’t need a lawyer, but I would take as much proof I could to a lawyer’s office and say, ‘This is what’s happening. Here’s my proof they are wrong. Please send a cease and desist.'”

“And to have all correspondence to the lawyer.”

“The legal paperwork might make them back off, given their money however, they might feel entitled enough to ‘pay’ their way to get what they want, but at least having the paperwork go through the lawyer OP can reduce the stress for herself while also creating a legal paper trail for a formal harassment claim.” ~ Environmental_Art591

“NTA. It would be different if were a family heirloom passed down multiple generations rather than a lavish gift to welcome you into the family they have zero claim or connection to.”

“Ideally, there was a will, but that seems unlikely given this post.”

“If there isn’t a will or prenuptial, please hire an estate lawyer ASAP and buckle up for a bumpy ride.”

“Best of luck and definitely fight them on the jewelry as I’m sure it means far more to you than them.” ~ AppropriateScience71

“When my husband died, he made me promise to NOT return any heirlooms; I ended up giving our nephew’s son the most valuable piece as a gift (a pre-Columbian waterpot that was his mother’s family worth < 30k.)”

“It felt wrong to keep it, but they refused it at first because it was MINE.”

“If they had asked if would have given it back immediately, it was a piece of their history of bloodlines and a culture I don’t belong to.”

“But a wedding set is something completely different; it’s like they are erasing her.” ~ drezdogge

“NTA. Not a family heirloom?”

“It’s a gift to you from your husband.”

“It’s yours plain and simple.”

“They probably think they can bully you because they’re better than you. They’re not.”

“They’re awful people despite their alleged social status.”

“Sit down with a lawyer ASAP and be prepared to go court.”

“But you have a very strong case for ownership, and they should end up paying your legal fees.” ~ joe-lefty500

“Sorry for your loss.”

“You didn’t mention how long ago you got married or where you live.”

“At least in the US, wedding gifts between spouses are given based on the expectation of being together until death.”

“Whether you had many years of a happy marriage or only a brief time, you still held up your end of that arrangement, and the jewelry is rightfully yours.”

“It doesn’t matter if the jewelry was a recent purchase or a family heirloom.”

“Your husband dying unexpectedly doesn’t make the wedding set stop being your property.”

“It doesn’t sound like his family has any reason to want the jewelry.”

“They just don’t want you to have it.”

“If they’re already threatening legal action, I don’t see how your relationship with them can get much worse.”

“Don’t let them bully you.” ~ throw05282021

“NTA. Your post seems contradictory.

“‘Was gifted to us’ vs ‘Was a gift from my husband.'”

“If it was a gift from your husband, you own it free and clear.”

“His family has no rights whatsoever.”

“If it was a gift to the two of you, then you jointly owned it.”

“The only possible claim his family has to anything of his is if he willed it to them.”

“Consult a lawyer. You probably owe the family zilch.”

“Block them and tell them all communications will now go to your lawyer.” ~ extinct_diplodocus

“NTA. First, previously given gifts are not part of an estate.”

“So that jewelry set is outside any estate your husband left.”

“The jewelry is yours. Full stop.”

“Second, you’re his spouse.”

“His jerk family is welcome to try to file a claim against his estate during probate, but generally, his estate goes to you (unless he had a will/prenup/etc. specifying otherwise) and any children.”

“If his family wants to file a claim against his estate, it will be time-consuming and expensive for them, and they’ll have to prove the debt or ownership or whatever to the court.”

“I’d contact an estate attorney immediately if I were you.”

“Then, direct those vultures to contact your attorney directly going forward.”

“The only thing you have to lose by cutting them out of your life is a series of headaches and some extra heartache.”

“I’m so sorry for your loss.”

“Focus on you, on healing, and on wearing those beautiful pieces that are filled with such great memories.”

“I’m sure it is what he would want.” ~v_blondie

“NTA. He bought it for you.”

“They are not entitled to anything unless your husband specifically wrote it on a will.”

“It has sentimental value to you, not to them.” ~ Docmarin

OP came back to give more info…

“Update: I made a mistake in my story.”

“The jewelry set was picked out and paid for by my husband, but my sister-in-law collected it for him to give it to me.”

“Thank you guys for the advice.”

“This situation has been putting me under a lot of stress.”

“It’s even worse when trying to plan a funeral.”

“My friends have taken some of the funeral load because of my health being at risk.”

‘I’m going to get a lawyer right after the funeral this Wednesday.”

“I took your advice and searched through his study to find the receipt/invoice for the set.”

“I found it in a file in his safe.”

“It contains all the details of the purchase, including things that I didn’t even know.”

“I took it and the set and plan to give it to one of my friends so they can’t get access to.”

“By the way, no, my in-laws don’t have any spare keys or access to our home.”

“I have 8ft walls around our yard, cameras, and a security system.”

“We also have a neighborhood watch chat just in case of any suspicious activity.”

“Also his will was read the day after his death.”

“It stated I was the sole beneficiary of all his assets before and during our marriage.”

“That includes our home, cars, investments, etc.”

The OP provided and additional update.

“I woke up to aggressive knocking on my front door.”

“There was a police officer and a man in a suit who I know as their family lawyer and they served my papers to appear in court.”

“So I have a court case tomorrow at 12:00 p.m.”

“I was blindsided by this since I thought they were trying to get me to fold when they threatened legal action but I didn’t know they were serious.”

“I already contacted my lawyer, and I will make an update post tomorrow after the hearing.”

“For those who asked, I am from Trinidad and Tobago, and my husband is from Switzerland, where we’ve lived since before our marriage.”

Well, OP, Reddit is with you.

You are standing your ground. It’s sad this has had to get into legalities.

You’re mourning your beloved. Hopefully, this can all be reconciled peacefully.

Good luck. We’re so sorry for your loss.