An ongoing fear siblings face for almost their entire lives is that their parents prefer their older or younger siblings.
Sometimes, this is paranoia more than anything else, with people simply reading into gestures made by their parents that give only the slightest hint they are prioritizing their siblings.
In some sad cases, though, their concerns not only might be accurate, but their parents might not even make an effort to hide their preference for one of their children.
Redditor Playful-Alfalfa9519 has two sons, one of whom drew a lucky card in life finding love and a lucrative career, while the other did not.
Worrying about her single, less financially stable son’s future, the original poster (OP) made a drastic revision to her will.
A decision which angered her more stable son, causing a significant rift in their relationship.
Having doubts about her decision, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for updating my will to award my less successful son a higher share of my assets?”
The OP explained why she felt compelled to make a sizable adjustment to her will, and how one of her sons reacted to this decision:
“I (66 F[emale]) have two children, Benjamin (36 M[ale]), and Jack (33 M).”
“Jack is in a good place in his life.”
“He has a good job with a senior position in his industry, a long-term fiancée, a wide circle of friends, and whilst they’re still renting, they’re both currently saving for a house deposit.”
“Benji on the other hand, despite being the oldest, has not done as well in life.”
“Benji has never had a girlfriend (or a boyfriend), and has no friends that he visits.”
“He did give university a try, but left both times in his first year due to anxiety.”
“Today he chooses not to work.”
“Benji and I have been living alone together for the last 6 years now and I support him financially.”
“I know that the situation is not ideal, however, I’ve long since come to terms with the fact that Benji is a square peg trying to fit into a world of round holes, and as I’m getting older I’m happy for his company.”
“It’s an arrangement that suits us both.”
“I’m starting to get on in years and recently my thoughts have turned to my children and what they will do after I’m gone.”
“A few months ago I decided to update my will, and asked Jack for a meeting to address the changes.”
“I let him know that in my updated will almost all of my assets, both cash and property will going to Benji, however, I’ll be giving him a cash amount to help with his house deposit (£10,000).”
“My reasoning for this is that I know full well Jack is capable of looking after himself after I am gone, but without assistance Benji will always struggle.”
“He is simply never going to have what Jack has.”
“Jack did not take kindly to the news.”
“He said that I’m effectively punishing him for having succeeded in life, where his brother has been allowed to not try and fail his entire life, and is now being rewarded for ‘choosing to remain a neat so he can suckle on mummies teat’.”
“He said some more unkind things about his brother and at that stage I said that it was better that he leave until he could calm himself down.”
“On the way out the door, he told me that this was not about money or assets, but was yet another instance of me ‘favoring’ and ‘coddling’ Benji the way ‘I have done his entire life’ (not true) and claimed we were in an ’emotionally incestuous relationship’.”
“I told him to get out.”
“This all went down 3 months ago and since then Jack will no longer accept my calls.”
“He ignored my 66th birthday outright, not even a card, and at this stage, I am not expecting to see him at all for Christmas, so it’s going to be just me and Benji as usual.”
“Other family members have since become aware of the drama and are telling me that my decision is wrong and that by doing this I am driving a wedge further between Jack and Benji when their relationship is already strained.”
“I love both my children equally, but I can’t go to my grave knowing that Benji will be out on the streets suffering without me.”
“I KNOW that Jack will NEVER have to struggle in the same way Benji has, so I don’t know why he even needs the money in the first place.”
“I am frankly disgusted by his greed and lack of concern for his brother’s future.”
“AM I THE A-HOLE for my decision?”
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 Reddit community ultimately agreed with the OP’s other family members and felt she was, indeed, the a**hole for giving almost her entire estate to Benji.
While some understood what motivated the OP’s decision, they ultimately agreed with Jack in that the OP was coddling and enabling Benji’s lack of self-sufficiency, and was clearly favoring Benji over Jack.
“You simply can’t treat two of your children so differently and expect it not to cause problems.”
“You casually say that it’s ‘not true’ that you have favored or coddled Benji his entire life, but is it?”
“I wonder, and I suspect there’s more than an argument to suggest that you HAVE favored him over Jack over a long period of time.”
“One consideration that people should keep in mind, however, is exactly what Benji does whilst living at home.”
“Does he shop for groceries, cook, clean, handle DIY, do the gardening or such?”
“As you grow older and may need more assistance, is Benji capable of being your full-time carer and would he be willing to act as such?”
“If he does none of those things and won’t be your carer in the future, then you are absolutely coddling him and it has got to stop.”
“If he’s doing all the chores, keeping you company, and would care for you full-time in the case of illness, then that may deserve some small element of favoritism in your estate.”
“It does not, however, deserve everything bar £10000 – that’s preposterous.”
“Why not consider some compromises?”
“For example, as Benji has no friends or partner, could you rejig the estate to buy a small flat for him now, and get him used to living alone etc?”
“Then when you pass away, your home could be sold with the profits, and any other remaining assets, split between both Jack and Benji.”
“That way, Benji gets a stable manageable home and some money to live on, and Jack gets more than a £10k payment.”- Chilling_Demon
“Complete AH, you can’t give one child more because the other became self-sufficient.”
“You picked a favorite.”
“That’s how your son Jack feels.”
“What makes you think Benji will make good choices after you pass just because you gave him everything?”- ShoddyDevelopment49
“Jack is totally right.”
“Jack didn’t become successful magically.”
“He worked hard for it.”
“It’s not his fault that his brother couldn’t achieve anything of his own.”
“You’re not realising it, but you are indeed favouring Benji over Jack.”- Ravenclaw_Lady
“You are awarding the lazy son and punishing the successful son.”
“Their inheritance should be equal.”
“Not only that, but by already supporting him, he is already getting way more.”- oaksandpines1776
“Is the amount you’re leaving Benji so much that he is set for life and doesn’t have to lift a finger to live?”
“If not then whether you equally divided your estate or not, Benji is headed towards a destiny of being homeless and no amount of money or assets will change that.”
“Instead you just burnt your relationship with Jack.”- Seraxian
“I think you and Benji are in a codependent relationship and by sheltering him you are depriving him of possibilities to grow as a person.”
“He could take measures to find ways for himself to be successful in his own ways.”
“The world is not black and white and even as a square peg there are plenty of opportunities.”
“But I guess for you the current arrangement is just too cosy.”
“Jack is right, YTA.”- Beneficial_Raisin_
“You may mean well, but sadly, YTA. Life has a way of throwing us all curveballs, and who knows what Jack or his family may need in the future.”
“Would you be happy going to your grave knowing you gave everything to Benji and Jack and your potential grandchildren will struggle if he loses his job, becomes ill, or faces any number of setbacks?”
“If you love your children equally, you would leave your estate to them equally.”
‘Try and help Benji to plan for the future so that when you are gone he can live independently and know where to get assistance if he needs it.”
“We never know what our future holds.”- ElectricalTip4614
Worrying about your children comes in tandem with being a parent, so it’s clear that the OP was only thinking about Jack being taken care of when she cannot.
However, rather than worrying about the future, perhaps the OP should be more concerned about the present.
As both she and Benji are still relatively young, all things considered, so there is still a fair amount of time for her to help her get Benji back on his feet, not to mention repair her relationship with Jack.