in ,

Mom Refuses To Change Son’s Last Name Even Though It May Cost Him His Inheritance

Woman refusing money
Motortion/Getty Images

Especially in 2023 and with the nature of the economy, it’s easy to see the appeal of a financial opportunity, which might be significant enough to change someone’s life.

But money really isn’t everything, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

While traveling, Redditor GeorgeMcMinty had become pregnant and later discovered the biological father wanted nothing to do with her child, though his parents did not share his feelings.

When they later offered to leave her son a large family inheritance, but at a price, the Original Poster (OP) debated what was more important: financial stability or the symbol of family.

She asked the sub:

“WIBTA (Would I be the a**hole) If I don’t change my son’s name, even though it may cause him to lose an inheritance?”

The OP became pregnant while traveling with a man who wasn’t interested in a future.

“I (24) got pregnant while I was taking a gap year traveling.”

“I met an older guy, nothing gross, I was 19 he was 23. We had fun. I was working in a bar to make money while I explored his city.”

“When I got pregnant, he lost interest really quickly. I understood but I am pro-choice. And I chose not to terminate.”

“I went home and had my son. I also made sure to get child support. He could afford it. He did fight it though. I had to prove paternity and everything.”

The guy’s parents had very different feelings about the OP’s son than he did, however.

“Through that, his parents found out. They are well-off. They have met my son and they truly do seem to love him.”

“They have provided gifts for his birthday and Christmas. They helped me with extra money so I could complete my university without going into debt. They have taken us on vacation with them so they could spend time with him. They aren’t my biggest fans but we are cordial to each other.”

After a tragedy, they wanted to be more connected to the OP’s son.

“Three months ago, my son’s father passed away. He got drunk at his bachelor party, tripped on the sidewalk, and hit his head. And that was all she wrote.”

“My son and I attended the funeral. We spent a week in that city so his grandparents could see him.”

“They approached me with an offer. They had no other children or grandchildren. Their son was only 28 so he had lots of time to provide them legitimate kids (they did not say this I’m just assuming) so they never thought about my son’s name.”

“They said that if I changed his surname to theirs legally, they would make him their primary heir. I think this is dumb. He is their only grandchild and they would deny him an inheritance because of his last name?”

The OP felt conflicted about the opportunity.

“I said I would consider it, to be polite, and have left it at that. I actually have a pretty good life as it is. My family has been very supportive. And because of the whole court thing my son’s father had to have life insurance with him as the beneficiary.”

“Would it be nice for my kid to get a big sum of money? Yes. Do I want him to have the surname of a man who didn’t want him, see him, or love him? No.”

“I have been talking to my family about it and a few of them think I’m being an a**hole for giving up this kind of money for my son. It is generational wealth and I’m making the decision based on emotion. I think they are a**holes for thinking money is the only thing that matters.”

“I think I will tell my son’s grandparents that they can talk to him about it when he is 16. He will be old enough to understand the implications but young enough not to be tied professionally to his last name.”

“WIBTA if I don’t move forward with this?”

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 completely understood the OP’s reservations.

“NTA. Don’t teach your son he has to change himself at somebody else’s whim to be worthy.”

“It also is twisted that they think, ‘here’s money with controlling attachments,’ is a correct way to engage with you and him. Just because somebody has money doesn’t mean they get to control you.” – marshy266

“I do think NTA and so many of the yes replies are gross and transactional. There’s no mention of the paternal grandparents asking about the name change before their son died. So it feels kind of like they’re trying to make a replacement for their son. The boy is and has been their grandson all along and the request to change it for cash feels strange.” – Dependent_Room_2922

“I don’t see why people are so focused on money instead of what family means!”

“Changing a name is a whole process, too, and then there are the logistics of not having the same name as your child.”

“He’ll share the same last name as the woman who loves him and cares for him, not the name of the invisible man who didn’t want anything to do with him or his manipulative parents who think a name is more important than the meaning of family.”

“OP, NTA.” – EatThisS**t

“NTA. I’m surprised that this seems to be the minority view. You’re his only caring parent, and that was true even before his father died.”

“It’s sort of insulting that the grandparents would only consider leaving the inheritance if he shares their name; it feels as if they only consider him proper family if he shares their name when ultimately he’s their grandchild either way. If they’re willing to leave it to him at all, it shouldn’t be based on such weird conditions that immediately tell you it isn’t about love or kindness.”

“Not to mention, the fact this is only coming up now suggests they didn’t really care before realizing he was going to be their only ‘heir’; they were absolutely counting on other grandchildren to come along. Suggest the 16 years of age thing and also consider if you’d be happy with your son having a double-barrelled name with theirs.”

“People are accusing you of putting pride and ego above practicality (money) but they are putting pride and ego above family. Money isn’t everything. If you think you and your own family are comfortable enough that your son will not struggle, then in my opinion, you’re all good. You don’t need family with strings. If you bend on this, who knows how many other things they are going to push you on ‘for the good of your son’ in the future.”

“Some people on this post seem to think a surname is meaningless but I disagree and I think particularly for women to share their name with their kids, it can be a very significant feeling. Lots are saying your son will never forgive you. If I were your child, as someone who did not grow up with money at all, I would still rather have the name than the money.” – eelhugs

“NTA. I understand they are grieving but to hold this over you is bulls**t. Their son does not deserve to have your son carry his name; his behavior was s**tty. Your son is yours; you have raised him and I completely understand your reservations.”

“Plus, as a single mom myself whose child has a different last name, it is easier to have the same name. It causes less confusion for schools, doctors, etc. Letting him make the choice as a teen is the right way to go.” – Special_Respond7372

But others thought the OP was intentionally putting her son at a disadvantage later in life.

“YTA. F**k that dude, but also, you’re kinda screwing your kid by not changing the name. That money is your child’s future, and guess, what they’ll probably want it regardless of y’all’s beef. If they find out, that could also wreck y’all’s relationship.”

“Get the bag. You can honor the grandparents who have been involved in your son’s life and ultimately your kid can change the name if they don’t like it but the money can allow your child to pursue their dreams w/o having to worry about the stress of loans, etc.” – Dunks615


“I am going to say YTA. YOUR life might be good, but your son has a chance to be set up with a good amount of money. If I found out my parents refused to do something like this to me, and lost me a bunch of money… I would be furious.” – Mongoose-SR

“YTA. And this is a blanket statement and not always the case, but men and boys and sons and fathers tend to have weird and intense feelings about last names. It would be a connection to his father who he’s probably never known and won’t know, whether or not the father was an @ss. Plus the whole inheritance angle.”

“She should just do it, in my opinion. Not just for the money. The chances of the boy being mad that she changed it are slim, but the chances of him being mad if she doesn’t are quite huge.” – fadgeoh

“There are countless kids stuck with the last name of fathers who didn’t want them. OP’s kid would at least be getting the last name of grandparents that truly want and love him and a huge financial advantage that comes with it.”

“YTA, OP. That money could make a huge difference in his life and the ability to chase his dreams.” – DreamCrusher914

“YTA. It sounds like they’ve been cordial and put you through college to improve your life while maintaining a relationship with their grandchild. Change his name and ensure the trust cannot be modified at a later date. This will set your child up for life and most likely you will substantially benefit, as well.”

“Consider how much more he can accomplish starting with generational wealth instead of from a normal position. Opportunities can be seized that aren’t available to most from education to business and travel not to mention security for his future family. I would act quickly; people die unexpectedly every day so the fact they appear in good health may not be as concrete as you think.”

“This is purely a business decision and business should never be mixed with emotion.” – FLSwampApe

The subReddit could understand the emotional connection the OP had to the names, including her own and of the man who did not want to take responsibility for her child, but they believed there was more at stake.

If the OP could work out something with the grandparents, she might be able to be comfortable with the situation while also setting up her child for far greater success than she could provide on her own.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.