Some people are privileged enough to be a part of families that offer an inheritance to the next generation.
But where money is concerned, people often start complaining and arguing about who receives what.
It can really bring out the worst in people, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor judgeme2313 found himself stuck in the middle when his family started questioning him for receiving his full inheritance.
When he saw their reactions, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was wrong to stand up for himself.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to share my inheritance with a ‘sibling’?”
The OP discovered he had a half-sister.
“I (20 [male]) am a single child… or at least I thought I was.”
“Just over a year ago, I discovered that I have a sister, Lucy.”
“The story goes that my mother had a child with her first boyfriend while she was in college, and they couldn’t support her, so she opted for adoption at birth.”
“My father was aware of this, but I was never told.”
“Anyways, about a year ago she made contact with my/our mother.”
“They’ve gotten on pretty well, keep in touch, and go on the occasional lunch. Lucy’s also attended a couple of our family events this past year.”
“She and I get along fine as well. We’re different people so not friends, so I sort of see her as an acquaintance/friend of the family I guess.”
“It’s a little odd because I know we’re closely related, but at the same time, she doesn’t feel like ‘family,’ if that makes sense.”
The OP received a large inheritance from his grandparents.
“My grandparents on my mother’s side both passed a few years ago.”
“My mother was their only child, and I was their ‘only’ grandchild, and they left their entire estate to me.”
“This was known to my parents and me before they passed, as they had expressed it when they made their will.”
“My parents are well-off financially (mom’s a nurse and dad’s a doctor), and so they were fine with the arrangement.”
“I was given access to the money on my 20th birthday, and the sum of money was much larger than I expected; totaling around 6 million.”
The OP’s mother had a special request for the money.
“A few weeks ago, my mother sat me down and asked me to share the money with Lucy.”
“Now, here’s the thing; as I said, to me Lucy is essentially an acquaintance. I know we’re related by blood, but I don’t exactly feel the type of connection to her that would merit giving her such a large sum of money, or any money at all for that matter.”
“So I explained that to my mother, and she wasn’t exactly happy with my answer. She believes I’m being extremely selfish, and that Lucy could very much benefit from this money as well since she’s still a college student and in debt.”
The OP didn’t agree with his mother.
“Here’s why I think I might be the asshole; I don’t really see that as my problem. I believe family is who feels like family, not who shares your DNA.”
“Secondly, my grandparents were aware of Lucy’s existence (even though they never met her) and they chose to leave everything to me all the same.”
“Also, it is not as though Lucy grew up poor in the foster system or anything, she was adopted at birth by what seems like two great people. Her adoptive parents are an accountant and a teacher.”
“Also, I do not plan to just horde the money. I am starting law school this year, and plan to use it to start my own firm once I’m finished.”
“So, go forth and judge me, please.”
“Am I being a selfish a**hole here, or am I justified in thinking that simply being related by blood doesn’t merit any claim here?”
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 said the mother was just feeling guilty about her daughter.
“Mom is feeling guilty, so she’s throwing it on OP. I don’t know what type of adoption mom opted for (closed or open), so I can’t really say that ‘she didn’t search for her child.'”
“But since Lucy came around, mom is feeling guilty that she gave her up or didn’t look for her sooner. She’s trying to make herself feel better by giving Lucy money.” – GeekCat
“I think that the OP’s mom is probably anxious to make a big gesture to show Lucy that she’s valued as part of the family. She may also have convinced herself that if one or both of her parents lived to see Lucy make contact, they would have revised the will to give her half.” – Mysterious-System680
Others said the OP could at least help with his sibling’s education.
“I think there are NAH. OP, your mother is feeling some guilt, obviously, and wishes she could do something for her bio daughter. She shouldn’t be off-loading the guilt onto you–and feel free to say so to her–but I don’t think wanting this makes her an a**hole.”
“If she continues to harass you about it, she will quickly become an a**hole—and again, feel free to tell her so.”
“Reddit will always say, ‘You owe X person nothing; family is not blood,’ and while that’s true, just because you owe her nothing doesn’t mean that it would be wrong to give her anything.”
“Generosity is still a virtue, and while underlining your emotional detachment from a near-stranger isn’t exactly a vice, it ain’t a virtue either. Paying off her student debt won’t make much of a dent in your inheritance; so, despite all the N-T-As you’re going to get, and the sheer cliff of downvotes I’m going to get for this, I’d strongly suggest you do the thing that won’t hurt you and will help someone else.” – usernaym44
“The amount of the school loan must be negligible to 6 million and it would really be a gift to the mother, who made a very difficult decision when she was in college. If she didn’t make that decision, OP may not be where he is today, or in fact, even Be.” – josysomething
But some pointed out the OP wouldn’t be included in the sister’s future inheritance.
“Also the sister has a set of adopted parents and grandparents. When they die, is she also going to share said inheritance with OP!? As if!!” – jujoking
“Also Lucy has 2 parents herself who I assume won’t be leaving OP anything in their will? I hate these tit-for-tat inheritance arguments but if it was the reverse and Lucy had received the 6 million would OP’s mum think Lucy should give money to OP.”
“Presumably, she has or had grandparents as well. Though if they have passed they likely didn’t pass the money on directly to Lucy like the equivalent of what OP’s parents did.”
“My only concern is if this becomes a souring issue OP might find herself excluded from her parents’ will (though it doesn’t sound like she should need if she uses the money wisely) and Lucy gets any and all inheritance OP’s mum can leave her.”
“But definitely, Lucy is not OP’s responsibility. Even if they had formed an actual relationship now as adults she wouldn’t be responsible for it.”
“It’s also very dangerous to start (not sure of English word) to all humbugging because then what if 3rd cousin Fred then needs money for his college? And then something else? And so on…”
“I wonder if OP’s mum is actually a bit salty about the inheritance skipping a generation…”
“I am a child of awkward birth circumstances myself (product of an affair) and had a problem with true-born half brother contesting my late father’s will (it was a 50/50 split) as ‘I wasn’t related to him’.”
“The lawsuit quickly fizzled as my dad had written, with his lawyer, a long letter about how much of a part of his life I had been and he thought of me completely as his own son and that I had treated him as my father and pointed out the amount of contact I have with him compared to his other son, and how in retirement he moved to live near me and my wife instead of my half brother because of “the state of our relationship, and the state of his and half brothers relationship”. Really touching.” – TryToDoGoodTA
The subReddit agreed that the OP should not feel obligated to share his inheritance, no matter how his mother was feeling.
Some, however, suggested how the OP might soften the blow by assisting with his sister’s education, in addition to his own.
That would leave him in control of his finances, while still helping someone out who needed it.