There are two things that have a special way of dividing a married couple: money and sex.
And when something like a family inheritance or surprise money comes into the fold, a spouse can really start to show their true colors and priorities, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor LetIt_BeKnown thought that the family inheritance she received would be better served by keeping it in her family in the event of her death.
But when her husband contested her wishes, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong to not want to give him all of her family’s money.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my husband the inheritance money we’re getting from my grandparents should go to my sister’s kids if anything happens to me?”
The OP recently received a large family inheritance.
“I (31 Female) came into a VERY good amount of money once my grandmother passed away last month. We are still sorting out the details of taxes and retirement, and so on.”
“Just for some background, both my parents and grandparents owned fairly successful companies and made my husband (33 Male) sign a prenuptial agreement when we got married.”
“My husband was fine with it at the time and for the most part, still is.”
But the OP’s husband was clearly regretting signing that agreement now.
“Now that some of that money is starting to come to us via my grandma’s death, things got a bit weird.”
“We don’t have kids and are still kind of on the fence about if we actually want them in the future.”
“However, my sister has twin boys and I love them dearly. I’m extremely close with my sister but not so much the rest of my family.”
“My husband has three nephews and two nieces on his side, but I’m not very close with any of his family. We get along, but I just would consider us friendly, not close.”
An issue came up when the OP and her husband were recently talking about their wills.
“We were talking about wills to make sure we have everything in order in case anything happens to us.”
“I mentioned that, even though we have a prenup, I’d like to try to find a way for him to get as much as possible. Then I mentioned that if we don’t have kids, I would also like a CHUNK to go to my sister’s boys and any other children she may have for college or a house.”
“He became very standoffish and asked about his side and said it wouldn’t be exactly fair to not leave any of the inheritance to them.”
“I said I understood where he was coming from, but we aren’t close with them and this money was given to my family.”
“He says I’m being selfish for not including them, but he does see where I’m coming from.”
“He’s been making some comments about how he still doesn’t think it’s fair and now I’m starting to think I’m a jerk for even mentioning it.”
“I don’t know, am I the a**hole?”
After reading some of the initial comments, the OP made a few clarifications.
“More info: I do need to look at the prenup again. I know the main reason for it was to keep my share of the family business in the family. I know there’s a clause in there about him not having them, even if I die.”
“My parents mentioned another trust they have set aside for me but I’m not sure exactly the terms. If I die before I get that, though, my husband would not receive any money from it. That’s more of why I’m trying to get around it as much as I can.”
“My sister, along with all the other grandchildren, also got a very large inheritance from my grandparents.”
“I want to state again that I want to leave the BULK of the money to my husband and a CHUNK to my nephews.”
“We are still in the beginning stages of all of this, so I apologize for not having a ton of details.”
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 thought the OP’s thinking on this was problematic and, yes, selfish.
“Hold on; you have a prenup that says if he dies first, all his things go to your family to split evenly. I am not a lawyer, but I can tell you straight away that if he decided to contest that, you would not get a reputable lawyer to defend it.”
“This is well hidden; I was going to go NTA, but this changes everything for me. Can I ask do, you work or is it just the inheritance you bring to the table? Also, is your husband in a good field and earning a good wage?”
“Your original post reads as if he is being a bit money grabby your replies read as you are being the money grabber.”
“Now I just don’t know so I am going as YTA because I have to read the original post as deceiving.” – 33Yidana53
“YTA. Your immediate family is you, your husband, and your kids (if you have them). In your discussion, you have extended your inheritance to include cousins, there are cousins on both sides, he is perfectly justified in asking for his cousins to be given the same, at the very least, consideration.”
“You also point out that he has tried to see it from your perspective and given the ground that you’re not as close to them, but have you put that same effort in? Just gauging by the info you have given, of course, some context is missing.”
“You also aren’t clear on whether the disagreement is whether your cousins shouldn’t be considered on the one hand, or if he should also be considered if they are on the other hand, if that makes any sense. It is good that you are trying to see each other’s side though, properly mature.” – The_Slapnut
“When you get married you become kind of melded. You’re no longer ‘just’ an individual, you’re part of a couple. So this money should be seen as joint.”
“So if one of you passes away, I’d expect everything to go to the surviving spouse. If both of you pass away if expect the money to go to both sides of the family.” – RecommendationOld871
“YTA. It’s gross that you have such a ‘mine vs yours’ view in regard to your husband.”
“Your sister got her portion of the inheritance to share with her family, just like yours should be for your family, as in, you and your husband and any potential children you have.”
“Why don’t you view him as family or as a closer family relation than your sister’s children?”
“Also, as has been pointed out, prenups cover divorce, not death, a will is what you need. Depending where you live, spouses have a right of election/a right to a portion of the estate regardless of your will.” – DrPeppercorns
“Slight YTA. You’re basically saying to him that you don’t consider him (and by extension his extended family) to be your family. You’re married, you should be a combined unit and generally not be thinking in terms of ‘my side’ and ‘your side’ so exclusively.”
“That doesn’t mean you actually have to leave anything to his niblings, but I’m not sure you handled this well on an emotional level with him.” – Thequiet01
“Presumably, you’ve made some sort of commitment to building a life with your husband. You and he have made your own family that is branched off from your family.”
“Your grandmother gave the money to use, for your benefit. If she wanted to control it staying within her direct descendants, she could have established a trust paying out only to grandchildren and their descendants. This would keep control over the funds long-term to secure against early deaths etc. She didn’t do that.”
“What if you died in a car accident that permanently disabled your husband, leaving him unable to work and facing costly life-long medical care? Would you want this money to help him live in as good health and good care as he’s able? Or would you want the money going back to your nephews while your husband struggled?”
“That’s just one (acknowledgedly miserable and more extreme) example of how things can change in the future.”
“The notion of circling the inheritance back to your nephews when you die really seems to undervalue the life you are building with your husband. Not to mention that your nephews will benefit directly and/or indirectly, from the inheritance your sister received.” – Novella87
But others felt that a family inheritance wasn’t typical “married money.”
“If something had happened to you and you had died before your grandmother would she have left this money to your husband or would she have given your share to your sister and her children?”
“I work in a job that occasionally receives valuable donations and a large part of that is making sure to honor and prioritize the donor’s intent over whatever the current needs of the organization are.”
“While the money is ultimately yours, I think it’s fair to remind your husband that your grandparents worked hard to secure a better future for their family and it’s important to you that you honor their wishes by making sure that money stays within their family should something happen to you.” – personofpaper
“Inheritance is not marital property. Speak with a lawyer and set up a will and put money you want to go to your nephews in a trust that your husband can’t access. He is making clear that he doesn’t respect your wishes for YOUR money. NTA.” – NUredditNU
“NTA. It’s like passing family heirlooms outside the family. My husband has an old pipe from his great-grandfather. He can emotionally associate this pipe with someone he loved. But if this pipe had gone to the nephew of the wife’s great-grandfather’s son, then that nephew would look at the pipe today and think, ‘I got this pipe from some old guy I didn’t know. It can actually go in the trash.'”
“The money comes from your family, so it should stay there. Your husband himself becomes part of your family through marriage but not his nieces and nephews.” – simply-me90
“NTA. He can share his share of the inheritance if he wants them to have anything.” – Hopeful-Chipmunk6530
“NTA. You can always do a post-nup. Why should your inheritance go to your husband’s family as opposed to yours? For now, put the inheritance in an account under your name only with your nephews as beneficiaries. Make sure that’s reinforced in your will.”
“And tell your hubby if he gets an inheritance, he is free to do the same.” – FuzzyMom2005
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update.
“I keep seeing a lot of people saying things that imply I’m barring his family from getting anything. I want to leave almost all of it to my husband, 80 to 90 percent to him and the rest to be split between my sister’s kids.”
“I’m also not putting any restrictions saying he can’t give anything he gets to his family.”
“If we have an emergency, then YES! We would dip into those funds. I’m not leaving him hung out to dry.”
“I also have life insurance for myself and we increase it whenever we can. He is welcome to do with that money or the money from the inheritance (minus the small amount I’d like to keep for my sister’s kids) as he sees fit once I’m gone.”
“And if he wants to set aside the money he gets from his family for his nieces and nephews, GREAT! I love that for them, and I’ll gladly help. I’d think that would be very nice of him, but he hasn’t said he wants to with any money he comes into from his family or even any investments he’s made. The only time putting aside money has come up was when I said I would like to do it for my sister’s kids.”
“And again, we are still in the process of all of this. Yes, I will look into all the options, but we don’t know how we will be getting the money, if a trust is already set up, or if we’re just cashing a check. All we were told is about how much money it’s going to be, and to plan for roughly that.”
“I’m very grateful for all the advice on trusts and life insurance. We’ll definitely need to look into all of this once we get more information.”
This situation left the subReddit as divided as the couple involved seemed to be, leaving some to think that the husband should be considered as family, while others didn’t think that marrying into the family applied.
But one thing was clear: the OP and her husband needed to discuss the future of their finances before they had to start discussing the future of their marriage.