When our folks get older and get sick, life gets harder. We are forced to make a tough decision on whether to live our own lives or take care of them.
The decision is not always the same for our siblings. And for them, we may see a change in how they are perceived by family.
Redditor TemporaryReality8 definitely felt a change in perception towards her sister, after a life of not seeing eye-to-eye. She took to the popular subReddit, “Am I The A**hole?” (AITA) to discuss an incredibly difficult matter.
“AITA for not splitting my inheritance with my estranged sister?”
She tried to make the entire story as digestible as possible.
“So, this is obviously a long story spanning our entire lives but I will try to condense it as best I can. Players are: Me (30f(emale)), my sis (34f), husband (39m(ale)), Niece (5f), and dad (80m).”
“My older sister has had trouble with drugs, alcohol, and the law our entire life. She has been Baker Acted no less than 20 times since her 18th birthday and has actually technically died twice due to her decisions(she’s back by the grace of the medical professionals treating her).”
“My dad has constantly bailed her out on anything whether it be jail or missing rent payments because she spent the money on drugs.”
Our Original Poster, or OP’s father was sick for the better part of the last ten years:
“My dad had cancer for the last decade. Despite my sister and him already living in the same apartment complex and my dad paying the entirety of her rent, my husband and I were essentially forced to move across our city 3 months before our wedding because Dad was starting chemo and needed extra help.”
And OP’s life became about taking care of him:
“My next 3 years were devoted to caring for dad. I lost 2 jobs due to the time I needed to take off to care for him and my sister continued to mooch and do absolutely nothing for him. I was the one expected to make medical decisions for him alone because he didn’t trust my sister not to try to off him for his money.”
After OP’s dad passed, she found less-than-charitable behavior from her sister:
“Dad is now finally at peace and against my better judgment, I asked my sister to come by so she could say her goodbyes. Before they even came to take him from his apartment to the funeral home, she was demanding that I open and read the will.”
“She insisted that Dad had been paying for her to try to finally earn her Bachelors and she needed 2k. This amount changed to 3k within 24 hours. She started pointing at Dads belongings and said that she was ‘claiming items she wanted.'”
However, when OP opened the will, they were all in for a surprise:
“After I finally read the will (I’m the executor of the estate), we learned that Dad left everything to me except for creating a trust fund for my niece that my sister cant touch until her 21st. My sister lost her mind and started demanding that I split what I got from him.”
“Dad also left specific instructions to me and my husband to use what he had left us to buy a house, pay off our debts, and finally start a family and we really want to honor his last wishes, but we wouldn’t be able to if I split it with my sister.”
And now she wants to know if following his will would be the wrong choice:
“Obviously, emotions are high and none of us are thinking right. But AITA for respecting Dads wishes and making sure that we use what he left us for what he wanted it to be used for?”
Redditors decided where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
People unanimously agreed that OP should respect her father’s wishes.
“There’s no legitimate reason to give your inheritance to her- she had her share while he was living. This is your share. Your father chose this route for his own reasons.”
“My mother tells me she’s leaving me the house, and most of the money to my sibling, because she wants my family to move in and take care of her pets- We can’t fit 8 more pets in our 800 sq ft house, and that’s not even counting her poultry.”
“Truth is, I’d totally sell off her house after her animals live their full lives and share with my brother so we’d have a more even split. (Part of this is that I also really love my small house and I intend to grow old in it, but the other part is that there’s no good reason for me to get more than him.”
“I just happen to be the one who lives local to her.) The difference is that I wouldn’t be undermining her reasoning, I’d still be honoring it.”
“If you were to split your inheritance, you will be undermining your father’s intentions. NTA.”~Nakedstar
“She is an addict, you would be contributing to her drug habit if you gave her the money. You would be better off taking and burning half the money than giving it to an addict, because the burnt cash wouldn’t potentially lead to you feeling guilty for her overdosing.”
“Your dad knew what he was doing when he wrote his will, and likely felt as though your sister had gotten more than her fair share of his estate already. NTA.”~Pascalica
“NTA. Your dad left you everything for a reason. If you can spare the money and want to help your sister out with her education, you could always offer to pay directly to the school. If that’s truly why she wants the money, then it shouldn’t be an issue. Giving her cash and enabling her addiction helps no one but her dealer.”~clumsynurseratchet
“You’re NTA. Your sister is and honestly (please don’t hate me), your dad kinda is too may he rest in peace. During his lifetime it sounds like he enabled her and allowed her a free ride. He didn’t prepare her properly for what happens after he and his money were gone. She’s going to have a lot of growing up to do. Either that, or she’ll relapse. That’s up to her, not you.”~jacjacattack52
And not only is OP NTA, but Redditors are pretty sure OP’s dad is saving the sister’s life by doing this.
“NTA- your dad specifically split his estate this way because he obviously felt that you, your husband and niece deserve the money and put it towards something positive. Surely if he wanted to give 2k or 3k towards your sister he would have stated it.”~cheeseybubbles
“Your dad knew exactly what he was doing. He set things up to take care of his granddaughter and knows that you will responsibly handle the rest.”
“Any help you give your sister should be carefully weighed, and you don’t have any requirement to trust her (he certainly didn’t seem to) – pay school bills directly to the school for her if you feel that’s best, or pay directly for an addiction treatment program when she’s ready, but none of that money goes into her hands. NTA.”~5T6Rf6ut
“NTA – Your father left you the money because he wanted you to have it. He clearly recognised your sister’s behaviour and did not want her to have any of it; hence the trust fund for your niece that your sister can’t touch until she’s 21 and leaving everything else to you.”
“It seems your Dad recognised everything you did for him and everything she did for him – which are two vastly different amounts. It sounds like he felt you deserved the money so you could live your best life – or at least one better than your current one if he gave you specific instructions on how to use it and you would be doing thr right thing by honouring him.”~singinscotlawyer
“NTA at all. First off, I’m sorry for your loss. I recently lost my mum as well and I can’t even begin to imagine how much harder it must be to deal with all that if you‘ve got this kind of conflict to deal with on top. I hope you can find the strength to cope.”
“Your father made a decision, gave very detailed instructions, had very good reasons for making this decision and even included taking care of his grandchild. You accommodated a lot to be there for him when he needed you. He even worried about her being greedy when it came to decisions about his survival. No one in their right mind would consider you the AH here.”
“If you feel bad for your sister and really think she wants to turn her life around, you can pay the tuition directly to the school if she actually does go there. Make sure they know to refund you, not her, if she cancels straight after signing up. Do not give her money or let her claim any valuables.”~RiverSong_777
And also, Redditors are not big fans of the sister.
“NTA. I would absolutely not split that money with her. It sounds as if you have gone out of your way during his lifetime to be there and care for him and he is acknowledging that in his passing.”
“She will burn through any money she’s given and still have her hand out. Good luck and my condolences on your father’s passing.”~njbella
“NTA. As a preface to this I work in trust administration.”
“Provided your father’s will complies with laws of succession and is valid (i.e. is signed in writing by him and is attested by witnesses (local legislation may vary)) and there are no forced heirship laws in your jurisdiction, your sister legally has to apply to the courts to get any of your father’s estate.”
“You are not in the wrong and not TA, your father is allowed to determine what happens to his free estate through his will, and if he thought your sister would squander it then it is nobody’s fault but her own that she gets nothing. This is good estate planning on your father’s part and I doubt he will have taken his decisions lightly.”
T”he money in a trust fund for your niece is already protected from the prying hands of your sister, and from what you said above it sounds like your niece has a contingent interest (a right once she reaches age 21) so funds will only be used for her benefit.”
“Not saying you should listen to me absolutely, but it seems your father thought this through pretty well when drafting his will, if I were in your shoes I’d stick to his wishes. Definitely NTA.”~T0r0de
“NTA. Your dad clearly expressed his wishes in leaving you the bulk of the inheritance with instructions on how to use it. It’s your money so you can do whatever you want with it, but if you wish to honor your late father then you should pay off your bills and mortgage and start a family as he wanted.”
“If that doesn’t change your guilty conscience, which is unwarranted, look at it this way. Your father saw the sacrifices you and your husband took to help him during his chemo, he looked back and saw how he probably ruined your childhood to some degree due to being so focused on your sister.”
“He’s bailed her out her whole life, and you still had to essentially press pause on your family and work goals in order to take care of him. You’ll probably disregard that sacrifice and just see it as some kid taking care of their parent, but I’m sure he saw different.”
“Your sister has been spending his ‘inheritance’ her whole life. All the bailouts and handouts given, the time he spent focused on her instead of you due to her being a complete fuckup, and the rent payed to keep her from being homeless, etc.”
“Keep the money and go no contact and start a family. That’s how you respect his wishes. He must have expected your sisters response, but choose to follow though either way because he knew she was a lost cause while you weren’t. NTA.”~TheMocking-Bird
OP has not made any visible decisions on the thread on how to go forward, but again, the results are fairly unanimous.
We hope OP and her sister come to some sort of understanding and that damaged family bonds can be repaired.