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'AITA for giving heirloom jewelry to my daughters instead of my sister-in-law?' MAJOR UPDATE

'AITA for giving heirloom jewelry to my daughters instead of my sister-in-law?' MAJOR UPDATE

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Sometimes, you need to bring your grievances to the internet in order to get a bit more perspective.

"AITA for giving heirloom jewelry to my daughters instead of my sister-in-law?"

My (53F) mother passed away 10 years ago and I inherited a few select items of jewelry from her. Those are things she cherished and wore often.

I have been wearing her watch for the past 10 years, my sister (50F) holds a golden bracelet that she loves and there are three items left that me and my sister have been planning to give to my three daughters (20/18/18) to commemorate 10 years since her passing. They always knew this and were close to their grandma.

There is also no quarrel about who gets what. Enter my brother (48m) and his fiancée (38f) of two years. My brother is demanding one of the pieces for his future wife to wear. He claims we never involved him in any discussion as to what should happen to the pieces and we can’t just claim those to ourselves just because we are women.

He says it’s very common for heirloom jewelry to be given to the daughter-in-law and he and his fiancée even cited Meghan Marke and Kate Middleton as examples. Legally there is no case to be made, my mother left those items to me. I have politely declined their request explaining that I can’t let one of my daughters go without and that they were very close to their grandma while his fiancée did not know her.

His fiancée is apparently distraught and claims we don’t see her as family. My father wants me to keep the items and give one to my brother so that all of my mom’s kids eventually get one item and I can do as I see fit with the rest. My sister kindly has offered up her bracelet.

I am torn. I don’t t want to antagonize my brother and my sister-in law but I find my three daughters’ claim so much more valid. They have been looking forward to this for years. And I don’t want my sister to sacrifice her bracelet. If there were more pieces I would not hesitate to give something to her. It’s not a matter of money. I have offered other things out of my mom’s estate, they feel it’s not the same.

I am also taking into account that my brother was married to his first wife 10 years ago and despite having been close to my mother she got no jewelry either but was left two of my mothers’s watercolor drawings. I feel like my mother left those pieces to me with the intention of eventually passing them on to her granddaughters.

Would she have subscribed to the "each child or each daughter plus daughter-in-law has to get a piece of jewelry“ logic she would have left something to my brother or his then-wife in the first place. My daughters told me the would accept any decision I make but I feel it would be highly unfair to burden them with any involvement in the decision making.

The choice is mine to make and I have to live with the consequences. According to my father they are debating to uninvite me from the wedding over this. I stand by my decision but It’s hard...I was always on good terms with my brother and cordial with his fiancée...so AITA?

The comments started flowing in.

Jeffrey_Friedl wrote:

How is this even a question? Your brother's ex might had a basis for feelings about it 10 years ago, but in any case your mother made her decision and someone entering the discussion 8 years later doesn't get to change things. So much NTA. It sounds like this was decided 8 years before your brother met his fiancee, so there's no basis for him (or her) to feel slighted.

OP responded:

It wasn’t explicitly decided by my mother, she just left me three additional items and there is three granddaughters. So my sister and I put two and two together. My brother says we never involved him in the discussion (which is technically true because years ago when this was decided he was still married to his first wife and did not care) and now wants to “renegotiate” as he calls it.

permanentsarcasm100 wrote:

NTA - Your mother left the jewelry to you not to some woman she never met. The living Queen gave jewelry to Meghan and Kate...not their MIL.

OP responded:

As petty as that is but that’s an excellent point I can use when discussing the issue with them...thanks!

saintandvillain wrote:

NTA. Your brother is marrying a psycho. She’s never met your mother but is distraught that she can’t wear her dead MIL’s jewelry. You are correct, your mom left the jewelry to you and, as you stated, your mom didn’t even leave your brother’s wife (his ex) jewelry when she passed.

Your brother and his fiancée are acting crazy entitled and you need to tell them no and that if they bring it up again you’ll have to excuse yourself from their presence. They are trying to bully you out of your daughters’ heirloom jewelry, their birth-rites.

OP responded:

I can actually see why she would like to have something, we were all very close with mom and keep her memory alive and it’s tricky to enter into such a dynamic years later. I would give her something especially to wear on her wedding day (she is estranged from her parents) if I had anything to give but I can’t take away from my daughters to help her feel better.

CrazyOldBag wrote:

NTA. As others have pointed out, your mother would have willed something of her jewelry to your brother/his wife at the time. Said jewelry would have then gone to your (now ex-) sister-in-law.

Ask your brother if he would have demanded that jewelry back from his ex-wife upon the dissolution of their marriage. If he says yes, he’s a (bigger) AH than what he’s currently exhibiting. If he says no, it was hers, point out to him that that is exactly what you are saying: the person who owns the jewelry has the right to dispose of it as they wish.

You, as the current owner of the jewelry, intend on gifting it to your daughters. It is really not a good look for your brother or his fiancée to be DEMANDING that you surrender a piece to them. He apparently had the opportunity to bring this up at the time of your mother’s death and didn’t do so.

For all of his/his fiancée’s talk about her feeling a part of the family, they certainly seem to be more than willing to shatter those very familial bonds they profess to be desiring. Do not give in on this, OP. Don’t surrender any of the jewelry — your watch, your sister’s bracelet, or the pieces you hold for your daughters — to your future SIL.

As others have commented, offer to commission a piece of jewelry for her — perhaps a locket with pictures inside of your mother and your brother, or (if available) a photo of your mother and brother together. If they insist that ONLY a piece that belonged to your mother will do, they are demonstrating that their supposed devotion to the idea of familial inclusion is purely superficial.

Your daughters are far more deserving of possessing a keepsake of the grandmother they knew and loved than your future SIL, who has no real direct connection. I’m sorry, OP. You obviously want everyone to be happy, but your brother’s/his fiancée’s demands are doing a good job of destroying family harmony.

Stay strong in the knowledge that you and your sister are carrying out what your mother so clearly envisioned that she felt no need to put it into words. (I personally would be at least thinking, if not outright asking, what your brother thought should be set aside for wife no. 3, but I’m petty that way.)

OP responded:

Thank you so much for your clarity and kind words.. I am struggling to see clearly presented with the possibility to be excluded from the wedding. But it really does not sit well with me that they are willing to hurt my daughters and their nieces for this.

The next day, OP shared an update.

Thank you all for your kind messages and advice, I would never have expected to get so valuable support and inside from strangers on the Internet. Thank you really from the bottom of my heart!

We came together with my brother and his fiancée after I had many of your replies to my husband and my sister. I stated clearly that I will support her in any way possible and that it’s very important for me to welcome home to the family properly but the jewelry is off the table because I believe I am fulfilling my mother’s wishes and I cannot hurt my daughters.

I added that I believe that this is not the right way to join a family and that we should strive to resolve this conflict before it creates more tension between my daughters and their uncle and future aunt and also amongst us siblings.

At first, I thought my brother really saw my point and he seemed happy that we offered to pitch together to buy something for his fiancée. Unfortunately she is not willing to accept this. as some of you pointed out, she seems to believe that she ranks right beside my sister and me when it comes to our late mother and supersedes my daughters...well.

She talked about her rightful place in the family and how she went no contact with her family because they denied her the respect that she deserves and that she will not hesitate to do the same with us.

She also talked a lot about the pain of not being able to have any heirloom jewelry for her wedding. And honestly, I believe only a few days ago I would’ve given in presented with her tears but thanks to your kind words I was able to see through her emotional manipulation and really now that I am aware of what she’s doing it is so obvious..

I must say my brother looked very uncomfortable. She then stated that it would be a waste to give the pieces to my daughters since they would just sell them for the money to buy make-up which is absurd.

I ended the conversation at this point stating that I hold firm to my boundary and that they are free to do whatever they feel is the right thing for them. I am heartbroken and I hope my brother will change his mind. So.. no happy ending but thanks again.

The comments kept coming in.

2006bruin wrote:

“It would be a waste to give the pieces to my daughters because they would only sell them for the money to buy makeup.”

That woman is projecting.

bunbunbunny125 wrote:

Don’t forget about how she is NC with her own family because they wouldn’t show her “the respect that she deserves.” I wonder what she demanded from them when that happened….what do you think, item or money?

MySweetAudrina wrote:

That SIL is a manipulative piece of work and her reasoning for going NC with her own family speaks volumes.

FriesWithShakeBooty wrote:

When my mom died, strangers showed up at our house saying they were friends, and saying she had promised them a keepsake; could they look around? Apparently, there are grifters who scour obituaries then pull this on emotionally distraught family and loved ones.

I would tell bro to f#$k off. I would tell his finance to f#$k off and may she forever feel as if there are a few drops of urine that have yet to come out. I would tell sis to not give into this utter bulls**t, and remind Dad that mom was not a pushover especially not in the face of greedy gimmes. Watch the next update be the brother doubling down because this POS left him because OP said no.

boringhistoryfan wrote:

I think OP should accept the analogy to the British royal family the SIL is proffering. If she thinks that's the best way to move forward, OP can let her have the same relationship with the family that Meghan Markle has with the Royals.

Sources: Reddit
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