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Business owner plans to leave everything in his will to his employee over his siblings. AITA?

Business owner plans to leave everything in his will to his employee over his siblings. AITA?


"WIBTA if I left everything I own to my employee instead of my siblings?"

I'm getting up there in age (77M) and my health hasn't been the greatest. I suspect I only have a few years left, so I've been arranging my will for after my eventual passing. I'm the oldest of five siblings. Three brothers and one sister.

The oldest of my siblings is 70 and the youngest is 59. I only have contact with them sparingly because of big differences in values. I don't have any children and have never been married either.

I own a small cafe where I serve drinks (coffee, tea, non-alcoholic drinks, etc.) and small meals to go along with it. Above the cafe is an apartment where I live. I own the entire building as well as the ground it is built on.

Three years ago I hired a part-timer (Lea, 16F at the time, now 19F) to help me out. I was doing everything alone before then. Lea has been a great help and really enthusiastic about work. She has helped me a lot, even outside of her work. Our bond has become pretty great and she often refers to me as her bonus-grandpa.

Because my bond with Lea is much better than my bond with my siblings, I intend to leave the cafe, the apartment and the ground to her when I pass. I know she would take good care of the cafe, and it would give her a good headstart by already having a place to live. I will be sitting with a lawyer to arrange everything in regards to taxes as well.

My siblings have in recent years been discussing what they'd do with the building after I pass. Renting it out, letting their grandchildren use it, or just selling it have been options for them.

They will most definitely not be pleased if I leave it to Lea instead. WIBTA for leaving my property to my employee in my will, instead of to my siblings?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

clothanger said:

You have a golden heart. But, I want to point this out. You must assign like a few people, a team to assist Lea with the law, the protection and anything that relates. People could be awful, and especially when it comes to property as big as yours, anyone can harm a girl like Lea for their own profit.

LessThanThreeHundred said:

Nta. They should not discuss your property like you are already dead.

RulerOfNyaNyaLand said:

NTA. I admire your choice. But listen, I highly recommend you communicate this to your family before you die. They are likely to be angry and I'm sure you'd rather not deal with that. But they are under the impression they're getting it, and they will be surprised and angry whenever they find out they aren't.

If they get blindsided after you're gone, they will take it out on her (imagine them grilling her for how she tricked you into it or accusing her of taking advantage of you or opening a lawsuit to try to prove you weren't of sound mind, etc.) They may even stop by your business to harass her, badmouth her in the community, etc.

Don't make her bear the brunt of their ire. Make your wishes known and answer their questions while you're alive. Tell them firmly it's what you want, you've thought it through carefully, and your mind is made up. Just my 2 cents.

teresajs said:

NTA. But it may be best to give your employee some ownership interest in the business now. Your business documents could possibly include a right to survivorship.

It would require some attorneys to help set things up, but might bypass probate, which would ensure that your your siblings have no ability to fight your will in court.

For instance, I'm envisioning a document where you give your employee a few percent of the business each year.

Icy_Department_1423 said:

NTA. Use good attorneys and leave a small item , a book et al, to each of your siblings in the will so that they can't claim you forgot about them. Write a long letter to leave with the attorney to explain to your employee why you made this decision so they don't get guilty by your siblings no to accept the inheritance.

CarefulNow- said:

NTA. I learnt everything I needed to know about your siblings with them discussing what to do with your property after your death. Lea sounds lovely. But agree with a previous poster. Make sure it’s water tight and ensure your family can’t get at it. They’ll make her life hell.

Everyone was on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for this business owner?

Sources: Reddit
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