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Woman refuses to share stepdad's inheritance with her bio brother; 'You DON'T deserve it.' AITA? UPDATED 2X

Woman refuses to share stepdad's inheritance with her bio brother; 'You DON'T deserve it.' AITA? UPDATED 2X


When this woman is concerned that she's financially abusing her brother, she asks the internet:

"AITA for not sharing my stepdad’s inheritance with my brother?"

My(25f) dad passed when I was very young and my mom married my stepdad Lee when I was 5. Lee is wealthy and my mom never had to work and I was given everything growing up.

The only thing we never received was acceptance from Lee’s family—they were not pleased that Lee chose to marry a widow with a child. Lee and I were close and he continued to care for me even after my brother Sam(18) was born. My mom clearly favored Sam and didn’t really focus much on me.

Lee’s relatives warmed up to my mom a little with the birth of Sam but I was still treated like something invisible. Sam was often invited to Lee’s relatives’ houses to play and he and I are not very close.

I decided to go to university overseas and Lee gave me enough money that I didn’t have to work or worry financially. He also was the only one calling/writing me regularly. I talked to my mom/Sam like once every couple of months during my university days.

After graduation, Lee wanted me to “come home” but I wanted to work and be on my own for a bit. The pandemic happened and I was unable to fly back. When the lockdown was over, my family came to visit me once and left when I preferred to continue working where I am. Lee came to visit me a few more times by himself.

A few months ago Lee passed from a disease he never let anyone know he had. In his will, he left his businesses and house and most valuables to his relatives, my mom almost nothing though she can keep what he has already given her—2 cars, jewelry...

and cash ~$60K(my mom never legally married him), Sam ~$150K and the rest of the money to me. It was 7-figure USD, a life changing amount.

Turns out Sam is not Lee’s biological child, which he found out only recently. My mom and Sam were mad, of course, and demanded that I share money with them. I said I’m willing to put the money in some low risk investments and we can split the gain. Not good enough.

They want at least 25% each of what Lee left me. I argued that it’s not like they are left destitute. Sam can still go to a good university (if he cares enough for further education) and my mom have enough money to get her own place and the investments will give us all long-termed incomes.

They called me greedy and planned to take legal action, but Lee’s relatives told them that they could make my mom and Sam’s lives very difficult if they tried to give me a hard time and go against Lee’s wishes.

I intend to do as I promised them, splitting the gains from the investment with my mom and Sam. I won’t let them touch the money Lee left me though because I don’t trust them to not go through that money in just a few years. AITA?

Before we give you OP's updates, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

gine3 writes:

NTA, but I do feel sorry for Sam. You weren’t Lee’s biological daughter either, so I guess Sam feels he’s being punished not for not being Lee’s biological son, but for Lee not knowing that at first, which I presume Sam didn’t either.

That’s gotta be tough, finding out that the guy you thought was your dad wasn’t, and then finding out posthumously that he saw you as lesser than another child he raised who wasn’t his biological child, just because of the deceit on your Mum’s part involved in his case.

Honestly, you’ll be NTA whatever you decide to do with your money, but given that you and Sam share a biological mother, you might want to give Sam a little extra.

Forget about your mum, sounds like it was her deceit that caused this, and now her chickens have come home to roost.

jujabe writes:

NTA. I would NOT tell them you are going to share any appreciation of assets because it opens up a whole can of worms legally. There are issues of taxes - both capital gains and gift taxes.

They can also theoretically sue you for not investing appropriately. They can force you to sell since they would want the benefit of the increased value and most investors do NOT sell every year but let the assets accumulate until it makes sense to sell or shift to another investment and very wealthy people also consider tax implications in terms of selling - i.e. taking short term gains - losses etc.

If you feel guilty, then you can periodically give them money but make it clear there is no obligation. For example you can buy them a house. Or you can pay tuition for private school for kids or give them nice birthday presents or send them on a vacation.

But do NOT make a pledge that you will "share" the appreciation of what you have inherited because you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of lawsuits.

And now, OP's update:

To be clear, I am a millionaire. As for Sam, he has always been…spoiled and difficult. My mom never said no to him and he got everything he wanted. Lee was the stricter parent but Sam would always hide behind someone, like Lee’s relatives, when he got in trouble.

He had to repeat a grade because he refused to put in any work and I would say his academic record would not give him good university choices.

He had already wrecked 2 cars from reckless driving. He was also caught shop lifting once when he was 16 because his friends dared him to. I completed understand Lee not wanting to leave him more money than he did.

Sam is completely clueless about his bio dad though. Even my mom said she was almost certain Sam had to be Lee’s child because there was only “one other guy.” My mom has had no contact with him for years.

Update 2:

I talked to a lawyer. I told her my plan to continue living overseas and that I planned on going LC with my mom and brother. She said I should set aside money for my mom and brother in the form of a trust fund.

They will be paid X amount per month (the dividend from low risk investments) but can’t touch anything else. I don’t trust them both with a huge amount of money so this way they will always have a steady income in their lives. I know this is against Lee’s wishes but I just need to take care of them this last time.

I already have a will set up that everything will go to charities. I make decent money at my job so I set up a will a while back. My family knows this when everyone visited me that one time.

Sam still has a year of school before university, so he should still be living with my mom in the meantime. My mom has a room in a high rise that Lee gave to her a while back so they should be fine with a place to live.

I planned to support Sam’s university expenses…he’s not academically inclined but in our culture he will definitely be pushed to go to university. I’m still working with my lawyer to see how that can be without having to get too heavily involved.

As to why Lee never found out before about Sam, my mom is mixed race while both of her children’s fathers and Lee are the same race. Sam and I look like her so it’s hard to tell. Don’t know why Lee decided to investigate after all this time. He was to blame for Sam being spoiled, too, with how much he had been letting Sam spend over the years.

My mom is 10+ years younger than Lee. Maybe that’s why she had the affair. She has a university degree so she can find a job if she wants. Her jewelry should be worth near 6 figures though so there’s always that.

Lee’s relatives took carrying out his intentions seriously. Ever since Sam became more problematic in his teens, the relatives tolerated him for their blood connections. Now that he is not, my mom and Sam are instantly in their bad book, I guess.

Once this mess is more settled, I’m thinking of asking my workplace for a relocation. A change of scenery should be nice. I like my job so I think I will continue working but maybe my vacations can get a little more extravagant from now. Thank you.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for him?

Sources: Reddit
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