7 years ago, my brother, Alan, made a seemingly rash decision to marry someone pretty suddenly, Jan. From very early on they had issues that she often brought to everyone (this is not how the family operates, and if I am being honest, she made everyone extremely uncomfortable multiple times by airing her grievances to anyone who would listen). Nothing major, no abuse or cheating or anything.
Despite that, my family was warm to her because really it was Alan's life and decision. We accepted her and her child from a previous marriage and were thrilled when they welcomed a child together.
I say I'm confident that, at the very least, Alan was leery of her because he called me out of the blue to remind me I was the beneficiary of his insurance policy and that he'd like me to use that money to create education funds for the kids. This conversation took place 2 years ago.
Well, Alan died in an accident about 3 months ago. Jan has continued to utilize the family for help (Which is totally fine). I went through the process with the life insurance company and submitted all needed paperwork and everything seemed fine. I 100% intend to abide by Alan's wishes. Everything was OK with Jan until recently.
Recently, Jan started acting outwardly hostile, accusing my and Alan's mother of "stealing" Alan's money. Jan, likely with the urging and help of a third party, went digging into information about life insurance and learned that there is a policy. Though she could not get additional info as she is not the beneficiary.
This appears to be where and when she decided to start acting hostile. She is outwardly confrontational to my mom (not me). I attempted to sit down with Jan and explain things with the help of a translator, believing that, perhaps, a language barrier and a lack of understanding of how these things work were creating problems (she is not originally from here).
She went off screaming about how she's his wife and the money is hers and my mother is "stealing" from her. I tried to explain that my mother has nothing to do with this and I'm not "stealing" anything.
She wants to hear none of it and seems to waffle between my mother forced my brother to make her the beneficiary (She's not on it) and there was no beneficiary (there is!). She also does not find it acceptable that this money will be going toward the children's educational needs. I don't understand why. She stormed off.
I was mortified by her behavior. I left, apologized to the translator, and haven't attempted to speak with her again, although I've seen the children for already scheduled events. So, am I the a**hole for not sharing this information with her initially?
ETA: Several people have mentioned Jan perhaps being concerned about finances. Her finances are fine. Additional funds have been dispersed to her and will continue to be. The children are in no danger, nor is she.
I think you just found the reason why your brother made you the beneficiary and didn't tell her. Nta. If your brother felt she needed to know he would have told her.
Yup. OP is only abiding by their late brother’s wishes. And SiL isn’t doing herself any favors by acting confrontational and greedy.
OP everything happens for a reason, and your brother made the decision to entrust you to handle his final wishes. Move forward with that last request, and ignore all of the other noise. Sorry for your loss.
If your brother had wanted his wife to know about the insurance policy, he would have told her. He had years to tell her. If your brother had wanted/trusted his wife with the money, he would have made her the beneficiary.
Ok, so your SIL isn’t happy. Well, that sucks for her. NTA and do what your brother wanted. His widow sounds greedy and volatile. Don’t let her get her hands on the money. Ya know, she could just be glad that her husband was looking to secure his kids education, in case something happened to him.
NTA. Contact a lawyer and establish a trust for the children's college fund to ensure that Jan can't touch it in case something were to happen to you. You and your mom should block Jan or at the very least walk away/hang up during her meltdowns.
NTA. I would be worried about your SIL behavior and who is this person that is "helping" her, what are her intentions by being so fixed in the idea that your mother is the bad guy here. I would strongly recommend you to have a lawyer to help you and your mother to make sure you have access to your nephew.
As for your brother's money, see if you can make a trust fund that the kids will have access to education but you will get to authorize their spending, because I wouldn't pass your SIL trying to take this money since she seems to think this should be hers.