Secrets always have a way of finding their way to the light, and when they do, it can cause serious ripples of mistrust.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she's wrong for refusing to share her inheritance with her dad and brother after discovering a family secret. She wrote:
My grandma (dad's mom) left me (27F) my dad's (52M) portion of her inheritance but left him and my brother (30M) nothing. For context, me and my brother have never met my granddad. According to my dad, he and his father had a very toxic relationship. After my dad and my mom (49F) met they started dating at university and they had my brother.
My parents then got married which made my granddad stop talking to my dad. A couple of years later had me and we've been living happily ever after. After my granddad died, my dad began to spend more time with his mom. We got to also spend more time with her and we even spent the Christmas holidays at their house. She was this sweet old lady who just loved us so much.
Her energy was so electric and contagious. I won't lie when I say that Christmases as a teenager were my most cherished times. Sadly my grandma passed away last year. After her funeral, I and my two aunties were called to speak to a lawyer. She died with a house worth more than £500K (for context she lived near Oxford) to her name, and over £200K worth of cash and other heirlooms.
When we went through the inheritance, the lawyer explained that she divided it into three equal parts. It was between her two daughters and me, who got my dad's share of the inheritance. She left her son nothing. When my dad found out, he protested and asked how was that possible but I wasn't too concerned.
During the proceedings, my grandma's lawyer who was in charge of the inheritance, gave me a letter written by her a year ago. In this letter, to be read after her death, she explained that her husband (my granddad) had disowned my dad completely. This is because my dad is not my brother's actual father as he's a child from a relationship my mom had previously.
My dad met my mom when she was pregnant with my brother. My grandparents, my granddad, in particular, thought this was extremely weird. He did not approve of this and was vehemently against it. My dad didn't listen and married my mom a year after my brother was born, which prompted my granddad to excommunicate him for good.
During the years my grandma stayed in contact with my dad but we (my brother and I) did not meet her until after my granddad died. The thing is, neither my brother nor I knew that my dad wasn't his biological father. A day later, my dad called me to discuss the inheritance but I didn't want to meet him. He doesn't know that I know and I don't know how to tell him I know.
I haven't received any money yet but based on this I feel like I will not share it. My family is understandably calling me greedy but I just don't really trust them anymore. This is already causing heavy division in my family and now I feel like dropping this news will destroy my family completely, should I just be truthful about the reasoning or what should I do?
NTA. First of all, you aren't the AH about the inheritance no matter what you decide. Your grandma had a clear reason for what she did, so it's not like there's any "funny business" that would make her will invalid. Secondly, it sounds like you are struggling with the info your grandma shared, and that's completely fair because it's a lot! I have some thoughts.
What your Dad did, choosing your Mom even though she was already pregnant, and raising your brother as his own so well that you never even suspected — that is an amazing act of love! I understand that it pissed off your Grandpa, but from my perspective your Dad is a real hero here, loyal to your Mom and loyal to your brother.
I would hate it if you came out of this blaming your Dad or blaming your brother, neither of whom did anything wrong. I think it's really sweet that your Dad and Grandma managed to reestablish their relationship after your Grandpa died. Should you tell? I don't know. In general, my instinct is that secrets fester. Now that you know this, it's going to be hard for you to hide your strong feelings.
Also, keep in mind that everyone in your family knows, at this point, except your brother. Raising the topic might be hard, but re-read my previous paragraph about what a loyal hero your Dad. He loved your brother because he chose your brother, along with your mother. I kind of feel like your brother deserves to know. Finally, you don't need to decide about the money right away.
Your Grandma dropped a crazy amount of information on you, and it's completely reasonable for you to want a while to process. You could even tell them that. As a general rule, when you get a big chunk of money, there is no hurry.
You can leave it in cash for a while. You can invest it in safe mutual funds (I like Vanguard.) No harm in letting it sit for a year or two or three while you figure things out. People who are all excited to do something right away typically make bad decisions.
Legally you are in the clear it sounds like. But honestly, yeah bit of an AH. What your grandfather/grandmother did was sh*tty. Your father chose your brother as his son/family. Your Grandfather clearly has a "blood is all" attitude. That sucks. He doesn't get to choose your father's family for him. You seem honestly all about the money. I hope it makes a good replacement for a father and brother.
Also, no don't tell your brother. Have a private talk with your father, that you now know. It is his decision(and your mother's) to tell him, not yours. You don't know the circumstances of your brother's conception OR why it's been kept a secret(you don't even know if your brother was told at some point but that you were not told).
YTA. Your dad stepped up and raised another man’s kid. He had no issues with that. Why is that any of your business? He did nothing wrong but be a stand up guy. You don’t want to share, that’s fine. You don’t have to. But say it’s because of this reason. Admit you just don’t want to and be honest. Your aunts can share with him.
YTA. Your father married the woman he loved despite her being pregnant with someone else. He then proceeded to raise and treat that kid as his own. He sounds like an amazing person. And your grandfather sounds like an absolute prick. Why should he get a say in his son's marriage and family life? I can understand that it feels weird to have to talk about this with your father, but you really should do that.
In person, not on phone, and without your brother present since that would be an awful way for him to find out. Your parents will have to decide on how to let him know about that. All things said, your father has done absolutely nothing wrong here. Quite the contrary. You are well within your rights to keep the inheritance, but it does make you TA.
YTA, a little. You don't have to share the inheritance, of course. But your reasoning and theirs is the weird AH thing. You talk nice about your grandma, as if trying to let us know it's not just about money but the connection and love you had.
But answer me this...would your grandma have continued to show you the same love if it came out when you were (let's say) 20 that your dad shot blanks and your mom got pregnant by another guy again? I think her love and money would have disappeared. Those lovely Christmas?
Who cares, you ain't blood. Because she spent those same Christmases with your brother and never came to love him. Such horrible people. Stop making excuses and just tell us you want the money.
OP is TA here, since she's essentially using her granddad's weird reasoning as an excuse to not share with her dad and brother.