Money Moral Dilemma: Should we change our wills to benefit our stepchildren?



    POPPYOSCAR Posts: 14,897 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    I agree with those that ask if they will inherit from their own father as it does seem unfair if they do.

    Perhaps in the circumstances the son should get a slightly larger share to represent an inheritance from his mother.
  • Teacher2
    Teacher2 Posts: 546 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker Mortgage-free Glee!
    I think that the critical factor here is whether your son knows about your original intentions and whether or not he is expecting half of the inheritance. If he is then he is likely to be justifiably upset and disappointed and it might poison his relations with his step-siblings, and indeed, yourself, as you would be going back on your word. If no-one is aware of your originsl intentions then no-one will be unhappy about a more equable split which seems quite acceptable in the light of time having passed.
  • On the whole I think that after 30 years with what sounds to be a strong relationship with your step children I think it should be an even split. If they will inherit from their biological father I would rethink so that the step children did not get more than your own child. Certainly this needs a delicate discussion and I think it's irrelevant that some members of the family are more in need than others. When my father died it was made sure that the millionaire grandchild got the same few quid as his other siblings.
  • He's your son. Do you have something special you can leave him, an heirloom handed down to you, that you can leave him? If not, leave him a chunky sum of money, maybe a thousand (less if you're not leaving a house), and suggest he gets himself something that will give him pleasure and remind him of you. Mention the great happiness he's brought you since the moment he came into the world... and split the rest between the four. And tell ALL of them of the love you have for them, too. Such things mean a great deal in wills.
  • eotris
    eotris Posts: 5 Forumite
    My 2 cents:

    1. Is your step-children's father still alive and involved with his children?

    2. Do your step-children consider you to be their "Dad"?

    If the answers are "no" and "yes", respectively, then split equally amongst all four.

    If "yes" and "no", keep as is, i.e. 50% to your son.

    If no/no, or yes/yes, then I would consider somewhere between 25-50% for your son.
  • Beetlemama
    Beetlemama Posts: 1,153 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    When my husband split from his then-girlfriend, he didn't take any money from the property, he left all of his share of the house for his daughters as part of their inheritance from him, so we will take that in to account when the time comes.

    This was supposed to be the way it went for my sister and myself, what they didn't plan on was my mother remarrying a man our age and him being left the property (as the surviving partner) when she died. So no inheritance from my father and none from my mother. Not that we were relying on it, we bought our own houses, but all the same, it had been Dad's intention to leave his share of the house with her, for us. Get it in writing if this is your wish.
    "There is no substitute for time."

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  • Chl
    Chl Posts: 1 Newbie
    Your son is now about 35 and your step-children about 45 each. It is likely that their financial situations will be different - some may have reasonable pensions and others not, for example. It will also depend on the relationships each has with the others. The optimal solution would probably be to leave them varying amounts based on their individual needs, and to discuss with them together what their needs are so that they have a chance to agree the distribution with you and each other. Your partner should be involved in this as well. You can then see what you feel about going for some sort of average of their and your opinions. This of course presumes they are all generally reasonable - if they aren't you have a whole set of other problems.
  • tenuissent
    tenuissent Posts: 342 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker Car Insurance Carver!
    Having listened to my first husband arguing bitterly with his two brothers about their inheritances from their parents to the point of tears and anguish and fierce resentment at imagined slights, I made up my mind that whatever happened, any money I had would be left exactly equally, regardless of need.

    With my second husband, our wills leave everything equally to all six of our children and step children. Some have no need for any inheritance, and it would make a lot of difference to others, but that is not a factor: they will each receive exactly the same amount, and what they do with it when the time comes is up to them.

    Maybe the rich ones will pass it on to the struggling ones. But they will NEVER be able to get upset about not being treated fairly.
  • birtles1010
    birtles1010 Posts: 28 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    My husband had 4 kids when we met & we have 1 kid together. We started with absolutely no assets as he left everything with his ex wife who later remarried but had no kids. As there will be 2 estates it's complicated. His 4 kids will inherit from their mother as well as their father. Obviously our joint kid will only inherit from 1 estate.
    We have divided our estate as follows - 50% to our kid who is the youngest, 20% to his kid that we brought up in this household who is the next youngest and 10% to each of the remaining 3 children. I am presuming that their mother will divide her estate into 4 leaving only to her own children
    The way we have done it reflects the contents of the estate - my parents' 'treasures' and inheritances I have received from my side of the family will be passed to their only grandchild, and the rest divided more or less equally.
  • Grow old disgracefully! Liquidate everything, buy a Winnebago and enjoy your dotage exploring the world. Leave a will for a four way split of anything that's left. You've earned it, now spend it. Your kids can make their own way in life - I'm sure you will have given them all kinds of help over the years anyway. This is certainly my plan (something a little more modest than a Winnie, unfortunately!) and the kids are fine with it.
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