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Money Moral Dilemma: Is it fair for my parents to penalise me for not having children?

edited 25 October 2022 at 6:11PM in Deaths, funerals & probate
176 replies 93.4K views


  • REJPREJP Forumite
    325 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper
    Chris_Jay said:
    I have three children and four grandchildren. After a long talk with my solicitor, I've had my Will written so that the children have 20% each, and the grandchildren have 10% each. It makes sense not to specify amounts, as unless you have a crystal ball, nobody can predict the future, and I may need that money long before I die. I have metastatic cancer, and can't assume either a relatively young death or outliving them all. What money I have is the result of years of hard work and hard saving, with good money management, and I won't leave myself short because my children might be depending on an unknown future. I've known too many elderly people who've gone without essentials because "it's for my children, they must have an inheritance". No, they mustn't. There is no obligation to leave anything to anyone.
    The OP (what does OP mean, anyway) hasn't mentioned the children's mother; is her brother a single parent? Unless I missed that bit.
    Anyway, my story won't be the same as everyone else's, but my advice is to not rock the boat. You aren't entitled to your parent's money or goods, enjoy them both while you have them and don't start a family war that you'll regret for the rest of your life.
    My dad died 12 years ago, without a penny to his name, and only me to organise everything. When it came to it, his death was far more important and distressing than his empty wallet. I still miss him now.
    OP means Original Poster of the topic.
  • gloriouslyhappygloriouslyhappy Forumite
    568 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Name Dropper
    “it feels like my parents are penalising me for not having children, while rewarding my brother for having them, which seems unfair. It'll be difficult to tell my parents how I feel”

    I feel like there’s a huge backstory here and OP has age old hurt feelings from the parents’ reaction to the lack of grandchildren as OP is childless - we don’t know if childless by choice or through circumstances - and general feelings of not being as good as the brother.  

    I could be reading too much into it, but families are complicated and this doesn’t seem like it’s just about money. 
  • diggingaholediggingahole Forumite
    60 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    I don't understand how some people on here think it's ok to treat inheritance for grandchildren the same as for their own children?
    It is certainly not normal and I think very unfair.
    Some money should be left to grandchildren of course, but anything more than 10% seems unfair and excessive to me.
    Of course I hope this will not happen but what if shortly after your parents die, your brother and one of the grandchildren dies, the surviving grandchild would end up with 75% of the inheritance while you as their the only living child get 25%... that can't be right.
  • It’s up to them, really! 

    I know that my parents have left a fixed amount for each grandchild (£2,000) and the rest to be spilt equally between us siblings. I think that’s fair.
  • SteveI99SteveI99 Forumite
    9 Posts
    First Post
    God what a snowflake its there money to do as they please there's to much of this now  people expecting its there right to. receive money when parents die. I have worked damn hard for my money and to own a few houses and it's up to me and the wife what and who we leave it to. If they kids don't like it tough luck grow up and stand on your own two feet 
  • BroomstickBroomstick Forumite
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    Separate out loving and caring about your parents while they are still alive from anything to do with money after they are dead.  I am grateful beyond belief that I spent so much honest and loving time with my parents in their final years and have memories that I cherish. I know I did the very best I could for them as they grew older. I feel like I've no regrets. It's only been in retrospect that I can see that this is priceless and precious and cannot be replaced by a monetary inheritance of whatever size.  Money does not equal love.  Forget entitlement.  Forget the inheritance.  Enjoy as much time as you can with your parents now, make it good while you can and be grateful to still have the chance.  I'd give anything to spend some more time with mine again.
  • AnjaAnja Forumite
    65 Posts
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    You need to have that conversation with them now. It will eat away at you and leave bitter feeling between you and your sibling.  I am executor for my mother and would like to ask her why she didn’t treat all her grandchildren equally, but it’s too late now!
  • neilmorganneilmorgan Forumite
    60 Posts
    Seventh Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    If a couple both die intestate (i.e. without wills) and have children then under the rules of stirpes any inheritance is shared equally between their children. If a child dies before the parents then their share is divided between the affected grandchildren.
    It does seem strange for parents to write a will that doesn't follow those rules but it is their choice.
    I have seen where people have left the bulk to their children but also left smaller amounts to each individual grandchild that was born before the will was written. It gets confusing though. It often seems simpler not to leave a will if there are no complications like divorce or multiple marriages.  
  • AngriAngri Forumite
    40 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    As some previous posters have commented, I feel the most important aspect of your relationship with your parents is whilst they're alive. Spend time and love with them as much as you wish, and cherish and value it.
    If you can spend as much time, sacrifice and care on them as they did in bringing you up and supporting you as children - you will do well.
    OP, your parents 'owe you' nothing, and anything they bestow upon anyone or anything in their wills is theirs to bestow, and should not be subject to judgement by anyone.
    They could, quite genuinely, leave their estate to a charity(/ies), a home for disable seamen, the British Library or even to Elon Musk (!), but their decision reflects their wishes and wants.
    The most valuable thing they could give you, and your brother, is their love, their labour and their perseverance.
    That you have already received in its fullest. 
    Be happy with everything you've already received, and want not for more.
  • JbunJbun Forumite
    1 Post
    First Post First Anniversary
    I am one of 4 siblings, 2 with children and 2 without. However I am one of the ones with children and had the same discussion with my parents before they died. They were going to split their will equally between children and grandchildren (and some great grandchildren from my sibling). That would have meant 50% would have gone to my sibling’s side of the family which I didn’t think was fair either, mainly on the others who don’t have children. Eventually they decided to split it 4 ways with a token amount for the grandchildren/great grandchildren.   Since then one of the grandchildren from my sibling’s side has now gone on to have children of their own so would have been unfair. Obviously it is up to them how they write their will, but personally we have written our will to go between our children. They can spoil them whilst they’re alive, far nicer. 
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