Follow
Share

My MIL died recently and willed all to 1 of her 5 adult kids. The other four children were not even mentioned in her will. She had willed everything to her youngest originally, but about 25 years ago she had a "falling out" with him and changed it willing everything to her 2nd youngest son instead. Nothing for the daughter who lived in the same area and bent over backwards to try to help her and get along with her in her old age. Nothing to her other daughter nor her other 2 sons. No, she willed everything to her son that lived 1200 mi. away from her. We feel he ingratiated himself to her by whatever means and he had his sister bring her on a flight to stay at his house a few months before she died. He didn't even bother to call the other siblings to let them know of her death, he called the sister that brought her and she then called the others. We think he is fearing confrontation about the will. He duped my husband into helping him do repairs on her house, all the while knowing it was ultimately HIS house, as he was set to inherit it, unbeknownst to the rest of the family. We found out through county records that the house was put in a trust and he is the trustee. I'm thinking that pretty well locks everything up neatly for him, since he is successor trustee for the trust that holds the property. So I think even if we contested the will nothing would come of it. We now hear he is giving her household things away to neighbors and anyone but family. It is so weird, but I guess she really hated her other children. They are all great people with nice families. It is sad what she has done to shatter her family, must have had a heart overflowing with hate. I know one thing...the son that has gotten everything will never see or hear from any of his siblings again. I hope he has fun with the money because he has no family left that will have anything to do with him.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
2ndBest - Yes. Exactly what I was trying to get at. Clearly this mean, bitter woman was trying to send a message and have the last word. In her mind this was the way to do it - what better way to have the last word than in ones will? But you and the other siblings can truely make her last words powerless. This was never about reward or being deserving - it was about power and punishment. MIL had "the right" to leave her assets to the person of her choose. Being fair and loving or even ethical is not required in final bequeaths. However, you and the other siblings can ultimately take from MIL want she wanted most here, it seems - the final word. Refuse to make that word about her and her petty agenda.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

As to understanding the motives of people, I don't think it's always possible. We're each individual, different ethnicities, different backgrounds, different motivations... could there ever possibly be psychological guidelines and explanations that could offer insight into so many different variables, even though the profession has tried to explain behavior?

But, after all, we're not Vulcans, nor Mr. or Mrs. Spock or their children, and don't behave logically. We're just humans and sometimes very irrational.

I think there's been enough damage done that perhaps as others have suggested, it's better to put the wondering and analysis aside and focus as you've written on healing.

Best wishes to you and your family to move on past the trauma.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Thank you all for your input and sharing your takes on this issue. I know my question was about contesting the will and at first I blamed 2nd fav brother-in-law for influencing his mother to make him her sole beneficiary, but I now am focusing more on making sense out of the whole thing, not on seeking any kind of monetary reward for myself. Really $100k or less is not anything to get excited about in my book. I just really would like to understand how a mother could be like her. I'm more interested in WHY a mother would do this. It occurred to me that she may have switched her beneficiary from fav son to his brother mostly for spite against fav son. She wanted to maximize the negative impact it would have on fav son. So if she had made all the other sibs (except fav son) beneficiaries, they would each only get a small amount - $100k or less. But by willing all of it (~ $400-500k) to 2nd fav son, she probably thought that fav son would realize just how much he had lost, and the high price he had to pay for turning against her. I think her aim was to make him wish he had never crossed her, never found fault with her and never stopped speaking to her over her cruel and disrespectful treatment of his father after his death. Fav son is really the only one of her children she ever was a mother to. She was a zombie mother to the first 4 kids, working nights and sleeping all day. My husband claims he was raised by his oldest sister, who was 9 when he was born. He says she was more of a mother to him than his mother ever was. But fav son was born when my husband was 12, so he was raised as an only child, since by the time he was in school the other 4 had moved away for college, marriage, etc. His mother no longer was working night shift and was actually present in his life. His father suddenly became interested in football and actually attended fav son's games, and even served as a coaching assistant for their highschool team. They attended all of fav son's college games and were enthusiastic fans. My husband's father never attended any of his or 2nd fav brother's football games, highschool or college, and was pretty much absent from their lives. Sure he was there physically after work and on weekends, but he was not the least bit involved or interested in their lives. He was always zoned out, sitting in his chair watching "the game". My husband says they never went out to dinner as a family, never met most of their relatives, and never went on a family vacation. Maybe by the time fav son came along their parents finally had the maturity to invest some time and energy into their one son. Kind of like getting a second chance to do things right. Sorry I'm babbling on and on here, but I am kind of thinking about it as I write. So anyway, for those of you that think it's all about the money, you are mistaken. I find the psychological aspects of family betrayal much more troubling and am always trying to make sense out of the senseless. I think I have finally made sense out of this. I'm pretty sure her motive was aimed at giving fav son a giant slap in the face. I don't think it bothers him too much - he couldn't think any lower of her than he already does, and he is a very successful and well-off executive, father of three boys and happily married. So it kind of makes all of her efforts to get revenge on him benign and a waste of her time and energy. She probably spent countless days of her life seething with anticipation that she would get him in the end. Maybe it made her death easier knowing she was leaving a family-shattering bomb behind, finally getting even with her fav son. A lesson there for all of us. As I mentioned earlier, I feel most sorry for my SIL that did so much for her mother over the years. She is the one that is just devastated by the fact that she wasn't even mentioned in her mother's will. I think I can maybe help her heal from this betrayal by making her see it in that light, that her mother wasn't aiming to hurt her by leaving her out of the will, but rather she was trying to deal the biggest blow she could to fav son. That may make it easier for her to come to terms with this whole mess. Right now I think she is heartbroken and feels very betrayed.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

All these answers and suggestion are GREAT. In the end, you own nothing. I worked in Real Estate for 40 years. WE used to tell people when the subject came up that we have never seen a U-haul behind the funeral procession. I have a trust and a Will. BUT, I have already been giving my kids gifts of my possessions. I want to see their happy faces as they open another gift from Mom. I don't wear my Jewelry. At first I thought, please don't sell it..But,once you give the gift it is not your place to control what they do with that gift. But if it were from a Grandmother or G-Grandmother, of course you would hope they would keep it and pass it along to a bride in the future. I am not forced to leave anything to my children. In fact, my older daughter is very well to do.Her business continues to grow. She wants her brother and sister to share the estate and leave her out. I give her gifts also. I did not have much when I was their age. There were times when it would have been nice to have something to sell to get me out of poverty. In my case with my partner's kids, I really wish they would contest the Will. #1. It will satisfy their need to know. Unfortunately, because they are not named, the attorney states the Will is private as is the Trust. To me, that makes things harder.
They are not going to love me more or suddenly trust me if they get a copy. I suppose I could push it and have the attorney send them each a copy. However, I am following the directions of the attorney. He must know something I don;t know. As it means nothing to me for them to see the documents, I sometimes wonder if the attorney is trying to make future business for himself. If he denies them the right to see and ready the Trust and Will, they may sue and contest and he would make more money off of me. But, I am handling it the way my Partner wanted it handled. That is my job. I am the Trustee but my partner left specific instructions. Why, I don't know. It would be hard on me to go to court. I already have a heart condition that was brought out even more after all the harassment. Don't fight a contest of the Will or Trust, it is not worth it and you should want the truth to come out.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I have no experiences of this nature, thank God. But I wonder if it wouldn't be easier and more satisfying to just let things be and forget about her as quickly as possible. Or, to say prayers for her sick soul--sounds like she needs them. The money is "tainted" in a way anyway--who would want it coming from a person like that? It sounds like the sibling who got it all is cut from the same cloth, and if his reward is to be ignored by everyone else from now on, he earned it. Find joy in associating with the ones who love each other and act like it and get this other stuff out of the picture ASAP. Don't let it fester and gnaw at you. Fighting for some of the money or belongings only prolongs the ugliness that has been done to you. I wish you all well!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

There are some really good answers here. Just because a person is passing away does not mean in most cases that they are brain dead. When they created their Will, they meant what they wrote. Remember anyone can contest anything. I personally did not care if his kids contested my Partner's Will. However, I made it very clear to them that I am not paying for their games. They will be spending their money not mine to get their message in front of a judge. And, if the kids loose, my attorney will be asking for the funds I used to defend their father's Will, I will be reimbursed. Their attorney will alert them to this fact.

There was a statement in the Will that should anyone contest this Will they will get NADA, He named specific people who were to get nothing. Period!

Years ago, my partner gave an old antique train set that he brought from Germany. His father (their grand-father) had given to my partner in the early 40's. The son sold it immediately. Told his dad, "I needed the money". When he was dying NONE of them came to see their father. I don't feel one bit sad for the kids.

The children hated me for a number of years. They refused to visit their dad as long as I was living in the house. You cannot imagine how nasty they were to me. The one daughter looked me in the face at the Memorial and stated.."I bet you will be lonely now" I fell apart, but took my tears home. They had a party at one of the kids house after the Memorial for all the people who came from Germany. I was not invited. Wonder what their dad would have thought of that?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I agree with those that say it is her money and she can do what she wants with it. If she was so horrible, why would you want anything of hers to remind you of those years? Having gone through this myself, I had what little my mother had given to me and I split it with my brother. Enough said. She left no will and didn't even speak to me the last year of her life. She was plain ornery. The only reason I took care of her belongings is that the "stuff" needed to be gotten out and sold or donated, which I did. My estate is handled by a good lawyer. I had four children and for some reason, all but one want not to be in contact. I tried, they did not. No answers, no contact. It has been almost twenty years and they seem to have inherited what they deserve...my mother's life style and attitude. If that is what they want, that is what they get. The others in the family, a daughter, SIL, granddaughter and greatgrand children seem to get along fine with each other and also me. So I have to assume that I am NOT the ogre that they think I am. When I die, I told my lawyer that I will have to assume that they predeceased me as I have no idea where they are nor do I care.

My life goes on and when I am gone, I remember what my MIL told me years ago. You cannot take anything with you. Look in my casket...if you see any money, take it and put in a check. She was a grand woman for whom I was very grateful. So live your life and forget about inheritances. No one owes anyone anything unless they take out a loan.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I agree with Ferris1, leave well enough alone. Anything that was left by the deceased has the RIGHT to leave it to whom she wishes and she disinherited the others because she could. GET OVER IT, jealousy will get you nowhere
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

A person making their own Will has every right to leave their assets to WHOMEVER they choose. That said, the "left out" children don't have a leg to stand on unless the mother-in-law signed her documents under duress and coercion. Let it go!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I believe this requires the work of an attorney.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Brother who got the money is actually the loser. The rest of the siblings will find love for and enjoyment with each other while healing and moving on. I, too, know how difficult it is when it is our spouse who is being treated so terribly. Do what you want to me, I can handle it; but sh*t on someone who I love, and it makes me see red. Funny, my husband feels the same way with how one of my brothers treats me!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Consult lawyer is a good idea.
My thought is if it can be determined that there was fraud in the inducement, there is a chance to challenge the will.

Grace + Peace,

Bob
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Dejavuagin, I LOVE THAT! It is futile to hold a grudge, for unfixable wrongs! Amen!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

ohJude, your story was delightful. It is so galling to read about the injustices in the lives of so many of us who post here, but that one story lifted my spirit.

2ndBest, yours is truly a Grinch story! Your husband's family, minus Mommy Dearest and her pet, can celebrate a loving relationship with the power to heal. It's futile to hold a grudge for unfixable wrongs, especially for someone who is beyond your reach to influence. Just remember that MIL was the primary victim of her hatefulness after all and she had to live 24/7 with that ugly person. Just be glad you aren't subjected to THAT fate!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Yes, you are right Rainmom...I think her agenda was to set up a rivalry/jealousy and have her 4 disinherited children torment themselves wondering for the rest of their lives what they did that was so bad as to be cast out of the family essentially. She would probably be thrilled if everyone was fighting over her money. I guess you give a total loser a little money and they can't help but try to use it to manipulate those they seek to control. At this point I feel bad that my husband ever did anything to help her. But he is a good person and did it for all the right reasons, never expecting anything in return. So he's not losing any sleep over it. I am the one that has a hard time reconciling it all in my head. As a mother I just can't fathom doing something like that to my kids. I read somewhere that inheritance is not so much about the money, but it is the parents' final report card to their children. Apparently my husband and his other disinherited siblings made an "F". It's not that the brother that got everything did that much, or even as much for her as the others, he just made an "A" in sucking up to her. Some people will do ANYTHING for money, and he fits that description!! You're so right "...greed and money surrounding death and wills seems to bring out the worst in people!"
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

GardenArtist, 2ndBest - no, I get it about the technicalities with the first will being revoked and all that. What I'm saying is - first MIL names one son as sole beneficiary then changed it to a different one son. Clearly this woman was h*ll bent on making some sort of statement and probably stir up a big pot of crap and hostility between her own children by only naming one child - who knows, down the line she might have changed it to a different one child. Trust me - I'm experienced in the manipulations and muck stirring a "mommy dearest" type of mother can do! I don't agree with what she did, nor do I think it right or ethical. I'm just saying she had her plan, her agenda, and put her money behind it to set it in motion - and wrong as it is to a decent, fair minded individual - she had the "right" for lack of a better word to do as she wished with her money in her will. The "unfairness", sheer meanness of this act is not at odds with what is legal. I think you're right, 2ndBest - MIL is probably looking up from hell - but she's having a good cackle at having achieved her agenda - throwing you all into turmoil, discord between siblings and keeping the attention on her. I think it's a shame the beneficiary brother doesn't do the right thing and voluntarily divide the money - but as I find myself saying a lot lately - greed and money surrounding death and wills, seems to bring out the worst in people!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

My husband's will leaves my one step-daughter a very small amount. The other step-daughter is written that she purposely omitted from any inheritance (sale of my husband's business). Step-daughter #2 wanted nothing to do with her father due to not buying her a car when she got her license in the fall, but said he could buy a car in the spring. Then she got mad over the tv he bought her for Christmas, not the one she wanted. She did not want any contact with him..it has been eight years since they spoke.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

ThereIsNoTry...thanks for your suggestion and you're right, but unfortunately undue influence - as common as it is in real life - is very hard to prove in court. We don't have recordings of their private conversations, or his manipulative tactics over the years. We can't prove what happened behind the scenes. I think it would be a very costly and uphill battle to challenge both documents. I hate to get involved with lawyers unless it's a pretty sure bet that we could win, which in this case is a longshot at best. Any time we have hired attorneys in the past for business matters they seem to do a lot more billing than actual work. But they're more than happy to engage in a long, expensive futile fight even though they know the probable outcome - it's all about the $$$ for them. So I think my husband and I have concluded that because the estate's main asset (the house) is owned by the trust, and fav brother is successor trustee of the trust, that is pretty rock solid and probably couldn't be overthrown in court. Even if the Will was declared invalid due to failure to list all the siblings, the fact would remain that he controls the trust that owns the house, which is the only valuable asset of her estate. Both the will and the trust date back to 1992, so it's not like we could claim she was influenced by him in the last few months or even years of her life. I think we just have to accept it for what it is...it is what she wanted. It was her final despicable act to disown and disrespect all but one of her children. That's how she rolled in life, and in death as well.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I love your intention to risk your inheritance to profit all. I would hope that the Trust might be contested as unfairly influenced as much as any Will would be. If one one influenced, so was the other, no?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I have a sibling that was disowned by the whole family years ago. The reason is a long story, but my dad included her in the will giving her $100 so she wouldn't be able to protest it when the time came.

I'm assuming that with no mention of your other siblings, you should be able to protest the will.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you both - Daughter and kdcm - for your kind responses and sharing your similar MIL experiences. Daughter, what you say about learning from our uncaring MIL how to be a good MIL...I have thought a lot about that in the past few weeks and that I should learn the lessons of how NOT to conduct myself as a MIL to my son's wife and my daughter's husband. I think the secret to being a good MIL is to not be selfish - think about others instead of putting ourselves first. My heart breaks for my one SIL that lives about 10 mi from MIL's house (her mother). She did all she could to help her, taking care of her when she was sick and after she broke her hip. She was trying to make arrangements to have a full-time caregiver at MIL's home during the daytime and she would stay with her overnight because she still works days. She was the last to know (and the most shocked to find out) that her mother was willing everything to the brother that was 1200 mi away all this time!! For the past 23 years both MIL and her son knew this, and kept it secret from the rest of the family. Such a betrayal of everyone's trust. For her entire life this SIL lived nearby and gave selflessly gave her time and love to her mother. That is the part I just can't get over. Throughout their lives SIL's loving kids and grandkids surrounded MIL and tried to include her in their lives and in celebrations. I would see pics posted on Facebook as recently as a few weeks before MIL's death, of their smiling faces surrounding MIL (who always looked miserable) and I would think: so much love and joy surrounding a person with a black heart that doesn't appreciate any of them. So this is weighing heavily on my heart today as I think about what my SIL must be going through. How could a mother hurt their daughter any more than that? So sorry for both of you that you have to endure the pain of dealing with an uncaring MIL. We can only hope that we will do much better and be the MILs we wish we had!! Hugs to you both.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

2ndbest, did we marry brothers? Sure sounds like we did! Actually, no, because my MIL is still alive and inflicting emotional pain. Your idea of the family reunion is a great way to turn the corner, put the past behind you all, and start the healing. Blessings to you all.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Wow, 2nd best, I just read through your question and all the replies. I'm sorry your family has had to go through such a rotten experience. This may seem off topic, but it's a subject some friends and I have been discussing---we have in common the experience of dealing with an uncaring mother in law. I'm not a mother in law yet, but we've been thinking of it in terms of what do we learn from the rotten experience and what do/will we do differently as a mother in law? I hope to do so much better than the way I've been treated. It sounds like you've learned many positives through the sorry treatment you've received. These awful MIL's have to have some benefit, maybe it's to make us do it better!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you, palmtrees...you are so fortunate that your brother did the right thing and included you, even though your mother had not. He must be a very wise and decent person to right that wrong. He saved you from further pain of alienation from him that would result if he had carried out her nasty wishes. I know the wound is still there for you since your mother excluding you was her intention and must have felt like an outright rejection of you. The scars left behind from that will never completely heal, but at least you still have your brother in your life. My husband's family has a lot of healing to do - you're so right about that. But letting his mother's death destroy what's left of the family would be carrying out her evil intentions, so I think we should do the opposite and come together and celebrate the family's life without her in it. I like your analogy comparing her to a "cancer". That is right on the mark!! When it comes down to it, I would much rather have the harmonious family than her household junk and money. Of course, I can say that since my husband and I have many times her net worth. His sisters could really use the money - they are in their 70's and have meager incomes. But they have their families and self-respect, which is more than what his brother has now. I think if he has any conscience at all he will live to regret this little mess he has cooked up with his mother. I am about your same age and I have gone through more emotional upheaval in the past 8 years than in my whole lifetime before that. I have a similar situation playing out with my own family right now - my sister is the star of that show and has total control of our mother. I'm finding that we really don't know our siblings until we go through a loss of a parent with them - only then do their true colors emerge!!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

How do bros and sisters really know what the mother thought of all of them? Families are not close until money comes in the pic, the son who inherited probably did the most for her. He was there enough to get it done, the trust and all, where were the rest of them while this was going on?? I have a son that thinks he was mistreated and he will not get one penny from me, one who will get all, grandchildren who don't stay in touch, nothing, widowed daughert-in-laws thaat don't stay in touch, nothing. Each family is soooo different, we can only guess as to the feelings brought into play. Usually the ones that hollar are the ones who did the least. Mother who will not be fair on purpose.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

2ndbest, my brother stood up to mom and did what was right. He has been very fair and feels a moral obligation to make me feel included. The healing began with him. Now she is gone and I have talked to my brother more in the last six months than I ever did when she was alive. Once the cancer is gone (MIL), then the healing can begin. But there is much hurt and remember how this has psychologically affected each and every one of your husbands family. Encourage them to seek help if needed.

At times, even at 63, I feel a deep anger that is digging its way out and I need to seek help to deal with it because it doesn't go away that easily. Take care
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

2ndBest, thanks for that clarification. I completely missed that the 4 siblings weren't mentioned, so therefore the in terrorem clause wouldn't apply to them. Good catch! Do you have legal experience in your background?

I do understand the pain caused by a brother's duplicitous acts; I suppose the only good part is that your husband didn't do any more than he did, while his brother was manipulating him. I would be furious though; it's a natural response.

That certainly doesn't speak well of the brother; perhaps the fact that he and the nasty mother spent their last days together is retribution enough - just having to put up with each other couldn't have been pleasant!

I think the idea of a family reunion, sans inherited brother, is a wonderful idea; hopefully it'll bring the family back together and heal some wounds, as the next generation lives in a more family like atmosphere.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Thank you as well, GardenArtist...it posted while I was writing my comment above. You are probably right about the will, but our thinking is we could contest it on the grounds that the other 4 siblings were not mentioned at all, so the court could declare the will invalid and dividing the estate as if there were no will at all, which would mean each of the 5 children would get an equal share. But there is still the Trust, which owns the house, so I think it is probably a losing battle. A good lawyer would have advised her to list each of her children by name willing them $1 to preclude any question of their exclusion. Anyway, the worst part for my husband has been the betrayal of his brother duping him into spending days working on their mother's house under the guise of "helping mom", all the while knowing he was going to be the sole owner after she died. This officially ends his relationship with his brother, who my husband had forgiven when he had done him wrong earlier in life, but in the end he just couldn't help being the greedy money grubbing scumbag he has always been. Moral of the story "When someone shows you who they are, believe them!!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Thank you palmtrees for your heartfelt response. Only someone who has lived through similar experience truly understands the emotional pain of dealing with an unloving heartless mother. The first time I met her, my husband and I had gone for a visit before we were married so I could meet his family. I was in my early 20's and I left with the impression that she had no love to give, and I felt very sorry for my husband's two sisters having to grow up with a mother like her. My husband and his brothers were heavily involved in sports so they spent a lot of time away from home involved in that. They were closer to their football coach than they were to their own father, who was totally disinterested in them, but took great interest in the youngest son. The daughters were home a lot more and I think suffered more with their iceberg of a mother. She didn't even introduce any of them to her father (their maternal grandfather) or 4 of her 5 siblings. They lived in a different state, but my husband has never met any of his uncles, only the one aunt.

I think I will work toward bringing the family together by talking up a reunion next summer in their hometown. That way their mother could look up from where she is (in hell??) and see her happily married children, their kids and grandkids and see that her family still lives on and loves eachother in spite of her best efforts to destroy it. That would be poetic justice for her and testament to the power of love and kindness. She gave us lemons...so we make lemonade!!
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

RainMom, since the first will would have been revoked when the second was created, the challenge would have to be to the second choice beneficiary's selection.

I think the point of contention is that the siblings feel their mother's estate should have justly been divided between all of the siblings, rather than just the second choice son, and that perhaps there was undue influence by him. But what was it?

I totally agree that undue influence is going to be hard, if not impossible, to prove. There's so much disconnect from the MIL that I don't know how anyone could really factually document and prove what influence the second son might have had.

What I find sad is the history of the daughter who attempted to help her mother but literally was pushed out into the cold. The MIL clearly wanted to disinherit all but the one son; it must hurt the other siblings but I think prolonging it is only going to cause more frustration and hurt.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.