Mom is leaving her money (not much) to her youngest grandson. She has 3 children and 3 grandchildren. Any advice? -

Mom is leaving her money (not much) to her youngest grandson. She has 3 children and 3 grandchildren. Any advice?


This is very difficult for me to talk about. She told me recently that she is leaving all her money to my nephew and this hurt me, but it is not about the money. I never wanted her money and I don't need it.
It is about the fact that it is unfair. My hub and I have been good to her and done a lot financially for many years. I have no problem with this because Im not counting and money is not an issue for me. I have always given to her and she has given me the greatest gift of all ... love.
Yet, when she told me this, I was so hurt. She may be in early dementia (only one therapist who is not an MD diagnosed) early stages and I do see things. I am the one who is in most contact with her whereas my brother and husband do not really speak long or often (they help in other ways) but they don't listen. I am the one who listens and I don't mind being there for her that way. She was always there for me.
So, why am I borthered. I told her I was hurt. she said "there I will be lying in a box and you are worried about my money?" .... Oh that hurt so bad. That is sooo not me. I have always given, not taken and my family never had any money so I had to make it on my own.
But here's the thing: I told her: If you had three dollars to your name and you left $1.00 to each of us ... that would be good. She did not understand. It is the emotional hurt here ... or is it dementia talking.
Thank you. Because I feel guilty and I know my heart is in the right place.

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


You were so hurt that it didn't cross your mind to ask why she had singled out this particular grandson? - because that would have been my first thought.
Helpful Answer (7)

JoanieJ I think some of it is dementia. The clue to me is your mom's temper and irrational anger at you. I think you're looking for a kind of emotional support from your mom that she can no longer give you because of her mental state and cognitive ability.

I see something similar in my mom. Her ability to comment on emotional situations is really limited and she always gives one or two responses to new situations. It's because she's lost the ability to think in any real depth. It's sad, because I always would share stuff with my mom to hear her thoughts. Now I share because I'm her only contact with the outside world and I'm trying to keep her engaged. But her responses to me are limited. I'm sad for what she's lost.

Cognitive decline can take many different forms, but I think that's what you're seeing in your mom and if it is, she can't help it. You have to re-frame your expectations and realize she's lost her ability to be 100% rational or to act in a way that makes sense given the situation. When you come to that understanding, a lot of your frustration/hurt will go away. Hugs to you.
Helpful Answer (7)

As I understand it, this is a question of a legacy to be left in Joanie's mother's will. No Medicaid problem, and may she never need it.

But Joanie, I'd back up a bit too. First of all: yes I do understand your hurt feelings, they're very natural. But, while natural, they are along the lines of "It's Not Fair!!!" - and you're too big for that.

How do you think your mother felt about your initial reaction to her idea? My interpretation is that she was disappointed, and reacted in turn by saying something unkind and unfair - that you were more concerned about getting your paws on the money than the fact that at the time she'd be in a wooden box. I don't suppose for a second that she meant any part of that accusation; she was, essentially, reprimanding you.

Go further back, to where she was coming up with this wheeze. She has a parcel of money that is not going to go all that far, and that split six ways, roughly, won't make much difference to anyone. Or, I assume she thought, she could target the whole lot at one good cause, where it might make more of a difference. It's a point of view. Could it make a major difference to this particular child's prospects?

I don't know whether you want to take the subject up with your mother again - as you say, it is a ticklish point at the best of times - but if you do, first of all focus on what she's trying to achieve. As you say, and I'm convinced you mean it, it isn't about the money, it's about the recognition. What about the idea of your mother selecting particular keepsakes for her children and grandchildren, and setting those choices down in a statement of wishes to be attached to her will?

I understand that sharing things equally is the ideal, but as King Solomon demonstrated that doesn't always quite work in practice. If I were you I'd go back and try to see your mother's point of view. I expect she'd like your approval.
Helpful Answer (7)

i think its a bad decision because i dont believe assets should be left to a favorite child or one in most need . id want my assetd left to the one ( s ) most likely to use them wisely and use them to influence and pass my life philosophies on to future generations .
one of my sisters recieved a home and property . it will eventually be mortgaged to a loan shark . another recieved appr 10 k in cash . she bought a vehicle that will be toast in 5 years . im using my cash inheritance to dig in to a home that will be here for my sons as long as i live and probably long thereafter . my sons cant test out their wings if they dont have an emergency landing strip .
Helpful Answer (6)

Okay, let's back up here. Your mother has "gifted" money to your brother to be used for his son's college education? This is not a good thing. What if she needs to go into a nursing home at some point? She will be disqualified from recieving Medicaid assistance if that happens; there is a five year "lookback" for gifts.

I completely understand your hurt, Joanie. It's not about the money, it's about the injustice of it. She has other grandchildren, some of them yours, yes? I emphathize with your feelings. If you want a good laugh and a good cry, see if you can get a copy of Roz Chast's new book, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?". It's an expensive book, so try the library. It'll validate your feelings about all that is going on in your life.
Helpful Answer (6)

Why is she leaving all her money to her youngest grandson? Is he having a hard time? Has he had a hard time? Does he need the help? Has he been exceptionally kind to her?

I'd probably be hurt, too, Joanie. I think that's a natural emotion. I'd feel MUCH worse, though, if she were leaving her $$ to any of your siblings and not to you. This seems to be more of a need-based decision than anything else.

I could almost hear someone who'd made that decision saying, "Look, it's not a lot of money; and I know you don't need it. But for Tommy? That money will make SUCH a big difference in his life. I hope you know I love you and understand..."

It's pretty obvious from what you're saying that her decision isn't "a vote against you." It's a helping hand to a young man. If it makes her feel good about herself, then that's what she should do. And you really ought to try to come to terms with it.

When, at some future time, YOU come face to face with your own mortality, you may better understand...
Helpful Answer (5)

You have to seperate money from love. It's almost impossible because in the world we live in money equates to love. My Dad's generation, growing up in the depression, believes you help the most needy. Try to explain to her the hurt this will cause to the grandkids. If she protests just let it go. Sounds like she is a loving giving person. She must have her reasons
Helpful Answer (5)

What I told my mother, at first, was I thought it was rather unfair. Then she said what she said about being in a box and I am thinking about her money and THAT is what really hurt the most because all of my life I have given and given to my Mom, and she KNOWS that I don't care about the money. It is an emotional hurt that I cannot quite put my finger on. I do understand all your responses.
Helpful Answer (5)

Too many hurt feelings no matter what you do.

I am only child and my parents have a large estate that will be mind once they both pass on.... honestly, I wished my parents would have spent it on themselves, like hire someone to do all their driving instead of stressing me out with the driving, I am now to a point where I hate getting behind the wheel even for myself. Wished they would have hire someone to work around the house, do the cleaning, do the yard work, etc. instead of making me feel guilty because I have very little time to do that work for them. I even told my parents that with my health issues they would probably outlive me, so then what?
Helpful Answer (5)

I had a similar situation. Did all the work, stayed close to her to take her to docs and be there when ever she needed me. Compromised my WHOLE life. She gave the most money to my brother who lives in another country... and visited her one weekend a month. Then she distributed an enormous amount to her 8 grandchildren and I received the least.

I noticed it too late. Started sitting down and talking with her about it. Pointed out what was happening. My brother needed it least and I needed it second least, so need was NOT our issue.

Seems she gave money to the ones who she wanted the most attention from... at least that's my guess. She often told me she didn't know what to do. Eventually she started to understand and even my brother helped her make some adjustments, but NOT anywhere near righting the imbalance.

In the end I managed the WHOLE estate. Did all the work to get her house emptied and sold. My brother and sister did NOT give me ONE single dime to thank me. They did say "thank you".

My assessment in retrospect:
I should have spoken up sooner.
I should have sat down with her and made the numbers clear to her.
Doing that repeatedly, kindly and often may have helped. It is the only possibility.

Later I went to a "co-dependents" meeting and as I listened to everyone around the table I had an enlightening thought! I realized that I was there for her because I wanted to be a good daughter. I wanted to be kind and I wanted to handle the estate my way. I worked hard all my life and I'm at peace with the decisions I made.

The ONE concern I have in your case... my mother's grandchildren were hurt by the gifting. The older ones were more mature and used it wisely... for their homes or businesses. The younger ones were only confused by it. In their 20s' the younger ones got a distorted perception of money and it is taking them YEARS to get back to reality. I now believe it is dangerous to give money to people who have not yet fully developed their own capabilities and careers. It is DAMAGING!

So, my advice to you is to find a financial advisor who you trust and who can help with the discussions about fairness. Even if you don't do that... sit down with her and talk with her. I can imagine being old and alone and not having anyone to talk with makes these decisions difficult for our remaining parent. Help her think it through and don't give up.

I wrongly wanted my mom to notice me and decide for herself. She finally did notice me in the end, but it was way too late to do anything about it. The good news is that financially, I really don't care. The good news is that I'm here to tell you, from my experience speak with her, be someone she can discuss it with, talk with her repeatedly. Revisit earlier dissuasions and help her think it through.

As for the billionaire who are leaving their money to charity, don't believe it. They have ALREADY given millions, in some cases many, many millions to their kids. Of course they need to leave the rest to charity. It's unfathomable how much money they have ...
Helpful Answer (5)

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