“My Mom Has Cancer and She’s Left Me Out of Her Will”

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    November 13, 2023 at 1:19 pm #1126614

    From a LW:

    “Growing up it was always my mom, sister and me, and we were very close. Over the years we continued to lean on each other. I got married and was first to have kids, and my sister followed straight after. Her relationship wasn’t strong and her husband didn’t want children, but my sister got pregnant anyway. She moved in with my mom and her partner. As the years went on, I had another child and my husband and I decided to move out of state because of his family dynamic, which was very toxic. Not long after, my family decided to follow and we were fine with this.

    Unfortunately, as the years passed I started to notice how much my mom’s whole life revolved around my sister and nephew. I never got much babysitting from her or much time spent with my children. I got used to this and never asked for any help as not to put more pressure on my mother. Meanwhile, my relationship with my sister hasn’t been great. We are so very different and her attitude is horrendous. She’s not someone I can confide in, and she’s extremely rude to my mother and her partner and doesn’t appreciate anything they’ve done for her over the years. She’s been this way for as long as I can remember and my mom excuses her attitude and puts up with it.

    We recently discovered that my mom has cancer. While helping her get her affairs sorted, I accidentally found out that I have been completely left out of her will. My mom plans to leave everything to my sister and nephew. When I brought it up, she told me many different stories as to why this was. I explained that it hurts me and makes me feel again like my children and I don’t matter.

    She thinks it’s about the house but to me it’s about having two daughters who are being treated differently, which I would never do to my own children. Just yesterday she called me to finally tell me the truth, which is that she doesn’t trust my husband and that she’s afraid he would come for the house after she died and leave my sister on the street. I was shocked at what I was I was hearing. My husband is a wonderful man; he works hard and loves his children and me. Yes, he does little side hustles like buying cars and flipping them so he can save for a rainy day as well as pay our house off sooner. How does this make him such a horrible, greedy, money-hungry man? He has never been disrespectful to my mother and we’ve loaned her and her partner money when they’ve asked.

    She accuses me of doing nothing for her, which is not true. I have always been happy to help her when she has asked because my sister hasn’t wanted to do or is in a bad mood. She also blames me for her moving here when I never asked her to move. I’m so deeply saddened by all that’s transpired. I never would have believed in a million years that my own mother would think so low of the man I have been married to for over 10 years and for what she thinks of me.

    I feel so hurt and lost, and I honestly don’t know how I can move forward from this. I’m so heartbroken and because she’s also unwell so it’s even harder. But how can I continue to be around her after all this?”

    November 13, 2023 at 7:32 pm #1126628

    I mean, for real you’re harassing her about her will and she’s battling cancer.
    Good grief.

    November 13, 2023 at 11:12 pm #1126634

    Actually, the question of what a parent should do when one child is in significantly better financial circumstances than another is a tricky one. I am assuming that since your sister is a single parent and lives with your mom that she is not in nearly as good a financial place as you, a person in. a dual parent household that at least owns your own home. Given the current housing costs, it is not unreasonable of your mom to worry about your sister’s housing situation after she passes. However, a trust would allow her to distribute her money in a more equitable way and still protect your sister. There are trusts in which your sister would have the right to stay in the house until she dies and then ownership could be split among the grandchildren.

    While I can understand leaving your sister more, I do have to wonder why she chose to leave you absolutely nothing – that seems like a rather strange decision, as is blaming you for making her move. She’s a grown woman, so moving should have been her choice. Could she possibly have felt that she moved near you and then was frustrated that you didn’t come to visit or help her very much (I have a friend who took a sabbatical to Atlanta to be near her sister but the sister was always too busy to spend time together and my friend was incredibly annoyed they’d gone there). At the end. of the day, you cannot control your mother’s inheritance and if she chooses not to leave you anything you’ll need to accept that situation.

    I do think – especially with her having cancer – that you will feel better if you get to the root of why your relationship with your family went off the rails. Did your troubles with your sister cause you to distance yourself from your mom and not visit her often because your sister lived with. your mom and would cause stress if you came over? I’d recommend starting individual therapy to explore why this relationship went off the rails, and maybe joint counseling if your therapist thinks that would be productive for your mom and you.

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    November 14, 2023 at 7:50 am #1126636

    There’s a lot going on here and I definitely think some therapy, if it’s in the budget, would be really helpful. There’s a lot of hurt here, all around, and being left out of the will is just a small part of what’s going on, and what has been going on for, what sounds like, a very long time. The relationships are more important than the inheritance, but the inheritance – or lack thereof – may be a symptom of fractures that cannot be repaired. If there’s any chance of repairing the relationships, therapy is going to be pretty essential. And if there’s not any hope of repairing the family relationships, therapy is going to help you navigate that grief.

    November 14, 2023 at 7:53 am #1126637

    I wonder where your mother got that idea that you and your husband are so obsessed over money…when you are literally obsessing over what she plans to do with HER money while she’s battling cancer. It seems like you looked at private papers that are none of your business. It doesn’t matter that you think you’d treat your children differently- she can do what she wants with her assets. My suggestion is to stop harassing her about the money and actually be there for her, with zero expectation that you’re going to get a payout when she dies. Leave your sister out of it.

    Part-time Lurker
    November 14, 2023 at 8:58 am #1126641

    I could be 100% wrong, but I feel like it’s more complicated than that @Anonymousse. I do think that there could be some missing information but when one sibling feels like the other has been consistently favored something like this can really bring all of that to the surface. If I’m reading this right, it’s not about the money so much as it is about being left out and judged. I agree that your mother’s will is private and that what she does with her money is 100% her decision – no one is entitled to an inheritance.

    at the same time, I think you should look into therapy to help you get to the root of these feelings and figure out why you feel the way you do about the situation – because it really seems like the money is a stand in for something else. If your mother doesn’t have much time left, wouldn’t it be better to focus on allowing yourself to use this time to simply love each other?

    November 14, 2023 at 9:49 am #1126645

    Oh sure, everything is so much more complicated than just the money. Buts it’s also about seeing that document that says she’s not getting any money.

    When one child has a loving, supportive side hustling partner, and one child has a deadbeat dad, what do you do? Some children need more support than others. Equity and equality are not the same things. Most parents I know do not treat their children equally, because that’s impossible and robotic. She has been giving one sister more love and support, and getting more from that sister in return. They moved to be closer to you and you say you stopped asking her for any of her help. It sounds like there’s been a lot of back and forth and that you have been a part of that.

    Despite your opinions, my opinions, anyones opinions, mom is allowed to do what she wants with her estate.

    Pretend mom has no money to give, are you still not sure you “can be around her,” after all that was said? I mean you went from “we all leaned on each other” and it was the best of times, to you not caring about them…to being pissed she isn’t giving your any inheritance. Therapy is a good idea for you.

    November 14, 2023 at 10:42 am #1126647

    I know a couple of families where the siblings are in very different levels of financial comfort and have had the difficult conversation to say “I love you but you have what you need and your sibling is struggling and so these are the decisions we’ve made and I hope you understand and don’t hold it against your sibling, nieces and nephews.”

    Before you cut off your mother definitively, do you think that she’s doing this because in reality, she knows that your sister would absolutely abandon her during this very difficult time unless your mom promised her the house? Do you think she’s being influenced by your sister who is saying that if your mom dies and makes you and your sister share the house, then your husband will kick sister out into the streets? Is your mom perhaps taking her sadness and grief out on you because she knows that you’ll stand by her as the more reliable daughter?

    Leaving money and inheritance aside, what would it take for you to forgive your mom and not walk away?

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    November 14, 2023 at 5:21 pm #1126657

    We’ve seen this theme a couple of times lately and I’d suggest maybe a reframing for those in this position. Instead of being angry that your parent is leaving more to the child with less financial security, can you see it as them doing what they can to take care of that child and that frees you up from feeling like you have to? Because, trust me, if you have an adult sibling that is still dependent upon a parent when they die and they’re left with nothing or half, you can bet your ass they’re going to go to the other sibling to the the financial support mom or dad’s passing cut off. Is it “fair” no. But it is your parent’s money to do whatever they want with and it seems like trying to reframe it as “taking care of X and now I don’t have to” instead of “screwing me over in favor of X yet again” is a way to move past it. Especially if your parent is still alive.

    Mrs J
    November 16, 2023 at 7:44 pm #1126664

    It sounds to me that the sister has influenced the mother to change her will. Having works with estates this is quite common. I don’t know where you live so don’t know the laws but might be an idea to take some legal advice – you might be able to contest the will after your mother has died. There is no way the mother should be cutting out one of her daughters. I would never do this. My husband, a retired attorney now,used to say to people ‘you are remembered by your will’ to people wanting to cut a child or children out of their will for very flimsy reasons.

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“My Mom Has Cancer and She’s Left Me Out of Her Will”

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