Imagine finding out you have a sibling — a baby your mom had in college but put up for adoption. Now, the adopted child is back in your mom’s life, and they are getting along nicely and keep in touch. Sounds great, right? Except maybe the mom has some guilt and is trying to figure out how to alleviate it.
One Redditor, who was the recipient of his grandparents’ estate, is figuring out what to make of his mother’s latest request: share your inheritance with your half-sister.
“I (20m) am a single child…or at least I thought I was. Just over a year ago, I discovered that I have a sister, Lucy. The story goes that my mother had a child with her first boyfriend while she was in college, and they couldn’t support her so she opted for adoption at birth. My father was aware of this, but I was never told,” the OP says.
Lucy made contact with the OP’s mother about a year ago. They get along well and keep in touch with each other. Lucy also attended some family events, so the OP sees her occasionally, but thinks of her more like an acquaintance of the family.
“Okay so there’s the back story, now on to the dilemma. My grandparents on my mothers side both passed a few years ago. My mother was their only child, and I their ‘only’ grandchild, and they left their entire estate to me. This was known to my parents and me before they passed, as they had expressed it when they made their will. My parents are well off financially (mom’s a nurse dad’s a doctor), and so they were fine with the arrangement. I was given access to the money on my 20th birthday, and the sum of money was much larger than I expected; totaling around 6 million. This is why I can’t really talk about this with anyone impartial, because I don’t really want friends etc to know.”
“Anyway, a few weeks ago my mother sat me down, and asked me to share the money with Lucy. Now, here’s the thing; like I said, to me Lucy is essentially an acquaintance. I know we’re related by blood, but I don’t exactly feel the type of connection to her that would merit giving her such a large sum of money, or any money at all for that matter. So I explained that to my mother, and she wasn’t exactly happy with my answer. She believes I’m being extremely selfish, and that Lucy could very much benefit from this money as well since she’s still a college student and in debt.”
“Here’s why I think I might be the asshole; I don’t really see that as my problem. I believe family is who feels like family, not who shares your DNA. Secondly, my grandparents were aware of Lucys existence (even though they never met her) and they chose to leave everything to me all the same. Also, it is not as though Lucy grew up poor in the foster system or anything, she was adopted at birth by what seems like two great people. Her adoptive parents are an accountant and a teacher.”
The OP says he plans on using the money to go to law school and start a firm. Is the OP being too selfish in this situation or does he have a point?
“NTA – your grandparents were aware of Lucy’s existence and they chose not to leave her an inheritance. I am guessing since she was legally adopted your grandparents didn’t feel it was necessary,” said Kellymargaret.
“NTA Your mother’s parents could have made provisions for your mother and/or the daughter she gave up for adoption if they wanted. Your mother is free to make whatever arrangements she she’s fit with her estate but your grandparents made their wishes know when they left their estate to you,” said highwoodshady.
“Your grandparents knew that your mother had given a child for adoption when they made their wills – they made an informed choice. Lucy doesn’t seem to be the villain here – she isn’t asking for the money, your mother is asking for the money. Whatever you decide, don’t blame your surprise sister. This is between you and your mother. Your mother’s request seems to be understandable. She gave up one child, and now realizes that this child is not necessarily better off for being given up (at least financially), as she had hoped when she first made her choices. Especially if the decision for adoption was pressured on her by her parents (not an uncommon thing) her feeling guilty that this child is going without because the same parents who pressured her into adoption chose to ignore the child in the will is an understandable feeling. It is worth considering that sharing the money doesn’t have to mean dividing it equally, or dividing it now. You have more than enough for law school. (And it may not be the best idea into starting your own firm before you work for someone else – law school doesn’t teach you all the skills of running a firm, and you may do better spending some years learning on the job before you jump into running your own firm.) It really comes down to how you feel about your mother, and helping her with her guilt? Setting aside, say, 5 or 10%, in an account that you can give your surprise sibling at some point, or just paying off student loans once they graduate, is a much smaller thing than splitting the inheritance, but it would also be a huge help to this surprise sibling – and it may ease your mother’s mind. What is it worth to you to ease your mother? That’s really the question, not what this sibling is ‘owed.’ Your surprise sibling is not owed your inheritance, but if your mother asks for this as something that eases her, that is the terms to consider it on. Which still makes it okay for you to say ‘no,’ just understand that the ‘no’ is to your mother, who is doing the asking, not to the surprise sibling, who hasn’t asked,” explained Jazzlike_Humor3340.
“NTA. I can’t blame Lucy here. It’s not her fault she was adopted and there are a lot of extremely difficult and complex emotions that come with that. I also can’t blame your Mum; the guilt must be quite something. I don’t blame you either,” said jbh01.
“I mean technically they left the estate to you lol. You’re free to do with it what you want. I do think you have more than enough to start your own firm and go through law school with what you have. But you’re no more an asshole for not helping out your best friends (who you’re probably closer with) than not helping out your half-sister. Helping her out would be a really kind thing to do. But not helping her out doesn’t make it an asshole move, it’s really just neutral lol,” noted ifuckwithit.
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