A man struggles with the decision of how to divide his assets among his biological daughter and stepchildren, leading to a debate over fairness and his role as a father figure.
A Happy Blended Family
A 55 year old man and his wife got married two decades ago, with the wife bringing two children in their mid twenties from her previous marriage. They also have a child of their own who is 19.
A Husband and a Homemaker
He is the primary breadwinner while his wife has always been a stay-at-home mom to raise all three children. Since the children left home his wife has continued to run the house, and he is more than happy with this arrangement.
A Big Windfall
Most of their joint assets, therefore, came from his income, and his wife came to the marriage with no assets. They are aware that the wife’s ex-husband has had a windfall of inheritance money, which means that his stepchildren are set to inherit that windfall if it’s not squandered.
The Inheritance Dispute
His biological daughter would not benefit from that inheritance money, and would only benefit from whatever inheritance he can give her, as there are no other relatives in the picture that could support her or leave additional inheritance money. He has, therefore, chosen (with support from his wife) to will a larger portion of inheritance to his biological daughter.
An Unfair Decision
When they discussed this with his stepchildren, emphasizing that they are set to receive inheritance from their biological father, and potentially others on his side of the family, they determined it was unfair, that his assets should be split evenly between his biological daughter and his stepchildren.
He Tried to Explain
The man explained that if he and his wife died tomorrow, there would be around $900k in assets for the children. Whilst his biological daughter would have no other support as there wasn’t any other family for her, the stepchildren would have a lot of other familial support, both emotionally and financially.
They Looked Up to Him
He retorted that if their father died, would his biological daughter get any of that inheritance, and they said no because he is not her father. While his stepchildren look up to him and consider him a father figure, he wonders if he is the jerk for not willing a higher amount to his stepchildren.
The Internet Responded
This poster said, “I see no reason why you ever should’ve discussed it with the 3 kids in the first place. You and your wife are in agreement, why ask the kids for their opinion, especially since you’re only in your 50s.”
Another commenter wrote, “I mean, one thing OP and wife have learned by explaining their decision is that OP’s step children is that his daughter’s half-siblings would be quite content to see her struggle if OP and wife died. That’s valuable information to have ahead of the event. Also, if they set up the inheritance as a trust (bio daughter is an adult but a very young one so they might) they also know not to put the step-kids in charge of it.”
A Final Comment
This last person posted, “If they didn’t find out until after the parents died, they’d be having this fight with the sister and trying to pressure her to give up part of her inheritance. It’s best that they’re being made aware of it now so they can have this fight with the parents.”
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