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Why woman refuses to share inheritance with family cheered: “Set for life”

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A woman who inherited a life-changing sum of money from her late grandfather has been backed online for refusing to share her newfound wealth with the rest of the family.

Writing in a post shared to Reddit under the handle Pretend_Canary_9441, a user claiming to be a 25-year-old woman laid out the circumstances that led her to decide not to share a single penny with her older sister and parents.

By the end, the vast majority of those responding to the post felt she was entirely justified in doing what she did.

There certainly appears to be a generational divide when it comes to sharing inheritance.

In May of this year, a poll of 1,500 American adults conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies for Newsweek found Generation Z respondents, aged between 18 and 24, were the least likely age group to redistribute wealth among family members who didn’t get their fair share.

Just over 50 percent of Gen Z respondents were supportive of the idea. By contrast, that figure was closer to 60 percent across every other age group polled, save for the 45 to 54 age bracket, where 56 percent were in favor of inheritance redistribution.

A woman, a will and a photo.
Stock images of a woman, a will and a smash photo frame. A woman has been backed over her refusal to share what her grandfather left her in his will.
fizkes/mactrunk/roberthyrons/Getty

This particular Redditor had more reason than most for opposing the idea of redistributing her new wealth. “I was engaged four years ago to my high school sweetheart,” she wrote. “My fiancé cheated on me with my sister.”

The woman said that she and her sibling “never had a good relationship even as kids” and after discovering the affair, she went “scorched earth” and erased both her and her now ex-fiancé from her life.

Though her parents initially sided with her, things changed after her ex-fiancé dumped her sister. Her sibling ended up having a nervous breakdown as a result and, according to the post, was even hospitalized. It was a development that prompted her parents to change tack, telling the woman “it’s over [the affair] now and you can’t be mad forever.”

As a result, she “dumped them too and went to grad school on the other side of the country,” keeping little to no contact with them during this time. She did, however, stay close to her grandfather who remained “livid” at her sister for what she did. “Sometimes it felt like he was the only one who was on my side and understood,” the woman wrote.

They remained close and, last fall when he became ill, she moved back to take care of him. He sadly died but ended up leaving her “virtually everything,” she wrote. “I would give it all up to have my papaw back but even after taxes it is set for life money,” she said.

The rest of the family have been left with next to nothing though with the grandfather citing the “fiancé debacle” as one of the main motivators behind his decision.

Despite this, they are urging her to “do the right thing” and share the money equally with them and her sister, but she is not planning to.

“This would allow them to retire. My sister is not doing great and can’t hold a job, so this would ensure she has something for when my parents pass,” she said. “I don’t want to. My grandfather’s wishes were crystal clear, and also I kind of don’t feel like doing more than the minimum for any of them.”

Laura Harris, a licensed clinical mental health counselor with nationwide in-person and online counseling service Thriveworks, told Newsweek she could understand why the woman would rather keep the inheritance for herself.

“Right and wrong are subjective terms generally used to help a person make a decision that aligns with their moral values,” she said. “Two things can be true. The first is that your grandfather passed away and in sound heart and mind decided who he would give his earthly possessions to and the second is that your sister and parents have encountered financial hardship.”

Harris added: “This is an uncomfortable situation for sure, especially with how quickly you ascended to such a powerful position within the family. Technically there is no ‘wrong’ choice. It would certainly be easier if nobody knew how much money you inherited. The right decision is the one you can live with. You’d be perfectly justified in keeping the money to yourself. I value peace and harmony so I would encourage an amicable resolution within the family if possible.”

Most commenting online, however, firmly believed she was right to cut the rest of her family out of her life and the money he left her would provide her with the perfect opportunity to do exactly that.

“Set your family connections on fire and walk away,” one user wrote. A second said: “I feel like he left her that much so she’d hopefully never have a reason to reach back out to them and could just live her life.” A third Redditor added: “I’d consider it disrespectful of her to ignore his wishes and give them money when he made it absolutely, explicitly clear he didn’t want them to have it.”

Newsweek reached out to u/Pretend_Canary_9441 for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

Do you have a monetary dilemma? Let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

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