I’m 73, I live in Texas, and my only remaining relative recently passed away.
When my uncle died, he left his two kids everything, including $3 million and so much more. He left me $15,000.
There was a private trust that my late cousin’s wife oversaw. My uncle left nothing to my brother, so both of my cousins chipped in $5,000 each to give to my brother. He thinks the money came from my uncle.
One of my cousins died, so whatever my uncle left got split between my cousin’s wife and his sister. I was quite hurt that he left nothing to me.
I’m quite ill and do not have anything left of my own $15,000 inheritance. I asked my remaining cousin if I could get $5,000 from her as she’s very wealthy. She said no. Do you think asking for the same money they gave my brother is wrong?
My cousin said some hurtful things. I know things that my uncle had said about her too, but I would never hurt her by repeating them. This is close to breaking up a 60-year relationship. I would not ask for money if I didn’t need it.
Niece Left Out in the Cold
Your uncle left you $15,000. Your cousin chipped in money to help out your brother, who was left nothing by your uncle. You asked for money from your cousin, and she refused. It’s not a question of right or wrong — you did what you felt you needed to do at the time, and you got your answer.
I don’t know your relationship with this cousin, the state of your finances or your physical health, nor do I know what you spent the $15,000 inheritance on. I will say this: Always be prepared for a no in situations like these, and expect the request to damage the relationship.
Ask yourself what decisions you made that led you to where you are today and, more importantly, figure out how you can plan for your remaining years. You can enroll in Medicare, if you have not done so already. The AARP can help seniors find state and federal financial assistance, and can point you to other organizations that can help with your financial, physical and social needs. The Area Agency on Aging can direct you to local support in your state, and the Administration on Aging can help with housing, long-term care, and legal and financial advice.
Currently, the answer to your financial problems appears to lie with these cousins and this $3 million inheritance. You are not a direct family member. They received money from their father. You are entering into a co-dependent relationship with these family members by linking your fortunes to their sudden wealth. They have nothing to do with why you are in the position you are in, which may or may not be through no fault of your own. However, in most cases such as this, all roads of responsibility lead back to our own front door, and not to the door of other family members.
You look at what they have and you look at what you have, and perhaps you believe that it couldn’t hurt if they passed a little goodwill or $5,000 your way. The $15,000 you received from your uncle arguably came out of their inheritance. It was a modest sum, but that doesn’t mean you deserve more. You’re not only staring a gift horse in the mouth, you’re examining it for loose gold fillings. Few people like to ask a friend or family member for money, and even fewer like to be asked for money. It commercializes a relationship, and it erodes trust.
I wish you the best of everything in finding the help that you need, and I hope you stay safe and healthy, especially in these uncertain times.
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