Does money always bring out the worst in people?

My grandmother passed away in early 2003 leaving an estate to my family. Back then, I felt a little uneasy (and incredibly excited) about the inheritance money.

As paperwork was collected and resolved, my uncle - the executor - sent out partial disbursement checks. It took until November 2003 for all of us to find out what would be the total amount of the inheritance. Between January and June 2004, the family received the “last”" checks. Yet, we heard that there might be more money left to disburse due to issues about resolving TIAA-CREF paperwork. This August, another uncle hired a lawyer to serve the executor (his brother) papers demanding him to resolve the estate.

Apparently, since the executor was taking over a year to resolve the estate, there could be a fine (which will come out of the estate). Then, on top of this mess. It turns out one of my cousins forged a disbursement check and stole $10,000 from the estate. That’s another legal issue heaped upon this whole situation. So I must ask, as my family lawyers up, has there ever been a situation where money doesn’t bring out the worst in people? Sigh… :frowning:

The obvious answer to such an absolute blanket statement is “no”.

I like to think that money brings out people’s true qualities. If you are a generous person, you will behave generously with money. If you are a lazy, shiftless, piece of shit, you will jump at the chance to swindle a couple thousand dollars, even though in the grand scheme of things, such an amount is nothing.

Basically the same exact thing happened to my girlfriends family when her grandmother knocked off. All her inbred hick uncles and cousins speant years squabbling over an estate worth maybe a few tens of thousands of dollars. Big money to borderline unemployable losers who just needs some extra cash to take his pickup off blocks and buy beers.

Not that I would turn down $10,000 but it’s not worth being ostracized from the rest of your family (especially since you can always glom off them anyway :wink: )

I don’t think the right phrase is “Money brings out the worst in people”. I know two people who have over $100 million dollars made through a lifetime of hard work, aggressive risks, and some good fortune. I had lunch with one of them this weekend. He is the same kind, generous, unpretentious person that he always was.

That said, in any given family, there are bound to be some sleazeballs. Inheritence almost always in my experience causing these people to come out of the woodwork and realize their true purpose in life and screw everyone if they can. You wouldn’t have any idea of the amount of greed and selfishness that some people can display when they see “free money” up for grabs.

The same thing happened in my family. My parents stayed out of the mess and got screwed. The same thing happened in my wife’s family. Her parents stayed out and got screwed. Repeat again and again.

In my personal experience, there is nothing like a death in the family to bring out the absolute worst in people.
For example:
My uncle’s nephew tried to sue my father because he was convinced that my father was holding out on him as executor of the estate. Completely bogus, caused a major rift for a while.
My ex-boyfriend’s family was amazed when his grandmother’s side of the family broke and entered into his deceased grandparent’s home, and stole nearly all of the valuables, including Australian mementos and artifacts, when it was in fact his grandfather who was actually from Australia. They admitted they did it and refused to return them.
My best friends family was an absolute nightmare over french and indonesian antiques, to the point of accusations and major hystrionics.

OTOH, my mom’s side of the family handled their mother’s passing very well. They divided everything up with everyone (four daughters) present, and when it got down to the things everyone wanted, they drew numbers out of a hat and got to pick something in order of the numbers they drew. There was some disappointment, but no blame, no hysteria, and no accusations. Kind of a relief to see some people don’t turn into complete nightmares when a little money is on the line.

Every time I read something like this, I remember that my family doesn’t have any money, and I’m sort of grateful for it.

A long time ago, I thought long and hard about money and family, and I decided that in the even there WERE something left behind when one of my relatives goes into the great beyond, I would immediately drop any involvement in it if some squabbling were to arise. If someone wants to be a selfish prick, they have to look at themselves in the mirror every day. I’ve often figured my sister (although I love her very much) to be the kind to start a fight if she didn’t get what she wanted or felt she was entitled to.

I just never want to find out for sure.

I hope your family sails through this intact. I don’t blame you for worrying.

My sister is a scumbag and when my mom kicks off, it will be quite entertaining watching her manouver to put the screws to the rest of us. We all see it coming already and are just waiting. Hell, she’s doing her best already, and mom ain’t dead yet! Of course, my brothers aren’t so great either.

In a perfect world, they all eat tainted Salmon Moose at some annual ass-kissing festival at my sister’s house (I won’t be there, so this is a perfect scenario) and snuff it simultaniously, leaving everything* to me, and eventually, to my kid.

Hey, I think I just saw the “Big W”!

*Some good, some not so good. Lets just say the local thrift store will come into a windfall!

I’m with msmith on this one, I think money and marriage are amplifiers of ones’ truest personality. Money won’t turn you into an asshole, unless you’ve always (secretly or not) been one.

I’ve got those jackasses in my family too. When my great aunt kicked the farm, there was a substantial amount of jack to go around. I get a portion of it every quarter, but my conniving, gay, pedophile (not mutually exclusive) former drunk, current evangelist uncle who cried like a child when GA died (I can’t decide if it was because he’d just inherited a new house, car, and money UTA, or he was honestly sad) and made an absolute spectacle of himself at the funeral, got a larger bit.

Personally, I liked the old woman, and was glad she died when she did, it saved her a lot of suffering, but uncle f*cker got a larger piece of the pie…

Too bad about the cops being called on his ass though.

I’m another one who is glad that nobody in my family has any money. When my mom died, I got some of her kitchenware, and her TV, and her vacuum cleaner - no one else wanted them. However, back in the '80s, when my grandmother died, there were people waging a screaming fit about goddamned cups and saucers! I wouldn’t call my family white trash or anything, but they actually participated in a heated shouting match about who would get which of grandma’s china cups and saucers. It caused rifts between some of them which have never been healed. It makes you wonder, if there had been money at stake, would there have been bloodshed? No wonder I don’t miss them.

When I die, everything I have belongs to my wife. Period.

I think lack of money can bring out the worst in people, but an abundance of money usually puts people at ease. It really just depends on the person, I think people are born with a money-sense, some have it, some don’t. I could give my younger sister $5,000 a week and be assured she would show up at my doorstep for her next payment because she was honestly broke. I could give my older sister $10 and borrow the same bill back in 20 years.

My brother is a different story, he’s always been an all-for-me type. He’s the oldest, but when my Ma died I was the executor. I kept careful tabs on all the incoming and outgoing funds, and sent my sibs a print out of my book work along with their fair share. After that was all over, my older sister assured me I would be the executor of her estate.

Money is like alcohol, it brings out people’s real personalities. Fortunately Mother “dun good” raising us and her estate was distributed without a hitch by my sister.

Thanks guys for sharing your stories and perspective. I’ve been feeling so let-down by my family lately, I needed some perspective. The funny thing is, most of my family is pretty well off besides me , my brother, and cousin. My brother and I never considered stealing. We’re having fun with some of the money and saving the rest. Yet, my cousin, who was my grandmother’s favorite, apparently thinks she deserves more because she’s grandma’s pretty, pretty princess. :rolleyes: She’s going to go to jail due to her idiocy and become someone else’s princess. Heh…