Will Drama

My grandfather-in-law, Roger, was senile for the last few months of his life. My father had moved from Seattle back to his hometown, Philadelphia, to be around his family and maybe hook up with some old friends and family members.

Instead, he got into an awful situation. His nephew-in-law, Mike, was manager of Roger’s money. Roger obviously belonged in a nursing home, but Mike wouldn’t allow it, so my father was forced to take care of Roger, his father-in-law. This involved cleaning up Roger’s stools and turning him over in bed to prevent him from getting bedsores. Since Mike essentially controlled Roger’s money, he managed to keep my father in a state of misery for a while, dealing with problems that he obviously should not have had to deal with. Eventually, my father did manage to deal with Mike and get Roger into a nursing home. Roger died shortly thereafter; this was just recently.

Roger never really loved my father. He never attempted to be his father, even though he married my paternal grandmother when my father was fourteen. In his will, he left my father no money whatsoever. He left half of the money to his wife, a nonagenarian in a nursing home; the other half went to Louise, my father’s niece. Louise is married to Mike, so Mike has an interest in making sure that Louise keeps the money.

A few things amaze me. First, the immense lack of character that Roger had to have in order to leave my father none of his inheritance. My father has informed me that Louise is slated to get upwards of a million dollars. It is an immense insult that he should give my father none of his seven-figure savings. His wife, who lives in a retirement home, does not even have anything to do with the money he is bequeathing to her.

Second, although Louise recognizes that my father has been dealt an injustice and has stated that she wouldn’t mind splitting her allotment, Mike does not want her to do so, since he’s a greedy asshole who would never do the right thing. He has told my father, regarding the inheritance, “life isn’t fair”. One thing I’ve learned in my short time on Earth: the evil person’s excuse for acting unfairly is “life isn’t fair”, sprinkled with an occasional “it’s not right, it’s just the way it is”.

Third, my paternal grandmother is planning on contesting the will. She almost surely has no case, but the amazing fact is that she is even willing to do such a thing. Her selfishness has survived her ninety years on the planet. What can she do with the money? Nothing. Yet she nevertheless wants all of the money. Half of the money still constitutes seven figures, but she does not even want Louise - an early-middle-aged adult woman with a child and decades ahead of her - to keep any of Roger’s inheritance.

This whole fiasco really has me awestruck.

Sadly, money tends to bring out the worst in people.

Add family politics, nasty relatives and general human selfiness, and it’s even worse.

FWIW, your father is probably best off just walking away from this mess. He’s not likely to gain much of anything if he decides to contest the will, besides a whole lot of family drama and heartache.

I’m not sure of the relationships here - there is the OP, the OP’s father who was bequeathed nothing, the OP’s father’s stepfather, Roger, the OP’s father’s mother who was married to Roger at the time of his death and who received half of Roger’s money, and the OP’s father’s sibling’s child, Louise, who received the other half? So, is Louise a child of Roger’s biological children, and that’s why she got half? Was your father ever adopted by Roger, Bith? If he was adopted, I’d say he has a fair leg to stand on to sue for a third of the estate. If he wasn’t adopted, I don’t know. I’d say he should at least talk to a lawyer; I wouldn’t hold much hope up, but if one child’s children gets a share, the other should too.

Who is the woman who is contesting the will?

Ignoring for a moment the care that your dad provided to his dad (or step-dad), what he (grandfather) elected to do with the money in his estate is really entirely up to him and frankly, I think his wishes should be respected.

I don’t know why he didn’t leave anything to your father*, but that’s not really the issue - I assume that he was of sound mind when he created his will, and he chose to leave HIS money to the people he wanted to.

Does it suck for your dad? Well, a little I suppose, but I hope that any care he provided for his dad was due to love/familial obligation/altruism, and not the hopes of a later day payout.

*When my grandfather died each grandchild received a bequeathal, except for the step-grandchildren who received nothing. This was done purposefully - I think my grandpa liked the step-kids fine, but didn’t consider them ‘family’. Possibly this is a generational thing that your grandfather-in-law believed as well.