What to do when a parent squanders inheritance designated for both of you?
December 24, 2007 6:27 AM Subscribe
Inheritance question: what can you do when a parent backs away from a signed agreement to distribute funds?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (32 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My grandmother passed in June; I was a lot more devastated about that than I was worried about inheritance. But I knew what was coming, and my father had for a year before she died made clear how he'd split the funds: 200k for him, 150k for me. Her will made it clear that her grandchildren receive funds, but was not explicit because when it was written she wasn't aware of the exact numbers. So, throughout the process, my father committed time and time again to that split, and in August the first 100k came, which helped me buy a house. The remaining 50k would arrive once bank accounts were closed out, etc.
As a part of the mortgage, the bank requested a signed document from my father indicating the split, and since my credit was absolutely abysmal, the 150 number was critically important to the underwriters so I could pay off debts. He signed it, and has repeatedly been reminded by myself and my uncle [executor] of how to make the split, since he's an alcoholic and appears to be aloof most of the time. The reminders were needed because there was no way to avoid the checks being made out to him, and it was his responsibility that he distribute as agreed.
Well, yesterday he said the checks were coming, and that he'd give me 1k. When I asked about the timing of the remainder, he scoffed and said I was daydreaming. He said he'd never said anything of the sort and that he needed it all for his retirement (he wants to retire to the Bahamas and is already getting a huge package from his company). I told him about the agreement he signed and he blew it off and hung up on me.
My family has documented that he twice has absorbed inheritance from other relatives designated to me, both of which were before I was 18 and of which no traces were left behind. Now, I'm in my 30somethings and despite the rough past we've had we have a decent relationship. My grandmother and I were very close and she made it clear that I was to be included. This certainly confounds things.
I don't know what to do... I've called my uncle, and most of the time there is no way to reason with my father. My uncle is aligned toward me since he knows about my father's past squandering and, of course, the drinking. His alcoholism ensures that he lives in a tightly controlled reality bubble and he's famously dissociative. Do I get a lawyer (ugly option)? Do I try to reason with him in person with my uncle there?
Because of the withholding, I'm beginning to tank financially. I can't afford my car payments and mortgage together, and with student loans looming and lots of medical debt, this new twist is scaring the bejeezus out of me.
Thanks in advance for your help; I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for follow up.