My mother recently passed away, and I was named sole beneficiary of a $20,000 life-insurance policy she'd taken out without anyone's knowledge. She also left a letter, explaining that while she and Dad had helped my brother "Ted" financially throughout the years, they had done very little for me. She said she hoped the insurance money would make it up to me and my family. Ted immediately started hollering about how unfair this was and said I was obligated to give him half. His reasons? He's broke and my family "doesn't need" the money. Ted thinks he can work at a menial job, have his wife stay home, and still live a middle-class lifestyle. He's blown money he doesn't have buying into get-rich-quick schemes, and when anyone suggests he get a second job, he gets huffy. My husband and I also work blue-collar jobs, but we live within our means. I'm proud that I never asked Mom and Dad for anything once I left home, and $20,000 would make life for my family much nicer. I've thought about giving Ted a token amount, $1,000 or $2,000, but I don't want him thinking he can get money out of me anytime he wants. Do I owe my brother a share of the insurance? -- Don't Know What To Do
As I said last week, I won't post Prudie's response, you need to click on through and give Slate.com their Web traffic so they can keep doing what they do.
Anyways, my mother has told me that all her insurance and other monies turn over to me when she passes away. She's leaving my brother nothing. Her reasoning? He got all his while she was alive. She has given me EXPLICIT orders not to give him a dime and don't let him or anyone else guilt me into going against her wishes. She also has written these things down so there is no confusion.
So here's how I would respond to the "Dear Prudence" writer:
Dear Don't Know What To Do: Your mom not only left the money, but she left a letter explaining exactly what she wanted and why she wanted it that way. Tell your brother to kick rocks. -- SingLikeSassy