Spoiled Children of Divorce

Inheritance from Divorced Parents
November 12, 2009, 7:51 pm
Filed under: Death of a Parent, Inheritance & Wills, money

Fighting over the Will of a dead parent is a big deal in any family.  It often tears people apart.  At any rate, death of a parent can bring out an interesting side of siblings that one never knew was there.  Grief counselors will explain that a death can rearrange entire family relationships all over again.

I’ve written some posts about dealing with sick and dying parents who are divorced but haven’t published them.  My parents were both dying from Lung Cancer at the same time.  That was hell.  Two completely different households.  When a parent is single the kids have to take over.  The other parent is off having a good time.  In my case my Mother got sick first.  My Father got sick a couple of years after.  They died within a year of each other.

But the classic awful story of inheritance is of the Step-Parent who takes all the money.  I know this because it happened to me.  It was clear that this would happen so I never fought.  My Step-Mother had been kicked out of a Country Club by the wives who were tired of watching her go after their husbands.  Then she kept coming over to my house, supposedly to pick up her daughter who was my friend.  Money was pretty much the only thing that this woman wanted.  My Father’s extremely successful business failed after he got involved with her.

Because this happened to me I always hear stories the greedy step-parent stories.  They are told quickly and efficiently.  Having a step-parent in the family always seems to add that detached, efficiency thing to all emotional relationships.  Step-parents can take advantage of this situation very easily and in my experience they generally do.  The biological parent gets tired of hearing about how manipulative his kids are and how they never call for anything but money and eventually sides with the Step-Parent.  So, this is a very common story.  The illness and death of the parent can be devastating.  And the strange and unusual loyalties within the family and of feeling loved become even stranger through the intense feelings of the grieving process.  I suppose if a child is used to being batted around back and forth through court proceedings and alimony and child support trauma another fight in this regard may not affect some kids.

My advice is:  do it.  Fight.   The parents’ possessions are their last message to you.  The Lawyers like to watch this stuff happen.  They wil fight in the Divorce Courts for years, but they like to let the kids know that they don’t deserve any possessions of their parents.  They bring up the Spoiled Child image.  Call a zillion lawyers if you have to to find one that will find the loophole in the law.  Don’t worry about the lawyers who humiliate you into meekness.

Inheritance actually gets more complicated than that.  My Father had been prominent in his field and I googled his name one day a few years ago to see if anything had been written about him.  I found a website asking for information about him.  I could only add a bit of information.  All of his papers had gone to his wife and had probably been used as fuel for a bonfire at a beach party.  Most of his work is now lost.  Since most of my childhood experience of him was as the workaholic father who never came home this is strongly embedded in my love for him.  His wife only wanted the money and the prestige and the long trips around Europe.  I assume that his work failure after his involvement with her was an embarassment to her.  Actually, I don’t think she probably gave any thought to it one way or another because she was so selfish.  I’ve also found that my ex-step-brother runs a pawn shop.  No doubt the jewelry that was left for me by my ancestors in a safety deposit box were his first sales.

3 Comments so far
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Step parents are not always the evil ones. Step kids just tell it that way. When I married my husband he had been cleaned out by his first wife. She had an affair with his best friend then made him out to be the bad guy and took everything. My husband was to upset to fight so he was left with hardly anything. We met almost two years later and have been married for 25 years, and have a grown daughter of our own. I had to work and help him rebuilt his financial security. But now that my husband is getting older his children from his first marriage are beginning to manipulate. One of my stepsons has already convinced my husband to make him co beneficiary of my husband’s life insurance. Why? This step son is a grown man with a good job. He is as well of financially has me and my husband. He is not going to lose any financial support when my husband dies, not like I will. I had every intention of sharing my husbands personal items, such as his gun collection when my husband passes. But now I’m not so sure.

Comment by Susan

Oh God, you guys are fighting over who gets the guns!

At any rate, you bring up a good point, Susan. What you don’t understand is that you’ve just said that your husband’s children don’t matter to you. That’s why there’s so much trouble in step-families. Thanks for once again pointing this out. Children of D and “Real Parents”, take note.

A person’s will is his last message to everyone he knew. Just because the step-parent couldn’t care less about her spouse’s kids, that doesn’t mean that the real parents ought to. The wills should be spelled out with parent’s intentions very clearly. Of course, this doesn’t matter. My Step-Mother had my Father rewrite his will 6 months before he died while he was clearly sick as hell and whacked out on drugs. Your kids are very important to your memory because your spouse will simply remarry and forget about you. My Father was a very talented, somewhat well-known person in his profession. He left all his papers, etc. to his wife who has thrown everything away. I googled his name and found an organization who was asking people for information about him because he literally died without a trace except for the info my brother and I could provide.

Comment by toothless

I don’t recall saying I didn’t care about my step kids. I helped raise the two oldest after their mother dumped them during the divorce. Seems sse wanted everything from their marriage except the kids. The fact I steped in and helped raise these kids is why it upset me that years later my step son is being so manipulative. And I still don’t understand why he feels he is more entitled to an inheritance than me, his two full blooded siblings and my own daughter which happens to be his half sister.

But, no worries, you have made it clear that in your mind step children always equals good and step parent always equals evil. It’s all very black and white with you. It’s a shame that your bitterness against your own step mother colors yours perception of everyone who happens to be a step parent. I’m not saying you don’t have a right to be upset with your own step mother. But it has obviously made you very narrow minded and caused you to paint all step parents with the same brush.

You can’t discuss things with people who have their mind made up.

Comment by Susan

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