My father has had Parkinson’s disease for 10 years, but it only recently became debilitating.
My brother and his wife moved to be close to him and ended up moving in with him.
My father recently made a will in which my brother and I have an equal share of his house, however, on death the property is held in trust on the condition that my brother can live there indefinitely, rent free and not can be expelled.
Unhappy with a will: my father favored my brother and I want to give up my inheritance (Stock image)
Obviously that means that I may never realize my legacy if my brother decides never to leave.
My dad asked my brother to call me and tell me which was a bit shocking as I never really thought about inheriting the estate.
I have thought about it long and hard and I really feel like I have been treated unfairly.
My brother is able to work but chooses to work very few hours because he is not currently paying rent or bills and obviously will not have to do so when dad dies.
I feel so annoyed not by losing money but by what I feel is deliberate favoritism.
I am so convinced that I am considering giving up the inheritance and resigning as executor. I think I would rather do without it.
Is it possible and is it a reckless decision?
Tanya Jefferies from This is Money responds: Looks like your father’s health has seriously deteriorated lately.
At such a difficult time, hearing news that made you feel like he was showing favoritism towards your brother naturally pissed you off.
But while the personal injury involved here is to be recognized, you have raised many important legal and practical questions and wonder whether the course of action you are proposing would be wise.
This is Money has asked a lawyer with experience in these areas to respond below, and we wish you good luck.
Michael Prendergast, Partner at Dickinson Parker Hill Solicitors, responds: Any parent who finds himself in the same situation as your father is always going to have a hard time trying to be fair to all of their children.
It is never easy to try to please everyone.
Michael Prendergast: You can leave your share of your father’s estate in your will to whoever you want, even if your brother survives you
It seems like your dad is trying to be fair to you and your brother, but at the same time he’s trying to recognize the sacrifices your brother and his wife make in providing him with ongoing care.
The fact that your father asked your brother to call you tells me that he realizes that the situation is not perfect and that he has tried to fix the problem now rather than waiting for you to find out. in the event of death.
It’s a very smart way to approach the problem and gives you the flexibility to process this information while your dad is still alive.
The law recognizes that when a child takes care of one or both parents, they may receive what might be seen as a larger share of the estate.
In this case, it looks like your dad tried to keep things even as best he could. It is not entirely unusual to see this type of will when a child is providing the bulk of the care.
If the will was professionally prepared, I’m sure the lawyers who did the work went to great lengths to ensure that your brother did not have any influence on your father.
How to challenge a will
What are the most common grounds for challenging someone’s will? Learn more here.
So based on what you said, it would be difficult to challenge the terms of the will based on any undue influence.
These types of trust arrangements are quite technical so I would be surprised if it was not professionally prepared.
If your father did not employ a lawyer, there is always the possibility that there was an influence on him that could call into question the validity of the will.
Do you have to give up your inheritance and refuse to be an executor?
At this point, if you want to relinquish your inheritance and relinquish your role as executor of your father’s will, there isn’t much you can do.
A will is a testamentary document and does not come into effect until death. Therefore, signing anything now along the lines you suggested would have very little effect and should only be completed again if your father dies.
However, after your father died, I would see no reason why you should give up your interest under the terms of his will, because it is of no use to you.
You may well feel upset, but that is no reason to make a reckless financial decision. To a certain extent, that would be “cutting your nose to annoy your face”.
To do this would simply mean that your brother would inherit anything that would be rather reckless for you and not be in accordance with your father’s wishes.
In the event of your father’s death, you can relinquish your position as executor without relinquishing your inheritance, although you are only allowed to do so if you resign immediately before undertaking any of the jobs.
Again, however, I would say that would not be a sound course of action, as you would give control of the trust to your brother and make him the custodian of your part of the estate.
The best solution, in my opinion, would be to keep your position as executor in the event of your father’s death and to keep your share of the estate.
What does it mean to be an executor?
Check out the main tasks here and the potential pitfalls here.
What other issues should you consider?
Even if your brother resides in the property for the rest of his life and survives you, you can leave your share of your father’s estate in your will to whoever you want.
It is also possible that you and your brother can come to an agreement whereby he effectively redeems your interest in the estate, leaving you both free to separate.
As for current bills and property expenses in the event of your father’s death, these are generally the responsibility of the beneficiary of the trust, in this case your brother, and most of the wills drawn up by the notaries are prepared on this basis.
This might be a point worth raising with your dad now, because if he’s not sure about it, he’ll probably want to avoid any potential issues in the future.
Usually it is the beneficiary of the trust who pays for things like utilities, council tax, insurance and repairs on the property because at the end of the day, they live there rent-free.
Overall, you shouldn’t consider giving up your inheritance or giving up your position as executor because you are upset.
As with many things, let your emotions calm down after a while, and maybe have a chat with your dad to try and figure out his reasoning.
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