‘Should I leave more in my will to the child that has looked after me in lockdown?’

Linda J. Dodson

I am 80 years old and have two children, my daughter who lives close by and my son who lives further afield. For several years my daughter and her family have looked after me, dropping in several times a week and having me over regularly for Sunday lunches.

Although my son only visits once or twice a year I know he does his best. However, since lockdown he has called me just once while my daughter has been dropping food delivery parcels and checking up on me frequently and it has made me reconsider how much my children have done for me in recent years.

Is it unreasonable to leave my daughter more in my will as she has looked after me?

MD, Cornwall

Dividing up inheritance is an extremely delicate situation but dividing unequally between siblings is likely to cause even more complications.

If you do not discuss this discrepancy with your children during your life, when your will is read out there is likely to be some upset within the family which could have lasting effects on your children’s relationship. Is the stress caused to your daughter in dealing with an aggrieved brother worth the extra money? Will she halve it with him anyway to keep the peace, making it all for nothing?

Some will say that it is your money and it is therefore your right to do with it what you want. Your son should see that your daughter has looked after you an therefore deserves a higher percentage of your estate.

Others will say your son lives further away and cannot possibly care for you in the same way as your daughter – does he deserve to be punished when he may not even know you feel this way?

You could inform your daughter of your plans as she may be on board with it. She may rather the money was split evenly and at least then you would know. As you are doing this for her it would be best to find out what she would prefer.

If you are worried about feelings being hurt, giving more expensive gifts and “early inheritance” while keeping your will at 50:50 could benefit your daughter’s family without repercussion.

If this is something you are going to do, you should also consider talking to your son. If he knows you feel this way he might change his behaviour without you having to threaten exclusion from your will – and you can enjoy more time with him and an improved relationship before it is too late. 


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