Money changes things between friends and family alike, which is why things like inheritances can be tricky moments to navigate within family life.
This guy learned the hard way that his half-brothers cared more about a few thousand dollars than they did about their relationship or family ties, and that’s gotta sting.
When OP’s grandparents died, they set up an account that he would access when he turned 18. It was to share with any siblings of his mother and father.
When I (25f) was 3, my grandparents passed away. They set up a savings account in my name. The account was meant to be accessed by me when I was 21. At that point it contained just over 300k. My grandparents left me a letter saying they would like me to share the money fairly with any other “Smith-Jones” children, meaning my full siblings (dad’s a Smith, mum’s a Jones). By “fairly” they meant that they wanted me to assess the situation and judge for myself what was fair.
He never ended up having any siblings, but his father and eventual stepmother had two sons, OPs half-brothers.
He considers them his brothers, and so he decided the fair thing to do would be to split the money 3 ways.
I never had full siblings, but I have 2 half brothers, “Mack and Joe Smith”, who are dad and stepmum’s kids. Due to the specific wording my grandparents used, I legally never had to give Mack or Joe any money.
However, I see Mack and Joe as my brothers, and as the money came from our grandparents, I felt that the fairest thing would be to assign each of us 100k, so we all got an equal sized lump sum, and I figured that when Mack (the youngest) turned 21 and took his 100k, we could split any remaining money.
OP was the first to turn 18 and used the money to buy a house. Instead of borrowing an additional 30k he borrowed it from the fund, planning to pay it back (with some interest) but the time his youngest brother would come into his inheritance.
When I turned 21, dad suggested I buy a house with my 100k. I found a place I loved but it was 130k and I couldn’t get a mortgage, so dad said I should borrow 30k from the account. I did, figuring I could pay it back before my brothers turned 21, and I have been repaying it. The account should be at 208k right now, but due to me withdrawing and then repaying that money it’s at 195k, so I still owe 13k.
When the second brother realized there wasn’t as much in the account as there should have been, OP explained what happened and said the money would be there when their youngest brother received his share.
The brothers flipped, treating OP more like a lawyer or accountant than family.
Joe turned 21 recently, and as I was giving him his 100k, Joe noticed that there was less in the account than there should be. I explained and said I was going to put it all back before Mack (now 19) turns 21.
Joe told Mack and both boys said I stole from them and owed them the full 13k back plus 3 grand of interest that they felt they would have gotten, and they wanted it all paid by this summer, which gave me less than 6 months to bring the account up to 211k. I said I’d do it, but over 2 years as planned.
They threatened to sue, and so OP decided he was done – done being nice, done giving them money. He wasn’t legally required to, after all, so they reaped what they sowed.
The boys then wrote up a contract to that effect. I went to sign it, until I saw that it said 6 months to pay it all back. I wouldn’t sign as we agreed on 2 years. They said I should figure it out as they were entitled to that money and would be seeking legal advice. Later that day I got an email, clearly written by them, saying that they intend to sue me for the 16k, plus whatever is currently in the account, and additional “damages” and “emotional distress” on top of that.
At this point in time, I’d given Joe about 50k of his 100k, because he wanted it in installments. I responded that legally, they were never entitled to any of it, and given their attitudes, I’d say they’ve already received an amount I deem fair, so that 50k was all they were getting. I then got a barrage of texts, calls, and emails yelling at me for going back on our “deal”. I blocked them.
The boys didn’t take it well, trashing OP on social media and turning certain family members against him. Their father also supported their quest online, which is how another half-brother emerged from the woodwork.
They then took to social media, saying that I was trying to screw them out of their inheritance and rallying our extended family into harassing me over this, and it mostly worked as a lot of people messaged me. However, I got a message from this guy called “Chris Smith”. Chris said he was 27, and claimed to be my half brother.
I had never met him before, but he sent me photos of him as a kid with our dad, grandparents, and me. He showed me that he also had an account with 150k in it, and a scan of a letter from our grandparents, saying this money was meant to be shared fairly among dad’s illegitimate children. Chris also told me we have another half sibling, who is 18. He’d been looking for me for a while, but only found me when dad shared Joe’s post which had me tagged.
He had some money from their grandparents, too, but it was for any other illegitimate kids (and there was more than one), so the half-brothers didn’t qualify for that, either.
We checked with a solicitor to make sure, and as the boys are legitimate, they aren’t entitled to anything in Chris’ illegitimate kid fund, and as they are my half siblings, they aren’t entitled to anything in my Smith-Jones kids fund, either. I sent the boys a letter formally telling them to back off, stop posting about me online, and enjoy the 50k because it’s all they’re getting. The day they received the letter, Chris got a PM from dad, asking if the boys can have some of Chris’ fund. Chris also said no, and told dad we’d met. I told Mack and Joe about Chris and our other half sibling, with Chris’ permission.
So it looks like my grandparents, knowing about Chris before they passed, set up 2 funds. One for the kids dad had with my mother, who was still his wife when they passed, and one for children born out of dad’s affairs, presumably to make sure no one tried to screw anyone else over out of hurt feelings.
Now the boys aren’t getting any more money and their parents marriage is probably over because all of the skeletons have been loosed from the closet.
I’m getting a lot of shit, but holding firm on my decision. The boys have realized that I won’t back down on this and it sounds like I’ve caused a schism at their house, as Joe has all the money and no intention of sharing so Mack is now feeling twice as screwed, plus stepmum apparently did not know about the other half siblings, or that my half sister was born after she and dad got married, and she’s made dad move into a hotel.
It sounds like dad is looking for a long term living arrangement outside of the family home, because it looks like she is not letting him move back in. Dad is begging me to reconsider, but honestly I’m done with all of them except Chris and my sister.
So… what did the internet think? Plenty!
Some were really feeling this story.
And some really think these folks got their justice.
Actually, everybody thought they got what was coming to them.
This is a cautionary tale, y’all, against being greedy and against being a jerk to family over money.
Even if they’d managed to get what they wanted, they still would have lost something more valuable than money.
Don’t be like these kids, y’all.