If you were left millions in your parent’s will, but your brother or sister were left nothing, would you give them some money?

W ‘n B : ‘spoiler alert’ . . .there’s a twist in the tale.

answered by Jeff Edwards, Novelist, researcher, and general trouble maker.

Our mother died a few years ago, leaving her estate to me, my younger brother, and our older sister. While it didn’t amount to millions, between house, savings, retirement accounts, and some undeveloped property, there was a fairly hefty sum of money.

As the executor of Mom’s estate, my brother had direct insight into the financials. When he had a feel for the assets and liabilities, he came up with a plan to deceive our beloved sister about the size of our shared inheritance. He approached me with his idea, and I became an instant co-conspirator.

My brother and I both have solid careers and strong retirement plans. While our sister has always worked hard and has been careful with her money, life has thrown her a few curve balls. For reasons completely beyond her control, she wasn’t very well set up for retirement. And – given that she’s nearly a decade older than me – we knew she couldn’t keep charging that hard forever.

Hence my brother’s evil plan…

Instead of splitting the estate into three equal shares, my brother and I each took a few thousand dollars and gave the remaining 95% to our sister. We’ve kept up the fiction that the estate was much larger than any of us suspected, and our sister still believes that she received an equal one-third share.

It wasn’t a fortune, but it was enough to make her retirement possible and give her a comfortable cushion against future emergencies. My only regret is that it wasn’t my idea.

Because our sister really is beloved. Our father died when we were children, and she pretty much raised the rest of us. She’s one of the kindest, most supportive human beings you’re ever likely to meet. She deserves a bit of rest and security after a lifetime of hard work.

Getting back to OP’s question, we didn’t inherit millions and no one was cut out of the estate. But we clearly didn’t follow our mother’s intentions. I’m okay with that. And if Mom could see us now, I think she’d be okay with it too.


I never really expected this one to blow up like it has. Thanks for all the kind comments! Given the amount of attention this answer is attracting, I feel compelled to set the record straight about a couple of things:

#1 My brother and I are not saints. We’re not perfect selfless beings who think only of others. I like to believe we’re basically decent people, but we’re just as capable of pettiness and foolishness as anyone else. This was simply a case in which we saw an opportunity to do something for someone we both love.

#2 I probably should have given a straight telling of the story, instead of setting it up as a twist. My apologies for heightening the drama. I’m a writer of adventure fiction and the temptation to mess with the expectations of my readers got the better of me.

comments :

Gigi J Wolf : Was there a problem between her and your mother? Don’t answer if that’s intrusive. Just curious. I loved what you guys did, though!

Jeff Edwards : Nope. Not at all. Mom just wanted to be fair by dividing things equally. We were in a place where we could tip the balance toward our sister, so that’s what we did.

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