Cancer Survivor Leaving Inheritance to Girlfriend Instead of Family Praised

The internet has backed a man who changed his will after realizing his family was waiting for him to die of a terminal illness to take his money.

In a post shared on Reddit last Wednesday, the man explained that about six months ago he was diagnosed with cancer. However, it turned out that he had been misdiagnosed and his tumor wasn't malignant, so he's now in recovery.

He described feeling like his family wasn't really happy about the good news, as if perhaps they were disappointed he wasn't going to die. This suspicion was confirmed during a family dinner when his 12-year-old nephew "blurted out" something about him thinking "he was gonna be rich soon because [the poster] was sick," which according to the post, felt like a "gut punch."

The poster said his family pretended they didn't hear the comment as his girlfriend of 13 years looked at him in horror, holding and caressing his hand for the entire day.

A family having a heated argument
A stock image shows a family having a heated argument. The internet has backed a man who is changing his will after he realized his family was waiting for him to die to take his money. Getty Images

According to the American Cancer Society, by the end of 2022, there will be an estimated 1.9 million new cancer cases diagnosed and 609,360 cancer deaths in the United States.

The most common type of cancer in the United States this year is breast cancer, with 290,560 new cases expected in 2022. The next most common cancers are prostate cancer and lung cancer. Because colon and rectal cancers are often referred to as "colorectal cancers," these two cancer types are combined for the list.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Dr. Darren Moore told Newsweek that not all individuals within families have close, intact and meaningful relationships, and likewise, the grief and loss process for individuals can vary, and sometimes people come to terms with a family member's death even before it happens.

"Finding out that a person is no longer terminally ill can be shocking and can contribute to mixed emotions for some individuals based on their level of closeness and attachment to that individual.

"In the context of this story, it may be that family members were planning for their family members' death and have already come to terms with this. Therefore, they may feel shocked and in disbelief. "

He suggested the poster could approach this situation by attempting to have a family meeting to voice his feelings and concerns and to figure out a pathway moving forward that is not filled with conflict, resentment, disappointment, and trust issues, among other concerns.

Carole Lieberman, M.D., Beverly Hills Board Certified Psychiatrist Says the poster cannot ignore it because these upset feelings will grow "like cancer."

She said the poster can start by taking the nephew aside and asking him what he meant by saying the family would become rich. "Then he can ask where the nephew heard this and then confront the adult(s) who started this rumor."

The post has so far received over 23,000 upvotes and 1,200 comments, and most users have backed the poster on changing his will.

One user, BiofilmWarrior commented: "You should also ask about structuring your will to minimize the chance of relatives contesting that will. That may mean leaving a small amount to each family member or it may be that you only need to specify that they have deliberately been excluded, but that is advice you should get from an attorney."

And primeirofilho added: "Truthfully, the best defense is to marry his girlfriend. In my state, it means she would inherit even in an intestate situation."

DysfunctionalKitten suggested: "When you change your will, intentionally leave $1 for each relative that might expect something financial from it. If [god forbid] something happens to you, having an intentionally small amount left to those specified people will limit how much they can drag your [girlfriend] to court to contest it (which would be the last thing she would have the energy to deal with while mourning the love of her life)."

Another user, minellax wrote: "People suck when people die. My mom's 'friend' took my mom's jewelry off her body after she passed. Once she passed, I couldn't be in the hospital room anymore so my brother and I left to go outside and decompress. When we went back, the friend was gone, and so was all her jewelry. People are ruthless."

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.