Man Slammed for Leaving an Equal Inheritance to Stepson

Commenters slammed a father after he revealed to his adult children that they would be equally sharing their inheritance with their 12-year-old stepbrother.

The Original Poster (OP), known as u/Particular-Song-5748, posted about the situation in Reddit's "Am I The A**hole" forum where it received more than 6,000 upvotes and 3,000 comments. The post can be found here.

Inheritance

Conversations revolving around who receives inheritances and other assets can often cause a strain between family members, especially if a person feels slighted by what they were left.

According to a 2021 study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, inheritances vary depending on the family's income distribution.

Adults mad at father over inheritance plans
Here, a stock image of a father speaking with adult children. Commenters backed the OP's adult kids for being upset with him after finding out their stepbrother would receive an equal inheritance. AntonioGuillem/iStock

Households in the top 5 percent receive inheritances up to 12 times larger than households in the bottom 80 percent.

Regardless of income, the average inheritance for individuals 46 and younger was under $10,000 compared to close to $20,000 for someone between 56-65 years old.

'AITA?'

In the post titled "AITA for leaving an equal inheritance to my stepson as my bio kids?" the 62-year-old man said he married his 39-year-old wife two years ago.

His wife has a 12-year-old son from her previous marriage who lives with the OP full time since his biological father lives in another country.

The OP said that although has two children, a 34-year-old son and a 32-year-old daughter, he doesn't have the "greatest track record."

"While my bio kids were growing up, we were kind of distant, as their mother and I were constantly fighting," the post read. "She was a SAHM, while I was running a business to varying degrees of success."

As his kids grew older, though, their relationship grew closer, the OP said. He said his business also grew—in part due to his kids' help—and he is quite wealthy now compared to when the kids were growing up.

"My relationship with my stepson is quite good," the post read. "He doesn't call me dad, but seems to view me as a very close uncle. I do my best to be a good father figure to him."

The OP said he hopes his stepson will eventually see him as a father figure given that his biological father "constantly disappoints him."

'New Family'

A few weeks ago while the OP was going through the basement with his kids, the conversation shifted to their inheritance.

"I mentioned how I planned to include my stepson in my will, and he would get a third of the inheritance," the post read.

The OP explained that he plans on leaving 20 percent of his assets to each child and 30 percent to his wife. He also said the business will go to his biological children unless his wife or stepson decides to get involved in the future.

"Well, my kids are furious with me now, telling me this was unfair, as they had to grow up with a cold, emotionally and physically distant/unavailable father who struggled to bring food to the table."

The OP's kids mentioned that their stepbrother lives a "luxurious childhood" and that OP is much more kind, emotionally available, and supportive compared to when they grew up.

They also said they would lose out on an inheritance that they felt they "earned" after working hard to repair their damaged relationship.

"To clarify, that's not something they said. It's something I'm trying to be cognizant of because they absolutely could have walked away, but chose to try to repair our relationship," the post read.

Although the OP said he understands his kids' point of view, he wants to "do right" by his stepson.

"They feel like I'm slighting them for my 'new family' with a much younger wife and what they claim is a do-over child," the post read. "I want to do right by my stepson, but also my bio-kids, who did have to put up with a lot more during their childhood than my stepson. AITA for planning to leave an equal inheritance to him?"

In an update, the OP said he has thought about the conversation over the past few weeks and is planning on giving each of his biological children 30 percent, his wife 25 percent, and his stepson 10 percent of his assets.

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Redditor Reactions

More than 3,000 users commented on the post, many criticizing the OP for giving his stepson an equal part of his assets.

"YTA, without a doubt," one user commented. "Why are you treating some random kid that you've known for 2 minutes the same as your actual real kids who you have apparently failed over and over again? I guess you can leave him a bit, but 1/3 is ridiculous."

"While theoretically it is lovely to leave something to a step child, you're leaving an equal share to the child of your trophy wife is really tone deaf," one user commented. "Your bio children are not being greedy for not being pleased by your showing once again that you are not treating them fairly."

"Soft YTA. You're elevating a boy you've known for 4 years to the same status as your adult children, who you admit you fathered poorly and who didn't walk away from you," another commented. "They also contributed to your success. That has to sting."

"People view wills as the true feelings of the deceased person. If you don't leave a lot to your children, they're always going to believe you really didn't want them," another user commented. "If you give a large chunk to your wife and her son, but a smaller portion to your children; your children are absolutely going to believe you didn't love them."

"YTA. I think you can leave your stepson some amount, but it shouldn't be equal to your biological kids," another user commented. "And for what it's worth, if your wife pushes for the equal inheritance, she sucks."

Newsweek reached out to u/Particular-Song-5748 for comment.

Other Viral Posts

In one viral post online, a man was backed for refusing to spend his large inheritance on his girlfriend. Another person was backed for thinking an inheritance was unfairly split between two siblings.

In one viral post from Mumsnet, a British discussion website, a couple was slammed for only leaving an inheritance to one of their two children.

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