Son’s focus on will upsets mum

Sonia says she knows she cannot put off writing a will any longer but has concerns about making all three children executors, and says her son is making her feel uncomfortable with his questions. She asks psychologist Dr Emmanuella for guidance.



Q. Sonia
I am 78 years old. I know I should have prepared a will long before this, but I’m a head-in-sand type. However, my husband died, and I know I cannot put this off any longer. We have three adult children, but I only want to make two of them executors. I don’t believe my son, who is single and lives near me, is suited to the role. In fact, he has been making me feel uncomfortable by repeatedly telling me to write my will. Should I just avoid family issues by making them all joint executors? Am I being silly?


A. Writing a will is not an easy process, and many put it off and procrastinate at the thought of even writing one. Now the reality of it all has been thrown in front of you, and you are forced to do something that isn’t easy in the best of circumstances – with the added pressure from your son. Well done for thinking about it and writing to me to ask how you might go about this.

First, I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your husband. Grief is not time-limited, and it comes in waves. It’s never easy adapting and moving on from the death of a loved one. Please make sure you are looking after yourself and giving yourself time to grieve.

Second, writing a will and assigning executors is never an easy task, so no, you are not being silly. It is best you write a will that you feel most comfortable with, even if that means you don’t make your younger son an executor.

If you feel comfortable, you could write a note explaining your reasons why you decided not to make him an executor and leave it with the will. For the sake of peace, avoid saying anything now because it will only upset him and make things even harder for you.


Dr Emmanuella Murray is a clinical psychologist who has been practising for more than 10 years. She works with children, adolescents, adults and couples, and presents to professionals and community groups.

If you have a question for Dr Emmanuella Murray, please send it to [email protected]


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