Son’s focus on writing will upsets mum

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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.

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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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18 Comments

Total Comments: 18
  1. 0
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    I can’t agree with this advice. Sonia is greivng and right now is not the time to have any arguments with her son. However, she needs a Will and should make sure the other two children are happy to be executors. Then, with their help the youngest needs to be told. He sounds like a bully and will continue to harass his mother if not put in his place

  2. 0
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    My view is coloured by my own experience when my brother died. Without my knowledge he excluded one son from being executor and replaced him with me making me joint executor with his two other children because he didn’t trust them either. They all got equal shares and as I wasn’t a beneficiary and the children who were in their 40s were unimpressed. I resigned and left them to it. They worked together and everything was fine in the end

  3. 0
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    Not having a will causes so much grief & time wasting for family left.It is a necessity so greed doesn’t take place by family members.Sonia doesn’t say when her husband passed away
    but now is a good time.Sometimes a lawyer(who is doing the will) would be a better executor if not happy with family being involved.Personal choice.

  4. 0
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    Better off going through public trustee and making a third executor through them or even a lawyer Either option will provide a safe legal net. Ensure that the other 2 children have a copy of your Id Sonia is on a pension then there is no charge for the will to be drawn up but a fess for dispersal of money that goes towards each family member is taken outSonia I am sorry for the loss of your husband.

  5. 0
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    Or you could make the partners of the two children the executors, that way none of your children will be the ‘official’ executors. Or even make someone else completely independent the executor such as your solicitor or a friend.

    Once again, death of a relative brings out the best and worst in families.

    • 0
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      Partners? What if they separate? No idea – just saying ……

      I have seen two of the most disgusting/upsetting “family” scenario’s happen to really close friends of mine in the past few months upon the passing of their Mother’s! I had always “heard” stories etc. from “other people” – but had never experienced the drama/upset of recent events. Appalling behaviour ….

      It is inconceivable that adult “children” could/would react the way they did in both of these situations! Unfortunately brought out the “worst” ….. very sad ……

  6. 0
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    Wills, My husband and I rewrote our old wills and we changed it leaving our estate to one of our daughters, reason being our other three children all have houses and a roof over their head. My daughter and grandson have lived with me for 11 years and been very supportive. My husband and I wrote identical wills. One of my children came to me and DEMANDED that the wills be changed so they all got equal shares because it was her inheritance. I was shocked it was like being blackmailed. My husband passed 5 weeks ago . I am executive and already getting demands for copy of his will from my daughter. I am so distressed . I would not have dreamed that this would have happened. My daughter has been accused of changing the will. Stealing shares etc. It has split my family in two. Silly part is they have to wait until I die before anything changes.
    I would suggest you make your solicitor the executive. God bless

    • 0
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      This must be very distressing for you, but giving your daughter a copy of your husband’s will would not alter it in an way. Presumably he left everything to you anyway since you outlived him. And frankly you can change your own will at any time if you want to.

      I am not surprised you were shocked at your daughter’s demand to include all the children (her especially right?) but you should know that she could contest the will after you are gone if she can show cause. Being omitted from a will, regardless of the circumstances, could likely lead to her getting a payout. This has come up here before.

      I would suggest that when you feel stronger (5 weeks is too soon) that you see a solicitor to rewrite your will in such a manner that the daughter who lives with you is protected. The solicitor will be able to advise how to go about doing what you want. But right now, do nothing!

  7. 0
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    People are criticising the younger son, but Sonia doesn’t say he is telling her what to put in the will, only that he is urging her to write one. Sonia doesn’t say if her late husband had will, but if he didn’t’t she would know the issues that causes, if he did she will appreciate how easy it made things for her. I hope she understands it is imperative that she has an up to date will and address it with a trusted lawyer as soon as possible. In saying that I understand how hard it is to do things when you are grieving. I hope her family and friends are supporting her. Family and friends can’t grieve for you, but when they ‘walk alongside you’ it makes the road ‘less steep’.

    • 0
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      Yes I thought the youngest son the one with common sense. Not having a will at 78 is bad form even if she is a head in sand type. That is exactly why the son keeps nagging I expect.

    • 0
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      The writer says the youngest son is not “suited to the role” which is why she doesn’t want to make him one of the executors. We can only guess why she thinks that but she does.

  8. 0
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    How can you sign off a will, and be sure that no one can add an after though or anything all, or slip in an extra page. Etc.etc.

  9. 0
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    I suggest when you make a will you use a reputable solicitor. There are some that are actually part of a Govt. Dept. who don’t charge you to make a will but their fees are through the roof when they do administer it. The difference can amount to thousands of dollars if there is valuable property.The final result you estate may billed so high that an old house could have to be sold to pay the account if the assets in funds low. I know somebody who in actual fact had to do that. Also the Govt. Dept one a guy couldn’t get an appt with them for over a month. In that time their fees jumped and the estate was charged the higher fees.

  10. 0
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    I made my Will years ago…I have named my nephew as Executor, as he has no interest in my Estate. I have also made him responsible for any health and end of life decisions, as I am sure that my two sons would be unable to agree on anything.

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