His brother left his 401k and insurance money to him in his will, but was it just an oversight? His brother’s family thinks so and so does the wider family. What do you think he should do?
The Original Poster (OP) is causing family tension by refusing to share the 401K of his deceased brother with the financially struggling widow.
The loss of a loved one can be devastating, and for the 40-year-old man who lost his brother, Jay, it was a heart-wrenching experience. The two brothers had grown up together, but as they got older, their paths diverged.
Jay became the golden child, getting a full ride to a prestigious college, while his brother had to pay his own way and eventually dropped out. Jay went on to graduate school, but his brother got married and settled down with his wife, Brittany, early on.
Despite their different life trajectories, the brothers remained close and stayed in touch. Over the years, they had their ups and downs, but they always had each other’s back.
A few months ago, Jay died in a car accident. The news of his death hit his brother hard, and he was left with a profound sense of loss and grief.
He Was the Beneficiary of Jay’s 401(K) And Life Insurance Policy
In the aftermath of Jay’s death, his brother discovered he was the beneficiary of Jay’s 401(k) and life insurance policy. While the life insurance policy was 150k, the 401(k) was much more substantial.
Jay had set up the policy and named his brother the beneficiary years ago, long before he met Mary, his wife. He had never changed the beneficiary, and his brother was entitled to the money.
Mary, Jay’s wife, was devastated by his death and overwhelmed by the financial burden that fell on her shoulders. She had to pay for Jay’s funeral and take care of their twin girls, who were just a year old.
Mary also had two children from a previous relationship, both of whom attended college. With Jay’s income gone, Mary was left to take care of the family on her own, and the financial strain was immense.
She Asked Him For Some of the Inheritance
Desperate for help, Mary approached Jay’s brother and asked him to share some of the money he had inherited. She argued that the life insurance policy would pay off their mortgage and the boys’ college, and put money away for the girls’ future.
The brother refused to share the money, citing that Jay had named him the beneficiary and had not changed it.
He pointed out that he and his wife had their own financial struggles, including living paycheck to paycheck in a one-bedroom apartment, so they needed the money more than her. They had always wanted to start a family, but their financial situation had made it impossible.
The brother’s refusal to share the money created a rift in the family. Their parents believed the money should go to Jay’s children, and they accused the brother of being selfish and callous.
The brother, on the other hand, felt entitled to the money and had no obligation to share it with anyone.
Despite the tensions, the brother tried to find a compromise. He offered to put 50k into a trust for the girls’ education, but Mary rejected the offer. She needed the money now, not in the future.
With all the backlash from the family and tension around him, Jay’s brother now wonders if he was wrong for not giving Mary any of the 401K money.
What Redditors Said
Redditors were overwhelmingly disgusted with Jay’s brother’s actions here.
One user said, “Your life sucks, but there is no world in which your brother would not have wanted to take care of his wife and their children. You’re exploiting a lapse of attention on his part to profit from his death.”
Another wrote, “You’re taking money away from his children! Seriously dude! You didn’t earn or work for that money! Your entitlement is pathetic!”
What do you think? Should he give the money to his brother’s family or does his family need it more?
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Luis Molinero. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.