• This past Saturday was “girls’ night out” for three of my friends and I. So, we decided to go to the Derby, in Hollywood, for some swing dancing. A little different than our usual club scene, but we wanted to dress up in puffy skirts and welcomed the absence of smoke, drunken patrons and dirty bathrooms. You should try it sometime. Nonetheless, we were happy to just get out and dance, since most of our husbands give us a hard time about going dancing with us. Besides, the mother of our close friend Iris had just passed away this past week, less than a year apart from her father’s passing, so we wanted to get her out and cheer her up.

    The night started out great, but soon enough, all Iris could talk about was how she got cheated out of her inheritance. She kept ruminating over the fact that her youngest brother, Derrick, got more than any of her three siblings. Finally, I’d had enough and was sick of hearing her complain. So, I took her outside and asked, “Iris, I know it’s painful but are you missing anything in your life?” She had gotten into advertising at a young age and had become financially wealthy by the age of thirty. She teared up a bit and responded, “You don’t understand, it’s not about the money. It’s the idea behind it that upsets me.” I was sympathetic for her loss and tried to show her other perspectives, but she wouldn’t let it go the entire night. Nothing was going to appease her because her loss was still fresh, and in her mind everyone should have received an equal share. Period!

    More often than not, regardless of what you do, one person is going to get a larger inheritance than another. It’s just the nature of the beast. Whether it’s spelled out in a will or if they give it to them while they’re alive, chances are that you will never find out. What you inherit doesn’t always correlate to how much they loved you, though it may not be of any consolation to you. It could simply mean that they felt someone else needed more help. Or perhaps one child took it upon themselves to be the primary caregiver or lived in close proximity and was able to provide assistance more often. Hence, they wanted to reward their sacrifice. We can speculate from now until tomorrow and try to understand. However, the bottom line is that it’s their money and they can disburse it how they see fit. I don’t appreciate anyone telling me how to spend my money, so why would I question anyone else? My suggestion is that you discuss all this prior to their passing to alleviate any ill feelings (see out Playdate article “Just in Case Checklist“). Then, if you’re still jealous and need their money that badly, then go out and earn it. Don’t wait around for others to die to take care of your needs!