Inheritance it's my right...?

2013-07-17 14:21

My parents continuously preach the gospel of working hard and following my ambition everytime they get a chance to. Mother goes as far as to say “because when we are gone, one has to fend for himself and not live in hope of inheritance from the parents. The money we have worked for we will enjoy, we are not obligated to leave you anything when we kick the bucket.” Harsh you might think but that is the brutal truth.

France's richest woman Liliane Bettencourt heiress of cosmetic giant Lóreal who is over 80 years old is involved in a bitter court dispute with her daughter who is trying to have her mother placed on guardianship to safeguard her own inheritance. This as a result of the heiress splurging millions on her 25 year old junior boyfriend and writing him into her will which prompted the daughter to have her mother declared mentality unfit to administer a 17 billion dollar estate...

One has to ask. How far are you willing to go to protect 'your' inheritance. Or what rights do you have to your inheritance will the people you expect it from are still breathing? Is it greed that would drive you to have your own mother declared mentally unstable so that you can get your hands on her money? I have always thought leaving your child money is a parents prerogative. I am one of those who believes that it's a right not a gift.

In South Africa a similar story slightly different unfolded which involves the world famous statesman Nelson Mandela and his family. Atleast two of his oldest daughters are suing their father for his artwork that is worth millions. See Madiba made his struggle buddies directors of the company that controls the artwork and the daughters feel that they do not have their “fathers” interest heart so they must hand over the directorship to them.

More and more you hear of stories of families squabbling and suing each other over the contentious issue of inheritance. Brothers and sisters become sworn enemies over night because of inheritance. Some go as far as commit murder because their sibling is standing in the way of him/her of being the sole heir to a particular estate.

My parents  tell me every chance get to be financially responsible and be vigilant with my spending and saving habits. They say that if I have my eye on whatever monies  they manage to scrap together, I will be bitterly disappointed. The other day I was in a taxi when I overheard a conversation between two fellow passengers discussing "how much do you reckon we stand to inherit when our folks die?" The audacity to even ask that is beyond shocking.

I believe that parents should  encourage their children to work hard for their own money instead of being entitled brats who are waiting for them to die so they can coin in it.

I remember when I was in boarding school a few years back. There was this kid who lost both his parents in a car accident. He was bout 16 years and was apparently the only child. They lived in a modest house but you could deduce that the family was well off. A few weeks passed following their deaths and it was party after party at 'his' house. He bought himslef a GTI, designer clothes and eventually dropped out of school because he was so busy. I admit I was a little jealous but the green monster on my back was short lived and turned to pity when Mr Personality started losing everything.

Because he had blown away his inheritance, according to the neighbourhood gossip (we know how reliable this is)  he ran out of money to cover the bills. The furniture shop vans came for the sofas, plaza tv, surround system and the kitchen cupboards. Next thing you know he did not have a GTI to speak of any more and before the year was out the was a for sale sign outside his yard because the bank came knocking.

Billionaire investor extradionaire Warren Buffet disowned his granddaughter because she complained that he was not sufficiently financially supporting her. According to her he wanted to teach a lesson that she not be entitled to his money. I am not advocating for parents to start cutting off their kids. Nor am I saying that they have no right to leave them money. But feeling legally entitled to your parents, grandparents or siblings fortune presents might actually leave you penniless.

Families are complex and different. We are born into different financial backgrounds and with certain expectations. My parents have no obligation to leave me money when they eventual go nor am I losing sleep over whether they will.

Inheritance is a gift, not a right. But it seems some have convinced themselves that the people who brought them into this world owe it to them to leave them something. If you lucky enough to be from a family that is well off then good for embrace it and be thankful.

No mother or father is obligated to leave you money. So stop suing them for it.

You can catch me on Twitter @BongaDlulane

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