The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a man in my 60s. I’m the second of three brothers. It seems that my 90-year-old mother, who lives alone, intends to leave all of her assets to my younger brother. I’m not happy about this and cannot accept it.
When my younger brother married at age 20, our parents had a house built for him on a plot of land they owned near their house. My aunt owned a plot right next to it. After my aunt died, my mother inherited the plot. Later, she gave it to my brother. Although he doesn’t have a regular job, he lives an extravagant life.
In my father’s last years, my elder brother and I stayed overnight at his house to care for him. My younger brother, however, never helped us, although he lives nearby.
Nevertheless, it seems my mother drew up a will stating that she would leave all of her assets to my younger brother. It may be because he had surgery for cancer two years ago and she felt pity for him.
I have an adult child with a disability and a daughter who still goes to school. So I have no financial leeway.
My elder brother lives a comfortable life and told me he didn’t want to be involved in money matters.
I don’t intend to go so far as to make my mother change her will, but I still wonder why my mother indulges only my younger brother. I’m very frustrated about this and even want to tell her about these feelings. But I also don’t want to worry her. What should I do?
Dear Mr. F:
I can understand why you aren’t happy about your mother’s will, which says she will give all of her assets to your younger brother. However, she is entitled to dispose of her property as she likes. If she has sound judgement and drew up the will freely, not forced by your younger brother, you can’t complain about its content.
By the way, even though her will states she will leave all of her assets to your younger brother, you have the right to retrieve from him the portion of her estate to which you are legally entitled.
I can also understand why you aren’t happy your mother indulges only your younger brother. But there is a saying that the sillier the boy is, the cuter he is. Although you, your older brother and he all are her sons, it’s unavoidable she loves each of you differently based on her chemistry and interaction with the three of you. Your mother particularly cares for your younger brother and probably she can’t explain why. After all, even if you take out your frustration on your 90-year-old mother, it is too late and won’t change the situation, I suppose.
Rather, why don’t you visit your mother frequently? While assisting her as she lives alone and being a conversational partner for her, you will probably have a chance to casually tell her your honest feelings.
Sachiyo Dohi, lawyer