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Conflicted feelings about step-mother and inheritance

17 years ago

My father remarried when I was 8 and my brother was 9. My stepmom had 4 older children. I always lived with my bio-mom and visited dad and step family every other weekend and some holidays. I did not have the relationship that my step-sibs had with my father, but otherwise he was available if I knew how to reach out. Pretty functional blended family.

My bio-mom passed away 2 years ago. Shockingly, my Dad now passed away just before last christmas. Within a month of my dad passing, my stepmom let me know I would now be inheriting money that my father and she had planned their retirements on. I didn't know about the money she was talking about. The money was from my Grandparents (Dads parents) trust, and at the time my Grandmother was still alive. This September my grandmother passed and the conversations have started. My stepmom has made it clear that she has only one regret about her and my fathers retirement planning and that is that she didn't allow him to change my grandparents trust (which she prevented him from doing shortly before he died unexpectedly). My father was a successful dentist. I know his practice and the condo it was in sold for more than or equal to what my brother and I have inherited. She lives in a home that has to be worth over a million (any future inheritance from sale of this home only goes to 4 stepsibs - my father told me quite some years ago) and they own a second (modest) vacation home. She is almost 70.

I am 36 and have 2 young children and am a happily married stay-at-home mom. My family has made a choice to raise our children on one-income in Northern Calif. This inheritance now could provide me with some security. But at what cost? I feel amazed that my Grandparents saved so well and considered me in their trust. I feel guilty like alot of inheritors for not having "earned" this money. But how to I deal with my step-mom? I love her and have so little family left.

I have spoken openly with my step-mom about my conflicts. If anyone recognizes my family scenario, please be sure that I am just seeking unbiased opinions, and allow she and I to work this out.

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