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Washington Post’s Petrow on Family Inheritance

Washington PostIn this week’s advice column for The Washington PostSteven Petrow took on a question from a lesbian daughter who fears that her parents are financially favoring her straight sister.

The daughter writes:  My parents recently loaned my [same-sex] wife and me $8,000 to do some home repairs. It was incredibly kind of them, and they are even allowing us to repay without interest. As we pay back the loan, however, my dad’s strategy is to put the money into a brand-new account he intends “for the grandkids.” I am one of only two children, and my sister is a conservative Catholic and does not believe in contraception. She already has two children and will likely have many more. My wife and I hope to someday have kids, but it will very much depend on finances. I was actually hurt to learn he is considering allocating inheritances to grandkids rather than directly to us kids! Is this even worth broaching with them? It is their money to do with as they please, and if my sister has many more children than I do, then surely she needs the money more anyway. But in the moment my mom mentioned it to me, it stung. – Name Withheld

Petrow admits that family relations are difficult, especially when comparing a conservative Catholic and lesbian siblings. He writes, “… you’re upset because you assume your sister will pop out kids at a rate you can’t possibly keep up with, and your future kids will get a reduced share of an inheritance.”

He posted the question to Facebook, receiving a variety of responses from readers. Some readers said that the daughter should be thankful for the loan, while others answered that the parents are aiming for more grandchildren or are looking for a specific reward or change. Petrow recognizes that, “when it comes to family (and money), there’s more going on here than meets the eye.”

Petrow advises the daughter to thank her parents and end the conversation with them there. He recognizes that, unfortunately, same-sex parenting is difficult due to state marriage laws, and relatives do not understand that struggle. He tells her that, “Even if it’s forced, put some attitude in your gratitude.”

Continue to read Petrow’s column, Civilities, on The Washington Post.

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