Why I use my will as a weapon to keep my family in line. If they offend me, they’re out – and I’ve already videoed the contents of my parents’ house in case my sister liberates anything when they die

Whenever I hear the word “want,” I worry that I don’t feel any sentimental attraction for a deceased loved one. Instead, I see fences and I want to know what I’m getting out of them.

My husband Kevin calls me mercenary. But I know from bitter experience how important a clear will is. That’s why I adjust my own almost monthly.

In theory I leave almost everything to my daughter Hannah, who is 33, with small legacies for my five granddaughters.

But mercurial should be my middle name because I am known to refine the details after every argument or argument in the family. (My older sister is completely disenrolled. I wanted to leave her some jewelry, but we’re not talking right now.)

For me, a will is an insurance policy that ensures I get decent geriatric care from my daughter and grandchildren, and it gives me a lot of power to exercise over my loved ones.

For Emma, ​​a will is an insurance policy that ensures that she receives good elderly care from her children

That’s why I’m baffled that TV presenter Anne Robinson says she has already given away all her money to her daughter and grandchildren, insisting ‘they might as well enjoy it now’. Where’s the leverage in that?

At 57, I hope I still have decades ahead of me. Yet legacy is a term that comes up often in daily conversations with my grandchildren, ages six to sixteen.

Kevin believes that it should be an equal split no matter what; However, they have instilled in themselves that if they do not visit me, they will get nothing.

You might think they would be offended or angry by such morbid talk, but my grandchildren are used to these kinds of rants and power grabs. They’ve been hearing it since they were toddlers. I don’t feel guilty at all; my parents in their 90s do the same to me to make sure I run after them.

And while you often read about high-profile will disputes, where families argue over whether a will really reflects the true last wishes of a deceased relative, if I go, everyone will be sure that my will was completely up to date with what was right there. I wanted.

Whether they will be happy with the content is another question.

I threaten Hannah all the time to leave nothing; she thinks it’s an ironic comment and that I’m using it as a darkly humorous bargaining chip, but it’s not.

The first time I removed her was when, in her late teens, she cut ties with me and decided to play happy family with the father of her first daughter.

Legacy is woven into the daily conversations with her grandchildren, ages six to sixteen

Legacy is woven into the daily conversations with her grandchildren, ages six to sixteen

She threatens not to leave her daughter Hannah anything and has previously cut her out of her will

She threatens not to leave her daughter Hannah anything and has previously cut her out of her will

So I left everything to their baby, Elise. Two years later, when she left him and returned to the family, I proudly reinstated her as the main recipient. Honestly, I would love to leave the entire lot to Elise, my oldest and favorite grandchild, but Hannah made me promise not to.

Mind you, at 16, Elise is already more mercenary than I am, and she’s constantly walking around my house asking, “If you die, Grandma, can I have that?”

She always keeps an eye on my jewelry and expensive perfumes. I also caught her fondling my Murano glass collection. Elise may only be a teenager, but she’s smart enough to have priced everything on the internet.

However, I don’t find her approach disturbing. It makes me laugh, kind of proud, to see her do it. She’s a chip off the old block.

While I may drop hints about who gets what, none of them know exactly what is in my will. I protect my own interests at all costs.

Many would consider my obsession macabre, but I think about death and dying most days. And for good reason, because my beloved husband of 18 years, Kevin, now 63, has stage four cancer that has spread to his lungs and lymph nodes. Although there are times when I cry for hours at the thought of losing him, I try to stay strong.

Still, the first thing I said after we received the terminal diagnosis was, “What’s going to happen to me?” Not my finest hour, I know.

The poor man automatically assumed I was planning to marry again. But the last thing I want is another husband (I’ve been married twice before).

Instead, I feared that as a widow and woman who took early retirement from a government career at age 48, I would have to look for another job.

I was terrified and wondered how I could possibly afford to stay in our house. I am very settled in our four bedroom house and don’t want to leave it.

Of course, Kevin leaves everything to me in his will, since he has no children of his own.

Emma made her first will in 1994, not long after becoming a single mother

Emma made her first will in 1994, not long after becoming a single mother

I know this because I have seen it in black and white. I even helped him write it. Maybe I was a little too pushy, because at one point the lawyer asked me to leave the room.

As things stand now, I automatically receive half of his private pension. He still has a private copy worth £250,000. He starts talking about it, but I encourage him to leave it there for now.

A pension pot of a quarter of a million pounds may sound like a lot, but I could very well live another 40 years, so it’s natural to be concerned. After all, my great-grandmother lived until she was 105, my grandmother lived until 95, and Mom and Dad are still here, 91 and 90 respectively.

Since there is only my older sister and I, when our parents die we will inherit their house and another asset, but we have both been taken out and put back in a few times, which has, as intended, put us on our heels .

As much as I respect my sister, I videotaped the contents of their home so that nothing would be accidentally lost if they passed away.

My so-called “mercenary” attitude was formed after seeing firsthand the harsh reality of how an inheritance is divided over the years.

The first time I read a will was thirty years ago, when my poor mother discovered that there was only £3,000 left of her great-uncle’s £1 million estate. They had been close, so she was upset and completely blind.

Then there was my great-aunt who, I discovered, died last year, leaving behind a farm worth more than £1 million.

As a family sleuth, I called the lawyer because my mother was her last living descendant. But there was no stick left for mom, my sister and me. The estate went to charity. We had lost a fortune and I think that was because my mother married an Englishman.

On my mother’s side of the family they prefer to keep the money in Wales. Once again I spat feathers because all my great aunts did exactly the same thing: they left their money to each other.

I’ve also run into a bit of trouble when it came to a friend’s will. I cared for a neighbor in her final years, often bathing her legs because she had cellulitis—an infection of the deeper layers of the skin and underlying tissue—and running errands for her. She was part of the family, I even invited her to celebrate Christmas with us.

So she announced in front of her daughter that she would leave me £5,000 (which I had mentally spent). But because this was not in her will, the daughter did not want to honor her wishes and I did not see a cent. I cried my heart out and it was a hard lesson to learn. Keep your will up to date!

That probably explains why I found a scheme where, for £200 a year, I can change my will up to four times a year. I made my first will in 1994, not long after becoming a single mother, and it’s been a bit hokey-cokey ever since.

Every time I get into a fight with Hannah, the first thing I threaten to do is disinherit her – and the will is where she comes from. It may only last a few weeks, and I usually put it back sharply because I’m afraid I’ll drop dead before I put it back.

She used to be very upset, but now she says she doesn’t want my money. I don’t believe that for a minute.

Hannah says it’s too morbid to make a will in your thirties. But that didn’t stop her from saying to Kevin one night when she was drunk, “If Mommy dies first, will you still leave all your worldly goods to us?” She knows very well that she will get everything.

What will she inherit? Well, there’s our four-bedroom house, and Kevin and I each have a rental. Mine is my pension plan.

There are also valuable jewelry that I keep in the bank; I’m too worried about having them at home.

My grandmother’s opal ring is worth a small fortune. That goes to Elise. They are both Libras and Elise was born three months after Grandma’s death. I have five engagement rings (no, I have never given them back because I believe I earned them) and my second grandchild Isabella gets the most beautiful one.

There is also a sapphire necklace and earrings for the little ones, also kept under lock and key.

While my granddaughters and daughter know about these jewelry, they know they have to take care of me to receive them. They don’t question my choices – at least not right now!

If the worst happens to Kevin, I will never marry again. How can I be so sure of that? I don’t want someone else’s adult descendants to get their hands on my money or my grandchildren’s inheritance.

When I die, I want to be cremated and have my ashes buried with Kevin. His only condition is that his ashes are not buried with either of my ex-husbands.

At my funeral, Hannah wants Moon River played (the lyrics “Two wanderers, off to see the world” remind her that I always go my own way in life), but I plan to write my own eulogy write when I get enough attention. No one knows you as well as you know yourself, right?

I’d like to be remembered as a generous person, but I suspect I’ll be remembered as a sweet, disruptive pain in the backside instead.

As told to Samantha Brick