How likely is it for a mother to not leave money for her children in her will

+5 votes

I have found a Will for Jane Kirkpatrick where she left money to her Nephews John McCaughan and Nehemiah McCaughan and her sister in law Maggie McCaughan. 

Now the common Last name  to her birth name makes me think it is the Jane McCaughan that married Duncan Kirkpatrick (Kirkpatrick-2757) . My issue is that she has two sons still alive in Samuel Kirkpatrick (Kirkpatrick-1704) and William Kirkpatrick (Kirkpatrick-2760). Why would she not leave anything to them? is a link to the Probated will with the references to the Nephews on image 252

WikiTree profile: Jane Kirkpatrick
in Genealogy Help by Darren Kellett G2G6 Pilot (480k points)
an ancestor of mine left one child out of the will, I know from family history that he did have a falling out with that son.

5 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer

There can be a number of different reasons depending on circumstances.

  • Was she a second wife
  • Was there a falling out
  • Did the sons get their inheritance when there father died
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (556k points)
selected by Peggy McReynolds

Thank you Doug It may actually be a combination of two things. I realised I hadn't looked for a will for Duncan Kirkpatrick (Kirkpatrick-2757). He leaves everything to his sons with an amount to his first sons wife yet nothing to his wife. 

That suggests a falling out as well. 

Doug can't say it much better their could be many other reasons also.
+6 votes
Todays' attorneys in the US advise people to mention every child  (especially living children) in the will..... leave them  $1, or just say they're excluded, or say they've already been given their inheritance.  This practice helps reduce the chances of the will being contested.  

But I've certainly seen wills that don't mention all the living children.   In this case,  you probably should find out as much about the family dynamics as possible....but it is what it is.

Yes,  a parent will sometimes leave out children all together.
by Peggy McReynolds G2G6 Pilot (477k points)
+6 votes
One of my ancestresses, a widow, left a dollar to all her living children and the remainder to my g-grandmother.
by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.8m points)
+5 votes
I can speak from experience on this.  My father (who died 12 years after my mother) divided everything among my two sons.  His attitude had long been that they were responsible adults, while I (a woman and his only child) was no different than an irresponsible child.  If I had any daughters, I'm sure they would have been excluded.
by Gaile Connolly G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
I hope attitudes have become more enlightened. That's so unfair, Gaile. I have read so many wills where funds are held in trust for the support of a wife, but at her death, or if she has the audacity to remarry, funds go to the sons exclusively.

In my own ancestry, I have a woman die in 1898 who had been left everything by her husband twenty years earlier and somehow managed to keep it on remarriage. There is evidence that this marriage was troubled, though the second husband was the death certificate informant. She left her husband 6 pounds and each of her 6 children well over 100 pounds each. I'd love to know the significance of the 6 pounds.
Fiona, I don't think much has changed in the way of attitudes.  My father died in 1997, which was not all that long ago.  I think the attitude problem is one of generation, though, and will - hopefully - be changing as new generations mature.

When I earned a BAE (Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering) degree in 1962, I was not able to find a job.  When I was divorced in 1980, I had two more advanced degrees (in Mathematics and Computer Science), two grown sons, and a law had recently been passed prohibiting sex discrimination in employment.  I went out to find an engineering job, thinking the world was now waiting for me with open arms.  I rapidly discovered that I was over-educated and under-experienced for my age, plus I wasn't sure if I was over-sexed or under-sexed, but I knew for darn sure there was something wrong with that, too.

You can legislate 'til the cows come home, but you can't legislate attitudes and the middle aged men who were hiring managers didn't say it was because of my sex (like they blatantly said when I was a new graduate) but in a few specific cases I know I was far better qualified than the applicants who were hired.

Most men my age have that attitude although they have learned that it is not socially acceptable to exhibit it overtly.  One of my two sons still has a little of that attitude, despite the way I raised him.  His sons are a little better ... maybe my great-grandchildren will not have any preconceived gender role stereotypes.

You are a true pioneer.   I entered the engineering work force as a new graduate in 1980.   By then, in the midwest, female engineers filled "minority" quotas and it was easy for me to find jobs.   At the time,  a woman wouldn't dare pursue an engineering career if they weren't well above the average engineer in their field...... probably hasn't changed over the decades.   It does take generations to make changes.
You're right, Gaile. Legislation does not change attitudes that are long entrenched, and we women still have challenges to get equality. You sound as if you've done your bit to crack that glass ceiling. Your dad's attitude must have really hurt.
Peggy, I started my engineering career in 1982, but on the east coast (NY, specifically).  I was an entry level engineer then, but it had taken me 2 years to get that first job.  In the meantime, I was teaching math to juvenile delinquents (sentenced by the courts) in order to eat.  I still found plenty of discrimination.  

In 1962, when I graduated from college (at age 19), I never did manage to find a job - and that was 4 years after Sputnik when there was a national frenzy to get scientists and engineers to keep up with the Russians and my degree was in the most sought after field - Aerospace, plus I graduated eighth in my class from a small, but very highly ranked engineering college, after another young lady and I were the first two female undergraduates ever admitted.  I couldn't get interviews with most of the companies that came to my college campus because I was too short and weighed too little (I kid you not - they used those requirements to weed out women candidates) and the few companies who did interview me all started with the same question - "how many words a minute do you type?" - not even "do you type?".  My answer was zero, which apparently was the wrong one.

Fiona, you're very perceptive - it did hurt very much, but it wasn't even only my father.  My mother accepted her lot in life and could never understand why I couldn't follow her example.  When I graduated from high school and decided to study engineering, my parents commanded (!) that I will *NOT* study engineering - I am to study something useful, namely home economics.
It is unfortunate to see this - I myself got a minor engineering degree and yet never worked in that field officially either and now I am old and no one will hire me for anything good - my daughter just graduated with a BS in Physics Engineering with a specialty in electronics - and she has a fairly good job but it is not in her field nor is her boyfriends who graduated with her in a more Mechanical Engineering path - and it kind of pisses me off that she is doing software engineering and he is doing mapping - when they have the potential to be doing so much more - but what can you do?

I always worked in nontraditional jobs (read men's jobs) so I know how hard the sex discrimination can be and though progress has been made, we are sadly not there yet
This really hits a chord with me. My mother was widowed when I was very young, and insisted that I go to college and get a degree so that I could support myself. Looking back my aunts all either held jobs or worked to support the farm or other business. In college, I was playing basketball when they passed Title IX.

I hit the sweet spot of a degree in geography with a computer science minor so that I was hired to meet a quota (I assume) by a large defense contractor in 1974. The first manager was terrible! When his secretary (who wore black bras, as you could tell from the see through blouse) went on vacation, I was told that it was my job to make coffee and clean the kitchen as I was the only girl in the office. Fortunately, I transferred and got to work on some early research & development doing state of the art work in (pre-GIS) use of computer technology in mapping applications. Not all computer science and mapping is shabby.

Throughout my career I saw lots of discrimination. It changed its face and lessened somewhat, but it was still there. You would be hard pressed to prove that one of the very large defense contractors was discriminating in the late 2000s. They did have a few token women in high profile management roles. But if you look at the pattern as to who was selected for key technical research positions....
No computer coding and mapping are good things but they studied at much higher levels - ya know - now my daughter will take NO sexism whatsoever - once they were playing cards and a boy said I will shuffle for you and she straightened him right out - she sees though maybe a way to Tesla - she needs to be inventing things - better chips or whatever.

I just know it sure makes me mad when some women say we do not need feminism, and it has kind of gotten a bad name - yet all the time those before us and we have done to pave the way for equality - they do not seem to see that at all

We here looking back know how hard it was before and it sure is better now - but yet I and Kay and Gaile see that a lot more needs to be done.

Navarro:  I wouldn't describe software engineering as way out of the field of physics engineering, especially for a new grad.  They are both branches that are under the computer related umbrella.  Many - maybe even most - people have always ended up in different career paths than what they set as their goals when they entered college and chose their major fields.  What I think of as "way out of the field" was the job I took as "assistant to the computer programmer" for a small family owned business when I was desperate to support myself and my 2 sons in college right after my divorce.  I wasn't able to get my foot in the door looking for an engineering job (never mind which field of engineering), nor was I successful at getting jobs for which I was overqualified until someone knowledgeable about personnel type stuff advised me to understate my qualifications in these cases.  That first post-divorce job I got was for $75 per week (in 1980) when I answered the education question by saying I had "some college" (not quite a lie - 1 bachelor's and 2 masters' degrees still falls in that description), but I almost failed their "math" test - something about a price and what the result would be of applying 2 discounts to it - when I pointed out that the question was ambiguous and had 2 possible answers depending on the order in which the discounts were applied, both of which I provided without benefit of the paper and pencil I was offered.  As I successfully completed assigned tasks, they kept adding to the complexity of the tasks and eventually discovered my academic credentials.  They then made me a design engineer for plastic injection molds and doubled my salary - I was making a whopping $150 per week.  I went from there to teaching in the juvenile prison system for about $20,000 per year before I finally got my first engineering job and that was about $30,000 per year (at entry level) and we're still talking about the early 80's.  That job had the title of systems engineer and I *literally* did not know what a systems engineer was - I had never heard the term before!  Since then, I have worn the hats avionics engineer, avionics systems engineer, software engineer, radar engineer, electronic warfare engineer, documentation manager, IETM developer (using artificial intelligence to develop algorithms), reliability engineer, and white hat hacker in various assignments working for a contractor to military and intelligence agencies.  What I wanted as a starry eyed college freshman was to work on space programs but I never had that opportunity.  I still had a 20+ year career working on stuff that was very interesting to me ... sooooo, things change a whole lot.

Kay:  In the 1990's I had proof of discrimination - for age, not sex- and tried my darndest to nail the company that did it, but couldn't get any response at all from government watchdogs that I tried to report it to.  It was a job interview for a position that had a long list of seemingly diverse requirements that looked like the company tailored it to a person they wanted, but were obligated to advertise it openly before making the hire.  After all the diverse assignments I had, I actually met all their requirements.  I thought the interview went well - I had the right answers to all the questions (and knew it) until the end when the guy (yes, it was a man, of course) actually said to me "Your qualifications are very impressive, but we are really looking for a younger person" and that is a verbatim quote!  They couldn't ask age (it's illegal) but they could ask what year I got my degrees.  If I had gone to college late in life, they couldn't have gotten anything from that, but my first degree made me look 3 years older than I actually was.

+5 votes
Not really to the point but an early feminist spinster in the family left her considerable estate to be divided among her nieces only excluding all their brothers. Sometimes all children are left out in favour of grandchildren.
by C. Mackinnon G2G6 Pilot (346k points)

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