Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Is it really any of

our business?
The media here in Australia is currently making a seven course meal out of the affairs of the Rinehart family. They happen to be extremely wealthy. There is a family trust and... well you can guess the rest. Apart from having some sympathy for Mama Rinehart who has worked hard and supported her children in the lifestyle to which we all believe we would like to become accustomed I am not interested. I should not be interested. It is none of my business.
I was once involved in a similarly messy situation. It was not by choice. I was asked to be present at an old fashioned "reading of a will". I was not, I hasten to add, a beneficiary.
The will contained some surprises, some big surprises. "Papa" was wealthy. His children clearly had big "expectations" - well, all but one of them. The older three had inherited money from their maternal grandfather's estate. They were - or should have been - at very least "comfortable". They always wanted more.
The youngest, born after the death of her maternal grandfather, had not shared in that inheritance. "Mama" had died some years before and her will had also been written in favour of the three eldest. She had never changed it. It is likely that she had never had any intention of changing it.
"Papa" had also handed out money to the three eldest from time to time. The money was supposed to be in form of "loans" but only the third child had made any attempt to pay any back.
The youngest child was the only one of the four who had done well at school. She went to university on scholarship. She had a job and, although she remained at home, she paid board and assisted her father in entertaining after her mother's death. People assumed that the youngest would at least benefit from her father's estate. She herself told me she had no such expectations. Her father had made it clear that he did not intend to make the same mistakes as he had before. She could earn her own living.
An organisation I was involved in received a handsome donation. It came with conditions they were happy to meet and I accepted it on their behalf. There were other similar bequests.  The older three children were not happy about this. They were most certainly not happy about the provisions their father had made for them or their children. They expected far more.
The youngest did not appear to get any of those things. There was a much smaller bequest to her.
The older three fought the provisions. They made life extremely difficult for their younger sibling. If she joined the action it was going to be much easier to fight the provisions. She refused to cooperate with them.
She told me, "My father asked me whether I wanted his money or my self-respect. I chose self-respect."
It was an attitude which got her everywhere. She married the son of the other Director and she now has a seat on the board.

1 comment:

Nicole MacDonald said...

Ooo I like that story :) Good on her, in the long run self-respect is all that really lasts.