A few months ago, I stumbled upon a certain news article tucked somewhere in the back pages of the newspapers. In this article, a certain loaded, prominent media magnate is said to be attempting to legally wrestle control of his late son’s estate from his son’s baby mama, his grandson and his son’s business partners.
Just last week, we were treated to a hard to miss story about a certain prominent lady who is in a full-blown war with the widow of her late son.
This latest story has all ingredients of a good movie such as secret love children, paternity issues and of course the tattling Miguna. Yet behind this gossip fodder lies some interesting issues that we should ponder.
There is usually a common assumption that rich families are not like the rest of us - they have transcended the obsessive rush for cash. We assume that since these families are loaded, they can afford to walk away from petty cash, which for them we assume is the odd tens or hundreds of millions.
We believe that normal logic should prevail; after all, why should a billionaire fuss and fight over a few millions?
We forget that most rich families have gotten that way because they have a mad obsession with cash, are by and large greedy and have a dogged determination not to leave any spare coins on the table.
No coins are out of bounds for them, even those that belong to widows and to their own grandchildren.
A second issue that influences these fights is that we rarely have self-made rich kids. Children who make it from rich families usually do so because their folks gave them certain headstarts and pushes.
The headstart goes beyond the usual elite school education that allows the rich kids to have the right accents, etiquettes and alma mater.
The parents will give their children cash to invest in whatever business they fancy; make calls to ensure junior gets the right contracts and tenders and in some cases use threats and outright bullying to ensure junior gets what he or she wants.
The common assumption is that rich parents do not expect payback, they are not like poor parents who expect water tanks and dairy cows once their offspring appears to make it. Rich parents too like to be paid back, only in a different form.
When their child is alive, they get their payback from basking in the glory of their ‘creation’ and often reminding the child and society at large of their immense contribution to their child’s success.
It is when their child dies that these parents come unhinged, as they demand a stake in the inheritance overlooking the rights of any dependents left behind.
These parents apply the warped logic that since they in some way facilitated their child’s success, then they should take full control of what is left behind.
One of the most overlooked factors is that most parents do not really like their children’s choice of spouses.
Mothers-in-law as we know are notorious in their dislike and disapproval for most of them would rather chose their own daughters-in-law.
We also know that mothers of sons think that their sons are demi-gods who can do no wrong and who should be treated like the kings they are.
These mothers are very clear that their sons are not to blame for whatever misdeeds or misdemeanours that they get into it - they like to see their sons are these hapless easy to mislead souls.
This blame the other party, thinking she gets a name and a face when the son gets married - she becomes the unwanted daughter-in-law.
If the precious son loses weight, then it is because the daughter-in-law does not know how to feed him. If he becomes a drunk, it is because the daughter-in-law is not giving him the right levels of support and care. If he cannot keep his privates in his pants, then it is possibly because the daughter-in-law is not doing all she can to satisfy him.
It is amazing how blind mothers can be about their sons. In the very unfortunate circumstances, where a son dies prematurely the mothers transfer all their angry blame to their daughters-in-law.
Yes, the mothers might be card-waving members of the saved brigade who believe that death comes to all of us, and we shall all meet in the afterlife but they ignore all of this when it comes to their precious sons.
They are convinced that had there been a better wife selection, there would have been a better marriage and no death.
The daughters-in-law become enemies for “killing” their sons and so all guns including legal ones are set on them. These mothers will overlook the plight of their grandchildren in their quest to fix the villain, the daughter-in-law.
What is more confounding about his mad quest for inheritance is that most of these squabbling parents are no spring chicken themselves. We all know that humans in their twilight years suffer too many conditions and afflictions that hinder them from serious decadence and debauchery.
Most of them have long bad food lists, have creaking joints, feeble hearts meaning that they have limited capacity to enjoy the largesse of life.
Since they cannot fully enjoy the trappings that mad cash brings, they should just surrender and let the young widows and children be: plus court cases always dredge out unnecessary family secrets and cause irreparable damage.
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