How Not to Talk to Your Children About Their Inheritance

Especially after you win the lottery.

Photo credit: Pexels, CC0 Public Domain

Following yesterday’s discussion of how wealthy parents should talk to their kids about money, here’s… how not to do it:

Lottery millionaire’s son spent £1.6m – then sued father for more cash

Dave and Angie Dawes won the EuroMillions lottery in 2011. This isn’t your ordinary lottery—the prize was an unfathomable £101 million ($131,017,200) and the Daweses celebrated by giving a small group of close friends £1 million each.

They also told their sons that… well, this is where it gets complicated:

Michael Dawes, 32, took his father, Dave, and stepmother Angie to court after they stopped giving him more money. He claimed the couple had promised to ensure he and his partner, James Beedle, 34, would never have to worry about money again.

Does this mean Dawes is entitled to as much of his family’s funds as he wants, even though he has already spent a reported £1.5 million, “including £1,000 a week on groceries?”

Probably not. (I mean, definitely not.) But his assumption is not fully unfounded. Here’s what father Dave Dawes told The Guardian, in that article about how he was giving close friends £1 million each:

Dave has two adult sons, Angie a younger son who is still under 18. None of them has asked for anything in particular yet, they said. “I’m sure they know that they are going to be well looked after.”

So yes, it sounds like he said something vague about providing his sons with money, and his son took that to mean he could have as much money as he wanted. (Or he said something more specific later on, but his son stuck to the original vague statements that his father probably made after being blindsided by a £101 million lottery win. I have no idea what actually happened here.)

The family went to court, and the judge ruled as follows:

“Michael was provided with the funds to have a comfortable life, but for his own reasons he chose not to take that opportunity. I therefore dismiss the claim.”

Not to be all Arrested Development, but this is why we need to talk to our children about money.

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