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Mom's Ring and Furs
Old 11-27-2014, 03:00 PM   #1
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Mom's Ring and Furs

My mother recently passed away. The last time she was admitted to the hospital, DB gave DS my mother's ring to hold on it (It's insured for $4500.)

DS already had her furs (there are 2). According to DS, my mother gave them to HER when she went into an independent living facility 12 years ago. DS is now saying the furs are HERS. Mom gave them to her... then she says she wants the ring even though she can't bring herself to wear it.

I am not the type to wear furs or expensive rings but I thought I might like my mothers'. I tried to tell DS the fair thing is to figure out how much the furs and ring are worth and pay the other siblings (there are 3 of us) their share if one of us keeps something. I don't know if DB is thinking about any of this or not since there are other things with her estate that we still have to divide up

It really irks me DS is being this way and wondering if I should push it. I love DS and really don't want anything to come between us.

Anyone experienced something similar? How did you handle it?
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Old 11-27-2014, 03:56 PM   #2
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If your mother's estate is large enough to go through probate, someone will be named Executor (if there's a Will) or Administrator (if there isn't) and will be in charge of making an inventory of your mother's property and then allocating it to heirs. If she didn't have a Will, there are "default" laws about how it gets distributed. Of course, they'll still have to settle the question of whether the ring is part of the estate, but it sounds like it is since your mother didn't specifically give it to your sister. If it's part of the estate, it will be handled as you suggested- typically each sibling gets an equal share of the estate, so the one getting the ring would get less of the other items.


BTW, I'm not a lawyer. I can sound pretty convincing because I spent 3 summers working in a law office, but I've killed a few brain cells since then. You should eventually get a real attorney to help you sort this out.
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Old 11-27-2014, 04:10 PM   #3
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Athena53 is correct. The ring was only temporarily put in the sister's custody when your mother went into the hospital. The idea there was apparently to protect it from theft by hospital staff (rare, but it does happen). It wasn't "given" to her, merely placed in her custody temporarily.

She has a stronger case with the furs since that was 12 years ago but I sense that isn't a point of dissension.

Perhaps an attorney can explain the distinction to your sister.
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Old 11-27-2014, 04:57 PM   #4
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When my Ex's grandmother died at the age of 102, she had a giant diamond solitaire ring. Every one of her adult offspring wanted it- till they found that the rest of her estate was minimal, so whoever got the ring would have to pay cash money to the others to even it out. Then nobody wanted it.


Fortunately, my SIL, who appreciates good jewelry and had the means to buy it, got it appraised and bought it from the estate.
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Old 11-28-2014, 07:23 AM   #5
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I lost both of my parents this year so this is all very fresh in my mind. The first thing I have to tell you is that you can't rely on the executor/administrator to do the right thing. in my case they were appointed because they were older not necessarily smarter, more organized and better decision makers. Also there was a lot of involvement by BIL and SIL's which complicates things even further. You have to strongly be involved right from the start or things will most certainly fall apart. The best way to handle the liquidation process is to auction off the estate. That way if any family members have any real interest in anything they can buy it just like anyone else. Like mentioned above as soon as someone has to get their checkbook out they usually rapidly lose interest. Once things are auctioned off and the items are turned to cash it is very easy to divide the amount up equally.

I wish you the best of luck!
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Old 11-28-2014, 07:56 AM   #6
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Corporate ORphan, so sorry for your loss. It's too bad the siblings can't find a way to share your mother's things. Even a will or written instructions are no guarantee things would be distributed as intended, there are so many other factors at work. I've seen this happen more than once, where disagreement leads to conflict and creates long lasting ill will, and am currently trying to find a way to prevent it from happening again.

Your thought about assigning a value to things and including that as part of any settlement is a good option. It would be nice if the others agree, but the critical agreement is with the executor.
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Old 11-28-2014, 08:36 AM   #7
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We had a similar situation when FIL/MIL passed 3 months apart. We were 1500 miles away and BIL was executor. One situation was called out to BIL over a new SUV MIL had 'gifted' him in her last 60 days. DW made an issue and he did give us a check for half the appraised value.

The other was all their furniture and household appliances. BIL needed those for his second home. He never said that, just that they couldn't have an auction or estate sale. It wasn't allowed where they lived.

DW and I decided it was just stuff, no heirlooms, and never said a word. The logic used was DW wanted to still have a DB she could talk with. They don't have a great relationship but it's better than what would have happened.

Sorry for the loss and sincerely hope your family can find a way to deal with the issues.

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Old 11-28-2014, 08:55 AM   #8
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So sorry about your mother, CorporateO. I would put something in writing about the ring and furs (three sentimental keepsakes, three children--seems pretty easy to split imho). But, unsentimentally, is the ring really worth $4500? Probably not. Are you really going to wear furs? Probably not. Cherish your memories instead.

If your sister keeps all three items, be sure to ask her about them every single time you see her from now on and mention how you wish you had something from your mother. Maybe it will wear her down or at least give you some childish pleasure to make her squirm.
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Old 11-28-2014, 09:05 AM   #9
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But, unsentimentally, is the ring really worth $4500? Probably not. Are you really going to wear furs? Probably not. Cherish your memories instead.
I agree on the furs. I have a mink stole my grandmother won in a church raffle. It's in beautiful shape but who wears mink stoles anymore? Having walked away from a lot of Stuff in a divorce because I had a greedy ex-husband, I also agree on the memories; sometimes you have to walk away form Stuff to hold on to the important things. I hope, though, that you and your sister can reach an amicable agreement.
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Old 11-28-2014, 09:09 AM   #10
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Something similar happened with an estate in our family. The siblings fought over money that was supposed to be a loan to one of the adult children and paid back into the estate, but after the last parent died the recipients claimed the loan was a gift and not paid back to the estate.

It ended up with a lot of hard feelings and some of the siblings barely on speaking terms over a decade later. They are all getting on in years now so I don't think things will ever be patched up. We just stayed out of it and kept on friendly terms with all parties, even though it meant less of an inheritance for one of our parents which might have been passed on to us some day. Maybe if it was millions of dollars we would have been more worked up over it, but I think for the dollar amount involved not getting involved in a family feud was the right call.
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Old 11-28-2014, 09:39 AM   #11
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This kind of stuff always breaks my heart.

My dad's will /trust had two interpretations - the trustee (a sibling) interpreted it in a way that hit me for tens of thousands. I chose to let it go because the family relationship with that sibling was FAR more important than money. I have never regretted that decision.

In this situation - the furs seem clearly to have been gifted to your sister - and would not be part of the estate. The ring is less clear.... but is the value of it something you want to alienate a sibling over?
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Old 11-28-2014, 10:24 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the replies and condolences. After thinking about it overnight I rather have DS' goodwill than the ring. (I once heard a very wise saying --- I'd rather be happy than right.) She is more of a mess about this than I am. It just really irked me when she said the stuff about "Its MINE!".


My mother left a trust where DB and DS and I are listed as equals. She also left a handwritten will with the same thing about anything not in the trust. DB doesn't want anything but the $ and some pictures (prob because his wife and my mother didn't get along.)


There are a lot of family dynamics going on but no need to get into that here. I was just wondering if there was a better solution on the ring. My mother has an up to date insurance policy listing the furs, the ring and a bracelet (which we can't find) so I would think I'd have a case that the furs were given to DS to hold onto for safe keeping and to keep away from the DIL. Those four things are the only things she had of monetary value except the actual money.
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Old 11-28-2014, 10:58 AM   #13
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When did anyone ever pay the "appraisal price" for used jewelry? Craigslist and other lists are full of diamond rings for sale for "what the owner paid for it, appraised for twice as much!!" (They aren't likely to get what they paid for it, either). I suspect a jeweler might give you a modest fraction of the appraisal value in cold hard cash. Furs would be even harder to sell, because they are basically used clothing. From that point of view, the sibling who holds onto the fur or ring is not getting as much of the estate as it might appear.

Unless the ring is very beautiful and looks great on you, I would say, money from the estate is a much better deal than old jewelry, and I would not try to get one sibling to give the others a share of the appraised value...even the retail value...because that would probably be more than the ring would actually sell for. As far as sentiment is concerned, that is highly personal; but I have discovered I no longer care very much for some of my Mother's things which I received at her death 12 years ago. None were valuable, but I coveted them at the time because they reminded me of her. They no longer do.

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Thanks for all the replies and condolences. After thinking about it overnight I rather have DS' goodwill than the ring. (I once heard a very wise saying --- I'd rather be happy than right.) She is more of a mess about this than I am. It just really irked me when she said the stuff about "Its MINE!".


My mother left a trust where DB and DS and I are listed as equals. She also left a handwritten will with the same thing about anything not in the trust. DB doesn't want anything but the $ and some pictures (prob because his wife and my mother didn't get along.)


There are a lot of family dynamics going on but no need to get into that here. I was just wondering if there was a better solution on the ring. My mother has an up to date insurance policy listing the furs, the ring and a bracelet (which we can't find) so I would think I'd have a case that the furs were given to DS to hold onto for safe keeping and to keep away from the DIL. Those four things are the only things she had of monetary value except the actual money.
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Old 11-28-2014, 11:13 AM   #14
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My brother was executor and his wife wanted my mother's jewelry. Nobody else did.

So, he got three appraisals from three impeccable sources to establish value, and discussed it with the other heirs. Nobody had any issues with his appraisals. He then subtracted that amount from the cash he received from the estate. That was fine with everyone. Old jewelry is worth less than one might expect, BTW.

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After thinking about it overnight I rather have DS' goodwill than the ring.
Excellent decision.
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Old 11-28-2014, 11:38 AM   #15
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I think you are absolutely taking the right approach OP. Not worth wrangling with family members over stuff.

My father's will left everything he had to my sister and myself equally (my mother had died 6 years prior). Before he died he split his coin collection between us and my mother had no jewelry of intrinsic value. My sister and I walked through the house prior to the estate sale and picked out small items we wanted (no disagreements about anything). I did keep his car and a few large antique pieces of furniture and their appraised value was deducted from my share of the cash assets.
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Old 11-28-2014, 11:48 AM   #16
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CorporateO, so sorry that not only have you lost your mother, your family relationships are also strained. Unfortunately you will read on other threads here that this is all too common. I agree that preserving family goodwill is the best course.

Again I give thanks that DS and I had no substantive disagreements at all in dividing up our mother's estate, either financial or personal items. I'm wearing one of Mom's rings now, and my sister has the other really nice one, and we had no trouble deciding who got which one. I consider myself truly blessed.
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Old 11-28-2014, 03:57 PM   #17
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more family wars are started over personal items followed by the death of a parent....it happened in my Dad's family my DW father's family and could have happened between my brother and myself if I would have asked for what was rightly mine.....but I didn't. My parents wanted everything equal between DB and my self. At the funeral home my brother suggested that neither of us really needed the money so he thought we should divide it between the grandchilden.....he had 3, I had 2. I had just come in from out of town, had been at the funeral home for about 5 minutes when he asked me what I thought......I dumbly said OK.....and then really felt cheated......BUT.....I remembered all the other family wars and didn't want to start one that would make all the grandchildren suffer.....so I said nothing. Today my DW is great friends with one of my brother's daughters who has a son close to the age of my youngest......born after the death of my parent......and, no offer by DB to give any of the inheritance to young son since we now had 3 children each. DW and I have some nice stuff and I worry about our passing, so, I've decided to have my 3 kids draw straws.....pick anything not named in our will, short straw 1st, etc. I've told them about all the previous family wars and told them they would honor us by not fighting over anything.......my suggestion.....is what I think you would like to do......don't worry about the ring......when you look at the value of generations of extended family, you'll win by losing. All the best and sorry for your loss
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Old 11-28-2014, 04:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporate ORphan View Post
My mother recently passed away. The last time she was admitted to the hospital, DB gave DS my mother's ring to hold on it (It's insured for $4500.)

DS already had her furs (there are 2). According to DS, my mother gave them to HER when she went into an independent living facility 12 years ago. DS is now saying the furs are HERS. Mom gave them to her... then she says she wants the ring even though she can't bring herself to wear it.

I am not the type to wear furs or expensive rings but I thought I might like my mothers'. I tried to tell DS the fair thing is to figure out how much the furs and ring are worth and pay the other siblings (there are 3 of us) their share if one of us keeps something. I don't know if DB is thinking about any of this or not since there are other things with her estate that we still have to divide up

It really irks me DS is being this way and wondering if I should push it. I love DS and really don't want anything to come between us.

Anyone experienced something similar? How did you handle it?
These kinds of disputes can put family members at odds to the grave. If you really don't like wear furs or rings, but think you might like to wear your mother's, just forget it and figure that you now know your sister better than before.

You may be able to win, but you will also lose in that your sister will resent your actions forever. At least, this is the overwhelming likelihood.

When my parents died one brother and I who were not on scene just determined that we were only interested in a fair cash and securities split, and other brother and sister were welcome to anything else they were willing to steal.

I have never looked back and regretted that decision. Maybe I know that some of our family solidarity is to some degree phony, and more dependent on the two older brothers having some sense of proportion than anything else. Big deal, very little is as pretty as we might like it to be, but the appearance of this still helps. In a family, especially one stressed by a death, pick your fights carefully.

Ha
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Old 11-28-2014, 05:37 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporate ORphan View Post
My mother recently passed away. The last time she was admitted to the hospital, DB gave DS my mother's ring to hold on it (It's insured for $4500.)

DS already had her furs (there are 2). According to DS, my mother gave them to HER when she went into an independent living facility 12 years ago. DS is now saying the furs are HERS. Mom gave them to her... then she says she wants the ring even though she can't bring herself to wear it.

I am not the type to wear furs or expensive rings but I thought I might like my mothers'. I tried to tell DS the fair thing is to figure out how much the furs and ring are worth and pay the other siblings (there are 3 of us) their share if one of us keeps something. I don't know if DB is thinking about any of this or not since there are other things with her estate that we still have to divide up

It really irks me DS is being this way and wondering if I should push it. I love DS and really don't want anything to come between us.

Anyone experienced something similar? How did you handle it?
From what you have written it sounds as if DS doesn't have nearly the concern about anything coming between you. Your solution is the most reasonable other than selling the ring and dividing the money equally.

Cheers!
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