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Old 07-11-2014, 02:14 PM   #21
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Some of the OP SIL favoritism might just be SIL getting most of MIL's stuff because she's the same gender. Kind of the automatic default. I'm old enough, barely, that a son inheriting the fine china instead of the daughter sounds somewhat strange just on the surface of it. I'm not surprised the SIL would get a majority of MIL's stuff. Maybe it will equal out a bit when the time comes for FIL's downsized personal stuff. Not that SIL won't complain of course.
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:19 PM   #22
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It doesn't have to be this way, and I don't understand why it deteriorates to this. My father passed away in 2002. Shortly after, my mother developed multiple medical problems as well as frontal lobe dementia. She became almost impossible to deal with. Her sisters, one by one, cutoff all contact with her. Her life-long friends, one by one, cut off all contact with her. All she had left were her 7 children and we dreaded any kind of contact with her. But we stepped up to the plate.. My oldest brother who lives far from Mom took over her finances/investments/bill paying. Another brother who lived about 5 miles from Mom took over any maintenance/repair issues at her condo. I lived an hour and a half away but I took over taking her to all doctor appointments (which were weekly) and did her shopping and for awhile her cooking (until we got in-home care and then they did the cooking). The other 4 siblings would make occasional calls and visits - they were living all out of the state. The 4 who were not directly involved in Mom's care deferred all decisions regarding Mom to the 3 of us that were involved (and we are the 3 oldest) Mom died in December of last year.

Not only did we have her estate (in a trust) to settle, we had my father's to settle as well since his was left in a trust with Mom getting the income for her life. My oldest brother was Mom's Estate Trustee and I was Dad's. We divided up the money as equally as possible in all their numerous accounts and investments and distributed to everyone. In a couple of cases, the financial institution would not permit fractional shares to be distributed, so two of us (me being one) got a larger % than the other 5. So we wrote checks to the other 5 so it could all be even. The total value of the estates was almost $2,000,000 so we aren't exactly talking chump change.

We took pictures of all the furniture and anything of value in Mom's condo and posted it. Then everyone signed up for what they wanted. If two people wanted the same thing, they worked it out. There were absolutely no fights for anything. Everyone was so accommodating to the others, it was amazing. Everyone was given a deadline to get their stuff out of the condo and once it was cleared out we listed the condo for sale. It sold in 1 day to the first looker.

So my point is, if the 7 of us could work out all these issues without fighting and everyone pulling their fair share given their proximity to Mom, I just don't understand why some families have all the problems and issues they do when there is a death. It doesn't have to bring out the worst and it shouldn't. Maybe it's because with all 7 of us, we are all either in good jobs with good incomes or retired already with comfortable retirements. Some are better off then others, but nobody is needy. Maybe we were just lucky.
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:20 PM   #23
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having just gone through this with my mother, you should definitely have a better system and accounting. Anything SIL wants, she needs to pay for out of her share. Also, you alternate between picks of things. Does she want $8k or $8k worth of china? Indeed, who is the executor?
There is no executor. My FIL is still alive but gave SIL 1st pick of anything she wanted that he didn't need.
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:34 PM   #24
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When my husbands dad died last year we saw some amazing behavior from some of the siblings. They were so intent on inheritance they didn't consider that most of the assets were jointly titled with their still living mother. Oops. Guess they'll have to wait.
I heard this story from a lawyer being interviewed about the need for good, specific wills. He had written a book full of horror stories about what happens when relatives fight over assets because the will was not specific enough.

An old lady with no children of her own but from a large family, was in the hospital with a heart condition and not expected to pull through. But, after many weeks she recovered well enough to return home and resume her life. One day she sees a post-it note on the floor with the name of one of her nieces. A few days later she finds another post-it not with the name of another relative. Curious, she looked around for the source of these notes. Finally, she discovered that under every piece of furniture was a post-it note with the name of a family member. Apparently, they had entered her home and divided up her property even before she had died and the will had been processed.

She made a new will disinheriting the lot of them.
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:34 PM   #25
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FIL is being unfair, but miscommunication is usually a root cause of these issues. He may be holding to old stereotypes while not realizing that DH would really have appreciated getting that china. Given that decision, I don't understand why Lisa felt obligated to take time off work to pack it up for SIL, who could have done it herself or hired a moving company.

What's done us done. Next time FIL needs help, it would be perfectly reasonable to refer him to SIL. In fact, it might be worth communicating this to FIL in a very polite way before the situation arises.
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:52 PM   #26
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Given that decision, I don't understand why Lisa felt obligated to take time off work to pack it up for SIL, who could have done it herself or hired a moving company.

What's done us done. Next time FIL needs help, it would be perfectly reasonable to refer him to SIL. In fact, it might be worth communicating this to FIL in a very polite way before the situation arises.

I took off work because I didn't want DH to have to deal with it alone. SIL has a long history of extreme laziness so there was little reasonable expectation that she'd act different this time.

And true, what's done is done. She's shown that she can't be counted on to help, even in a time like this, so I will have zero expectation in the future. We'll continue to help FIL with whatever he needs and will just come here to vent on occasion.


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Old 07-11-2014, 02:57 PM   #27
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........
So my point is, if the 7 of us could work out all these issues without fighting and everyone pulling their fair share given their proximity to Mom, I just don't understand why some families have all the problems and issues they do when there is a death. .
The world is not seven billion people just like you. Some of us have sociopaths for siblings.
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:04 PM   #28
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The above situations are one reason why we are giving "stuff" to kids right now to enjoy and covet.
That's what my dad is doing as well. He saw first hand how ugly it can get when family fights over an inheritance.
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:06 PM   #29
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It doesn't have to be this way, and I don't understand why it deteriorates to this. My father passed away in 2002. Shortly after, my mother developed multiple medical problems as well as frontal lobe dementia. She became almost impossible to deal with. Her sisters, one by one, cutoff all contact with her. Her life-long friends, one by one, cut off all contact with her. All she had left were her 7 children and we dreaded any kind of contact with her. But we stepped up to the plate.. My oldest brother who lives far from Mom took over her finances/investments/bill paying. Another brother who lived about 5 miles from Mom took over any maintenance/repair issues at her condo. I lived an hour and a half away but I took over taking her to all doctor appointments (which were weekly) and did her shopping and for awhile her cooking (until we got in-home care and then they did the cooking). The other 4 siblings would make occasional calls and visits - they were living all out of the state. The 4 who were not directly involved in Mom's care deferred all decisions regarding Mom to the 3 of us that were involved (and we are the 3 oldest) Mom died in December of last year.

Not only did we have her estate (in a trust) to settle, we had my father's to settle as well since his was left in a trust with Mom getting the income for her life. My oldest brother was Mom's Estate Trustee and I was Dad's. We divided up the money as equally as possible in all their numerous accounts and investments and distributed to everyone. In a couple of cases, the financial institution would not permit fractional shares to be distributed, so two of us (me being one) got a larger % than the other 5. So we wrote checks to the other 5 so it could all be even. The total value of the estates was almost $2,000,000 so we aren't exactly talking chump change.

We took pictures of all the furniture and anything of value in Mom's condo and posted it. Then everyone signed up for what they wanted. If two people wanted the same thing, they worked it out. There were absolutely no fights for anything. Everyone was so accommodating to the others, it was amazing. Everyone was given a deadline to get their stuff out of the condo and once it was cleared out we listed the condo for sale. It sold in 1 day to the first looker.

So my point is, if the 7 of us could work out all these issues without fighting and everyone pulling their fair share given their proximity to Mom, I just don't understand why some families have all the problems and issues they do when there is a death. It doesn't have to bring out the worst and it shouldn't. Maybe it's because with all 7 of us, we are all either in good jobs with good incomes or retired already with comfortable retirements. Some are better off then others, but nobody is needy. Maybe we were just lucky.
Credit should be given to parents who raised 7 that can get along and handle issue together as a family. I only hope my 3 will do the same.
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:34 PM   #30
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Credit should be given to parents who raised 7 that can get along and handle issue together as a family. I only hope my 3 will do the same.
True. But I know that many times this happens in families where you will have 1 or 2 bad apples to throw a monkey wrench into situations like this, And yet, they were all raised alike. I dunno. I know I cherish each of my siblings and for the most part, I think they all feel like that. At least we are past all this now. The past 10 years of dealing with Mom and her issues were really beginning to take their toll on the three of us who were so closely involved with her care.
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:43 PM   #31
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"Your family doesn't hide anything. Everybody comes out and tells it like is it, but somehow no one is offended and even if they are offended, no one else cares. My family was never any good at conflict resolution and that's led to problems where we don't talk to each other anymore. With your family, everybody talks to each other, but no one will shut up."
This sounds just like DW's family contrasted with mine. They say amazingly harsh things to each other but personal offense is unusual, short lived and never lasts through dinner. When DW's mother passed, with no money but some personal items, DW (the 3rd of 6) stepped in, decided who got what, and that was that. When any of them complained she just looked up, said STFU, and walked away.

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The world is not seven billion people just like you. Some of us have sociopaths for siblings.
So true. And many of those siblings think we are the sociopaths.

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The above situations are one reason why we are giving "stuff" to kids right now to enjoy and covet.
./.
We have gone through the exercise of family inheritance fights, bad feelings, etc a couple of times and don't want to have the kids go through it.
DW and I have the same intention, and my mother has also made an effort to give some things now and designate others. There's a limit, though, and there are very powerful (and repressed) emotional forces at play. Some siblings have been keeping their own version of score since childhood, chalking up every offense and keeping a running tab of "fairness". It all comes out into the open when the parents pass. In many cases it's a good thing they're not around to witness the behaviour of their pride and joy.

Anyone remember the Smothers Brothers "Mom Always Liked You Best"?
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:20 PM   #32
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The older we get, the less we seem to be attached to physical things anymore.
Unless someone would want to buy something for substantial $$$, it only has "value" if there is some sort of emotional attachment. But why become emotionally attached to something simply because it reminds you of a person, place or time in your life? No offense to folks on this thread, but for whatever reason I don't need a "touchstone" to remember things. If a memory is important, it will stay with me forever. And if a memory is not important, I'd rather not have something around that reminds me of it.
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:35 PM   #33
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The world is not seven billion people just like you. Some of us have sociopaths for siblings.
I understand completely. I have a brother like that. I am glad I made my own way and got on with life.

All I can add is: "One does not know a person until he has shared an inheritance with him". Chinese proverb.
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:43 PM   #34
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Reading this thread makes me so grateful that both my sister and I and DH and his 5 siblings see things of this nature at least 90% eye to eye. My sympathies to those of you dealing with these tough circumstances.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:33 PM   #35
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When my mom passed, it was a Sil that wanted everything, we took turns picking, but then when it was clear she was hoarding, we made her take other items in addition that were less desirable, like the can of outdated beans and the creepy Christmas angel! It's become a running family joke, which my mom would have loved.
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:05 PM   #36
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When I hear stories like these I realize how lucky I am with my immediate family. There was none of the bickering, hoarding, greed, etc., much as MissMolly described. The main point of contention was "Angel Bear" that Mom had made and that was resolved by agreeing to rotate it around once a year between the three of us.

DW's family OTOH, is an entirely different story....
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:44 PM   #37
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It's sad about the china. But fortunately, it's just stuff. I would look ahead to dad's will and who will be the executor, as it looks like SIL will be a problem in the future. Hopefully your DH's dad has a level head and has made your husband the executor in his will--it sounds like he is the one who will do the right thing, and will have you to help him do most of the work when he passes eventually.

This makes me happy we had only one. He doesn't spend much money either. My sister and I knew we were getting a substantial inheritance, and she got most of the extra stuff (the china, some furniture) out of sheer need. DH went through the dividing of stuff in the 90s. Found out his younger brother raided his mom's bank account because of drugs, while she was dying. I was coming over every day I had off to attend to her recovery from surgery, DH was visiting all the time, his older brother came from 1000 miles away when work allowed him to do so.

After that experience DH has nothing to do with his younger brother, and he was never close to his older brother. My sister and I fared much better, I think because we both are the breadwinners in the family and have worked hard for what we have.

Fortunately my sister's inheritance has made her incredibly responsible and much more money savvy.
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Old 07-12-2014, 03:54 AM   #38
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This does not have relevance to the OP, but to some with estates...

I will be executor when my mother passes... I have already told all siblings that all possessions will be auctioned.... if you want something, you will have to pay for it... (thinking of doing a blind auction so feelings do not get hurt)... All money will then be distributed as mom instructed...

I do not think that we will have any problems.... first, mom has very little that anybody wants... second, all money and investments are split equally... you cannot argue over nothing...
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Old 07-12-2014, 05:24 AM   #39
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This thread is one of the few things that could make me feel better about having parents who left only a tiny inheritance.

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Old 07-12-2014, 10:17 AM   #40
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This thread is one of the few things that could make me feel better about having parents who left only a tiny inheritance.

Same here. When the dust settles, it'll be miraculous if I can cover their final costs without dipping into my own pocket. Then again, writing a check might be worth it if it means not having to deal with my ne'er do well sister.

DW, on the other hand, is going to have a much harder time. Not one, but 2 siblings with legitimate Hoarders-level OCD. One of them, nearly 50, never launched and still lives with MIL. DW, as the "responsible" child, has already been named as the executor of her Mom's estate. Between dividing the assets, and dealing with inevitable fights over sentimental items, my DW is dreading it. Thankfully, MIL is 81 and healthy, and may live another 15+ years. We'll be delighted to kick that can down the road as long as possible.


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