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Understand now how death in family causes riffs
Old 07-11-2014, 09:23 AM   #1
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Understand now how death in family causes riffs

My MIL passed 3 weeks ago. DH, SIL and I came from across the country for the funeral and to help FIL get the house ready to sell.

After the funeral SIL did one thing... Clean out her mothers clothes and pick the jewelry she wanted to keep. Other than that for 3 solid weeks she has sat on her butt watching soaps.

Oh, and she claimed the good china (worth about $8k) but she was too lazy to pack it up so DH and I packed it.

She left about a week ago to go home to enjoy the rest of her summer leaving us here to do the hard work of getting the house emptied and ready to sell.

I think there is a major showdown coming between DH and SIL. He wanted the china since we entertain and she doesn't but FIL gave her first pick of literally everything. In his mind we're well off and she's a single mom, no money, blah, blah.

I get his thought process but it was decidedly not cool.

But bottom line - it isn't any of my business so I'm keeping my mouth shut, but I had to vent or I would have exploded! Thank you for your time, now back to the regularly scheduled program.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:35 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear about the chaos.

Congrats to you for knowing the bottom line, staying out of the fray and letting your DH deal with your SIL.

Feel free to vent.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:38 AM   #3
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FIL gave her first pick of literally everything. In his mind we're well off and she's a single mom, no money, blah, blah.
:
At my grandma's passing, gramps had an entirely opposite approach. His view was "they don't have any money, what do they want with good stuff?"

To those with more, he gave more.... His view was that there's a reason you're poor.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:41 AM   #4
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But bottom line - it isn't any of my business so I'm keeping my mouth shut, but I had to vent or I would have exploded! Thank you for your time, now back to the regularly scheduled program.
Vent all you want Even small amounts of money and things bring out the worst in some people. Stepping back is the smart thing to do.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:44 AM   #5
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Yes. It definitely is an issue. DW had decided that it was not possible for her to keep caring for her father with Alzheimer's. Her mother was already in a nursing home and she was having to deal with her issues also. Making it more fun was that FIL wanted to be in his wife's room most of the day. The obvious answer was to move him into assisted living at the same facility.

Enter SIL who lives over 1,000 miles away. She came in one time and spent a week living with their father. She announced that she showed it could be done with him staying in the house and then promptly flew off. After DW's manipulated guilt wore off, she realized that spending the next several years trying to do that would not work and went back to the plan to move him.

SIL was not to be deterred. After "healtfelt" appeals to DW and me, she moved on to lobbying our adult children. "Your grandfather doesn't want to be moved to an old folks home" was her chant. I got good and pissed. She called again and started in on me. I replied that I could put him on a plane and she could pick him up at the airport. Oh, she couldn't do that! She has a job like my DW used to have before she spent so much time trying to care for her parents.

Then their is what happened when my own father passed away and how my stupid brothers fought over the most meaningly, worthless junk. Fortunately, my sisters had more sense.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:48 AM   #6
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Funny how the further away the BIL/SIL lives, the more expert they are at how things should be done for FIL/MIL.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lisa99 View Post
I think there is a major showdown coming between DH and SIL. He wanted the china since we entertain and she doesn't but FIL gave her first pick of literally everything. In his mind we're well off and she's a single mom, no money, blah, blah.

I get his thought process but it was decidedly not cool.

But bottom line - it isn't any of my business so I'm keeping my mouth shut, but I had to vent or I would have exploded! Thank you for your time, now back to the regularly scheduled program.
I hope your DH handles it. There's no way you can be anything but the bad guy. Remember it's just stuff. My DW is just not very assertive.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:53 AM   #8
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Funny how the further away the BIL/SIL lives, the more expert they are at how things should be done for FIL/MIL.
BIL's mother had Alzheimer's and he also live many miles away from her. His siblings dealt with all the issues but he waded in with all his opinions on what they should be doing. He generated a horrible rift with them over all his "advice." This predated my FIL's issue so he didn't see the results of his own mother's situation as being the result of his actions (or lack thereof).
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:56 AM   #9
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My mom passed away last year. She knew she was getting old and got rid of all her stuff herself after letting any of the family come claim things. She had a web site with photos of stuff for the kids to pick. (There are lots of kids.) Basically, nobody wanted anything and everything was decided well before she died. No bickering and pretty good time at the funeral for everybody.

One of the in-laws remarked, "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."
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:09 AM   #10
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All it takes is a family crisis for folks to show their true colors.
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:10 AM   #11
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LOL! : that's nearly as good as you can hope for.

It takes a lot to "get under my skin", but when an ex-brother-in-law (yes, EX) came creeping around after a family death, it kicked in. I felt really insulted, but was relieved there was an attorney of years who knew what to do. From Chicago.

I called him, he said "do you want me to call? We lawyers have a way of talking.".

It's been quiet ever since.
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:13 AM   #12
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For over four years my gal flew back and forth from the SoCal desert to Oregon, 2 weeks on, two off, caring for her Mother. Not an insignificant cost to us in money or relationship, but her Mom was a fine lady. Toward the end my gal's sister, who lived 1/2 the distance away, stopped at the Mom's house and decided to stay and take over care and dictate when and how my gal was to provide aid - to her, the sister. SIL rearranged the house, locked off 1/2 of it so she could have some private space, threw away some of the things we had provided, spent Mom's money changing the house to accommodate her, the sister - all in all, demonstrated her Borderline Personality Disorder to the fullest.

Three years later the trust still cannot be settled because it would hurt the sister's feelings to just settle the estate without her being fully on board. SIL already has the house earmarked for her (at a stupid 1/2 valuation, but wants to be compensated for the care she gave in the final 4 months of her Mom's life - but won't give a number for that compensation. My gal, a Co-executor with her 1/2 brother, is powerless against her sister and opts for disengagement. I try - badly - not to get cranked up about the whole affair. It isn't about the money, we wouldn't starve if my gal got nothing - its the emotional cost that just keeps dragging on and on and on....
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:26 AM   #13
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...
But bottom line - it isn't any of my business so I'm keeping my mouth shut, but I had to vent or I would have exploded! Thank you for your time, now back to the regularly scheduled program.
That sure isn't easy, but it probably is best. Try to remember that, there are bound to be some times you want to choke someone.

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.... Oh, and she claimed the good china (worth about $8k) but she was too lazy to pack it up so DH and I packed it.

She left about a week ago to go home to enjoy the rest of her summer leaving us here to do the hard work of getting the house emptied and ready to sell. ....
OK, keeping your mouth shut is one thing, but this sounds like you are actively enabling her bad behavior.

I would have told her, 'We will try to take care of cleaning up all this other stuff, though we sure could use your help. You need to get anything you claim out of here by xx/xx/xxxxx or it goes to Good Will. It isn't valuable to us (little white lie maybe?), so if it is valuable to you, please come get it'

Who is the executor? They should have a means to deal with this.

-ERD50
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:59 AM   #14
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This thread makes my realize (even more) how blessed our family has been. When DF lost it with dementia before he passed, it was a terrible year for the three children. My sister took care of his needs while in assisted living. She refused any additional compensation, even what was allowed for being the executor.

Yes we all knew what his assets were so everything was above board.
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:32 PM   #15
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OK, keeping your mouth shut is one thing, but this sounds like you are actively enabling her bad behavior.
-ERD50
DH hates confrontation so just stewed while she was here and not helping. Unfortunately we didn't have a choice with the china packing.

FIL is selling 90% of the house contents so he can move to a smaller space. The hutch the china was in is being sold. SIL left town without packing up the china so it was left to us to do. There isn't an estate since FIL is still with us.

I'm realizing it isn't the stuff that makes me so mad, it's that as DIL I'm taking vacation from work to get him moved and SIL is already off all summer and is not here helping!

Appears from everyone's responses this is a universal problem.
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:46 PM   #16
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DH hates confrontation so just stewed while she was here and not helping. Unfortunately we didn't have a choice with the china packing.

FIL is selling 90% of the house contents so he can move to a smaller space. The hutch the china was in is being sold. SIL left town without packing up the china so it was left to us to do. There isn't an estate since FIL is still with us.

I'm realizing it isn't the stuff that makes me so mad, it's that as DIL I'm taking vacation from work to get him moved and SIL is already off all summer and is not here helping!

Appears from everyone's responses this is a universal problem.
No doubt in family dynamics there are the slackers and there are the ones who honestly try to get things done for the sake of the family. Plus, taking turns, share and share responsibility alike often does not happen.

Instead of "You carried the weight this time, so why don't I do that this time", what ends up happening instead is "You did such a good job last time, so why don't you take care of things again." Or even more, when the slackers try to take credit afterwards
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:36 PM   #17
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My sister and I were totally on the same page wrt inheritance/etc... My brother was not. My sis and I valued relationships over money/stuff.... my brother and his wife started putting "dibs" on stuff with every visit. My mom saw that and made special notes in her will/trust that some of the claimed stuff was NOT to go to them. They'd overplayed their claims and pissed off my parents.

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.

Family can be very challenging.
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:56 PM   #18
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When my parents died, they left a huge house full of things and a vacation home. It took a couple of years to untangle. I have 3 brothers and I had to play peacemaker, as always, and it got really old. As it ended up, there is one brother that no one plans to see or talk to again due to his behavior. He realizes that, but preferred to cheat the rest of us out of a rather small amount of money that maintain relationships.
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:02 PM   #19
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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?
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:05 PM   #20
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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 less and less items that are heirlooms and when the *day* comes, it will be a simple call to a estate liquidator to get rid of all the remaining furniture. The older we get, the less we seem to be attached to physical things anymore. The financial asset distribution end of it is already in-place.

One thing DW did was make a couple of family photo albums up using a lot of old photos from the past and give them to her daughters (extended family here) as Christmas gifts.

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.
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