Blogs


Notices

My mother's estate... and other family matters

Old 03-28-2017, 02:50 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 278
My mother's estate... and other family matters

If 'Enabling' were an Olympic event, my mother would be a Gold medallist.

Just a bit of background - I'm the eldest of eight children; there are four boys and four girls. My father was an alcoholic who committed suicide in 1983, leaving piles of debts. One of my brothers lived with my mother for a while, his own alcoholism getting steadily worse and worse - until he finally tried to strangle her. Then the police became involved, and to this day there's an injunction against him coming within a mile of the house.

One of my other brothers (also an alcoholic and, at the time, heroin addict) had recently been released from jail. He got a job as a train driver, but lost it quite quickly when he drove the train through a red light and was found to have cocaine and alcohol in his blood. His wife then kicked him out - whereupon he moved in with my mother. To his credit, he did kick the heroin habit but the alcoholism continued unabated.

Recently, the subject of her will came up, for reasons I won't go into here, and it looked for a while as though she was intending to divide her estate equally between myself and my brothers and sisters... but then it transpired that she was actually intending to make the alcoholic brother who lives with her sole beneficiary.

It's her money, and she's entitled to dispose of it as she sees fit. I have to say, I was surprised when it looked as though she was going to divide her assets equally, as she has never shown any consistency of treatment towards her children. Surprised and delighted, especially given the circumstances of my father's death. It would somehow have erased all the pain and trauma of the past.

Of course, dealing with the effects of the suicide is something which we each have to do for ourselves, and I'd say it took 30 years before I'd really say I was over it. Living with the fact that a final message from a parent was: "Get lost - you mean nothing to me!" is part of my history and my family's history - and has been a huge incentive to look within for validation and self-respect.

I surprised myself with the realisation of how much it would have meant. I've come to terms with the message from my father, but it would have been nice if an equivalent message wasn't going to be left by my mother as well.

The second issue, of course, is that access to large amounts of money is likely to hasten my brother's alcoholism and send him to an early grave.

My instinct is just to walk away and leave them to it. My non-alcoholic siblings, though, are understandably distraught, and one of my sisters has said that she is writing to my mother just to register her feelings - and asked me to do likewise. None of the other siblings is involved in anything like Alanon, and hadn't really appreciated the potential impact on my brother's alcoholism. Interestingly, too, they are not particularly interested in the actual amounts of money involved. They are concerned about the issues of fairness and recognition, like me, and how wonderful it would have been if her final message was that she cared about her children equally and unconditionally.

This is not going to happen!

Which then brings me on to the subject of the potential letter... I'm contemplating writing it in a non-confrontational way, expressing concern about the likely impact on my brother - but leaving it at that. In no way telling her what to do, but just offering an insight which may or may not be received.

Then, totally, letting go the outcome.

Any thoughts?
Rosalba is offline  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Rosalba For This Useful Post:
Bekindalways (03-28-2017), hopeful4 (03-28-2017), Hummer (03-28-2017), SabrinaQ (09-26-2017), Steely (06-02-2017), Westexy (03-28-2017)
Old 03-28-2017, 05:57 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
Maudcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Wareham, Mass
Posts: 6,943
Hi, Rosalba.
How old is your mom? M alcoholic sib lives with my mother. They are the classic enabling/enabled pair. Always have been. We have something similar. My mother would like her 3 children to share her assets after death equally.
Which will give the alcohol dependent sib a chunk of money.
Which he will blow on booze and gambling.
I would say that, sadly, your mom isn't going to change with regard to bro.
I would continue to work on finding ways to heal and find peace about the family of origin. Peace.
Maudcat is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Maudcat For This Useful Post:
Bekindalways (03-28-2017), hopeful4 (03-28-2017), Rosalba (03-28-2017)
Old 03-28-2017, 06:03 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
A work in progress
 
LexieCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 16,633
I don't think there's any way to write such a letter that wouldn't be interpreted as your resentment about being left out of the will. I totally believe you--I just had to go through something similar with my folks (in their case giving equal lifetime "gifts" to family who I suspect didn't "need" it, for the sake of treating everyone the same--only one really needed the help, which would have been fine with all of us), but ultimately they did what they wanted (as was their right).

I think it's legitimate for you to express your concerns, but do you really think it will cause her to rethink it? If not, I'd just let it go.
LexieCat is offline  
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to LexieCat For This Useful Post:
Bekindalways (03-28-2017), hopeful4 (03-28-2017), Rosalba (03-28-2017), SparkleKitty (06-02-2017), Westexy (03-28-2017)
Old 03-28-2017, 06:17 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
soberandhonest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Northwest U.S.
Posts: 779
I think you can write such a letter if you are careful to explain that your mom can and should do whatever she believes is right with her estate. If you do decide to write your mom, you might suggest to her that the portion, whether all or some, of the estate that is left to your brother be placed in a trust fund so that your brother does not have instant access to large quantities of money. The trust fund can be written so that the funds may only be used for the benefit of your brother and allowable costs can be strictly defined. She can even set it up so that the funds are used to pay for rent/mortgage and utilities with a small monthly allowance for living expenses. My grandfather, with encouragement from his other children, did something similar for the benefit of his alcoholic adult child. Sadly, the child ended up predeceasing my grandfather by a few months.
soberandhonest is offline  
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to soberandhonest For This Useful Post:
Bekindalways (03-28-2017), LexieCat (03-28-2017), Rosalba (03-28-2017), Sasha1972 (03-28-2017), Steely (06-02-2017)
Old 03-28-2017, 06:21 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 278
Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
I think it's legitimate for you to express your concerns, but do you really think it will cause her to rethink it? If not, I'd just let it go.
I doubt she will rethink it, and it really is just a question of me making my views known, affirming myself - and then letting go the outcome.

There was one time, years ago, when she was talking about how she'd gone out and bought him a half-bottle of whisky "Because otherwise he'd only have bought himself a whole one", and I asked her if she was aware that there was a support group for the friends and families of alcoholics. She asked about it, shrugged and said she "didn't like going out in the evenings". I left it, figuring that either she would see the lame duck excuse for what it was, or she wouldn't. I'd said my bit; she had the information and what she did with it was up to her.

Likewise, on one of the rare occasions when my brother admitted to being an alcoholic, I remarked that there was help and support available if he wanted it... and then I left it at that.

There was a time when I used to feel like John Cleese in the following video clip every time I thought about my family, but even that fades with time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VU3S14xVTnc
Rosalba is offline  
Old 03-28-2017, 06:27 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 278
Originally Posted by soberandhonest View Post
I think you can write such a letter if you are careful to explain that your mom can and should do whatever she believes is right with her estate.
Yes, quite!
Rosalba is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Rosalba For This Useful Post:
Bekindalways (03-28-2017)
Old 03-28-2017, 07:02 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 181
I've observed and assisted with the distribution of several estates over the past three years (none involving me as an heir, but all involving different family members) and I've observed a few things:
-Almost everyone involved says they don't care about the money
-Almost everyone cares about the money
-Almost everyone represents themselves as altruistic
-Almost everyone perceives at least one other relative involved as greedy, conniving or undeserving
-Many represent that they only have an opinion because of the involvement of the perceived greedy, conniving or undeserving heir
-There are often heirs who "work on" the elder relative as they age in order to gain an advantage in the estate distribution

Wills and estates often uncover deep wounds, emotions and dysfunctions that have gone unaddressed, sometimes for generations. I have no doubt that your intentions are good, but Lexie is correct about how you will be perceived. It tears me up when parents don't divide their assets equitably (even though it is their money) because it ALWAYS creates conflict, often deep and everlasting, for the survivors.

I think you should express your feelings to your mom while she is alive, but you should be very honest and authentic about your feelings. You should share not only your concern for your brother, but also your feelings about receiving or not receiving a share yourself. Otherwise, I believe you will appear conniving and phony. It's very possible that your mother cares about you all equally, but that your brother has been "working her", making a case for himself to get everything. I have seen older people change their wills in the presence of the requestor just so they wouldn't have to listen to their incessant badgering anymore.

Good luck to you!
Westexy is offline  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Westexy For This Useful Post:
Bekindalways (03-28-2017), Maudcat (06-02-2017), Rosalba (03-28-2017), SabrinaQ (09-26-2017), Sotiredofitall (03-28-2017), SparkleKitty (06-02-2017)
Old 03-28-2017, 07:19 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
 
atalose's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,104
My instinct is just to walk away and leave them to it. My non-alcoholic siblings, though, are understandably distraught, and one of my sisters has said that she is writing to my mother just to register her feelings - and asked me to do likewise.
I think you need to listen to your instinct and give this some more thought.
atalose is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to atalose For This Useful Post:
Bekindalways (03-28-2017), hopeful4 (06-02-2017), Rosalba (03-28-2017)
Old 03-28-2017, 07:19 AM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 278
Originally Posted by Westexy View Post
I've observed and assisted with the distribution of several estates over the past three years (none involving me as an heir, but all involving different family members) and I've observed a few things:
-Almost everyone involved says they don't care about the money
-Almost everyone cares about the money
-Almost everyone represents themselves as altruistic
-Almost everyone perceives at least one other relative involved as greedy, conniving or undeserving
-Many represent that they only have an opinion because of the involvement of the perceived greedy, conniving or undeserving heir
-There are often heirs who "work on" the elder relative as they age in order to gain an advantage in the estate distribution

Wills and estates often uncover deep wounds, emotions and dysfunctions that have gone unaddressed, sometimes for generations. I have no doubt that your intentions are good, but Lexie is correct about how you will be perceived. It tears me up when parents don't divide their assets equitably (even though it is their money) because it ALWAYS creates conflict, often deep and everlasting, for the survivors.

I think you should express your feelings to your mom while she is alive, but you should be very honest and authentic about your feelings. You should share not only your concern for your brother, but also your feelings about receiving or not receiving a share yourself. Otherwise, I believe you will appear conniving and phony. It's very possible that your mother cares about you all equally, but that your brother has been "working her", making a case for himself to get everything. I have seen older people change their wills in the presence of the requestor just so they wouldn't have to listen to their incessant badgering anymore.

Good luck to you!
This is brilliant - thank you so much! I'll share it with my non-alcoholic siblings, I think!
Rosalba is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Rosalba For This Useful Post:
Bekindalways (03-28-2017)
Old 03-28-2017, 07:40 AM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
 
ardy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: milwaukee wi
Posts: 3,574
Blog Entries: 13
Hi, Rosalba. ardy here.. just talked to my Mom.. I only get to see her once in awhile ... I am the oldest too.. my Pop was a terrible drunk.. gave away most of what he had that would have gone to help Mom when he died.. and then she found out that there was so little..

I have 3 sisters all that want to be the oldest.. my #3 sister is having her boyfriend buy her a house in NC..and next year she will be taking Mom and moving to NC. from Wisconsin.. for when Di is living there no one will be around to care for Mom.. I will never see my Mom again... she will never see the place of her Mother and Father and my Dad and his family ... ever again.. in my heart I know that when she is gone .... I will not be told... for my sisters are like that.. Mom is giving away all of her stuff.. my Mom is active in her church.. will not get to do that out there.. for she is not a Baptist... will never see family but my Sister and her daughters and maybe my Daughter ... and they will all go on how I abounded my Mom.....

somehow they should make all the kids in school go thro a 6 week class on how your family disappears after you get to be 20.. and the children you have had and raised are no where around. even for holidays....

I am sad for you and your memories.. and sad for my lost time with my Mom....ardy
ardy is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to ardy For This Useful Post:
Bekindalways (03-28-2017), Rosalba (03-28-2017)
Old 06-02-2017, 05:38 AM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 278
I haven't been on here in a while, and I haven't had any contact with my mother during that time. That is, until this morning - when SHE contacted me. She started off by saying that I was the only one of her children who hadn't been in touch to protest about her will and the unfairness of it. And that it was HER money, wasn't it?

This is where months of detachment and prayer really worked for me.

I agreed that it was, indeed, her money and she should allocate it as she saw fit. But that the brother who she intends to make sole beneficiary is a drinking alcoholic who had blown every single opportunity that life had presented to him, and that for many alcoholics/drug addicts coming into a large amount of money was a death sentence.

She tried to deny that he's an alcoholic. I didn't argue. I won't be arguing in the future, either.

Then she raised the issue of my sister who had contacted her absolutely distraught about the will in the first place. This particular sister is very well off financially, but felt that being cut out of the will was a statement that she meant nothing to my mother, that she was worthless. I told my mother that it was not about the money, but about feeling loved and valued - and left it at that.

I said that the final message to us from my father was "Get Lost", and that it would have been nice if this weren't the message from both our parents.

To be honest, in the intervening months I've grown accustomed to the idea that I won't be inheriting from her; my future lies with my lovely partner and my own career, and this is something which is happening in the background; the emotional equivalent of a neighbour cutting a lawn I suppose.

I wondered about contacting my siblings, and then decided against. The sister who had been most vocal about the will has a long history of cutting me out of family gatherings, pointedly not giving me Xmas presents etc, and only very sporadically contacting me in the hope of getting me onside in some feud that she's having with someone else. I've long since detached from her with love, and relate from a distance without getting sucked into the games.

It doesn't alter the fact that being cut out of the will would have hurt her deeply, which is why I mentioned it. Not in the hope that this would change anything, but to assert what I see as the reality of the situation - and then let go the outcome.

I've no idea what kind of communication's been taking place between my other siblings, and right now it can stay like that!

Thank you to this forum, to Alanon, to my lovely recovering alcoholic friend who asked if the purpose of writing to my mother would be to get her to change her mind, and to my partner. Thank you to all of you for your support in preserving my Serenity!
Rosalba is offline  
The Following 12 Users Say Thank You to Rosalba For This Useful Post:
ardy (06-02-2017), dandylion (06-02-2017), honeypig (06-02-2017), hopeful4 (06-02-2017), Jaeger (06-02-2017), Ladybird579 (06-02-2017), LexieCat (06-02-2017), PuzzledHeart (06-02-2017), RollTide (06-02-2017), SparkleKitty (06-02-2017), TimeForMe (06-02-2017), Westexy (06-02-2017)
Old 06-02-2017, 06:02 AM
  # 12 (permalink)  
A work in progress
 
LexieCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 16,633
Sounds to me like you have handled this fraught situation perfectly.

Isn't it nice not to feel you're feeding the drama?
LexieCat is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to LexieCat For This Useful Post:
honeypig (06-02-2017), Jaeger (06-02-2017), Rosalba (06-02-2017)
Old 06-02-2017, 06:04 AM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Member
 
ardy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: milwaukee wi
Posts: 3,574
Blog Entries: 13
oh Dear Heart Rosalba... my heart weeps for you and so many like us.. I know just what you are feeling... was with my Mom over Memorial Day.. Friday to Monday.. we hit 3 grave sites and took her to dinner lunch and breakfast .. so she would not have to cook so much.. at 87 and she is 4 feet nothing tall... it is getting harder for her.. but she made Friday lunch Sunday morning breakfast and I did video's of Mom stiring and cooking and talking to me .. put it up on face book.. the only time I have gotten great feed back from my sisters.. and nieces.....
we come from a time of just after the World War.. and so much was changing.. for them and for the babies of the 1947-1960's...... its hard kiddo so very very hard.. sorry tearing up. to see my typing.. I call when we get back to Milwaukee every time.. This time she kept thanking me.. I don't need to be thanked because I love my Mom... she did so much for us as kids and to help me out in the 1980's.......
This business about getting older sucks big time....

you just help by calling her and letting her talk.. you listen... I do and she often says Ardith Ann..... who are these other people that have to direct my life.. Mom.. they think they are helping...

Ardith Ann was her best friend in high school and my Pops best first cousin.. when she died of a illness in 1948 they married in 1949 and this Ardith Ann came about in 1950...... they were 20 ... when I was 5 they were 25... kids yet in such a changing world.. loved to watch my Daddy dance my Mom around the living room.. I am 67 Mom is 87 and Pop has been gone for 11 years... I know my Pop loved my Mom very much because of the look in his eyes.. and when we were at the grave site I know she still loves him so much.. yep.. I am the Oldest and will do everything I can every day.. to keep that look forever.. Love Dear Heart to you.. try to find a time in your mind of a Dad that was before all the pain ... and hang on to that.. love Ardy...
ardy is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to ardy For This Useful Post:
dandylion (06-02-2017), honeypig (06-02-2017)
Old 06-02-2017, 06:11 AM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 278
Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
Isn't it nice not to feel you're feeding the drama?
Isn't it just! xxx
Rosalba is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Rosalba For This Useful Post:
honeypig (06-02-2017), Jaeger (06-02-2017)
Old 06-02-2017, 06:20 AM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Member
 
Maudcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Wareham, Mass
Posts: 6,943
Good for you, Rosalba. Sounds like you were able to stay away from all of the drama.
Maudcat is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Maudcat For This Useful Post:
honeypig (06-02-2017), Rosalba (06-02-2017)
Old 06-02-2017, 11:01 AM
  # 16 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: UK
Posts: 207
Nicely handled
Hummer is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Hummer For This Useful Post:
honeypig (06-02-2017)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:51 AM.