04 September 2011

You Get Nothing.

"Disinheritance hurts.

"My father never visited the grave of his father, I have never been to my father’s grave . . . and my sister’s children have not yet been to their mother’s grave. It’s nearly impossible to 'pay your respects' to someone whose last message to you is, 'I didn’t love you or value you.'" Article.

On the one hand, it's just stuff. Stuff doesn't matter in the big scheme of things and often not getting the stuff we think we deserve can bring up the feelings of jealousy and pain we shouldn't even have.

Your stuff belongs to you, and when you die, you are not obligated to give me one little penny in your will. Now mind you, it would be NICE if we're good friends or family that you leave me a small something, a momento, a wish-you-well parting gift just because you can't take it with you. I would appreciate that, but I don't think it's my *right* to receive it. How about this: use up every penny except burial expenses. Then there is nothing left to fight about. Sounds good to me.

I'm sure the parents had their reasons for giving all their stuff to one particular child or skipping certain people. I don't know every blogger and advice column writer personally, so I can't say that the "reason" is necessarily vindictiveness. It might be. Most people aren't like that, though.

"When our mother died, my sister and I never had a harsh word. My mother had been cared for by my sister. My mother had asked me if I would be upset if she left the house to my sister. Now, this was not the trump tower, but I shared with her that I thought that was the caring thing for her to do. My sister had spent many hours taking my mother to the medical center, doctor's offices, and many nights returning to relight the furnace. When my sister and I were cleaning out mother's house, we had a really good time. It was just the two of us... I am sure our mother was aware of us and appreciated our respect. My sister has since died, and I still think of that night." (readsalot212, from the article)

Waah!

Presently, our will is set up in such a way that each of our living children will receive equal shares of whatever we have. It may be that in the future that we will have to amend that. Some of our children are handicapped and may get more or less depending on the tax law or whatever when we get closer to the time... you know. For now, the "custody" base is covered: all minor children will be shipped off to New York to live in a three-bedroom house with my brother and his wife and the several cousins they don't know. I'm sure it would drive everyone crazy, but it's the best plan I can make on my budget, so my husband and I had better not die any time soon.

12 comments:

  1. My gosh. What a horrible, hateful post about something you have no personal experience with.

    The writer was complaining about the hurtfulness of the parent's final message, not about the lack of money. It's not about money, for her (perhaps it is to you, since that's what you wrote about).

    I was abused and battered and disinherited by a father who never showed me a day of love, despite all my efforts. I had done nothing "bad" except for being born a girl. He abused my brothers and mother, but he saved his special hatred for me.

    The disinheritance hurt because it was the last opportunity for him to show me love, and he didn't. I can earn money by myself.

    BTW, I was a daughter most people would have been proud of (and my mother certainly was). No drugs, no drinking, no boyfriends, high grades. Nothing to deserve this treatment.

    I don't think you know what you are talking about, here. It's not about the money. It's about love.

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  2. "Anonymous," I thought I was speaking in generalities here but yes, I stand behind the idea that it's the person's stuff to do with as he pleases. So, yeah. The problem is not with the money, it's the lack of love and kindness.

    Speaking of kindness, you didn't show much kindness by popping on here anonymously and calling me "hateful" before even asking for a clarification or saying something along the lines of, "I disagree because (reason)." The latter facilitates discussion and the former? Doesn't really bolster your argument at all.

    If you can't be a big girl and use your nice words, I won't let you play here any more.

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  3. My husband's grandmother was quite ill for the last 20 years of her life. My mother-in-law was her primary caregiver for a variety of reasons - she was the only girl and her 3 brothers are a selfish lot.

    When the grandmother died, my mother-in-law found a notebook she had kept outlining every. single. thing. she had ever given to her kids, detailing how much it cost and whether or not it had been reciprocated in kind. Lots of the stuff wasn't even gifts, but more like junk that she'd forced people to take when she moved to assisted living. It was quite hurtful.

    She was a horrid old woman.

    Frankly, I don't imagine I'll inherit anything from anyone. I'll count it a win if no one asks me for money.

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  4. Certain relatives when they died left their family on the hook for funeral expenses. I guess they expected never to die?? So, I know that "count it a win if no one asks me for money" thing because hitting people up for a couple grand at the funeral is tacky, but what can you do. You can't just let people toss the bodies of your loved ones by the roadside, tho.

    OF COURSE you grandma's list prolly didn't count all the extra help she received from your mom.

    I was writing this post more because I have disabled kids and guess what? If I leave my well-able to take care of themselves children with nothing, I hope they know it has NOTHING to do with love and everything to do with caring for people who can't care for themselves.

    If any money is left over, that is...

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  5. Wow...where did the sweet Anonymous come from?? Ouch.

    Well, as you already know my friend, when my Gram died she was my very best friend in the world. I lay in that bed with her as she took her final breath and my heart was full and at peace. I didn't want a single thing of hers, my Mother and Aunt had fought for at least the last 25 years over who would lay claim to what when Gram died. I was shocked when I found out two weeks later that Gram had left her most prized heirloom ring, the hutch my Grandpa gave her for their anniversary, as well as many other precious items of hers to me. My Aunt was livid. My Mom had a bent nose, too. They honored Gram's wishes though and it took months and months before I could look at the hutch in my kitchen without a pain in my chest and a lump in my throat. Now when I wear her ring, it doesn't make me want to cry, instead it warms my heart to know she loved me, too.

    On the f-l-i-p side. My husband was his family's caretaker for years. From mowing lawns to handman jobs to helping me take care of sick and dying relatives. We were led to believe for 8 years that he had inherited items only to be told that nope...he was the only child left out of the will entirely. The two kids who did nothing but drugs and make out of wedlock babies got the whole caboodle. Sure, it stung for a few days, but you know the truth of the matter is if they really feel that way, who wants to look at their crap anyway? Who wants their furniture in your house, or thier money in your bank account?

    I have a paternal "Grandmother" alive today. We have not spoken in 20 years. She's pure evil and has never met my children. Every year she mails us a large check at Christmas in an empty greeting card. No amount of money will ever take back her unkind actions when we were children or undo her mean mouth. That's why every year her $500 dollars goes into the burning barrel along with the card. Times might be tough, but they will never be so tough that I want her money. I wish Anonymous could feel the same way. I 'deserve' things, too. I'm not a bad person, but I don't want things from those who don't love me. No amount of entitlement will change that either.

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  6. Ya know Blondee, if I didn't know as much background as I do, I would probably try to tell you that all parents love all their babies (because that's been my experience) and this was some horrible oversight!

    Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be what is happening in your case. Your case? I'd say something odd is in the water out there except for the fact that you seem to have your head on straight. (Does everyone drink bottled water at your house?)

    Some human behaviour makes me go... how, exactly, does the human race go on when we treat each other so? And I dunno but if it's the grandma I'm thinking of I'd be sorely tempted to give the money to a gay person in need just to try to counteract some of that wretched hate that woman has. Give to someone who doesn't "deserve" it according to her. Really BLESS them in Jesus' Name just like Jesus has blessed you when you didn't deserve it.

    Anyway, the stuff isn't it. We can bless with a ring, a hutch, a handmade Christmas card... well. And then we're gone and I'm thinking we're pretty well forgotten in 100 years, too.

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  7. We've been round and round about this kind of thing in our family so many times. Mostly because my mother and then myself--have become the chief caretakers. Mom took care of both sets of grandparents until they died and an aunt. I helped her care for her mother, an aunt, and Mom's brother. Mom and her first cousin still don't speak about what was spent in the caring of his mother (my great aunt) and the funeral costs. Sad, really. Where was he every Saturday when Mom had to bathe his mother or change her colostomy bag every day?

    My mother has been more than generous with us--just as she is with everyone. She will likely die without a penny, but has enough to be buried. The furniture I wanted I will surely lose to my sisters--since I left the country. My father has nothing, but it did occur to me the other day that I bet my Mom will do something like help us buy a house or pay off student loans with his small life insurance policy. I am his only child.

    DH's parents are less generous with their money now, but it is comforting in many ways to know that when they pass we will be taken care of in respect to what they leave behind. They will undoubtedly leave half of the estate to each child (DH and his sister). It's not a lot, but likely more than we will ever see at one time in our life time. That being said--I would be quite happy if no one left us anything. DH's parents are a blessing and it will be our honour to care for them as they age. My mother has always done the best she could and I just hope that Dad dies in time for her to immigrate here and enjoy the rest of her life with us.

    My greatest hope for our kids is that we leave them in a good place, with a good solid footing in this world. Having taught them about God, and family, and hard work. We need to write a will. Right now if we go--the kids go to Scotland to live with my sister-in-law and her family who they barely know. But they are the youngest siblings/cousins--it seemed right.

    PS--Loved your response to anonymous!

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  8. Thank you, Bonnie. You would love my response even more if you could "see" that I disabled anonymous commenting at the same time I left the message. Anonymous will just have to at least make up a name if she wants to come back and have at it again.

    I think NON-caretakers have no clue how tiring and even expensive in terms of time, gas, lost wages etc. it can be to care for someone. It would be really nice if the whole family could get together and have a hard but honest talk.

    OH! Reminds me. When I was in the hospital waiting for G to come out of surgery, a horrible accident got wheeled in and took his place. (I guess he just had to sit for a couple more hours with his crushed ankle because the hospital is too lazy to HIRE MORE DOCTORS or call them in as they are needed - he was bumped three times... once, I could get, but three times??)

    Anyway, the WHOLE family came in en masse when they heard the news. One of the cousins ran out and got fast food while the rest talked and one old aunt took the lead. "We know (x) will be in a wheelchair likely for six months. How are we going to arrange her house and who will be the caretaker on which days and how are we going to look out for and deal with depresssion?" were some of the things she asked the family.

    Believe it or not, in the middle of that crisis, they had a GENERAL PLAN on what to do when she is released from nursing home in three months, which relative they all wanted to chip in to hire for the work, etc.

    I thought the idea of hiring a relative to do 20 hours a week, even under the table, was awesome. Don't know how they worked the finances, but it was amazing to see this aunt take charge and the whole family fall in line.

    NOTHING had better happen to that woman. :)

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  9. My mother's last message to me, (I can't remember the exact words, I threw the damn thing away!) was something about how I never bothered to visit her much and now it was too late. It was quite mean. Didn't upset me too much, we never did get on, but I had said to her often that she lived a long way away, I had work and kids in school, hubby was away a lot, how could I possibly drop in for coffee?
    Anyway, she was a sour old thing and the kids didn't like her much, which isn't a nice thing for me to say, but there it is. She had a way of saying and doing things that made people wish she would just go home again.
    I know this wasn't entirely her fault, she was an only child, born to a mother who didn't want her and didn't love her, yet demanded so much from her.

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  10. I agree that a persons possessions are theirs to do with as they please.

    I have older children, and much younger children. We have spoken with all of the children, because as it stands now, and until the little ones are of age, the little ones will get everything we have in trust. Their oldest brother will have control of everything, to do with as he sees fit, since he will be the one to make decisions for them if anything happens to us.

    I am sure we will change our will as soon as these two little ones are of age. In the mean time, all of our children completely understand.

    My mother sent each and every one of her children a copy of her will before she passed. We knew what was coming. My father has done the same. I think it is wonderful, because then there are no misconceptions, or heart feelings at a time of great grief.

    When my grandmother passes, I got my favorite candy dish, a dollar store dish, that held memories for me. Everything else was left to my father, her only child, who had financially cared for her for 6 years of illness. He deserved everything ! I was beyond thrilled to get the one little keepsake from my grandma.

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  11. River, my Woodjie would not travel well at all and I have many relatives I really SHOULD visit. But cannot. I'm afraid they don't get how severe the needs are, and maybe that is ok. Maybe that just has to be ok. Sometimes people just can't understand for whatever reason that you do the best you can, you make mistakes but you love your family.

    I think anonymous jumped in pretty harshly but she was right in that it's not the stuff, the love is what's important. And giving your stuff CAN demonstrate that love. What's the point of being stingy when you're dead? :P

    Jana, good for you. I see exactly what you mean. Right *now* all children get equal inheritance but later we may change that and it WILL NOT be because we love one child less than another. I hope when the time comes (and Bonnie had a beautiful comment on this) that our children are well and healthy and able to participate in the world.

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  12. *sigh* inheritance is always a touchy subject.

    We hope to have all the bases covered for when we pass over. Our will is updated every few years to cover the changes in family numbers... and the age of Brylee and Griffin.
    At the moment B & G are 'willed' to Steve.

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