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Dealing with the siblings after the parents' death

MontegutMontegut Registered User Posts: 6,124 Senior Member
Starting a new thread, rather than put this on the Parents Caring for Parents Thread, though it's probably been touched on there.

Anyway, Mom has been gone for three years. Father in Law has been gone for four years. For my mom, I have three storage units full of furniture, boxes, that no one wants me to donate, but no one has room for in their home. For years, I paid for the rental out of Mom's funds, but since Mom is gone, I've been paying it myself.

My out of town brother will turn 50 this year, and his wife asked us to go in the unit and find pictures and scan them and send for her to do a slide show. I asked my local retired sister to help with this, as I work full-time now, and she refused. She said her husband does not want any boxes brought into their apartment. She hasn't driven since her retirement in January, and is now walking with a walker. She will be wheelchair bound like my Mom was in no time. She has an abusive husband, so he will be no help with this, either. Anyway, I digress.

Hoping to get insight from some of you who have been through this. I am ready to put the antique furniture, boxes, in the dumpster. My brother expressed interest in some of the furniture, but has yet to come to town to get it. So has the other out of town sister. The two of us who remain in town have no desire or room for it either. The grandchildren have taken some of the items, but don't have room or desire for it.

I'm fit to be tied because now, ten years after moving my mom out of the family home, I'm getting these annoying requests for specific things in the units, that I'm supposed to go in and find and scan and distribute. Like, the wife of a grandchild wants to research geneology, and I had to meet her at the units to go through boxes for her to find items which she then expected me to scan for her. And now, my brother's wife wants me to scan childhood pictures.

So, anyway, they expect these items to be kept secure, for them to go back to on a whim, but do they not realize that these storage units cost money?

Sorry for the long post, but I am at wit's end with this group!


Replies to: Dealing with the siblings after the parents' death

  • TwicerTwicer Registered User Posts: 168 Junior Member
    You can get rid of the furniture, then consolidate the boxes in (hopefully) one unit.
    If the furniture is in decent condition, you can donate it to a charity that picks up donations (and you can schedule the pickup for the date convenient to you). Let all the relatives know about a month prior that your plan is to get rid of the furniture on X date, so they have an opportunity to come get the items they may want, but don't let it drag on.
    Regarding the scanning - no, you should not be doing the scanning for other family members. If they asked, you should have said no.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 20,369 Senior Member
    Regarding photos and other paper momentos and such, I would imagine you could hire someone to scan them for yourself and your family for not much money relative to the $ you are spending for storage costs. You could hire some teen, college student, housewife or retired person looking for some extra cash. They can scan all that stuff for you and you could send files out to family members or store it online somewhere in a shared account. Let the digital age be your friend.
  • LVKrisLVKris Registered User Posts: 545 Member
    Sorry you are going through this, Montegut.

    What is your end goal? To close up all the storage units and distribute or donate the stuff? To keep the units and have everyone chip in to pay for them? To have everyone stop making demands on your time with searching and scanning chores?

    If you are bearing the cost by yourself, and you want to be rid of the expense, you could certainly impose a deadline. Tell everyone you are closing the storage units on X date. If they don't retrieve the stuff they want by then, then they can pay for storage themselves.

    I know. Easier said than done. You will likely end up compromising to preserve family harmony. Just make sure that everyone understands that the current situation will not go on indefinitely.
  • HarvestMoon1HarvestMoon1 Registered User Posts: 6,228 Senior Member
    Agree with the advice in #1. In the meantime I would give them the code or duplicate keys to the storage facility. Advise them in an email that they are free to access the unit for their needs at any time prior to the date you have given them for terminating the contract with the storage facility.

    You have already been very accommodating.
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri Registered User Posts: 8,624 Senior Member
    Tell your siblings you're closing down the units. Give them a specific date and tell them anything they want needs to be removed from the units by that date. You don't need a reason, and I wouldn't entertain discussions about sharing payments either. At the end of that time, dispose of the items however you want.

    I would keep the photos and family records and give away or sell everything else. Anyone who wanted to scan photos or documents would have to come to my house at my convenience. I don't let the originals go and I'm not a copying service, so they'd have to scan them to my computer and bring a thumb drive to save them on.
  • SouthFloridaMom9SouthFloridaMom9 Registered User Posts: 3,446 Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    Ummm no . . . you have been very generous with your time and energy already.

    I would set a firm date, even if it's 6 months from now, when the storage units will be emptied and the stuff disbursed first-come, first-serve (what doesn't get picked up gets donated).

    If you want you could ask everyone to chip in for a service to scan all pictures and put them online for everyone to pick what they want. And then the hard copies will be available until a certain date.

    Sorry you're stuck dealing with this. People just don't think sometimes.
  • MomofJandLMomofJandL Registered User Posts: 1,587 Senior Member
    Sorry you are dealing with this. We have a pile of stuff that's been in my living room for 6 months from MIL/FIL's place. I won't put it in the basement until DH clears out stuff to make room for it, and will not put it in storage because that is just putting off a decision. So I feel your pain.

    I agree with those who say you can't rely on your family to help you pay for it, you have to make it their problem. Come and get it or it gets pitched. I know right now that no one is ever going to go through the pictures DH rescued from his family home, but he can't face that thought yet. Your siblings can't either.

    Keep your emails and letters to your family. You may need to remind them a few times in the coming years how many chances they had to come and deal with this clutter. You have been more than patient and generous with them.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 34,234 Senior Member
    We have our carport filled with stuff from my late MIL and FIL. They've been dead 21+ years now. My BIL has stuff from late SisIL (his sister). It's a LOT of stuff. We have offered for BIL to take whatever he wants and H has to clear the carport before he buys a new car. It has cluttered the carport from when we moved into this house over 2 decades ago!

    You are very kind and gave allowed yourself to be imposed on. Time to be firm and set rules and deadlines in writing. So sorry you're dealing with this.
  • anothermom2anothermom2 Registered User Posts: 1,753 Senior Member
    So sorry you are going through this. I agree with what has been said above. We had a similar experience to yours with SIL - she wanted "items of sentimental value" but wanted us to send them to her. We gave her a bunch of stuff from her parents house that was easily shipped, kept what we wanted and the rest was disposed of. We tried a sale of their furniture and other items, and very little of it was desired by anyone, so we had to pay to have the bulk of it taken away when we sold their house. If you have any antiques that may be worth something, sometimes the local dealers will come and take a look and tell you if they would buy it. When my mom died, my brother divided up the pictures as equally as he could, and also brought me a couple of boxes of nicknacks from her house, which he and his wife kindly had taken the time to pack up. I couldn't get there to send a piece of furniture that I wanted and it was sold with the condo. I might have liked more nicknacks, but I couldn't get away to florida at that time. I appreciated what he could do.

    If I was you, I might divide up the pictures and send everyone a small nicknack and get rid of whatever else I could. If anything is sold, reimburse yourself for your out of pocket expenses - shipping, the past storage etc, and if a surplus (doubtful), distribute it. If no one can take the stuff, it is not worth paying for 3 storage units. Most likely no one will want the stuff ever.

    @ from other people who refuse to have consideration for me. You have to decide for yourself how much you can take. In my experience, my family did not care much that they put others to expense or aggravation (as yours sounds to me from your post.) It was not worth the aggravation dealing with them, trying to please them etc. Usually, when you tell these types that you will no longer do whatever it is that they want, they are offended, angry, hate you, and whatever. You have to be able to take it.

    Best of luck whatever you decide.
  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom Registered User Posts: 5,762 Senior Member
    When my mother down sized, she had boxes and boxes of my grandmother's genealogy research none of my siblings wanted it but my mom refused to let us toss it, she finally allowed me to send it to a cousin on the west coast that is LDS and interested in genealogy. It cost me $$ to ship all those boxes but it was worth it to get rid of them in a way that didn't upset my mother. I'm sure my cousin flipped when she saw how much stuff she agreed to take!
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