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Dealing with the siblings after the parents' death


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

  • musicprntmusicprnt Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    Having been in this position (as the family "accomodator"), what this usually ends up meaning is I was the one who was expected to accomodate everyone else's needs (forget about my own). My therapist would call this the classic example of trying to play tennis by yourself, and it doesn't work. I had a lot of childhood issues with empotionally having family members mad at me with disaster, and it took a lot and faced with choosing my birth family and their anger or my own little family,to figure out there is nothing wrong with setting boundaries and also wanting accomodation, too.

    There are several options here, all designed to take the load off of yourself:

    1)If the family who want stuff in the storage facility kept but don't want it in their homes, then tell them you don't want anything in the unit, and that either they can arrange and pay for the stuff to be shipped to them (or their own storage facility), or they can take over paying for the unit you already have..and set a deadline, so they don't dither and leave you with the status quo.

    2)If they don't want to do 1 above, then tell people the unit is paid off through the end of X month, and then you are walking away. If they want anything from it, they should arrange to have it sent to them (you could potentially get someone to ship it, if they pay, but that is still your time).

    3)If someone wants stuff scanned, they can either do it themselves, or agree to pay to have someone do it (and if others in the family want in, they can chip in, as could you if you even care). It is very crass to assume someone else has the time to wade through the crap in the storage unit to find the documents and photos, scan them and then collate them together electronically go give to others. Surprised they didn't want you to scan them and put them on a website so they easily could get them ......

    The way to look at this I found is to look at it from my angle, too, what do I get out of it. All I got from accomodating my family was not having to feel the tension in my stomach they may get mad at me, and 'keeping the peace', but in doing so I rarely, if ever, got anything back, often even a thank you. I don't know your family, but in mine there often seemed to be a member who was 'good natured', I was one of those, and in the end it isn't that people don't think, they don't have to, if they have someone they can always ask for something and never be told no, why bother to think of them? I mentioned that with one of the last talks I had with my siblings, many years ago, and they were like "you never asked", basically put the blame on me, and when I said "did it ever dawn on you to offer, as I often did?" they gave me this blank look.

    Me, I would advise you to tell the people you want to close out the storage room by the end of X month, and if there is anything they want they will need to make arrangements to get it or if they want, those who want the stuff can maintain it in the current storage space but they will need to take over paying for it, then they can get the stuff when they want and dispose of the rest and then vacate the storage space. The worst part of your story to me isn't the cost of the unit(thought that is very thoughtless of them), it is the imposition on your time, as if your time doesn't mean anything or you are a member of the leisure class while their time is 'precious'.

    And I can tell you it isn't appreciated, one summer when I was brutally busy with work, was picking my wife up in downtown Manhattan after her classes finished most nights during the wek, had very little free time, I tutored a cousin in a summer course in statics he was taking (he had failed it during the year). The kid got through the course, and instead of getting his usual D's and F's, got a B in it...and I never even got a simple thank you from the kid's mom, and from what I hear someone called her on it and she said "well, it isn't like he got an A" (needless to say, when my dad asked me about further tutoring, I told him where to stick it, and why, and he knew better than to ask me why).
  • MichiganGeorgiaMichiganGeorgia Registered User Posts: 4,472 Senior Member
    I would give an end date and then donate anything you don't want. However if you decided to ask them to help pay for the storage unit make sure they pay for it in advance..

    It's hard to know what to keep but at this point I would think if you haven't used it in 10 years you aren't going to miss it.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 36,904 Senior Member
    You could end up on "Auction Hunters". :D
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 7,760 Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    The "land of indecision" says it all.
    Get what you want and tell everyone else the storage units are closed in 60 days.
    If they want something THEY are responsible for retrieving it. Not you.
    And no "saving" things for someone. That's just another "indecision".

    Get pictures/letters if you want and have them scanned as suggested or just divvy them up (my preference).

    Contact a dealer if you think there is anything of real value.
    Donate/trash everything else.

    Do not fall for the "I'll pay for the units" deal. The stuff will be there another 20 years until the grandchildren trash it finally. And they'll be sending you a bill for "your share" of the rental.

    It's very hard to part with loved one's belongings. My friend's brother just couldn't. And still can't. I took a lot of stuff from the home when their mom died not for me but just to donate it. It was easier for him to give it to me than donate directly. It would have never left the house except for me. A lot more is left years later.

    Do everyone a huge favor and get rid of all of it. It's your designated duty.
    You were elected when you got the storage keys and paid the bills.
    Clear the storage units and your lives. Everyone will breathe much easier.

    And hugs.

  • psychmommapsychmomma Registered User Posts: 2,987 Senior Member
    I feel your pain. I still have a house to empty and will feel guilty when I start the massive pitching/donating phase. The others have been asked to take what they want for years, but haven't.
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 7,760 Senior Member
    psychmomma--No guilt!

    When my mom died a year ago my dad wanted everything gone immediately. He was protecting himself from an overload of emotions. Great decision on his part.

    But it left the task to my sister and me. It was very hard but probably the best thing we could have done.
    I ended up bringing home things that we couldn't "decide on" and now pretty much am discarding much of it.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 34,238 Senior Member
    It took us 5 years to empty my in-laws home enough to rent it out. My SIL and BIL who were 2500 miles away didn't help the clearing but didn't strenuously object. It took us months hauling stuff down the 66 steps from the house to the street. It is tough but it helps to be as unemotional and objective as possible.

    It was helpful that a GS was doing her gold project due needed clothing and bedding donated, so that was a no brainier. SIL and BIL had decades to get their stuff, but we still found some of their things--we gave some and pitched the rest. It's thankless, but time to write deadlines and move on with your life.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 20,445 Senior Member
    Just focus on how much donating things will help others who will use them and appreciate them! It will also help ur planet by getting some re-use out of the items.
  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 23,030 Senior Member
    I would have the opposite problem: my sister and I would want everything. :)
  • HarvestMoon1HarvestMoon1 Registered User Posts: 6,228 Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    My youngest brother who was the last of us to marry had just bought a home at the time my father died. He and his wife wanted much of the furniture and it simply made sense for them to take it. The interior of their home is almost a replica of the home I grew up in. The rest of us chose a few favorite paintings and I asked for my father's watch and eye glasses. Pretty much everything else went to my youngest brother.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 23,011 Senior Member
    I agree with others who said to set a date when everything will go and ask everyone to come to take what they want before that date.
  • cobratcobrat Registered User Posts: 12,285 Senior Member
    Stand strong, but also be prepared for any family backlash which may result when you put your foot down to resolve this situation.

    While it's been over 5 years, an older college friend is still dealing with an angry half-sibling over the way he was forced to clean out and wrap up his mom's estate due to tight scheduling constraints from the financial and legal obligations his late mother incurred. Did I mention this half-sibling didn't bother to even offer to pitch in to help at all?

    The level of anger from said sibling is such he's still concerned about the possibility of a lawsuit from the wrapping up of his mother's affairs as that was threatened several times by the sibling over written correspondence and in my presence while I and a couple of other college friends were at the house helping with the clean out.
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 7,760 Senior Member
    If you think you'll have trouble cleaning out the units (or a sibling shows up who has trouble) get a friend to go with you. An objective eye who understands is very helpful when it comes to discarding sentimental things.
  • tired alreadytired already Registered User Posts: 337 Member
    I don't have any advice, just wanted to chime in and say that I feel your pain. Although for me, it's down to about 12 boxes that I keep moving from place to place in my house. Some of it is estate paperwork that I probably need to keep for a period of time, some of it is sentimental and some of it is stuff that we couldn't throw away for whatever reason. My brothers were perfectly happy for me to keep it all - since it doesn't have any real value. If it had value they would have claimed it! Every once in a while when I am shifting the boxes around, I think that my husband and/or kids will trash it all the day I die. So why wait, right?? Maybe in time, but for now opening the boxes brings back way too much emotion to make any real decisions....so in my case, the land of deferred decisions is the perfect explanation.

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