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Dealing with the siblings after the parents' death


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

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 76,187 Senior Member
    I'm sorry you are having to deal with this. I'm assuming that nothing in these storage units are of interest to you and your immediate family.

    What exactly was supposed to happen to all of this stored "stuff" when the last estate was settled?

    I would do the following:

    1. Pick two or three days when folks can come and get what they want from the storage place(s). No negotiation on this. You are paying the bill...and you want to get this stuff out of the storage place.

    2. Tell the folks that you have been paying for the storage of these items yourself, and you will no longer be doing so as of...and pick a date. Tell them, the unit either needs to be emptied, or someone else needs to pay for it. You will need to stick to your guns about this.

    3. Don't feel badly or guilty about this.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 76,187 Senior Member
    Do not ask them to SHARE the cost of this unit. If someone is dying to have all,this stuff in storage, they should pay for it all by themselves....after others have removed what they want, of course.

    Re:old photos....and old papers. Save a couple of special ones (a parent wedding pic, for example), but pitch all the snapshots. Really...no one will ever look at them again. Ever.
  • SouthFloridaMom9SouthFloridaMom9 Registered User Posts: 3,446 Senior Member
    My MIL had to leave her condo that she lovingly decorated down to the last pillow/soap dispenser (moved to a skilled nursing facility). None of us could deal with it, and her stuff in her condo just sat there. A relatively short 7-9 months later, it was all ruined (long story).

    Just about everything there went in a dumpster.

    It hit me then how important it is to deal with stuff. At some point, *somebody* will have to. And by that point the stuff may be of no use to anyone else.

    Maybe you will be the catalyst to resolve this situation, though I'm sorry that you're in that position. My husband was too. It's not easy.
  • somemomsomemom Registered User Posts: 11,111 Senior Member
    A relatively short 7-9 months later, it was all ruined (long story).

    We have time. What happened?
  • esobayesobay Registered User Posts: 1,333 Senior Member
    @Montegut I think you have to answer for yourself two questions:

    1. are your siblings *thoughtless* or actually selfish?

    2. what do you want to accomplish?

    The actions you might take are very different depending on the answers to those questions.
    If your siblings are thoughtless, then you can wake them up with a plea for action. If you have already made the plea clearly and in writing (not just *hinting*) then you can send the "Time to finalize" letter.
    If your siblings are actually selfish, then your boundary is easier to establish and hold to because what are these people bringing to your life?

    But before that, What do you want to accomplish? is the question to answer.
    If it is simple (clean out and not pay for storage locker), then there are many good suggestions here.
    If it is complex (I want my siblings to care that I cared, to show their love of me by x, y or z) then you must know that you can't control other people. You have to resolve in yourself what the stuff means and what being a sibling means. Sometimes we need to create a family of the heart and let the family of blood become "acquaintances" .

    I lived through the cleanout of Mom's house and finally processed internally to myself that it isn't about the *stuff* it is about the actions. And accepted control of my own actions and let all the other people have theirs. THAT is TOUGH, but eventually, it is a lot more peaceful.

    Full disclosure, my sibling and I totally get along, we have a good relationship, but he was unable/unwilling to take much action to clear stuff. In the end, yes he hauled a bunch of stuff home to his house and my husband stood behind me with a pitchfork so I didn't take much. 3 years later, I am grateful to DH, but don't know if bro is mad because HE has the stuff.
  • MichiganGeorgiaMichiganGeorgia Registered User Posts: 4,472 Senior Member
    One more thing to think about is this. My Aunt died in her 50's shortly before my Grandmother. So my Dad had to go through both his sister and his parents houses by himself. Aunt had a house and Grandma lived on a farm. Poles barns full of farming and other stuff. Plus a cabin and a place in Florida. It took him over a year just to go through the farm and probably another 2 for everything else. He is now in his late 70's and he is going through his stuff and getting rid of it so we won't have to. What if something happens to you and your husband? Would your son end up with all this stuff or would he donate it? If he would donate it then go ahead and get rid of it now.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 21,938 Senior Member
    My friend has her MIL (age 92) living next door in the house husband grew up in (friend and H live in 'Grandma Agnes' house, quite the family compound). The MIL's house is a 1950's museum, with knick knacks, pyrex dishes, a piano that all could have been used by Donna Reed when filming. Her husband, who is now dead, was stationed in China after WWII and there is a lot of his junk like swords and medals. There are 'collections' everywhere - elves, teddy bears, beer steins, clocks, pillows, dolls, dishes. Everything displayed with a doily. It's like going to the thrift store without the price tags.

    We have tried and tried to get the MIL to part with some of this clutter, but it's not happening. I did get a sewing machine, and MIL wants me to take this large rug hooking frame and all the materials, but I don't have room for it either. (It's lovely.) We all know that when she dies, it will take a looong time to go through everything, sorting the junk from the treasures. To add to this, the only other child, SIL, moved to LA years ago after her husband died suddenly. She sold her big house, got 3 storage lockers and moved everything else into the 'shop' between the two houses. The shop was the grandfather's old woodworking shop, but hasn't been cared for so there are squirrels, feral cats, mice, etc. SIL often comes to town is and shocked! that there is water damage to her stuff. It's been 20 years. At some point she cleaned out the storage lockers and moved everything into the shop. There is an old car, a Jag, that hasn't worked since the 70's.

    There will be fighting over the crap in the house and shop. The 4 grandsons, who never do anything for their grandmother, will want the crap but won't want to do any of the work to clean the house. The property will be a scrape as it is a huge, huge lot in the city where mini mansions have been built all around it. My friend is NOT looking forward to this as she had to clean out her own mother's house 10 years ago, and it was also an assortment of real crap and a few treasures. In fact, my sewing machine was really her mother's, given to the MIL, and now mine.
  • TatinGTatinG Registered User Posts: 6,400 Senior Member
    In the Midwest, it's typical for the 'stuff' to be auctioned off. The auctioneer company puts it all out on the lawn, advertisements go out, a crowd gathers and by the end of the afternoon, it's all gone. In California, there are estate sale companies that do a similar sale, no auctioneer, just price tags.

    Ann Landers gave good advice on this. Go through Mom's house and take photos of everything. Put the photos in a scrapbook, copies for all. But the actual stuff is sold.
  • SouthFloridaMom9SouthFloridaMom9 Registered User Posts: 3,446 Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    We have time. What happened?

    Well, there's alot more to it but basically her air conditioner broke without any of us realizing it (it hurt too much to go over there - sounds dumb I know) and a domino effect of negative effects consequently happened. She also had a "friend" create a problem that we were unaware of at the time, which also blossomed into a big mess because nobody was there to nip it in the bud.
  • MassmommMassmomm Registered User Posts: 3,899 Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    This is going to sound radical, but it will make your life a lot easier if you do this: tell your family that you will pay for the units for 60 more days. During that time, they are free to retrieve whatever they like.

    After that, simply stop making payments. You don't have to make any decisions. The owner of the storage facility can claim ownership after a certain period, and then sell the goods. Your family members, who love these goods so much but neglected to obtain them while they could, can then buy them from the facility owner if they still love them.

    This frees you from being the bad guy and making the decision to sell, and it prevents family members from claiming that you profited from the sale of your mom's goods. You don't have to make any painful decisions, or spend your time sorting through things. You don't have to find places to store things that others think they might want, but can't yet retrieve. Retrieve what you know you want (if anything) and give others 60 days to do the same. Then walk away. Someone will benefit, and there is no harm done.
  • sevmomsevmom Registered User Posts: 8,336 Senior Member
    "simply stop making payments" I would be concerned that could effect a credit score.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 21,938 Senior Member
    Absolutely it will cause credit problems. Don't just dump the problem on the storage company. They can't just cut the lock off, they have to go get a court order and that all costs money. They will come after you for the back rent and the extra charges.

    If you have 3 units, you must have some furniture and other household goods. If any of it is usable, contact a women's shelter group and see if anyone is setting up a household and needs the basics - sheets, towels, furniture, kitchen stuff. Arrange for Good Will to do a pick up
  • travelnuttravelnut Registered User Posts: 1,956 Senior Member
    I asked the storage unit manager if they worked with any charities. They told me who, I cleared out personal stuff and junk, left all the usable household items for pick up. I hope it landed in the right hands; as long as someone could use it and I wasn't paying monthly fees, it was a win-win.
  • somemomsomemom Registered User Posts: 11,111 Senior Member
    But when the old people tell you how extremely valuable their stuff is, don't mentally spend that money. For the majority of stuff, even good stuff, quality stuff, there are not buyers- not for china, not for crystal (including antique cut glass), not for lithographs, not for furs, not for jewelry, not for most art, not for the good furniture, not for dolls. People today are not collecting the same things our parents collected and all the people our parents age are dying and flooding the market with their collections.
This discussion has been closed.