At sixty-eight, he died suddenly, alone, following a lifetime of thinking only of himself. 

He and my sister-in-law were married for five years; he finished nursing school, considered being a nurse anesthetist, but then decided to become an optometrist.  Somewhere at the beginning of all of that he and my sister-in-law had a daughter, lived in a rural area where he worked as a nurse and then divorced.  Our niece remembers those years in the country fondly.  They just didn’t last.

He was mean to my sister-in-law, but I couldn’t have lived with her.  Following the divorce he had regular every other weekend custody.  Typically, he would wait until noon, Saturday, to pick our niece up for the weekend, effectively wrecking any plans my sister-in-law had.  He would then take his daughter to his mother’s house for the weekend and then return her on Sunday evening.  It was all calculated to cause maximum inconvenience to his ex-wife and minimal inconvenience to him.

The upside was the relationship that our niece developed with with her grandmother, uncle and aunt. Everyone else in the family was warm and took over parenting.

Everyone raised our niece.  She lived with us for a year while her mother was finding herself.  She left home at 18 and went to work for her uncle, the one she spent time with when she was young.  She turned out very well, a testament to the will to survive.  She has a resale shop and started out haunting garage sales buying low ans selling high, and eventually became successful enough that people brought her things on consignment.  Everything is sold that way now.

Never in her life did our niece's father ever give her anything.  She learned not to ask.

My ex-brother-in-law was a successful optometrist and sold his practice when he was young and worked occasionally in someone’s office for the next twenty years.  He married again briefly and when he died lived in a gated community with his guns, guitar and camping equipment.

After a few days of searching his apartment, our niece found his wills and his annuity.  His annuity was fixed and designed to have no principle to distribute on the owner’s death.  He had no life insurance.  There is nothing in his checking account.

He had a handwritten and signed will without witnesses, something called a holographic will, and a regular will which was witnessed by his brother and sister-in-law, naming our niece as the executor.  He never signed it.

As part of his manipulative, misogynistic behavior he threatened our niece with leaving “all of his money” to some charitable cause.  I think he couldn’t bring himself to sign the Will because his imaginary leverage would be lost.

So, our niece is left with the responsibility of cremating her father’s remains with no funds to cover the expense, the apartment complex has locked her out claiming the Wills are worthless and they will not release his belongings, including his car, until after probate.  His rent was paid automatically from social security and the annuity.  I imagine that lacking income they will claim his belongings as payment.

She needs an attorney.

Her business is seasonal and not much cash is coming in now.

There will be a memorial in a few days.  His buddies think that he was a great guy. 

I think written on his funerary urn should be the words, “Selfish to the End”.

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Comment by Rodney Roe on August 3, 2017 at 12:05am

Maybe I shouldn't have used that term.  I meant that there is no way to know.  We can only assume that something went wrong in his genetic makeup since his family environment didn't seem like a setting that would have made someone have such a personality.

Comment by Julie Johnson on August 3, 2017 at 3:46am

Rodney, will you keep us sort of updated as time goes on?  I'm looking for a happy ending, somewhere. How old did you say your niece is now?  My oldest daughter has been going thru somewhat of the same thing, except it was her stepmother that died this past January, leaving a financial mess and a mentally incompetent father.   

Comment by Rodney Roe on August 3, 2017 at 4:03am

Julie, I will. "C" will be 48 in a couple of months. Her mother is the mentally incompetent one due to decades of abuse of prescription drugs. Last I heard she and a couple of her dad's friends had gotten into his phone and found the code to the gate. They were going to go liberate some things. What she needs is legal remedy and one of his friends is a judge. We will see.

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