Earlier this month I wrote a Short Obituary about the death of an ex-brother-in-law.

Several people asked for an update, hoping for a happy ending.  I think this is the best that could be expected.

To recap the problem, our niece’s father died alone at home with an unsigned will and a guaranteed annuity designed to give any capital remaining to the insurance company upon death.  Furthermore, he had no life insurance.

All of this was in keeping with the father’s behavior toward family, and his totally self-centered approach to life.

He lived in a gated community and the land lord had locked “C” out because the will was not valid and the estate had not gone before probate.

Today, my wife talked with “C”.  She is much better.  She had to go before a judge and post a bond in order to clean out her father’s apartment and storage shed.  That’s all done, so there is no ongoing expense from the land lord.  When asked about her father’s annuity, “C” remarked “I get nothing.  That’s my Dad.”

When we go back to Arkansas to visit her and my mother-in-law in the nursing home we usually stay with “C”.  She wants us to come, “I feel the need for family.”  She’s thankful for her business.  It keeps her busy and keeps her from thinking about her losses. She still has the expense of the cremation ($800.00) and the storage sheds to put her dad’s things in, and court bond, but she is finding a way to deal with all of that.

She says we make her laugh, and she needs to laugh again.

I’m looking forward to our visit.  “C” is a substantial 5’10” bear hugger, and I need one of her hugs.

We watch, “Call the Midwife”, from time to time and an episode the other night had an appropriate quote which followed the death of a loved one, “We just have to keep on living until we can live again.”

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Comment by alsoknownas on August 9, 2017 at 7:23am

There was a death in my family about 20 months ago that created all kinds of settlement issues and hard feelings. Those that thought they were in line for a big gift found out differently.

They hadn't helped the deceased when alive and the will was designed to acknowledge that.

Opposite of your story here, but still difficult to traverse the aftermath.

It's always somethin'.

Comment by Rosigami on August 9, 2017 at 7:47am

Thanks for this update, Rodney. Your first post made me care about "C", and I am glad to hear that she is managing. 

When my sister died in 2005, she was alone and without a will. She owned a little house free and clear, and she had  some assets (that she had been in the process of drinking her way through), which probate assigned to our mother to administer. It didn't go well. Mom managed to do what she wanted without thought to the consequences to those left behind. But hey, that's my mother, how she has always been and always will be.
I hope to leave no such mess behind when I go, but I don't know if that's even possible.

Enjoy your visit with "C".   

Comment by Anna Herrington on August 9, 2017 at 7:47am

So sorry to read of all this trouble for your niece, Rodney! How completely heartbreaking she not only was daughter to what sounds an insufferable jerk, but to also be left with death expenses and the truly awful knowledge 'dad' didn't give a sh** about her or her financial welfare???  Very sad.

Glad to read she will tentatively be okay, has good family in you and your wife, and what a nice bonus for you that she not only seeks you guys out but also gives great hugs  : )

Comment by koshersalaami on August 9, 2017 at 7:54am

Thanks for both the update and the quote. 

Comment by greenheron on August 9, 2017 at 11:27am

I bet C would enjoy one of those lovely eclipse tiles :)

This, btw is why I wrote a will. Plus a couple health scares. 

My sister will never get over the fact that my dad has established a trust and will be leaving his entire estate to his alma mater. He does not know that my sister and I know this. His former secretary called L with a heads up, and she nebbed around his papers during one of her visits and confirmed it.

That's fine with me. I still visit. I call him every Sunday night and we chat. I love him. But when he dies, I'll get to walk away, never look at the house, or sort through the decades of crap, or negotiate with buyers or auctioneers. Unlike my sister, I support giving money to academia. That's where a chunk of mine will go.

Growing up with stingy disapproving parents was what it cost to become me. I feel like I got my money's worth. Maybe C will feel the same. 

Comment by Rodney Roe on August 9, 2017 at 11:35am

greenheron, I've always attributed any success I've had to a father who was hard and a couple of teachers who pointed out that my only deterrent from success would be laziness.  The teachers were right.  My Dad was hard when he didn't need to be and I think that was a product of his own upbringing.

kosh, isn't that a great quote?  it's so true.

rosi, thanks.  I will enjoy the trip.

alsoknownas, it seems that that whole scenario is more the rule than the exception.  And, it seems that the ones who never gave anything are the ones who expect everything.

Comment by Rodney Roe on August 9, 2017 at 11:51am

The thing about family is we have no choice.  We get to be nice to people we wouldn't ever bother to know, otherwise.

I have a sister-in-law who Lynn avoids calling because you can never get off the phone.  She talks in stream of consciousness.  L called her today by accident.  The conversation went like this: "I'm sorry, that was a butt call, I meant to text you."  "That's all right all I ever get are butt calls.  I'm really looking forward to y'all's visit.  There's a new restaurant I want to take you to.  I wouldn't have ever seen it except that it is next door to my doctor's office.  I went in to see him about my foot and he upped my Allopurinol and thought I might be taking too much of the high blood medicine.  You know it makes me dizzy, which could have have been due to all of this heat.  It's been so hot the things are dying in my greenhouse.  You remember R got me the greenhouse last year and he bought me a new car this year to replace the '93 Ford Bronco I was driving. Are you calling hands-free?  My new car has that and I haven't figured out how to set it up yet. (yada yada yada).

Comment by Rodney Roe on August 9, 2017 at 11:57am

greenheron, we set up a new will and trust a few years back.  The young woman going over the provisions at the end was looking back over everything to make sure that she hadn't left anything out and, as if she were talking to herself said, " I wonder if their kids know how lucky they are."

Comment by Sheila Reep on August 10, 2017 at 8:32am

I spent years going over and composing an estate plan, including a will for both of us...unfortunately it went unsigned also.  What a fight to get anything.  Greed really comes into play with family members.  All is well now after a few years.

Comment by Rodney Roe on August 10, 2017 at 6:36pm

My mother understood my brother.  She made him executor of the will, but she did a codicil which spelled out all of the household items and their assignment.  He still got the lion's share, but it not everything as he  may have liked.

It took cancer and about 20 years for us to get on speaking terms again, and it wasn't my choice to cut off conversation to begin with.


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