Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Em-and-Em on January 21, 2013, 01:41:05 PM

Title: Awful Uncle
Post by: Em-and-Em on January 21, 2013, 01:41:05 PM
This is a story about the way my uncle treated my parents, and I'm curious to hear other's reactions to what happened:

To give some background, my grandmother, my father's mother and a widow, had dementia during the last year of her life and she deteriorated badly.  She was unable to handle her financial affairs or keep up her home, and yet she insisted she would not leave her house for any kind of senior-living center.  Her doctor was of no help in providing mental health or elder care, and so it fell to my parents to take care of her because they lived closest to her.  But close was not actually close - it was a 120-mile roundtrip from their house to her house, and they had to drive through Manhattan and Queens to get to her, so the drive could take anywhere from 1.5 hours to over 3 hours each way.  Towards the end, my parents were going out to her house every weekend, doing repairs, shopping for her, taking her to doctors appointments, etc.  My mother became co-signer on her bank accounts because she could not otherwise be trusted to handle her own money.  In the end my grandmother had to be carried out of her home on a stretcher, ranting and raving because she was so far gone mentally, and she was eventually placed in hospice care near my parents.  During that time my mother visited her every single day until she died, right around Christmas.  During the whole time she was sick, neither of my father's siblings (my aunt and uncle) ever came to visit my grandmother.

Upon her death, my parents found out that they were the executors of her will.  This meant that not only did they have to disburse her money, they were also responsible for selling her house.  The will stipulated that all my grandmother's assets be divided up equally between her three children.  My parents decided that, because the house sale might take awhile, they would initially divide up the money in the bank and send my aunt and uncle a check, and then when the house was sold they would send out additional checks to divide up all the remaining money.

All the financial affairs were finally settled up in the summer, around the time that my uncle was getting married.  My parents decided that they would enclose the final check to my uncle in the card they were giving to him for his wedding.  My mom folded it inside and included a little note that said, "I know you mom would have wanted you to have this."

After he got back from his honeymoon, my uncle sent my parents an email thanking them for going to the wedding and then wrote, "I'm curious, why did you write that about Mom?  Did she ever tell you something along those lines?"  My mom emailed him back and explained that no, she'd just written that because she had planned to give him the rest of the money and thought it would be a nice note to include.

Well, my uncle fired back an email taking my mom to task.  He said that what she wrote was hurtful and disrespectful, if in fact my grandmother had never actually said those words, and how could she think of doing a thing like that at his wedding?  The email was so harsh that it made my mom cry, and she and my father took a months-long moratorium on communicating with my uncle because they were so upset by what he had written.

I was angry at him on her behalf - after all, she and my father had spent so much time, and been under so much stress, being the sole caretakers of my grandmother, when he hadn't done anything at all to help out.  Not only was what he wrote rude in itself, but I felt it was especially galling that he was lambasting the people who had taken on the burden of caring for his mother without any of his help.  We've all moved on since then, but I'm still pretty unwilling to forge anything more than a surface relationship with my uncle because he never apologized, and I think this is indicative of the type of person he is.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: MorgnsGrl on January 21, 2013, 01:56:32 PM
Maybe he's just crap at dealing with his emotions and his mother's death hit him harder than he'd realized? I definitely don't think your mom did anything wrong in including that note -- if his mother loved her children, I'm sure she WOULD have wanted them to have nice wedding gifts. People, both the grieving and those near them, tend to say less-than-ideal things when a loved one is dying or has just passed, and I think it's everyone's responsibility to try to remember that and be forgiving. (The exception would be if the behavior was part of a pattern.) So while I think your uncle should forgive your mom for what he found hurtful, I think your mom should try to forgive him for his reaction to her words, as much for her own benefit as for his, unless he has done other similar things to her in the past.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Margo on January 21, 2013, 01:59:50 PM
It seems odd to me to put your uncle's inheritance cheque into a card for the wedding. After all, this is something he was entitled to, it wasn't a gift for the wedding, or a specific wish or thought his mother had expressed.

Also the wording implies your mom was giving him something extra, for the wedding- I can understand why he would be upset.

It would have been better if she had sent him his share of his Mother's estate separately from any wedding gift and, if she felt that there was something extra such as a personal keepsake which his mother would have liked him to have, that could have been sent for the wedding.

His reaction seems to have been a violent one, but I think your parents were  in the wrong in the first place - they represented his share of the estate as being something it wasn't - an extra, special gift from his mom. Finding out it wasn't must have been hurtful for him.

I would suggest that your mom apologise, explain that she did not intend to be hurtful or disrespectful. Your uncle may the  feel able to apologise for his tone, and if he doesn't, she at least will know she has done what she can to  rebuild the relationship.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: cicero on January 21, 2013, 02:02:12 PM
I don't exaclty understand the note - what did your mother mean? the money from the house was money left to your uncle in the will. it sort of sounds like this was given as a wedding gift "from his mother". it wasn't - it was an inheritence that he happened to recieve on his wedding day. I understand your mother was feeling emotional about it- but i can sort of understand your uncle's feelings too.

that doesn't excuse his reaction which was OTT

Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: sparksals on January 21, 2013, 02:04:03 PM
Your uncle behaved poorly, but I would be caught off guard to receive my entitled inheritance as a weddin gift.  It was up to your brother to keep those funds separate if he desired, but by putting it in the card, your mom made it a wedding gift to both of them.  I think while a nice thought, it stepped on his toes.    Did they receive a wedding gift in addition to the check? 
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: mich3554 on January 21, 2013, 02:07:43 PM
It is hard to know if he was rude or not.  It sounds to me as if uncle is still grieving.  I'm not sure I would want to receive the balance of my inheritance in a wedding card.  That is a very sad reminder on what is supposed to be a happy day.

In any case, IMO this is something that she should not be involved in.  This is between her parents and her uncle.

JMHO
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Em-and-Em on January 21, 2013, 02:09:19 PM
Just to clarify, my parents gave a gift *in addition* to enclosing this inheritance check.  My mother thought that it would be a nice, symbolic gesture to give him the rest of the money on his wedding, nodding to the fact that if my grandmother had still been alive, she would have certainly been happy for him.

And, he has displayed a pattern of rather brusque behavior.  For example, a few years earlier, he had sent my a Christmas present and I forgot to send him a thank-you note.  Wrong of me, I know, but he ended up emailing my dad and telling him that he thought they had raised me wrong.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Salvage3 on January 21, 2013, 02:45:03 PM
I'm sure your mother meant well; but I can see your uncle's point of view.  Sending money that he was entitled to through inheritance (with a will) in a wedding card with a note that implies (to me) that it is being sent by your mom as a gift on behalf of your uncle's mother is rather strange to me.  Uncle may have gone overboard in his reaction; but I don't find it to be extremely rude.  And I can understand, somewhat, his frustration.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 21, 2013, 02:51:55 PM
I'm agreeing with other PP's that putting his portion of the inheritance in with a wedding gift seems odd.  I don't know what symbolic gesture your mom was meaning to give. It almost smacks of "Your parents are dead, here's the money, good luck on your life."  I'm sure that is not what your mom meant to convey, but I honestly wouldn't want my inheritance to be linked to my wedding in any way.  And your mom could have easily inclosed a note with the wedding gift of "I know your mom would be very happy for you." and just sent along the inheritance separately. 

His response to your's mom's comment of "I know she'd want you to have this" would imply that he was really wishing she had made some type of communication about him.  Like he was hoping your mom would respond back with "Yes, she knew you were getting married and she said she hoped your portion of the inheritence would help out with your new life."  But instead he get's "No, she never said anything, I made it up. But I think that's how she would feel." 

I'm sorry your mom got back lash for her actions.  It does sound like your uncle is over reacting.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: WillyNilly on January 21, 2013, 03:33:41 PM
So your mom thought reminding your uncle in the most blunt way possible that his mother was dead  and not present for his wedding was sweet? It seems above the board cruel to me, like truly taunting. No his reaction wasn't polite, but I imagine he felt quite hurt and  attacked, and like his whole wedding was being marred, like "yeah, no happiness for you! You deserve to be reminded your mom is dead and won't share in this or give you a gift or her blessing, just the inheritance your legally entitled to devoid of emotion."
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: perpetua on January 21, 2013, 03:53:00 PM
I think your mother messed up, badly; now your uncle will forever associate his wedding day with his mother's death.

I'm not surprised he reacted in the way he did.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: yokozbornak on January 21, 2013, 04:02:56 PM
I am sure your mom's heart was in the right place, but the timing and the note were odd.  I can definitely understand why your uncle was upset.  Thate being said, he didn't handle being upset in the best way either. 

Also, I want to note that your uncle is your father's brother, and not your mother's. Their may have been some upset on his part because he felt like your mother was overstepping.  Your dad should have been the one that communicated with him about his mother and the will.  I am not saying this is definitely the case, but it is possible that your uncle felt left out since it seems your mother handled everything (once again, I am not faulting your mother, only trying to look at it through someone else's eyes).

It sounds like they have forgiven each other and moved on so I would advise you to do the same.  It really is between the two of them.
Grief makes people act strangely sometimes.  It doesn't make rudeness excusable, but it should make forgiveness easier. 
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Yvaine on January 21, 2013, 04:07:14 PM
but I think your parents were  in the wrong in the first place - they represented his share of the estate as being something it wasn't - an extra, special gift from his mom. Finding out it wasn't must have been hurtful for him.

I think this may be the crux. I'm guessing that their relationship may have been strained (hence the lack of visits) and he was given, briefly, some hope that your parents had a last message to pass along from her. Or, possibly, they got along so poorly that he knew she'd have never said anything of the sort and felt lied to.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 21, 2013, 04:21:46 PM
I can see both sides of this and I think everyone acted poorly.  OP's mom owes and apology, but so does uncle for the way he reacted.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: mj on January 21, 2013, 04:31:30 PM
So your mom thought reminding your uncle in the most blunt way possible that his mother was dead  and not present for his wedding was sweet? It seems above the board cruel to me, like truly taunting. No his reaction wasn't polite, but I imagine he felt quite hurt and  attacked, and like his whole wedding was being marred, like "yeah, no happiness for you! You deserve to be reminded your mom is dead and won't share in this or give you a gift or her blessing, just the inheritance your legally entitled to devoid of emotion."

This is how I read it too, my breath was actually taken away by the OP and then the following update by the OP.

Just to clarify, my parents gave a gift *in addition* to enclosing this inheritance check.  My mother thought that it would be a nice, symbolic gesture to give him the rest of the money on his wedding, nodding to the fact that if my grandmother had still been alive, she would have certainly been happy for him.

And, he has displayed a pattern of rather brusque behavior.  For example, a few years earlier, he had sent my a Christmas present and I forgot to send him a thank-you note.  Wrong of me, I know, but he ended up emailing my dad and telling him that he thought they had raised me wrong.

Your mother has no business in meddling between your Uncle's and Grandmothers relationship.  It seems like there is so much justification for the poor way your mother acted towards your Uncle, and since you are not one of the main party's in this scenario -- I'm guessing there is much history that you do not know. 

Asking about a thank you note from a niece is so many far leagues away from what your mother did.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: katycoo on January 21, 2013, 04:49:10 PM
I think its weird that they enclosed the cheque with the wedding card, as though it was some kind of wedding gift from beyod the grave.

But mostly I just don't understand the note: "I know your mom would have wanted you to have this."

Well, obviously.  She left it to him in her will.  Which is why I don't understand the subsequent argument about whether or not MIL said that.  She may not have verbally expressed it, but she did so in writing.

I tend to think Uncle overreacted to the note, but not really knowing the timeline, their relationship or his feelings on his mum's passing, I can't really guage whether I think he overreacted.   

But I think the whole thing is weird.

Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: twilight on January 21, 2013, 04:53:48 PM
I am going to go against the grain here and say I think the uncle is more in the wrong.  I do think it was a bit odd the way your mother presented the check.  It should not have been done in a wedding card and the wording is confusing and seems to imply she is giving him a gift rather than the share of his inheritance to which he is entitled.  But to me the uncle sounds like someone who is looking for offense.   He way over-reacted and unless there is some additional back story here he should have given your mother the benefit of the doubt that her intentions were good despite her awkward methods.   

Edited to add:  Was your mom trying to say, so sad that mom is not here but she would have been happy that you are able to make use of your inheritance as you begin your new married life?
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 21, 2013, 05:16:00 PM
I am going to go against the grain here and say I think the uncle is more in the wrong.  I do think it was a bit odd the way your mother presented the check.  It should not have been done in a wedding card and the wording is confusing and seems to imply she is giving him a gift rather than the share of his inheritance to which he is entitled.  But to me the uncle sounds like someone who is looking for offense.   He way over-reacted and unless there is some additional back story here he should have given your mother the benefit of the doubt that her intentions were good despite her awkward methods.   

Edited to add:  Was your mom trying to say, so sad that mom is not here but she would have been happy that you are able to make use of your inheritance as you begin your new married life?

I kind of lean towards this, too.  I think what the mom did was thoughtless (as in she did not think it through before she did it), but it seems like it came from the right place.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: kudeebee on January 21, 2013, 05:19:36 PM
I think your thread title is misleading.  I am not sure uncle is awful, at least in this instance.

Your parents were wrong to include the inheritance check in with the wedding card and your mom was wrong in including the note.  If my spouse and i opened up a wedding card with a check, we would assume that it was a wedding gift, not an inheritance check.  If I had read the note "I know your mom would have wanted you to have this.", I would have thought it was a wedding gift from mom, that she had told brother/sil that she wanted to give me something for my wedding even if she wasn't around, that she still cared for me even if i wasn't the best child in terms of visiting or helping her.  It would have raised my hopes and then when I called your mom, only to be told she had not said that, that it was my inheritance check, that my sil had thought it was a nice thing to write, I would be mad and upset and probably not handle myself the best.  Which is what uncle did.

Your mom was wrong to mislead him as she did.  The inheritance check should have been given separately, not in the wedding card.  I think her heart was in the right place, thinking that the newlyweds could probably use the rest of uncle's inheritance as they started their new life.  But the check should have been presented differently, separately, from the wedding card and without the note.  It was not something his mom would have wanted him to have, it was his due to the provisions of the will.  A different note with the check "thought you could use the rest of your inheritance as you two start your new life together" would have been much better and not misleading.

Could/Should uncle have handled it better?  Yes.  He could/should have waited to send the email for a day or so until he calmed down, chosen his words better.  Yet, in some ways i don't blame him for being upset.  Your parents started it and misled him/misrepresented the money.

To hold a grudge against him for this is wrong.  Both your parents and he were wrong and hopefully they have apologized to each other and gotten past it.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 21, 2013, 05:22:24 PM
I think your thread title is misleading.  I am not sure uncle is awful, at least in this instance.

Your parents were wrong to include the inheritance check in with the wedding card and your mom was wrong in including the note.  If my spouse and i opened up a wedding card with a check, we would assume that it was a wedding gift, not an inheritance check.  If I had read the note "I know your mom would have wanted you to have this.", I would have thought it was a wedding gift from mom, that she had told brother/sil that she wanted to give me something for my wedding even if she wasn't around, that she still cared for me even if i wasn't the best child in terms of visiting or helping her.  It would have raised my hopes and then when I called your mom, only to be told she had not said that, that it was my inheritance check, that my sil had thought it was a nice thing to write, I would be mad and upset and probably not handle myself the best.  Which is what uncle did.

Your mom was wrong to mislead him as she did.  The inheritance check should have been given separately, not in the wedding card.  Could/Should uncle have handled it better?  Yes.  He could/should have waited to send the email for a day or so until he calmed down, chosen his words better.  Yet, in some ways i don't blame him for being upset.  Your parents started it and misled him/misrepresented the money.

To hold a grudge against him for this is wrong.  Both your parents and he were wrong and hopefully they have apologized to each other and gotten past it.

This just stuck out to me, but would you actually call and ask if that's what your now deceased mother had said?  I didn't think about this before, but I don't see the motivation in asking (why the uncle did, either) if that was my assumption (that grandma had actually said that).
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: delabela on January 21, 2013, 05:26:50 PM
I think your thread title is misleading.  I am not sure uncle is awful, at least in this instance.

Your parents were wrong to include the inheritance check in with the wedding card and your mom was wrong in including the note.  If my spouse and i opened up a wedding card with a check, we would assume that it was a wedding gift, not an inheritance check.  If I had read the note "I know your mom would have wanted you to have this.", I would have thought it was a wedding gift from mom, that she had told brother/sil that she wanted to give me something for my wedding even if she wasn't around, that she still cared for me even if i wasn't the best child in terms of visiting or helping her.  It would have raised my hopes and then when I called your mom, only to be told she had not said that, that it was my inheritance check, that my sil had thought it was a nice thing to write, I would be mad and upset and probably not handle myself the best.  Which is what uncle did.

Your mom was wrong to mislead him as she did.  The inheritance check should have been given separately, not in the wedding card.  I think her heart was in the right place, thinking that the newlyweds could probably use the rest of uncle's inheritance as they started their new life.  But the check should have been presented differently, separately, from the wedding card and without the note.  It was not something his mom would have wanted him to have, it was his due to the provisions of the will.  A different note with the check "thought you could use the rest of your inheritance as you two start your new life together" would have been much better and not misleading.

Could/Should uncle have handled it better?  Yes.  He could/should have waited to send the email for a day or so until he calmed down, chosen his words better.  Yet, in some ways i don't blame him for being upset.  Your parents started it and misled him/misrepresented the money.

To hold a grudge against him for this is wrong.  Both your parents and he were wrong and hopefully they have apologized to each other and gotten past it.

Ah, this kind of set off a light bulb for me - it sounds like it truly could have been confusing for the uncle to get the check and the message.  He did entirely overreact, and should have been more understanding to what your mom was trying to do.  Maybe there's room on both sides to see where the communication went wrong. 
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Yvaine on January 21, 2013, 05:34:21 PM
I think your thread title is misleading.  I am not sure uncle is awful, at least in this instance.

Your parents were wrong to include the inheritance check in with the wedding card and your mom was wrong in including the note.  If my spouse and i opened up a wedding card with a check, we would assume that it was a wedding gift, not an inheritance check.  If I had read the note "I know your mom would have wanted you to have this.", I would have thought it was a wedding gift from mom, that she had told brother/sil that she wanted to give me something for my wedding even if she wasn't around, that she still cared for me even if i wasn't the best child in terms of visiting or helping her.  It would have raised my hopes and then when I called your mom, only to be told she had not said that, that it was my inheritance check, that my sil had thought it was a nice thing to write, I would be mad and upset and probably not handle myself the best.  Which is what uncle did.

Your mom was wrong to mislead him as she did.  The inheritance check should have been given separately, not in the wedding card.  Could/Should uncle have handled it better?  Yes.  He could/should have waited to send the email for a day or so until he calmed down, chosen his words better.  Yet, in some ways i don't blame him for being upset.  Your parents started it and misled him/misrepresented the money.

To hold a grudge against him for this is wrong.  Both your parents and he were wrong and hopefully they have apologized to each other and gotten past it.

This just stuck out to me, but would you actually call and ask if that's what your now deceased mother had said?  I didn't think about this before, but I don't see the motivation in asking (why the uncle did, either) if that was my assumption (that grandma had actually said that).

He may have had suspicions that she hadn't really said that, if their relationship was bad. Or it may have been out of happiness and hope--kind of an "oh wow, did she really say that about me?" combined with being curious about what exactly his mom had said.

I do think he lashed out rudely, but I wonder if the whole thing was kind of a shock and painful to him.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 21, 2013, 05:35:33 PM
I think your thread title is misleading.  I am not sure uncle is awful, at least in this instance.

Your parents were wrong to include the inheritance check in with the wedding card and your mom was wrong in including the note.  If my spouse and i opened up a wedding card with a check, we would assume that it was a wedding gift, not an inheritance check.  If I had read the note "I know your mom would have wanted you to have this.", I would have thought it was a wedding gift from mom, that she had told brother/sil that she wanted to give me something for my wedding even if she wasn't around, that she still cared for me even if i wasn't the best child in terms of visiting or helping her.  It would have raised my hopes and then when I called your mom, only to be told she had not said that, that it was my inheritance check, that my sil had thought it was a nice thing to write, I would be mad and upset and probably not handle myself the best.  Which is what uncle did.

Your mom was wrong to mislead him as she did.  The inheritance check should have been given separately, not in the wedding card.  Could/Should uncle have handled it better?  Yes.  He could/should have waited to send the email for a day or so until he calmed down, chosen his words better.  Yet, in some ways i don't blame him for being upset.  Your parents started it and misled him/misrepresented the money.

To hold a grudge against him for this is wrong.  Both your parents and he were wrong and hopefully they have apologized to each other and gotten past it.

This just stuck out to me, but would you actually call and ask if that's what your now deceased mother had said?  I didn't think about this before, but I don't see the motivation in asking (why the uncle did, either) if that was my assumption (that grandma had actually said that).

He may have had suspicions that she hadn't really said that, if their relationship was bad. Or it may have been out of happiness and hope--kind of an "oh wow, did she really say that about me?" combined with being curious about what exactly his mom had said.

I do think he lashed out rudely, but I wonder if the whole thing was kind of a shock and painful to him.

Ah, that makes more sense.  Thanks for clearing up that!
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Adios on January 21, 2013, 05:38:38 PM
I agree with the majority of posters that say your mother started this and is in the wrong.  Its the note itself that makes me really annoyed "I know your mom would have wanted you to have this."  Of course his mother wanted him to have this, she left it to him in her will.

It also sounds a little patronising, not something one would expect from peer to peer but from a family matriach/patriach.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Yvaine on January 21, 2013, 06:04:41 PM
But to me the uncle sounds like someone who is looking for offense.   

On the other hand, I can also see this. The TY note lecture would fit well with that too.

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I think your dad's family just doesn't get along well with one another, and people are overreacting to things because of other, underlying, resentments.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: kudeebee on January 21, 2013, 06:06:53 PM
If your relationship with your mom had been rocky or you felt you had not done your best in helping her, i think you would call to find out if that is what she really said/felt.  You could be holding out the "she loved me even though I didn't treat her the best" hope.  To then find out it was just a message sil thought would be nice, could be very hurtful and /or make you feel even worse.

As I said earlier, I hope that they have all been able to work through this and reestablish a relationship.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Bluenomi on January 21, 2013, 06:15:14 PM
I think the OP's mum was fine sending the cheque in the card, after all she knew he'd get it that way. Uncle was just rude.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: AnnaJ on January 21, 2013, 06:26:06 PM
I don't think it was appropriate to mail the check as part of a congratulations for the wedding or for your mom to have added the note.  As several people have said, obviously your grandmother wanted your uncle to have the money since she left it to him - it had nothing to do with his marriage, he would have received the money regardless of the wedding.

Your mother may have thought what she wrote was a positive thing, but she really was putting words in your grandmother's mouth (so to speak) which was not fair to your uncle; I suspect part of the reason he was upset was that he may have thought his mother had actually said those things and was very disappointed to find out your mother in essence made up the words.

Your parents deserve kudos for taking the bulk of the responsibility for caring for your grandmother and it was unfair that your dad's siblings didn't do their part, but that is a separate issue from your uncle's inheritance.

Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Specky on January 21, 2013, 06:37:06 PM
Uncle was incredibly rude.  I don't see where your Mom did anything wrong. 
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: mj on January 21, 2013, 07:15:20 PM
If your relationship with your mom had been rocky or you felt you had not done your best in helping her, i think you would call to find out if that is what she really said/felt.  You could be holding out the "she loved me even though I didn't treat her the best" hope.  To then find out it was just a message sil thought would be nice, could be very hurtful and /or make you feel even worse.

As I said earlier, I hope that they have all been able to work through this and reestablish a relationship.

Agreed.  And since Uncle didn't help out, it goes along with some deeper issues that he and his Mom had between each other.  No one probably knows the true cause of it besides him and his Mom.  Even siblings really don't know the extent of things.  It's really not for anyone to insert themselves into anyway. 

But knowing that background, it really does make sense that he would call possibly to find out anything more his mother had said.  Only to find out she didn't say any of it.  Sad.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: BarensMom on January 21, 2013, 07:27:19 PM
Also, by your mother giving your uncle his inheritance check in a wedding card, it could be argued that the money was a wedding present, to be split between husband and wife, rather than an inheritance, which belonged to your uncle alone.  Your mother clouded the issue of "whose money was it anyway?"
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Ceallach on January 21, 2013, 07:38:23 PM
If I borrowed $100 from my brother, the time to repay the loan would not be along with his wedding gift - and essentially this is what the lady did in this case.   She gave him his own money along with his wedding gift.  I agree with those who point out how confusing this could be - was it a gift in addition to his inheritance?    It really had no place being connected.   Truly bizarre. 

Uncle responded very rudely which I assume was due to being emotional and possibly confused about the situation.  Doesn't justify his behaviour but it is a little understandable.   Nobody here comes out smelling likes roses I'm afraid.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: AngelicGamer on January 21, 2013, 07:46:33 PM
You know... I wonder if this situation wouldn't have gone better with a little white lie.  Just to smooth things over and because sometimes it is better, especially in time of grief, to sugar coat things.  It was a bit of time after his mother died, but it's his mother.  I'd give a good amount of time with sugar coating things, at least a year but more depending on the illness or closeness. 

OP, for your questions, I think your mom was a bit in the wrong.  If she wanted to make sure that your uncle got the money, she could have sent it certified mail.  If she did want to make a nice gesture, then she needed to be prepared to follow up what she wrote with the white lie of "yes, she did".  There were probably still a lot of wounds when the thank you note came up.  I do have a question - did he ever send a thank you note for the wedding present?  The real present, not the check of his inheritance. 
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: LifeOnPluto on January 21, 2013, 08:13:16 PM
Add me to the camp that says giving Uncle his inheritence check in the wedding card was an odd thing to do.

And the note from the OP's mum makes things even more confusing. To me, it suggests that the OP's parents (as executors) had decided to give Uncle a bit extra (in addition to his rightful share of the estate).

And finally, the fact that this came from Uncle's sister in law (rather than his own brother) may have seemed quite presumptuous to him.

Of course, this doesn't excuse Uncle blowing up at the OP's parents. But I don't think they're entirely blameless either.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: oceanus on January 21, 2013, 08:21:59 PM
I’m not going to make any judgments about uncle’s not helping out (that you know of) or about uncle’s relationship with his mother.  However, if the relationship had been really bad, I don’t think she would have left him an equal share of the inheritance – although that is JMHO.

The wedding was not the place to his uncle his share of the house sale proceeds – that should have been totally separate.  By doing so, and making a brief comment, it opened up Pandora’s Box.

He got to thinking, became upset, and BAM!  He overanalyzed and overreacted.  Just because she cried does not make uncle an awful person and it does not mean he was rude.

OP, I don’t understand; what is your question?  Are you asking what to do?  I say stay out of it.  There is nothing you can do.  It’s really between your mother and her brother.  Your initial post does not ask for advice – it seems like a vent.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: WillyNilly on January 21, 2013, 08:26:21 PM
And, he has displayed a pattern of rather brusque behavior.  For example, a few years earlier, he had sent my a Christmas present and I forgot to send him a thank-you note.  Wrong of me, I know, but he ended up emailing my dad and telling him that he thought they had raised me wrong.

Depending on how he worded this its not such an awful thing.  I've spoken to my brother about how frustrating it is for me to never know if gifts I send to his kids even arrive, let alone if they are appreciated, because I don't get a call or a note. And I have, in a candid, sibling to sibling way, asked if that's the kind of parent he is and if that's the kind of kid he wants to raise. Because really, its hurtful to only have UPS sending me anything to say "hey it got there."  I want me niece and nephews to be the kind of people who graciously reach out to say thanks and not the kind of people who don't, and I feel like as his sister, I can be direct about discussing my brother's kids behavior with him. No I don't get to make his decisions or order him around, but I can talk with him about it - I think that's a lot better then just silently stewing.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: TootsNYC on January 21, 2013, 08:27:10 PM
part of the strength of his reaction may have come because he didn't at first recognize that this was the inheritance check but was in fact something extra. And he may have thought the inheritance check was still coming.

And then to realize that this is all there is, when he'd had time to build up a hope that there would be more to use for planning his life with his new wife would have been disappointing.

People who are executors of wills need to behave in a far more businesslike manner in everything connected to the will and the inheritance.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: mich3554 on January 21, 2013, 08:31:04 PM
Someone else brought up a very valid point....

By your mom enclosing her BIL's check in a wedding card, it implies wedding gift.  However, an inheritance is not community property and her move did a bit to blur the line.  Should your uncle and his bride ever part, she could potentially receive half.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: gramma dishes on January 21, 2013, 08:55:30 PM
Also, by your mother giving your uncle his inheritance check in a wedding card, it could be argued that the money was a wedding present, to be split between husband and wife, rather than an inheritance, which belonged to your uncle alone.  Your mother clouded the issue of "whose money was it anyway?"

LOL!  Thank you for bringing this up.  I thought of that too, but was afraid to mention it.  At least now I know there are two of us who considered that.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: sparksals on January 21, 2013, 08:56:04 PM
Someone else brought up a very valid point....

By your mom enclosing her BIL's check in a wedding card, it implies wedding gift.  However, an inheritance is not community property and her move did a bit to blur the line.  Should your uncle and his bride ever part, she could potentially receive half.

POD!  He may have had no intention of including in marital assets.  The OP's mother stepped way over the line.

Referring to Uncle as awful is a huge stretch since his inheritance was made marital property without.his permission or knowledge.

Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: sparksals on January 21, 2013, 08:58:37 PM
Also, by your mother giving your uncle his inheritance check in a wedding card, it could be argued that the money was a wedding present, to be split between husband and wife, rather than an inheritance, which belonged to your uncle alone.  Your mother clouded the issue of "whose money was it anyway?"

LOL!  Thank you for bringing this up.  I thought of that too, but was afraid to mention it.  At least now I know there are two of us who considered that.

As an fyi...I also brought this up early in the thread.  That is my major bone of contention with this entire situation.   This was a huge interference in his personal finances.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: gramma dishes on January 21, 2013, 09:02:36 PM
Also, by your mother giving your uncle his inheritance check in a wedding card, it could be argued that the money was a wedding present, to be split between husband and wife, rather than an inheritance, which belonged to your uncle alone.  Your mother clouded the issue of "whose money was it anyway?"

LOL!  Thank you for bringing this up.  I thought of that too, but was afraid to mention it.  At least now I know there are two of us who considered that.

As an fyi...I also brought this up early in the thread.  That is my major bone of contention with this entire situation.   This was a huge interference in his personal finances.

I'm sorry, Sparksals!!    :-[
I see that you certainly did mention it first.  I missed it somehow.  I really do try so hard to be careful to give credit where credit is due.  My humble apologies!    :(
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 21, 2013, 09:05:02 PM
I realize this is probably a huge difference in how people view things, but to me, anything that is mine is my spouse's.  We have equal access to everything (except my chocolate! that's all mine, my own, my precious!).  Ahem.  If I got an inheritance, it would be for both of us because it would go in our joint bank account.  We would, together, choose how to spend it. 


Edit: typo.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: KenveeB on January 21, 2013, 09:05:23 PM
I don't think that Uncle reacted well, but I can see how he could have reacted out of hurt and disappointment. Likewise, I think Mom's heart was in the right place, but she didn't think things through and inadvertantly caused a lot of hurt. Neither is blameless, but neither is a bad person for what they did. I think that a lot of it is blown up on both sides due to the pre-existing bad blood.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: sparksals on January 21, 2013, 09:17:14 PM
I realize this is probably a huge difference in how people view things, but to me, anything that is mine is my spouse's.  We have equal access to everything (except my chocolate! that's all mine, my own, my precious!).  Ahem.  If I got an inheritance, it would be for both of us because it would go in our joint bank account.  We would, together, choose how to spend it. 


Edit: typo.

People do think very differently on that topic...What comes my family is MINE to determine, not a SIL.  I received one and kept it separate.  The OP's mom took away that option from her BIL.   You may choose a different method, but I know my parents would want ME to have and keep full control of their hard earned funds.

 
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 21, 2013, 09:33:52 PM
I realize this is probably a huge difference in how people view things, but to me, anything that is mine is my spouse's.  We have equal access to everything (except my chocolate! that's all mine, my own, my precious!).  Ahem.  If I got an inheritance, it would be for both of us because it would go in our joint bank account.  We would, together, choose how to spend it. 


Edit: typo.

People do think very differently on that topic...What comes my family is MINE to determine, not a SIL.  I received one and kept it separate.  The OP's mom took away that option from her BIL.   You may choose a different method, but I know my parents would want ME to have and keep full control of their hard earned funds.

I'll definitely agree, though, that it is most certainly not the SIL's to determine.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: gramma dishes on January 21, 2013, 09:54:03 PM
...What comes my family is MINE to determine, not a SIL.  I received one and kept it separate.  The OP's mom took away that option from her BIL.   You may choose a different method, but I know my parents would want ME to have and keep full control of their hard earned funds.

 


That's how I feel too. 

If I died and left my own and my husband's hard earned and hard saved money to one of my kids, I would be giving the money to HER or to HIM.  If s/he wanted to get married and share it halvsies, fine.  If s/he didn't, also fine.  But it should be my son's or daughter's choice, not some other relative like my 'married in' brother-in-law (my sister's husband) making that decision for them.
Title: Re: Awful Uncle
Post by: JoieGirl7 on January 21, 2013, 11:01:42 PM
It's simply not appropriate to use a card for a milestone  whether its a birthday, wedding, funeral or whatever to insert some other topic that is unrelated.

Putting that check in a birthday card would be just as wrong.  It's not that its confusing its that its inappropriate.  It's mixing a business relationship with a business relationship.
 
And I will comment on the background that was provided about uncle and the other siblings not being involved in grandma's care.  That is their choice to make.  They are adults and cannot be coerced to do something they don't want to do.  Expecting them to do it is not reasonable.
 
In fact, there are certain situations where I could see a sibling staying as far away from a situation like that as possible.  It seems that the OPs parents were grandma's point people.  Under those circumstances, I could see the OPs mom using that position to insist that uncle do all sorts of things--I make that judgement on the slim but rather significant faux pas of her being condescending in the wedding card.

She could be deigning to speak for this man's mother because she was around her more in her last days and that not only us not fair, its rude.

It also could have been taken as a criticism--"she would have wanted you to have this".... <and unspoken> "even tho you did nothing in her last years to deserve it."
 
I know what its like to have family members decide for you what your contribution to a parent's care should be.  There is already enough complicated emotions going on with the illness and death of a parent without one's sister or brother in law complicating it with expectations.
 
As to the OPs parents taking care of the estate:  also their choice to take it on.  Just because someone names you as an executor doesn't mean you have to serve.  Also, in most cases even family members that serve as executors may be paid for their services.

So, I really don't have all that much sympathy for the OPs parents.  They made their choices in choosing to visit her every day and to disperse the will.  Other adults made different choices.

Neither side has any right to criticize the other as to those choices.  If uncle had wanted to be an executor he could have pursued that.

The thing that bothers me the most about this is that this mother is sharing all of this with the OP.  Also, an email reducing you to tears because it takes you to task over your rudeness?  Oh well, grow up.  Her response doesn't mean that he was rude.

This is, after all, a mother who negatively characterizes the uncle's very justifiable criticism of the OPs very rude behavior in not acknowleging gifts that he sent.