Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: lynnetteleigh on April 17, 2013, 09:09:45 AM

Title: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: lynnetteleigh on April 17, 2013, 09:09:45 AM
I have wondered about this in the past and with a death in the family recently the issue has resurfaced and I was wondering what others thought about this.

Aside from asking about
1. things the deceased has promised to you
2. having an immediate family member ask if there are any items you want

Is it ever polite to ask their family/spouse for the deceased items?

I have 2 scenarios that come to mind that sat badly with me.

Ex1

My Great-Aunt1 passed(husband passed years earlier) and her children were tasked with going through her items. Her nephew's wife made up a list of items she wanted. Things like a full bedroom set and other random furniture she liked. She wasn't very close to the deceased and wasn't a blood relative(being one of those would have made this request slightly better in my eyes).

Ex2

My Grandfather passed away and my Grandmother's sister told my Grandmother that she would like all of his sweatshirts to give to her sons(in their 50s). I have a feeling her sons would not wear these as they were odd colors and a bit old manish. How it usually works in my family is the older generation passes on these items to their children/grandchildren who then usually wind up donating what doesn't fit their style. So I have a feeling all of these sweatshirts would have wound up at the thrift store.

My Grandmother did not offer this items to her sister. She had been offering everything first to her children/grandchildren so it's very likely if her sister would have waited a day or so she would have been offered the sweatshirts.

This one ended with us grandchildren getting a first pass at the sweatshirts(we wanted them for sentimental reasons. As my Mom put it wearing them to bed is like getting a hug from Grandpa all night) and my Grandmother then giving what was left over to her.


Both cases just seem very "let me benefit from your misfortune" to me.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Coralreef on April 17, 2013, 09:29:02 AM
I can understand wanting something to remember those we loved.  However, I have no sympathy for people asking for the family jewels, specially when they are not even a close relative. And please have the decency to wait.  Asking for a good deal on the car at the funeral is not the right time or place!   >:( >:( >:( 

If the spouse or children or other close family want to give something away, it's their decision, not anyone else's.  Although, I would think that asking for copies of pictures is OK after a suitable period of time.

When my SIL died suddenly, my brother was in no mood or state of mind to give away anything.  It was only a couple of years later that he decided to give away some of her artwork (she was a painter/sculptor).  I have no idea what everyone else got and it certainly was not my place to snoop.  I got two small paintings and I deeply appreciate them. 

When my father passed, xBIL was ticked off that he didn't inherit everything.  Sorry, but mother was still living and there are six children from that marriage.  Where in the world did you get that you would be in the will?  He was still angly at me years later because I got dad's rocking chair.  Since mother is now in a nursing home, most of the belongings have been distributed among the six of us.  Luckily, there was no moaning and pouting.  Mother had names at the back/bottom of everything and we knew who got what.  Whatever wasn't marked went around and if you could use it, it was yours. 
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: *inviteseller on April 17, 2013, 09:40:58 AM
In both of your scenarios, the people asking were not 'direct' relatives of the deceased and while it is ok to ask for a trinket, I don't think large items should be even asked for until the will (if there is one) is read.  Death brings out the worst in people.  Both of my DD's have lost their fathers due to sudden medical issues.  Younger DD never had a chance as his ex weaseled her way into SO's house and tossed everything, including things their kids wanted.  We were supposed to do it together, and all I wanted was some papers, pics, and he made her an Easter basket the day before he died.  When we went to get it with her the day of the memorial, gone.  With my ex husband who just recently passed, my DD asked his mom, who he lived with for his flannel shirts.  His mother said there was nothing and she got nothing and then she proceeded to get a new employee of the funeral home to give her the urn of ashes that were ours.  I have learned, don't even ask for anything until you find out legally anything has been left for you. 
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 17, 2013, 09:45:34 AM
I don't mind people asking for items if they know that the family is planning to dispose or distribute items. There's noting wrong with saying "Hey, if no one else wants the bedroom set, I always admired it and would love to have it." I'm assuming the wife's husband was a blood relative so the items are going to a blood relatives home.

But if she showed up at the wake with a "shopping list" then it's rude.

The second item I'd be fine with too if phrased as "Sis, if your kid's don't want his sweatshirts, I'd like to pass some of them on to my sons." Otherwise, how was your grandmother to know she'd be interested. As you said they probably would have ended up at Goodwill.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: artk2002 on April 17, 2013, 10:00:26 AM
While I understand that it seems upsetting, look at things from the estate's side. All of the "stuff" has to go somewhere. Either to a relative/friend, sold or to the trash. As an executor, I would much prefer that stuff go to people who actually want it. The only bad issue comes up when there are conflicting desires. One technique that I've seen (and used) was to have people go through the house with a set of colored tags that they stuck on things (one color per person.) If only one person wanted something, then that's where it went. If more than one, then I made a choice based on a number of things. Another technique is to have each person go through the house, one at a time, and take one thing. You establish an order (age, relative distance in relationship to the deceased, number of pet guppies) and everybody goes through in that order the first time, then you shuffle the order each time afterwards.

Having a plan for distributing the items of an estate can help deal with the "shopping list" people.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Calistoga on April 17, 2013, 10:03:18 AM
My great aunt recently passed away and my mother is in charge of sorting her things out. I asked for a knick knack of hers- a glass jar filled with polished rocks, glass, and sea shells. Financially worthless, but when I was little I used to pour all the rocks out and try to sort them in to layers, and I'd always get annoyed because there weren't enough sea shells to keep the rocks and the glass from touching in some spots. It was something that I could remember her by. I think requests like that are fine as long as they're made politely.

Coming in wanting a full bedroom set seems kind of gimme grabbing to me- it sounds like she was just raiding for furniture, since she was asking for quite a few pieces as opposed to one chair that she might have been attached to. If she was the only one that was at all interested, then it's better to have the pieces go somewhere instead of going to waste, but to come in guns blazing after a dead woman's sofa is very odd to me.

The sweat shirts one seems fine, so long as the request was polite.

Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Eastsider on April 17, 2013, 11:03:47 AM
The direct relative thing can be a little tricky though.  My DH has an aunt that shared her home with a friend for over 20 years.  My DH would stay with the 2 of them for the summers so both women had a hand in raising him and he was very close to the friend.  When she died, he wanted some items to remember her by but some members of her family that she was not close to were very intense about taking everything and since he wasn't a direct relative he felt awkward asking.  The thing is, this woman adored DH so I think she would have wanted him to have some sentimental items.  FWIW this woman was a nun so nothing she had was valuable in terms of money.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: lurkerwisp on April 17, 2013, 11:10:01 AM
I think it's best to wait and see what the will and the laws say before making any decisions.

When my grandfather died, many of his possessions were not community property because he had inherited them from his parents or because they were his own artwork.  They were his and his alone to decide who would get them when he passed.  His decision was for them to go to his son and daughter, but for his wife to have use of them until she either remarries or sells the house they lived in.

While she was still living in the house she started giving away items to distant family members.  This was Not Good.  In fact, it was illegal, and theft because they were not at all hers to give.  After the family became aware of this, we had to go to her house with the sheriff to remove everything left that was listed in the will as going to my dad or his sister.  The distant relatives are now facing a lawsuit of elder abuse over having knowingly taken and sold the items she had sent to them.

Asking for items could be very very delicate depending on the state of the person's estate.  If they did have a will, giving items to someone other than the person listed has to be the listed person's decision.  If they did not have a will, who things go to by default depends on the laws of the state.  So it's probably okay to let whomever is the executor know that there's a sentimental something or other you would really appreciate, or if there's some item that you could really use, but it's not okay to make demands or take things.  The most you can do is let that person know, you really can't expect your request to be filled if the will or the law says that the possessions must be given to someone else.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: siamesecat2965 on April 17, 2013, 11:17:14 AM
I think first of all, whoever is doing the asking should wait until things have settled down a bit; funeral, will probated, etc. I don't have a problem with people nicely asking for something small to remember someone by, but I do have issues with those who think they are entitled to the deceased's every belonging, esp if they are not immediate or close family or friend.

My mom's cousin did beautiful needlework, mainly cross stitch, and she and my mom were very close growing up as they were only a few months apart in age, and both only children. She has since passed, and my mom says she wishes she had one of her projects as they were so lovely, but she isn't sure what happned to them, or wants to ask any of her kids (my cousins too).

There are 3 kids, two who are fine, and if they have anything, and knew mom would like one, they would give something to her in a heartbeat. The thrid however, who we suspect has the stuff, if she hasn't already gotten rid of it, is selfish, greedy and entitled to the nth degree and we know would say no.  I'm thinking of asking my one cousin who I'm close with what happened to all the stuff, just to see where it is, but that's it. I won't ask for my mom, nor will mom ask, but i'm thinking if it ever comes up in conversation, i might see where it went.

I know when my dad's mom passed, he and his two siblings went through her house, and amicalbly distributed her stuff.  My dad didn't take too much as he lived 3000 miles away, but he took a few things he wanted so that was nice
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Figgie on April 17, 2013, 12:04:52 PM
My Dad died in September and my brother was only able to be here for two days before the funeral and the day of the funeral before he had to fly back to go to work.  Which meant that we needed to make decisions about the stuff in the house very quickly, as my sister and I were the ones who were going to be clearing it out after the funeral.

We sat down and talked to each other about it and made the decisions right then and there so my brother could take back things with him and not have to have it shipped or try to figure out if he wanted it from it being held up to show him during a Skype call.

Since my sister and I have the only grandchildren, it was decided that the only valuable item (new large screen flat panel TV) would be given to one of the grandchildren via a drawing.  Each of them would write their name on a piece of paper, it would go into a basket and my brother picked out the name.

We were lucky in that there was no one outside of immediate family that wanted anything from the house.  Dad had gotten rid of a ton of stuff after Mom died 10 years ago, so there wasn't as much left as there might have been. 

Now, this worked because we are all mostly reasonable adults and because nothing was truly valuable....just sentimental.

When my sister and I cleared out the house, we divided stuff up as we went along and put stuff aside for our children.  We only had one issue and that was when my sister protested my youngest taking a rocker recliner chair because she (my youngest) had won the tv drawing.

I had made the choice when going through the house that I would restrict what I took to only things I had sentimental attachments to, which meant that out of a three bedroom house with a full basement and two car garage, I had taken the equivalent of three grocery bags full of stuff for myself  :).  This was mostly because I wanted my other choices to be things my children could use.

My sister had chosen to take all kinds of things for herself and for the three weekends that we had worked on the house, had filled up the back of her spouse's pick-up truck each time. :)  I pointed out to her that I had not chosen anywhere near as much as she had and she disagreed. 

So I started listing and finished with "and I haven't filled up more than a grocery bag while you've taken pick-up truck loads home with you."  She got really embarrassed, apologized and I told her that I thought it was pretty amazing that we could distribute the entire contents of the house with only one minor disagreement. :)

I learned after my in-laws died, leaving a huge house stuffed with everything they had bought over 40 plus years, that having family take and use stuff was the best possible way to dispose of everything.  Most things only get pennies on the dollar and furniture especially, many people won't buy because they worry about odors, urine and bedbugs.

The most interesting way I've ever heard of family dividing up valuable household possessions is to have them basically hold a family only auction.  If you want the item and no one else does, you get the item.  If other family members want the item, them people bid against each other and then whoever wins, pays the estate, knowing that they will get back part of the money when the estate is settled.  I've seen that done a couple of times and it does seem to work fairly well.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Girlie on April 17, 2013, 12:51:36 PM
While I understand that it seems upsetting, look at things from the estate's side. All of the "stuff" has to go somewhere. Either to a relative/friend, sold or to the trash. As an executor, I would much prefer that stuff go to people who actually want it. The only bad issue comes up when there are conflicting desires. One technique that I've seen (and used) was to have people go through the house with a set of colored tags that they stuck on things (one color per person.) If only one person wanted something, then that's where it went. If more than one, then I made a choice based on a number of things. Another technique is to have each person go through the house, one at a time, and take one thing. You establish an order (age, relative distance in relationship to the deceased, number of pet guppies) and everybody goes through in that order the first time, then you shuffle the order each time afterwards.

Having a plan for distributing the items of an estate can help deal with the "shopping list" people.

We used a version of this when my grandmother died, and it would have worked had the people who were in charge of administering the will been completely honest. As was, they refused to sell some of the nicer, family-heirloom items, and more than one item simply disappeared before the family was in attendance (an old clock, for instance, that my aunt refused to allow go up for bidding until the "glassware" was returned. Unfortunately, we suspect she was also the one who took the glasses).
Anyway, everyone was allowed to go in and bid on items. A tally of what everyone bid on each item was kept. For instance the old steamer trunk - Uncle #1 bid $50. My mom bid $100. Mom "won."
Children were allowed to go in first, then grandchildren, and so on and so forth.
The money raised was used to settle the estate.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Luci on April 17, 2013, 01:07:15 PM
On the bizarre side: My stepmother's first husband passed in 1966, my mom in 1969, and then my dad and stepmother married in 1970. Then my stepmother died in 1997, and my dad in 2004. I got a phone call at the house before the funeral. It was a niece to the first husband wanting to know where the belt buckles were that her uncle had promised to her over 38 years earlier.

I just promised her that I would keep her in mind, and fortunately never heard from her again.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: TootsNYC on April 17, 2013, 01:34:27 PM
My dad indicated right away that he wanted people to take my mother's belongings, so we all knew there wasn't any sensitivity there on his part.

So while we were gathered at the house for the funeral, several of us said things like, "If you ever give away the frogs, this is the one I'd like." Or "could I take some of her books?" knowing that Dad wouldn't read them bcs they weren't his type of thing.

I think it's a sensitive sort of thing, but if I were truly close enough that someone had said to me, "I'll have to give you this when I die" or something, I'd definitely bring it up as diffidently and unobtrusively as I could. And that would be it.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Library Dragon on April 17, 2013, 02:18:59 PM
My great aunt recently passed away and my mother is in charge of sorting her things out. I asked for a knick knack of hers- a glass jar filled with polished rocks, glass, and sea shells. Financially worthless, but when I was little I used to pour all the rocks out and try to sort them in to layers, and I'd always get annoyed because there weren't enough sea shells to keep the rocks and the glass from touching in some spots. It was something that I could remember her by. I think requests like that are fine as long as they're made politely.

Coming in wanting a full bedroom set seems kind of gimme grabbing to me- it sounds like she was just raiding for furniture, since she was asking for quite a few pieces as opposed to one chair that she might have been attached to. If she was the only one that was at all interested, then it's better to have the pieces go somewhere instead of going to waste, but to come in guns blazing after a dead woman's sofa is very odd to me.

The sweat shirts one seems fine, so long as the request was polite.

Well said. 

I remember my great-grandmother's death when I was 10.  I asked for a small, chenille throw rug with a lion on it.  I had memories of sitting on it for hours making up stories, marveling in the texture, etc.  I was told that it wast to be given to favored cousin.  The framed puzzle of an English Pointer.  No, going to the cousin.  Made me feel really unimportant.  What was worse when I discovered that my cousin received neither item.  They were just tossed. 
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: siamesecat2965 on April 17, 2013, 02:34:15 PM
My great aunt recently passed away and my mother is in charge of sorting her things out. I asked for a knick knack of hers- a glass jar filled with polished rocks, glass, and sea shells. Financially worthless, but when I was little I used to pour all the rocks out and try to sort them in to layers, and I'd always get annoyed because there weren't enough sea shells to keep the rocks and the glass from touching in some spots. It was something that I could remember her by. I think requests like that are fine as long as they're made politely.

Coming in wanting a full bedroom set seems kind of gimme grabbing to me- it sounds like she was just raiding for furniture, since she was asking for quite a few pieces as opposed to one chair that she might have been attached to. If she was the only one that was at all interested, then it's better to have the pieces go somewhere instead of going to waste, but to come in guns blazing after a dead woman's sofa is very odd to me.

The sweat shirts one seems fine, so long as the request was polite.

Well said. 

I remember my great-grandmother's death when I was 10.  I asked for a small, chenille throw rug with a lion on it.  I had memories of sitting on it for hours making up stories, marveling in the texture, etc.  I was told that it wast to be given to favored cousin.  The framed puzzle of an English Pointer.  No, going to the cousin.  Made me feel really unimportant.  What was worse when I discovered that my cousin received neither item.  They were just tossed.

I'm sorry that happened to you. I have some things from my grandmother, little knicknacks, and her "everyday" dishes which aren't fine china, and not particularly valuable.

But they are pretty (pattern here http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006TTBAA/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=1532201582&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0006TTB8C&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0KJ0A4REVBJ95XXZAA3G) and have great sentimental value as I remember having grown-up "tea parties" with her, with these yummy sugar cookies she used to buy, which sadly, are no longer made. I have them packed away as I don't have room for them, but as soon as I can, i plan to get them out and use them.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: HGolightly on April 17, 2013, 03:02:12 PM
Both of my parents had been through unpleasant distributions of belongings after their respective parents had passed. They decided that they did not want my brother and I to do the same so they sat us down and asked us to take turns and decide what we wanted to inherit. It went very well, including a discussion on the distribution of property,with no disagreements. Considering my brother and I disagree on everything, it was miracle.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: EllenS on April 17, 2013, 03:34:11 PM
I agree that asking for a sentimental item of little or no monetary value is not rude, if done at the proper time/place, since it is more about remembering the person.  Asking for valuable or large items, such as sets of furniture, is more about trying to benefit yourself.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Syrse on April 17, 2013, 03:34:43 PM
This thread makes me sad... Makes me glad I married, and that I only have one kid. Should make everything much easier.

When I was 12, my grandmother died. A few days before she died (she was bedridden) she pulled me close and promised me her golden watch. I am now 30, and I have never seen said watch.
Then when my brother died, I was too occupied with grieving to realize that everybody was dividing up his stuff. I again, ended up with nothing. So I actually disagree with waiting until the grieving period is over. The vultures won't wait. If you want something for sentimental value, ask!

My parents are also playing it dirty; mom has 4 kids, two of which, me and my brother, are dads. Older half-brother is dead, older half-sister is still alive. Mom and dad sold a house, and gave me and brother half. My half-sister got nothing, because 'she's alone to inherit from her dad now, she should be happy with that'. They also put their current house and all their belongings in dad's name, so if they ever die, my half-sister will get nothing. I have no words.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: lurkerwisp on April 17, 2013, 03:46:41 PM
so if they ever die, my half-sister will get nothing.

That depends on what state you live in!  Community property in the state where I live where there is no will has to be divided among the children, and a child cannot be disinherited.  Even in the case of a surviving spouse - the deceased's half will be given to the children.  Community property would include everything purchased by the couple after their marriage, no matter whose name is on it.  Items that are inherited, purchased before the marriage, or art created by the deceased belong only to that person and also go directly to the children rather than the spouse.  So unless they specifically create a will to say so and you live in my state, she's still entitled to a portion of your mother's estate.  Check your state's laws.  They're all wildly different when it comes to how this is handled.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: wheeitsme on April 17, 2013, 04:59:46 PM
Here's my thing:

When the last parent of my mom died the grandchildren gave the three daughters a list of 10 things they would like labeled 1-10 as to which was most important.  The daughters went through the lists after they had figured out what they wanted and tried to distribute fairly.

When the last parent of my dad died, the cousins/aunts down that way had a yard sale to help clean out everything.  But they forgot to contact our family in time to say anything.  A complete 12 piece set with rare serving pieces of Franciscan Rose dinnerware went for $200.  And the only things I had from my grandma were things she had given me while she was alive.  They weren't being mean, they just didn't think and had to deal with everything. 

Luckily my dad had snagged the mirror that had my name on the back.  He didn't know it, but I saw it in his storage room when I visited about a year after my grandma died.  He just liked it.  I pointed out my name on the back, and thanked him profusely (hugs and kisses too).  Dad didn't understand why I was so upset about the dinnerware, either - until I showed him a butter dish (which grandma had) that was selling for $45.  That set of dinnerware was not just worth a lot for sentimental reasons - I would put a (very low) minimum value of at least $2000 on all the Franciscan Rose she had.  She even had the glassware.  And it was all vintage.

Three years ago my sister was visiting me and she made a comment in regards to the mirror about how she was glad that I had been able to get that.  And that all she had really wanted was the milk glass candy dish that was always on her coffee table.  I was able to go into my bedroom and bring it out to give to her.  Grandma had given it to me for my birthday a just a few years before she died. 

If it means a lot to you, and you have a good relationship with the survivors, I say mention it to them.  As soon as possible.  Understand if they want to keep it, but I say, mention it.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Poppea on April 17, 2013, 07:11:14 PM
so if they ever die, my half-sister will get nothing.

That depends on what state you live in!  Community property in the state where I live where there is no will has to be divided among the children, and a child cannot be disinherited.  Even in the case of a surviving spouse - the deceased's half will be given to the children.  Community property would include everything purchased by the couple after their marriage, no matter whose name is on it.  Items that are inherited, purchased before the marriage, or art created by the deceased belong only to that person and also go directly to the children rather than the spouse.  So unless they specifically create a will to say so and you live in my state, she's still entitled to a portion of your mother's estate.  Check your state's laws.  They're all wildly different when it comes to how this is handled.

I think she was trying to show that everything was being put in dad.s name, therefore the stepdaughter would have no claim to the property.  In a community property state its perfectly fine for a married couple to divide title to their estate.  It happens all the time.

However, there is nothing preventing a sibling that inherits from sharing the estate with a sibling that has been left out.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 17, 2013, 10:10:27 PM
I really think it depends on the circumstances.

A distant relative rocking up with a "shopping list" would be rude. A close relative (eg the offspring of the deceased's first marriage) who want to take a few sentimental items is fine.

I also think that if you're not really a close relative, and you DO want to take a valuable item, it's polite to offer to compensate the next-of-kin (or whoever would otherwise inherit the item).
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Slartibartfast on April 17, 2013, 10:40:27 PM
I agree that asking for a sentimental item of little or no monetary value is not rude, if done at the proper time/place, since it is more about remembering the person.  Asking for valuable or large items, such as sets of furniture, is more about trying to benefit yourself.

POD to this - and I think Calistoga had it right in her earlier post, as well.  If you have a valid sentimental reason to request something, and you can find a polite way to do it, I think it's fine to put it out there that "If no one else is attached to that shadowbox of old keys that Grandpa had hanging on the wall behind his rocking chair, I'd really love to have that for my living room" - but that assumes that the shadowbox has minimal value and it's not something everyone would have shared memories for.

My grandparents moved to a retirement home together a few years ago, which involved significantly downsizing their belongings.  I was the only grandchild who was unable to come divvy things up.  (I'm the oldest and was the only one out of college and married at the time.)  I really only requested two or three things, and I'm thankful that my mother was there because one of my cousins wanted everything I wanted (and then some).  I should have realized that all of us grandkids would have shared memories of the same toys in Grandma and Grandpa's basement!  My mother pointed out that my cousin was already getting X, Y, and Z, and I wasn't there to claim anything other than the few things I had asked for ahead of time.

My cousin is still a bit put out that I got the old rocking horse (like this one (http://dnok91peocsw3.cloudfront.net/inspiration/286105-612x612-1.png) but painted yellow and much cuter - named "The Coy Colt"  :)) - it was my mother's when she was a little girl, and dad and Grandpa touched it up for Babybartfast.  Mind you, at the time, my cousin was single, still in college, and had no storage space, while I was pregnant with Babybartfast  ::)  I'm definitely going to pass it on to a family member when we're done with it, but it will probably be to one of my siblings!

ETA: found it! (http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_kqr8og0oCk1qznl3qo3_1280.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAI6WLSGT7Y3ET7ADQ&Expires=1366343093&Signature=llODLz0ltE4uQl6oQJSnyDYj6kU%3D#_=_)  That's Babybartfast from quite a while ago (before she had any hair), but isn't the rocking horse cute?   ;D
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Phoebelion on April 18, 2013, 06:56:57 PM
How about "I'm taking" before the person is dead?  That's what DH is going thru right now.

His dad was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.  He had surgery which has left him paralized on his left side, and delusional (that's what the docs are calling it at this time - not only are the lights not on in the bus but there's also no steering wheel or tires for as long as I've known him).  DH has power of attorney.  DH's brother and one nephew have been bugging him for two months with the "I wants".  Cars, trucks, guns, etc - not cheap stuff.  Luckily everything is locked down and they have keys to nothing.  A cop lives right next door to the hosue and is keeping a great eye on things.  And brother and nephew are really upset they don't have power of attorney.

DH has decided that he's hiring a professional auctioneer to sell everything once we are told what kind of facility his Dad is being put in to live.  Family members who want something will have to outbid everyone else for it.  The big money is in the vehicles and farm equipment - no antiques or stuff like that.  In fact, there's nothing that DH wants as we already have Dad's dog here with us - big goofy lab mutt. 
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Luci on April 18, 2013, 07:21:58 PM
DH has decided that he's hiring a professional auctioneer to sell everything once we are told what kind of facility his Dad is being put in to live.  Family members who want something will have to outbid everyone else for it.  The big money is in the vehicles and farm equipment - no antiques or stuff like that.  In fact, there's nothing that DH wants as we already have Dad's dog here with us - big goofy lab mutt.

I'm am sorry for what you all are going through right now, and your impending pain.

The auction is a wise move! We've had both public auctions and family auctions, and have been pleased with both.

We did the public auction thing with Lucas's aunt and uncle (four heirs - long story). It worked really great until we found that a distant cousin and my sister-in-law were bidding on the same item to ridiculous sums. Brother-in-law siddled up to the lady bidding and whispered to her there was no way SIL would let that item go, then found out we were all related. Later, we went to distant cousin's for dinner.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: TootsNYC on April 18, 2013, 07:32:33 PM
However, there is nothing preventing a sibling that inherits from sharing the estate with a sibling that has been left out.

True--but the inheriting sibling will still pay inheritance tax on the full financial value of the estate. In the case of a house, that can be a huge chunk of change.

Phoebelion, I think your DH is wise--especially in the case where there's stuff of actual dollar value, the executor owes it to the estate to maximize the money for the heirs. Your DH may not legally be able to just give it away!

And in your case, his dad may need the money from the sale of *his assets*.

I'm glad you guys got the dog, though.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: delabela on April 18, 2013, 07:59:38 PM
I think I've mentioned before - going through my father's stuff with my siblings and deciding who got what is one of favorite memories.  We al got to know a little bit more about him, and we all had different memories to share.

It seems fine to me to ask for a sentimental item - something with significance.  It would bother me if random distant relatives descended with measuring tapes and moving vans.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Venus193 on April 18, 2013, 08:49:55 PM
Reading this I feel lucky to not have to have experienced any of this.

When my mother died someone asked me whether I was going to call her last boyfriend, whom they had met only once.  Knowing he was a greedy cheapskate, I said "No."   As soon as I had legal authorization to enter her house I had her phone disconnected without a forwarding message.

When I went through her house I didn't find a revised will leaving it to him (I had been wondering about this for a long time).  He would have tried to get it.

Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: mime on April 19, 2013, 11:11:55 AM
I think in-law and more distant relative, still have to be careful in asking for sentimental items-- those same things could be of sentimental value to a direct child/grandchild. Asking doesn't hurt as long as it is done in a non-entitled or "...if the kids/grandkids don't want it..." kind of way.

When DH's grandmother passed away, I was invited to participate in dividing the things she left behind. DH already had some sentimental things he had wanted, and wasn't interested in anything else. I felt a bit uncomfortable, knowing that I didn't have a lifetime of memories with grandmother the way my ILs did. Only after a couple of things (a set of embroidered pillowcases and a few doilies) went around the whole room with no 'takers' I said I would love to have them. At one point, one SIL pulled some bowls out of a box and said immediately "these look perfect for mime!". The others unanimously agreed and they passed them over to me right away. They were right: they were exactly my style, and I was so honored that my SILs all essentially gave them to me. Now when I use the bowls (for special occasions), I not only remember DH's grandmother, but also the kindness of his four sisters.

Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Luci on April 19, 2013, 11:37:46 AM
I think in-law and more distant relative, still have to be careful in asking for sentimental items-- those same things could be of sentimental value to a direct child/grandchild. Asking doesn't hurt as long as it is done in a non-entitled or "...if the kids/grandkids don't want it..." kind of way.

When DH's grandmother passed away, I was invited to participate in dividing the things she left behind. DH already had some sentimental things he had wanted, and wasn't interested in anything else. I felt a bit uncomfortable, knowing that I didn't have a lifetime of memories with grandmother the way my ILs did. Only after a couple of things (a set of embroidered pillowcases and a few doilies) went around the whole room with no 'takers' I said I would love to have them. At one point, one SIL pulled some bowls out of a box and said immediately "these look perfect for mime!". The others unanimously agreed and they passed them over to me right away. They were right: they were exactly my style, and I was so honored that my SILs all essentially gave them to me. Now when I use the bowls (for special occasions), I not only remember DH's grandmother, but also the kindness of his four sisters.


Nice story. Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Sharnita on April 19, 2013, 12:26:19 PM
On the flip side, my mom (a DIL) visited my grandparents regularly, hosted them on the hoidays, etc.  When my grandparent needed care my mom opened the house, scheduled her life so she could cook, clean, shower, do laundry, etc.  While one of Grandparent's blood daughter's was "closer" when measured by blood, she rarely visited, never put herself out, questioned and criticized those who did.  I don't know that I ould use "who is the closest blood relative" as my sole measure.
Title: Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
Post by: Bottlecaps on April 19, 2013, 11:50:09 PM
Honestly, I think that only close/immediate kin and very close family friends (ie, those friends to whom one is so close they are just like part of the family) should actually outright ask for belongings. If someone that I only knew in passing or didn't know very well at all would have come asking for things after either my Grandma or Pappaw died, I would have been taken aback to say the least.

We had a pretty good system for dividing things out when my Pappaw died. If you gave it to him or Grandma, you got it back (if you wanted it back). Anything else, we just kind of auctioned off among the family. (For example, "Oh, look at these bowls - does anyone want them?" "Bottlecaps, you gave this to Grandma & Pappaw didn't you? Do you want it back?") Grandma and Pappaw weren't exactly well-off, so they didn't have anything of great monetary value, but they had plenty of things that held sentimental value to their kids and grandkids. :) The only issue I had was when my cousin professed that Grandma's commemorative plates, which had belonged to our great-grandmother, had been promised to her. Meanwhile, I knew that Grandma had promised one of them to me. (It had a Roy Rogers quote on it - "A man who doesn't make a mistake is a man who doesn't do anything." I'd always loved that quote.) However, I figured that I wouldn't make a fuss, she could take all the darn plates, because I knew what I wanted, and I knew no one else would really want what I wanted.

I took a cue from Mr. Bottlecaps, who only asked for one of his Dad's work shirts after his Dad died, and asked only for one of Pappaw's outfits, one of Grandma's outfits (Pappaw kept most of Grandma's things after she died), one of my Pappaw's winter coats, and my Grandma's pickling canister. I took the outfits because they're easy to store, as I could just hang them up in the closet, and they were actually used by my grandparents, unlike knick-knacks that just sat on the shelves. I could actually remember my Pappaw and Grandma wearing those clothes.  I took Grandma's pickling canister because she made the most awesome red beet pickled eggs, and one of my favorite memories as a kid was sneaking into said canister before they were thoroughly pickled because I just couldn't resist. :-P That was actually a running joke in the family for years - my tendency to sneak into the pickled eggs before they were completely pickled, hehe. No one minded that I was taking the canister because of that. I took Pappaw's coat because when I'd visit him, I'd go outside to smoke. A lot of times, I wouldn't be wearing a good heavy coat, and he'd tell me to put one of his on. He hated the fact that I smoke cigarettes, but regardless, he didn't want me getting cold out there while I did it.

I think I have something in my eye now....