Author Topic: Asking for the deceased's belongings  (Read 5735 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

HGolightly

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 153
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2013, 04:02:12 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.

EllenS

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1368
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2013, 04:34:11 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.

Syrse

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 172
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2013, 04:34:43 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.

lurkerwisp

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 107
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2013, 04:46:41 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.

wheeitsme

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3987
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2013, 05:59:46 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.

Poppea

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2458
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2013, 08:11:14 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.

LifeOnPluto

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6556
    • Blog
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2013, 11:10:27 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).

Slartibartfast

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11704
    • Nerdy Necklaces - my Etsy shop!
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2013, 11:40:27 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 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!  That's Babybartfast from quite a while ago (before she had any hair), but isn't the rocking horse cute?   ;D
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 11:46:01 PM by Slartibartfast »

Phoebelion

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 282
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2013, 07:56:57 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. 

Luci

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6004
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2013, 08:21:58 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.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30583
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2013, 08:32:33 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.

delabela

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 589
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2013, 08:59:38 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.

Venus193

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15900
  • Backstage passes are wonderful things!
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2013, 09:49:55 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.


mime

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 722
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2013, 12:11:55 PM »
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.


Luci

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6004
Re: Asking for the deceased's belongings
« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2013, 12:37:46 PM »
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.