I have a potential buyer for Mom and Dad's house and there is still stuff in it after 16 months. Sister's 3 and 4 are hesitant to sell the house. Sister 2 and I are ready. We have to come up with a way to divide the contents before we do anything.
Sister 4's fear is that if we sell the house that somebody from home will call and say something to Mom about it. Remembering her melt downs about us stealing her stuff, being vultures, sticking her in that hell hole so we could take her things, blah blah blah, I am sure her reaction will not be pretty. Sister 4 wants to tell her what we intend to do but I contend that she will not remember it, even if she eventually agrees. We will just have to keep doing it over and over.
Beyond that we have grand children that refuse to go back in the house since Mom and Dad left but Sister 3 wants everybody to go back to the house and hash out content separation on the spot. I have suggested an inventory, then let everybody complete a prioritiized list of what they might want. Then we can work from those list, decide who gets what, and each person can make one trip home to get what is on their list. Then a few of us can go back and clean up.
I have told them that this is not a final settlement of an estate but just the separation of the contents of the house that are still there so we can sell the house when the time comes. If somebody doesn't want anything then there is no monetary compensation to them.... and I am not hiring an expensive apraiser to dollar tag everyting. I am not getting into trying to make the dollar figure come out equally divided 10 ways. I want it to be easy.
So I am interested in hearing all of your experiences on dividing household contents and what to tell or not tell Mom, when and how......
It would be a waste of time for you to tell Mother what is happening. Your sister who wants to share this info is in a fog of her own kind. If she does tell your Mother and your mother calls you to complain, tell her to call Sister.
When Daddy died and be brought Mother back to NJ, Sister didn't have the heart to immediately put the "for sale" sign on the lawn. I did and in a way so did my Mother but because of her feelings for my Sister, she took her side. Sister kept saying "what happens if we want to come out here for a mini-vacation then the house won't be here for us to come to", so I let my mouth stay closed. After two full years of NO ONE going out there except me for an 8 hour sleep when I passed by, no one used the place.
Mother and Sister finally decided "okay, we can sell it" and we found a wonderful real estate agent. Hard to do when you live 2 hours away. he became the guardian of the house, calling us when the roof needed clearing of snow, thermostat in kitchen was broke, house needed a general sprucing up by a housekeeper, etc. It sold 4 years later! but we broken exactly even not making anything more than what we estimated they put into the house in total.
It's not easy. Your suggestions have value BUT you must expect two people wanting the same thing so you must put it there that the first one to respond for that item gets it. Start with the oldest and work your way through to the youngest or some system like that. BUT do you really want this stuff? Doesn't everyone have enough on their own? I would sell it to an estate seller and take all the money for parents care, etc.
We lived 2 hours away. Took what we wanted and left the rest for the purchaser who made a killing off us. I just didn't want the hassle if he said, "clear the house completely", we had no place to put the stuff.
I've never actually had to do this, but have read of a way to divide "the stuff" in these situations that I thought sounded fair. It was sort of like the pro football draft. Everyone draws a number to determine what order they will choose in, and then each picks one item they want in turn, repeat until everything is chosen, or there is nothing left y'all want. Box any remainder and donate to your local thrift shop. Good luck!
deb, I think your idea is much better than sisters of course. If you have a buyer thats great. I see alot of headaches ahead for you my friend. Alot of stress. My goodness 16 months. Its way past time.
I would not tell Mom. A meltdown is sure to happen thats for sure. What can your sister be thinking? I think your right also that she will have to be told over and over that her home is gone and why. The less she knows the better. It would only hurt her over and over. My sister #1 would be saying the same thing. Like Mom has the right to know. ........maybe the Mom before dementia not the Mom of today. Maybe its your sister that doesn't want to "let go" of the past??? My Sis doesn't want anything to change. She still wants to believe that Mom is doing just fine. Like "Mom said she took a shower so you should believe her". Thats where I'm going today. Make Mom take a shower. Not easy. But its best for Mom.
After Gram passed we met at her house and took things that meant something to each of us. The rest of her things were given to our children according to need. It went easier than I thought it would. Sister #1 got some things that we all wanted. Sis #3 and I said nothing. We let her have them. After all they were just "things" it wasn't worth fighting over. At that point sis #3 and I were exhausted. We had taken care of Gram for years. We were done.
I wish you luck dear friend. It sounds like your sisters are not going to make this easy. Sisters............ Grrrrrrrr.
The following user gives a hug of support to DrewsG: luyingjie (01-24-2012)
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With 10 you you are really in a bind. There were 4 kids with my hubby's grandmother. They had 4 items of like value=flipped a coin heads/tails -that person chose first then the tails got second. Flipped again and did heads/tails again. The last of the four because the first the next go around. The only thing is that it takes FOREVER!
I would offer up the list of comparable value if you want, and ask if there is something that someone truly wants, let them call dibs. If your Mom or dad has promised something to one of the kids, so be it. After that, if you want to give to some because of need, that's fine. After that, either donate to someone who truly needs, or sell to an aution if you feel you need to go that way.
What you can do, and we did this for Daddy. We told him that the furniture was in storage and that when he was well enough, we would move it back into the apartment for him to move into. He was concerned about paying for a room for him and the apartment. We knew he was never going to be able to move back into the apt. and had givev it up, but couldn't tell him that. We just told him we had put the furniture in storage....
My point is you could just tell your mother that you had put the stuff in storage so it isn't just stitting out where people could go through it and she might have stuff stollen. If you sister could keep her mouth shut. Actually i think your sister will tell her just to see your mother's reaction. She's mean like that you know...
Dear Debbie, I know now why I'm glad I am an only. I kept Mom and dad's stuff that I wanted...and no fights from anyone else...more than I can say about hubby's family! we got zip, nada zill! But I forsee a very unpleasant road ahead. Take a few tylenol with a bottle of wine before you start!
The following user gives a hug of support to ibake&pray: luyingjie (01-24-2012)
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I totally agree with not telling Mom. Sister 4 says she is fearful that somebody will call and mention it on the phone. I think it could be dealt with but I am not the one that is actually there. She does feel the need for "open disclosure". If she is ask by Mom.. she will give our reality not the reality that Mom needs. Chris is right, I do believe it is more about Sister's 3 and 4 not being ready to give up the house. But instead of owning up to their hanging on, they find excuses. At least this time I didn't get a flat no but only excuses. Both did verbalize that something needed to be done....but not now! It's been 16 months... WHEN?
There are 4 daughters and 6 grand daughters. I truly want each grand daughter to have something out of their grandparents home. They all range in age from 25 to 31. They were all very close to their grandparents and that is the only house they remember with their grandparents... actually it is the only house the 4 sisters remember. Most of what is there has been there forever. Mom only bought "good stuff" and kept it. It has also been brought up about "equitable distribution" considering the fact we don't all have the same number of children. BEJEZZUS!! My response was that each grand daughter is an individual and entitled to something. The rest can be dealt with by the sisters. I ran into this before with the gifting. Sister 4 with no kids was upset that her other sisters got more when in fact the four of us got the same and the four grand daughter's also got the same in a lesser amount.
It's hard to put value on things there. There is the stained glass window in Mom's bathroom that was a gift to her. There is the grandmother clock that dad gave Mom the year he had his first heart attack. Dollar value wise they would be equal to the bedroom suit but emotional value does not compare. Throw in the fact that there is more stuff in Mom and Dad's apartment that will have to be dealt with later so we are just dealing with part of the whole. There are very few things I would truly like to have and they all belonged to my Dad. Number one on that list is his college ring.... and he is still wearing it. I already have the dinner bell from his Mom. Which brings up another problem. Some things have already been taken in the first round. The one that wants monitary compensation for not taking something is the one that got the most in the first round. She is also the one that came up with the idea on how to proceed and now doesn't like her own idea... sister 3.
Yep, I am in a mess. This could be so simple but.... I threw out the subject for the fourth time, there was a flurry of discussion with four different points of view, I sent out a summation, and it died! In my summation I said I would do an inventory, let those that wanted something prioritize their list and send it back with a deadline. There would be no monetary compensation. Then they would have a predesignated amount of time to pick up what was theirs and then whoever wanted to could help go clean up the rest which would be sold or given away. Yes, I am setting myself up but somebody has to do it and I am at the point that what they say after the fact doesn't matter.... I just want it DONE!
Oh my goodness deb it sounds as though they are going to count every single penny. Geezzzzzz its going to be a mess. I hate to be so negative but you can see the writing on the wall can't you?? I can. And their not my sisters!!!! What they are talking about is almost impossible. It will never work out. Someone is going to be upset. More than one....someone I'm afraid. You my friend are going to be in the middle trying to work things out.
BEJEZZUS!!!!!!!! Is right. Sister 4 is being very childish. Just plain silly.
Bless you sweetie. ibake is right. Your going to need a BIG bottle of wine and a BIG towel. We'll be here.
I can honestly say I am glad at this time I am an only child. Phew. Mom and dad didn't want to be a "burden" to hubby and myself, so they sold the house that I grew up in before they got to the point that they could no longer take care of it on their own. Daddy had taken care of it for years as he worked in construction. They then moved into a senior co-op that you bought your unit type place. I was heart sick that they sold the house, but boy has it made my life easier...my sympathies to you.
As it is, in this market you should take the offer for your parents house. It might be another 16 months before you find someone else who would want it! This must be an angel in disguise, sent to push this issue to the front to get it over with. One more fork in the road to be dealt with so to speak...
good luck dear. I'll watch your back. Those sistas of yourse ain't your friends and I don't trust them!
hi there, just wanted to drop a note to let you know your mother's behaviour, the accusations of stealing her stuff, the vultures comment, missing items and the screaming and all that jazz is very typical for and Alz patient, if it helps any, it is not really directed at you. you just happen to be there. Be responsible now, you will be glad later. If you can get your sibs to agree dispose of some of it now, go for it. My friends and I have theopposite problem, our sibs dont care about anything, and wont make any decisions. So there you are with a house full of stuff and you cant really get rid of anything.
It made me cry to read you note, My mom died last November, and by the end she was like a bisque doll, no response to anything but her dogs. The doctor said i would miss the feisty version, and i did, no matter how awful, at least there was a response.
Here's the clear talking, no-nonsense, caringsister talking! AND YOU LISTEN TO ME YOUNG LADY
You get thy as* over to the house, take what you want.
Then you write to everyone else and say you are done, finished, over.
Enough is enough. In any fashion, no matter what you do, you'll be on the sh*t-end of the stick anyway. But you are reacting to them. Two Sisters don't want to sell, the other one and you do -- so wipe your hands of it.
Tell Sisters that on top of demanding sole responsibility for your Mother, they are setting themselves up to be solely responsible for the clean-out of the house and the selling of it -- if it ever comes.
Because there's someone (you) worried over the house, you probably go and clean it and check to make sure thins are okay that they don't deal with reality.
Stop dancing to their tune. Suck it up and tell them. I (and if you have children), and my children are going to go. There's only a few things we want and I'm taking them. After my death, you can all fight over them anyway. Since no one comes up with an equitable way to do thing, this is the way I am going to do it.
You deserve more compassion and understanding than the two sisters want to dish out and everytime you set yourself up with them, you end up being the one frustrated, aggravated, and hurt.
I wish you the patience and blessings and strength to walk away from it all.
Another Diane here! My goodness you have a lot to think about, but I have to agree with Caring Sister.
If you try to divide all this stuff up, it will take forever. I really didn't have that problem as I was on my own and younger brother just gave away all the furniture to some needy relatives. I was glad! Told him all I wanted was the refrigerator and the loveseat because mine were broken.
I took care of the clothes; all the little stuff around the house etc.; and he hauled out the big stuff. There really wasn't any valuable or sentimental stuff. All I really kept was mom's wedding gown and album.
Of course, being the only girl, I didn't have sisters to share it with. All the best to you, my friend. I hope you can figure it out.
This should not be that difficult. Mom was not a hoarder and the house has been stripped of all the food stuffs and clothes. The attic has been cleared out. Mom and Dad took their bedroom suit and much of the den furniture, as well as their personal items and most of the artwork. Sister 2, 3 and I went back and did a hard weekend's worth of work and divided up some things then. So this is just round three of what has already been done. That is why this change of rules in mid stream and dragging of feet is annoying.
Yes, I do go back. It is on my way to see my daughter so I stop by and check on the house, spray for bugs, and vacumn. I also have somebody taking care of the yard on a regular basis.
Mom took the four daughters to Nannie's house and let us pick out one item each. That is what she intended for her grand daughters and I will see that is done. The sell of the house is up to Sister 2 and I. She has the POA and I have the financials. Rather than giving it to them to sit until we lose the primary residence capital gains expemption on the sale, Sister 2 and I will just do it. I will put the contents in a storage unit if necessary. I own a trailer!
I am going to be bad guy no matter what happens because they will make excuses, ignore it, or disagree until I have to just do it. If I don't do it then I am shurking my responsiblity. Oh well.... I'm up for this one. They will have to work hard to get to me after all that has happened in the last week.
I called out Sister 4 for questioning my judgement, calling me a liar, and questioning if I was doing what was "best for Mom and Dad". What I got back, was that it was not about my feelings but what Mom and Dad needed. See how she covers everything under the umbrella of Mom and Dad. After she told me how burdened she was, she said she was trying to find "common ground" with her "other" sisters... ie Sister 2 and I. She told me to stop analyzing her and assured me she had never tried to anazlyze me. I finally realized the problem. She truly doesn't care about my feelings and doesn't want to. She doesn't even try to see my position. Beyond that she has decided that I am the bad guy and I can't change that in her... only she can.
She kept saying that we needed to talk about Mom and Dad. It mattered not that she had attacked my integrity. So I brought up moving Dad out of the room with Mom. They do feed off each other in all the wrong ways. I told her that I supported whatever she decided was best, because she was the one there dealing with Mom and Dad. When she could no longer deal with the situation I would support her decision to move Dad. She spit back... "I don't believe you!" That said all I needed to hear.
Up to this point I have been trying to keep the peace.... but how do you make peace with that? So I am going to give adequate opportunity for cooperation and then I am going to set the ground rules. Play by the rules or lose. I know Sister 2 and the POA are on my side I don't look forward to this but it will get done!!
this is your 'other' sister talking. Listen up.
You and your sister are trying to have a power struggle. You want recognition for what you are doing as you should be getting and you're not so you are frustrated.
You need to separate the issues and deal with the issues separately. So lets see if I can help:
Mom and Dad together
Walk away from it! -- Tell the Center that all calls must go to Sister 4. Just go visit and bob head as you tell others to do. Don't take Mom's calls, just call her, set a timer, and ask how the weather is. When she goes off on a rant, simply say, Gotta go Mom, why don't you call (Sister 4) I know she'll love to hear from you and hang up!
Sounds like you have a plan. Do it. Put whatever items you feel someone would want in storage and give them 30 days to come and do something about it or you will dispose, sell, donate, etc. because you are not a storage facility. You are the one clinging to stuff as well. You are trying to be the end all and get kicked in the *** because of it.
Dishes, pots, pans, etc can be donated to a battered woman's shelter. Any furniture as well -- or the Red Cross/Salvation Army that could get a donation off of it. You could use the donation on a tax form.
Turn it into a business one. Handle Sister as you would any contractor. Don't feed into the drama. When she can't push your buttons she'll move onto something else. You and her fight over "(my) your integrity". Why????
You know what happened and why, you don't owe her anything.
I'm sorry I'm being hard on your. I'm trying to give you the same respect and wake up call you give all of us and its 5:19 and I've been up since 3:40 so I'm tired and cranky.
So dear, wonderful and wise person -- separate your issues.
But since Sister wants total responsibility for Mother and Dad at Center. Don't get into it about separating Mom and Dad, just don't be there when Drama happens. Push Mother to talk to Sister 4 each time she has a meltdown. Because you spend time stroking Mother and dealing with the meltdowns, Sister 4 is being cheated of seeing exactly what is happening. Remember your advice to 22 and caregiver? If you are there, they can't see it.
So distance yourself. You truly need a vaca. Take one even if its locked into your home with the phone disconnected.
Diane is right. Sell the house. If you have the fiduciary right to do it, do it. Pack it up, move it out, sell it. Get the money for "mom and dad" and shut up the sister. Then the house issue is done and gone. Separate the issue from your emotions though.
But much like your daughter only gives you 5 minutes, do that with your Mom. As soon as she starts on a melt down or a whine, have her call sister #4. Let her see how much fun she can have. You have been the peace maker for far too long. In the name of your sanity, step back. If you sister thinks that she is the front line of defense, let her be it. From now on, let your Mom melt down to her. AFter all she is your mom's fav child anyway, so let her have the joy of the rants too. When Mom starts, tell her you have to go and call her favorite child instead!
Don't run up to fix every problem. HAve them call your sister-who by way, is supposedly sitting by the phone waiting for just such an event to happen. So step back and let it happen! WITHDRAW my dear.
You need to go to the cabin and play in the snow. Tell your sister that when she has grown up you'll speak to her. When she can have a civil conversation you will address her. Until then, just send polite e-mails, or have your daughter drop note for you. You are too busy...
You need to take a break so you can breath! Diane and I have wrapped you in a towel or two so you can just totally crumple and collapse for a minute. Now here is a saying that I have always thought of when I think of you, Diane and Martha.....
God can do tremendous things through people who don't care who gets the credit.....this is soo you Debs....isn't it? You don't really care about the other stuff. You have just finally had enough of your sisters...so just let it go...and here is the other part to think about...
There are alot more crazy people out there than our mothers told us there were. We don't need to participate in their craziness. We can recognize craziness for what it is...and move on....move on Debs