My grandmother passed away a month ago. We received a letter in the mail saying my brother, sister, and I were to receive my Dad's share of my grandmother's estate (He passed away 1 1/2 years ago). I had heard at my grandmother's funeral that my Uncle and his family were going to stay in my GM's house. They had moved in after my father died to take care of my her. My dad had been living there previoulsy and paying care workers to take care of her.
Anyway, I thought that my Uncle would probably buy the house for a reduced amount because he took care of my GM for a short while. We still owed my oldest Uncle for paying for my Dad's funeral. We had only paid back 1100 so far. There was no money in my dad's accounts when he died becasue he had been paying out most of his income to take care of my GM. 30,000 to be exact. He had paid this because his brothers and sisters told him there was no money to take care of her.
So, when we got the letter about the will, I called my Uncle (who now lived in her house), and said that we didn't want the 13000 share of the house, just to settle the 5800 funeral expense we owed for my dad, and we'd call it even.
My offer to be "nice" was met with bitterness when my Unlce's wife told me that "the only way we would get any funeral expenses was if they were selling the house, and they weren't going to, they were staying in it". She went on to tell me the will was a msitake, and my other aunt was getting a lawyer to prove it! She said the will was only meant for my GM's living children! My dad was no longer included. The family gave my uncle the house for free, which would have been ok with me if they took care of what I asked. (valued at 80,000) They were not buying it or anything, just getting it completely free.
I was heated when my Uncle sent me a letter a day later saying that the will was a mistake and we would be getting a correction letter in the mail. So I sent him a reply, that if they were keeping my dad's share of GM's estate, the least they could do was to settle the 5800 between them, considering the 30,000 my dad had paid to help with her care.
Now I feel awful because I didn't want to fight with them, and I can't believe how they are acting! I just feel so horrible inside. I didn't want to argue with them and tarnish my father's memory.
I need some advice. What would you have done in my posistion? How should I feel about their behavior?
I think the only thing you can do now is for you and yoru siblings to get a probate attorney to look over the will and if it isn't a "mistake," then to help you enforce it. It's always sad when family relations deteriorate to things like this, but you can't help how your uncle and aunt are chosing to deal with this matter, and you have the right to protect yourself. If your dad spent everything he had to care for his mom, it's most likely that's why her will provides for you and your siblings. Talk it over with a lawyer, and let the chips fall where they may. You may not be able to settle this without scaring your relationship with your aunt and uncle, but that's their doing, not yours, you shouldn't feel bad about protecting your rights.
Hiya is absolutely right! We just don't have the legal background here to help you - if you are in the U.S. and don't have money for a big lawyer there may be a Legal Aid office near you and they may be able to help for alot less dollars.
I'd hate to see you get advice from all of us non-lawyer types and have it be wrong!
Wait until you get this correction letter. Your uncle may be right, but I doubt it. If your grandmother had a will, it probably mentioned all of her children, if not by name, at least by reference. The shares of children who are deceased usually go to their heirs, unless your father was specifically written out of the will for some reason.
If there is some problem with the will, you could choose to fight it out with your family, after which they will probably never speak to you again. I would probably do that myself, even though that might not be the best thing to do. To do that you will have to get a lawyer and probably go to court over this. You could spend several years of your life wrapped up over $13,000 or $5800, or whatever, and it might or might not be worth it. Of course, I would do it just on principle, but that's just me.
Your uncle's wife really should butt out because she married into the family, but those relatives are usually the most obnoxious in disputes like this.
Unfortunately, this happens a lot when people die. My father and his sister have not spoken in almost 20 years because of disputes over my grandmother's estate. Before people die they should 1. Have a clear, legal will and 2. Tell all their heirs the contents of the will so there will be no surprises. It would make the world a much better place. I mean, everyone knows they are going to die sometime, so be prepared.
Who sent you the letter in the mail regarding your GM will?
That is who I would first contact.
If you are also protecting your father's estate, which would belong to you and your siblings you will need to seek an attorney for their advise, consulations are always free, never sign anything with an attorney till you do your own research first (web sites).
A good attorney will advise you on your standing with the will, also you can request a Cap on how much you want to pay your attorney.
Never go by just hear say, start your own investagation. Did your father have any type of Life Insurance to pay for funeral expensives?
I know you would like to do the right thing, but if you and your simblings have no money to contribute to your father's funeral expense, tell Older Uncle to talk to Uncle living in GM house and use the equity on the house to pay back the $5+K. then drop it. If uncle wants to sue you for your father's funeral expense that is when a whole can of worn can open up in regards to your GM's will..