Any opinions on 11 year family disagreement. Long.
Eleven years ago our mother passed away, and things have been contentious between one sister and the other four siblings since that time.
Mom's will stipulated that her estate (her condo and car) should be sold and money divided evenly between the children. The money from the condo sale was divided up with no complaints. However, shortly after the funeral, that sister individually spoke to each of us siblings and asked if we could just give her the car, instead of selling it.
She maintained (and still does) that she had a conversation with Mom about a week or two before she died, and Mom said that the car could go to her, as she was the only sibling who didn't have one.
Three of us said yes, because we didn't have a problem forfeiting our portion of the car sale proceeds, to give her the vehicle. However, one brother said no, because he reminded us that he was the only sibling who didn't have a house. He really needed his portion from the sale of both the condo AND the car, to save toward a down payment for his first house.
We felt bad, because we had forgotten he rented a house, and it made him look like the lone 'hold out' who wouldn't just waive his right to money from the car. Sister would not consider the option of giving brother his portion of the appraisal price of car, so she could keep it. She refused on the principle that mother told her she could have it. The rest of were stymied by this dilemma, so we sold the car, as the will directed, and gave everyone their portion of the money.
Sister has been estranged from brother for 11 years, partly because he wouldn't waive his portion of the car money, and partly because he expressed his doubt that our mother would have forgotten to change her will, if she really intended to just give sister her car. She backed him into a corner with "Are you calling me a liar?" and he responded "I guess I am, then."
Sister has attempted all these years to convince the rest of us that brother is the worst person alive, for calling her a liar, but none of us want to get involved in her feud with him. We feel that as our mother worked for an Estates attorney for almost 50 years, and died with a very sharp mind, it would be uncharacteristic of her to forget to update her will before a big trip. She died while away, so we'll never know her intentions for sure.
Any suggestions regarding what we can say to sister to convince her that brother isn't 'despicable?' One detail you should know is that this sister suffers from long standing mental illness, causing her to often perceive things inaccurately, which results in resentment toward others and self pitying for herself. We'd love it if she would end her estrangement with brother, as family get togethers (weddings, etc.) are very awkward when two siblings don't look at or speak to each other.