How to deal with this

newhomeseekerAugust 29, 2006

I am not a stranger to grief, although I have been very lucky in my life, 11 years ago when I was 17 my first love was killed in a car accident at age 20. My grandmother passed away a year later, my grandfather committed suicide four years after that, another dear friend lost his battle with cystic fibrosis the year after. Plus various great aunts and uncles have passed away in this time. Last April my grandpa died after spending five months in the hospital with heart failure. That left only my grandma who had alzheimers. My dad's sister lived with her for the last six years to take care of both of her parents. My dad rarely visited my grandma (his mother) after she was in the late stages of Alzheimers. Her other daughter who lives in Florida spent the last 3 months taking care of my grandma along with my other aunt. My dad visited twice I do believe. He just couldn't handle seeing my grandma when she didn't know who he was. They never even told my grandma that my grandfather had passed away. She still had some good days though and the last time I saw her she smiled at me when she saw me. I saw her the day before she died. She just passed away two weeks ago. The funeral was beautiful and sad and the following family gatherings were filled with laughter and tears remembering my grandparents.

Now for the hard part- in their will they stated that everything is to be sold- except what each of their children wish to keep for sentimental value- and the proceeds to be divided among the three siblings. It was found that one of my aunts- the oldest sibling- had been moving money out of my grandma's account into her own private account. My dad is livid about this and contacted a lawyer and even had the state police visit my aunt two days after the funeral to threaten her with civil action if the money isnt' returned. My grandparents were good at saving money and my grandma was able to have in home care 24 hours a day (paid for with their own money) and was only in the hospital for 2 weeks before she passed away. Their is still a lot of money left over over $150,000 in cash, plus some stocks and two houses that must be sold. Each of the siblings are not rich but none is in financial trouble. All are college educated- my dad is an engineer, my aunt is a teacher, and my other aunt is a school superintentdent. However my dad has decided to go after my aunt for taking $15,000 out of my grandma's account while she was still alive. She did put the money back after he had the police visit her but he is not done with her. He wants vengenance and is having the accounts audited and holding up the estate and says he will stop at nothing until he finds every last cent my aunt may have taken or used inappropriately. My aunt that lived with my grandma (and is still living at her house) has taken the side of my other aunt and both are not speaking to my dad. My dad is tryign to get my sister and I on his side, he constantly says bad things about my aunts and tries to get me to spy on them (I live about a half hour away while he lives 2 hours away) I dont' want to take sides. I can't believe my aunt would do this and I dont' even care what her reason was. she put the money back so in my eyes its over. I want my dad to let it go but he is obssesesd by this. He doesn't care what happens to his sisters. He was never like this before. They normally all got along. So on top of grieving for my grandma who I was very close to and it feels like this is the 2nd time I've lost her because of hte Alzheimers I have to watch my family being ripped apart over this battle over money and it is sickening. My grandparents would have never wanted any of this to happen. Also it is like all three siblings want to wipe all traces that my grandparents ever existed off hte face of the earth. THe will stated that the four grandchildren would receive specific sentimental items and my dad says too bad they are selling every thing. It is not that I care about the material things my grandparents owned but I would like to have something to remember them by. I dont' want to get into the middle of a family feud and I am trying not to take sides. I want to be able to talk to my dad and my aunts because now my aunts are the only family besides my parents that I have left except for my mom's sister. I want to be supportive to both my dad and my aunts but I feel caught in the middle and I just wish I could make them stop behaving this way.

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You sound very wise, trying to keep a good relationship with your Dad and your aunt too. When we lose a loved one, and I assume your grandmother was your Dad's mother, anger is a natural part of the reaction to this loss. Your Dad has found someone to be angry with--your aunt--and he's going for it!

I hope your Dad will settle down and be more reasonable. If you catch him in a receptive moment, you might share your concerns with him. You might even copy your posting above and have him read it. I think you expressed your feelings quite well. I'm sorry for all your trouble, and you must be missing your grandmother too.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 8:23PM
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I'm so sorry this is happening to you. My mom lived near where we lived, and had been in a retirement home for 12 years, and a nursing home for a year after that. My husband and I and my son and granddaughter who live in town visited her often, she came to our house weekly until she was unable to get out anymore. For the last 3 years, I've paid her bills and I was the executor of her estate. Both my brothers live out of town and used to visit her once or twice a year, always staying at my house and eating with us. When she died, my younger brother just went ballistic! He expected 1/3 of her money instantly. In our state, probate takes a long time, and it was 6 months before the estate could be liquidated. There was only money involved; her few possessions had been distributed long ago. He spent 6 months lambasting me, accusing me of mishandling funds. I provided him all the paperwork, and he seems satisfied that all was aboveboard, but he's never apologized for the really terrible things he said to me. As a result, I no longer have anything to do with him, and neither do my children, his only nephews--he and my other brother have no children. I have heard money brings out the worst in people, but I was totally blindsided by this. In contrast, when my husband's parents died, he was the executor and distributed the money and assets, and everyone seemed very amicable. I wish I had some answers for you...this is your dad, not your brother. I feel as though my brother is lost to me, and my life will be better for him not in it. My other brother has thanked me over and over for all I did for our mom the many years she lived near us, and all I did in settling the estate.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 11:38AM
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I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It is similiar to mine except that the aunt my dad is going after is not the aunt that lived with my grandmother. What happened is that the youngest daughter (my aunt) moved in with my grandparents and they took care of her about ten years ago when she was going thru a divorce. SHe never moved out because she noticed they shouldn't be driving anymore and she took over the responsibilities of taking them to the dr. grocery shopping etc. She didn't have to pay any bills in exchange for living there and helping them. My grandma developed Alzheimers and my aunt was her primary caregiver for many years. Last year my grandfather died and my grandmother steadily grew worse. She had to have 24 hour aides come to the house to watch her. My aunt is a teacher and has a full time job so she would only stay with my grandmother at night. Then my grandmother started having episdoes where she would be awake the entire night and sleep during the day so they had to hire an aide to stay up and watch her at night while my aunt slept. In May my grandmother was hospitalized with complications from a bed sore. My other aunt (the oldest child) who lives about 13 hours away came to stay with my grandmother for three months. My grandmother recently passed away and my dad (the middle child) who lives 2 hours away and only saw my grandmother about five times in the last year, found out that my aunt (the one who doesnt' live here) was moving money from my grandmother's account into a private account she created in her name only. Also my dad found out htat my aunt had been paying my other aunt who lived with my grandma rent free- $8 hr for any time that she spent with my grandmother without the aides there. I have no idea why my aunt did either, as my aunt who was living there was doing so rent free and my grandmother's money was paying all of the bills for the household. Also both of my aunts are comfortable as far as finances so there is no need to take money. I understand why my dad is upset- he is co executor along with my aunt who was taking the money. My aunt did put the money back that my dad had proof of her taking but I guess there are many other checks for large sums of money written on my grandmother's account to cash while she was still alive that my dad can't account for as the house was paid off (paid cash for), and my grandmother didn't own a vehicle so the only bills were the utilities, groceries and the nurse's aides. My grandmother was covered by my grandfather's insurance and pension and she had her own ss check. So there is no reason for the massive withdrawals from the bank. I think my dad is more fighting for the principal of the matter and not so much the money. He was very close to his mother before she was afflicted with alzheimers and I think he takes it personally that his sister or sisters may have taken advantage of her. But again I undestand my aunts' frustrations of having to care for my grandmother and my dad NEVER being around not even for christmas once my grandfather died last year. I know that both my aunts resent my dad for that. I know that my dad resents my aunts for feeling they are more entitled to the money than he is. He also claims they have been selling valuables behind his back and keeping the money (I can't verify this but I do know that shortly before my grandmotehr died my aunts held a yard sale and also cleaned out one of the houses and didn't tell anyone. I dont' want this to turn into some huge family feud. I can't talk to my dad becuase he will feel I am taking my aunt's side and I dont' want to take sides. I want them to stop this nonsense because my grandmother wouldn't want her family in shambles and I want to have a relationship with both my dad and my aunts.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 1:06PM
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These type things are tough...very tough. However your Dad has every right to be angry. His sister has stolen from all of you and her mother. Now she has put that money back but he is right to look into things more. She probably has taken more or used it in other ways. Your Aunt is in fact a theif, a theif in the worst way...stealing from the deceased and her own mother at that! On top of that, did it while all of you are going through the lose of your could you not be angry at her? Don't take her side, stand by your Dad in this. Thats my .02.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 8:46PM
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I'm not sure why my aunt was taking the money. She has enough of her own I would think.While I appreciate your insight, I am still not taking sides and I'm NOT standing by dad. He had the state police visit and threaten my aunt the day after my grandmother's funeral. That is just not right. My aunt was actually taking the money while my grandmother was still alive but she was in late stages of alzheimers so she didnt' know about it. My grandma was the type of person who would give anything to her family. So if she was able I know she would have given the money to my aunt had she asked. The strange thing is that my aunt never spent the money that my dad has proof of her taking. She put it back when my dad threatened her with a lawyer. I look at it as my dad and aunts shouldn't fight over the money. It was never theirs. They didn't work to earn it. My grandparents earned it through working hard, investing and saving. Its hard to imagine that my grandfather worked in a steel mill and retired when he was 48 (took early retirement when the place closed.) He was a machinist there. My grandma worked at Dairy Queen for several years (before I was born) and yet they were able to retire and live modestly. They lived in a home my grandfather built in 1949. They had NO credit cards and paid cash for everything. Including new cars (which they bought maybe every 6 to ten years) Yet when my grandfather passed away last year there was over $400,000 in his account. That amazes me as I watch most people struggle to make it from paycheck to paycheck and these are people with $60,000 yr plus jobs. Because of my grandparents ability to save money my grandma got to live out the rest of her life with the best of care. She also was able to stay at home and be cared for by nurse's aides instead of being stuck in a nursing home. (Which was both of my grandparents biggest fear)The part that makes me sick is that my dad is so vicious at going after my aunt. You wouldnt' even know they are related by the way he treats her. She is grieving the loss of her mother as my dad is but he wants to make her suffer even though she did what he wanted and put the money back. I just dont see tearing up a family and destroying a bond with your siblings over something that no one will ever know the reason for why it was done.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 8:49AM
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My guess: Your dad is hurting, and trying to make himself feel better by passing along the pain.

Talk to him and say "Dad, she put the money back, so just stop this stupid vengeance thing of yours."

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 4:47PM
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