A Cautionary Tale?

sylviatexas1May 7, 2007

Another thread reminded me of this, but I didn't want to muddy the waters there.

My Aunt Marie married young & had 3 children.

The older 2 moved out, married, & had families of their own.

The youngest son was different;

He seemed to function on many levels, but he just never got it all together.

He sometimes got angry, more often with his mother than his father.

In fact, he doted on his father, just couldn't do enough for him.

Since every "place of his own" turned out to be a disaster, this son lived at home.

When John retired, he got income from retirement benefits, but that income would cease upon his death.

Marie had always worked, always brought home her paycheck, & John handled all the money, banking, insurance, etc.

Since they still owed money on the house, Marie told John that she thought they needed mortgage cancellation insurance.

He said he'd handle it, & sure enough, premiums were deducted from the bank account automatically.

When John died suddenly, 2 things happened:

The insurance agent told Marie that the mortgage cancellation/credit life insurance was on her life only.

& the son told his mother to get out of *his* house:

his father said that he only had to get along with his mother until the father died, that Marie was "just a wife", & that he, John, was leaving the house to the son.

Marie had to get the sheriff to restrain her son from throwing her out of that house, & she had to work until she was in her 70's to pay it off.

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popi_gw

Just goes to show, you need to look after yourself, in this world. Make sure you have your wits about you.

Thanks for that tale, Sylvia.

P

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 3:23AM
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carla35

Yep, that's why Wills are so important and you can't assume anything. I'm betting that house was in the son's mom's and dad's name, so, of course, it was left to him...legally it was his. Shame on both parents for not taking the responsiblity to make sure everyone was provided for. Just goes to show you what 'assumptions' can create, and why Wills are so important. Even if he did get along with his step mom, though, I'm not sure many people would just hand over the house to her especially considering he would have to pay all the inheritance taxes on it, etc....He probably would have taken over the house at some time and she would have had to buy a new house anyway. It's a shame the parents didn't take care of their responsiblities....

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 9:28AM
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sylviatexas1

sorry, I didn't explain far enough:

John was an equal-opportunity manipulator.

He lied to the son just as he had lied to my aunt.

The house was community property, so half of it was hers anyway:
her husband owned half of it, so couldn't leave the whole thing to *anybody*.

As it turned out, Aunt Marie did own the house (not sure how that happened, unless she & John had made mutual wills).

John had promised the son this "inheritance" to keep pulling the son's strings.

I don't know that wills help when you're dealing with a snake anyway.

It's too easy to change a will, & really, I don't think a snake cares *what* happens after his or her death.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 1:13PM
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asolo

A family acquaintance married a snake like that. Older lady. 17-year marriage. Second for both. She cared for him full-time for the last five years of his life. When the old SOB died, his family got everything. And it was a substantial amount including the house. She was left with essentially nothing and had to move to a cheap apartment in an unfamiliar neighborhood.

Doubly pitiful because there's no way the law of my state would have allowed it if she'd had any sense. She wasn't smart enough to contest the will. His family steamrollered her and she and just let it all pass. The guy's family essentially forced her into penury because of her ignorance.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 1:48PM
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marge727

Gee doesn't anybody ever know an attorney? she didn't have to contest the will, she could have put in a claim for taking care of him full time. also widows can take "against the will" or ask for a probate homestead. Attorneys will sometimes handle some of this stuff for a fee out of the recovery. Altho I once heard somebody complain that rather than pay an attorney a percentage they would rather lose the property. (they weren't my client luckily)
The other problem I have is sometimes clients come in, I could help but they have heard something goofy and want to believe it.
So try to keep an open mind about what your rights may be and ocassionally ignoring your hairdresser's legal advice might be a good idea. Mine even tries to give me strange legal advice.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 8:32PM
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bellegirl

I just wish I knew how to get my dh to make a will. He doesn't want to because it will cost him some money. I've tried to explain that one or the other of us will have to pay...either before or after. But it doesn't matter to him.

He is a bit older than me and has had heart attacks already. I don't know what will happen down the road. But if I should manage to survive longer than he does I'm really counting on our house and land.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 9:39PM
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asolo

Marge727...

She was a very passive personality. She "knew" all this -- and was told by others -- but allowed her aversion to making waves (meaning: upsetting his children) to ruin her financially. All she ever did was to sign the papers they presented to her. She was a fool. Innocent and abused, but a fool.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 10:57PM
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western_pa_luann

"I just wish I knew how to get my dh to make a will. He doesn't want to because it will cost him some money. ....

He is a bit older than me and has had heart attacks already. I don't know what will happen down the road. But if I should manage to survive longer than he does I'm really counting on our house and land."
---

I knew a neighbor who did not want a will done up either. His wife pushed him, but he would not budge. It turns out that he did not want one made up because he already had one that his wife did not know about!
When he died, everything went to his siblings, except for $10,000 that went to his wife.

Hope you fare better.....

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 1:49PM
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asolo

Bellegirl.....

Wills are one of the least expensive legal documents there are. Your DH is being really unreasonable. As in REALLY unreasonable. Anybody he knows will tell him that if he asks.

IMHO, every spouse should have 1) will 2) durable power of attorney 3) medical power of attorney 4) living will. Except for your specific fill-in-the-blank intentions, they're pretty much pre-printed boilerplate. But they absolutely work when you need them.

I've handled this for my (now deceased) father and my still-living mother. As I recall, the original documents were a couple hundred bucks for everything. Several updates over the years as circumstances changed were about 50 bucks a throw. For what these documents accomplish, this expense simply isn't an issue. If/when you need them and don't have them, your regret will be immeasureable.

Sorry your DH is such a hardhead about this oh-so-basic issue. Suspect there's something else at work that he isn't telling you because I don't believe you would have married a fool.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 2:43PM
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carla35

I think many men and woman just don't like to think about or prepare for death. And, selfishly, I guess they know it won't really matter to them who the money goes to when they die, so why bother with it.

I would bet that most people that don't have wills just don't want to think about death and sickness.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 5:04PM
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popi_gw

I have just done my updated will and its is quite emotional, to have to think of what my children will be doing, if I die tomorrow, but it had to be done and I am glad it is done.

In Australia, you can go to a newsagent and purchase a will pack, which is about $22, so if you have a straightforward will, you can certainly do it on the cheap.

When my parents died, I felt such love for them, because they did have all their affairs and assets organised in a will, and although the situation was fraught with distress for me, I could focus on my grief and not be traumatised by a situation where there was no will.

It really is the ultimate act of love and concern for your family to make sure they will be looked after when you are gone.

Bellegirl, please re-visit this issue with your DH, is is just so unfair that he is not thinking of your welfare when he is gone.

Popi

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 7:25PM
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sweeby

Well said Popi -- There is no better way to demonstrate your love for your family than by providing for them in your will. And by that, I DON'T mean with a large inheritance -- I mean by thinking things through, tidying things up, and making arrangements that are clear and thoughtful. It's the ultimate way to say "Life will go on and it'll all be OK."

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 10:30AM
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asolo

In my previous work I frequently had to deal with issues of succession which compelled my clients to consider their mortality and their real feelings for others close to them. For some people this is a clear, rational, logical excercise. For others it is a huge emotional deal. That's just how different people are.

As a practical matter, however, the state doesn't care about anyone's emotional makeup when the time for decisions comes. The state will either uphold what the pre-prepared documents say or they will step in and decide for you. They don't know you. They don't care about you. They look to the law....period. Upon your incapacity or death, those documents become the law they are bound to uphold. If you don't have them, total strangers will decide for you.

IMHO grown-ups should be able to deal with these concepts. Possible incapacity always lurks. Death is certain. These are facts of life. Emotions have their place but these are very practical matters that deserve rational consideration -- by everyone.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 12:59PM
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sylviatexas1

"The state will either uphold what the pre-prepared documents say or they will step in and decide for you. They don't know you. They don't care about you. They look to the law....period. Upon your incapacity or death, those documents become the law they are bound to uphold."

My friend Joann is in her fifties, married to her high school sweetheart, has no children but does have 2 dogs that she dotes on, & she has 1 sister to whom she is very close.

She & her husband also have some real estate, a couple of nice cars, & a little money in the bank.

Joann never knew her father, & her mother is an abuser with wild mood swings & a malevolent disposition.

She's the reason Joann has an unlisted phone number & a post office box for her mail.

Joann told me that she & her husband Bill were on their way to the grocery store one cold morning when they hit a patch of black ice & the car spun out of control & nearly went off a bridge into an icy creek.

She said that her mind was flooded with the horrified realization that, if she & Bill died together, her mother was her next of kin.

The disposal of her home & her car & the fate of her beloved animals would be at the whim of a terrible person who might call the pound if she were in a good mood but who might kill the animals herself if she were in a bad mood. or maybe just for the fun of it.

& she'd *never* give a dime or either of the pets to Joann's sister.

When the car came to a stop & she realized that they were okay, she turned to her husband & said, "Forget the grocery store. We're going to the lawyer's office & make our wills."

and they did.

Something that dawned on me later was that, had Bill died in an accident that resulted in Joann's permanent disability & loss of her ability to make decisions or express desires, Joann could have been given to her mother's custody or guardianship.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 3:46PM
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asolo

Scary story! And an appropriate example!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 4:10PM
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popi_gw

Wow, Sylvia, I will get my power of attorney signed as well, on Monday, when I see my solicitor !

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 10:57PM
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laurels4u

Whether muddying waters or not, sylvia, you tell it like it is. Sometimes people have a hard time dealing with the truth.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 9:23PM
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bellegirl

Well...I got him to the lawyer! Here's how I did it: I told him (truth!) that I had made a will with my first husband years ago, leaving everything to HIM. And according to the law, my first husband might try to make it stick. Well, this husband I have would happily shoot the first one - he utterly despises him! So...wouldn't you know? He made an appointment with a lawyer RIGHT AWAY! And, of course, now it is all his idea so it's all good.

Whatever.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 8:21PM
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asolo

Bravo, bellegirl! (Hesitate to ask, but are all husbands this dense?)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 8:25PM
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bellegirl

Oh, probably not. I'd like to think there are some out there who really care. But - lawyers aside for a minute - I haven't been kissed in...let's see....at least 8 or 9 years. I, personally, think that is awful. I mean...I don't cheat. So what is a girl to do?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 9:04PM
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scarlett2001

Isn't it disgusting to think- in the 21st century- that we women still have to resort to secrecy, manipulaton, etc. to get men (okay, not ALL men, but enough of 'em) to do the basics that any person with a brain should be more than willing to do? And why do we still do this? Because sometimes it's the only way, after we have tried good communication, logic, reason, counseling, all the legitimate ways to approach an equal, and the only way to finally secure our future is to use tricks, like something from an I Love Lucy script, circa 1954. It's just sad.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 8:47PM
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asolo

Oh sweetheart! Do you suppose there's a flip-side to that? (Not all women...but enough of 'em! Ha!) "Disgusting" to boot? Thanks for that, too.

From your other post and, now, from this one I'm suspecting some serious communication troubles. Maybe yours. Don't know quite where you're coming from.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 11:01PM
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micke

We don't have a will made, maybe this is a subject I should bring up, we have 2 kids and pets, and a whole lot of family, they would be fighting over the kids, that would be horrible!
Of course the hardest thing would be deciding who the kids would stay with:( would be a lot of hurt feelings on that one.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 11:51PM
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