Episode 26

Grief-Driven Litigation

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What do you do when someone you love passes on and someone who shouldn’t have a piece of their property is now in possession of it? What if your beloved mother’s Lalique bowl was left at the home of wife number two? Do you head to court or try and forget about it? Family memorabilia is inadvertently left at the home of an unpopular relative. How do you get it back? I’ve seen so many cases that have more to do with the grief over losing a loved one than with the possessions family members are fighting over. I wonder how much time is misspent on litigation because people have no other way to relieve their sadness. I’m sure you have stories; maybe yours will help someone. Anything to share?

Your stories

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  1. Its mine, mine, mine mine!!!!!

    by Espinaca Judge Judy, I could help you write the book on deaths and will contests. When my grandmother died, my mother had gotten everything which was not very much. Aunt Bella wanted a token remembrance and suggested a little glass pig, worth 25 cents. My mother would not give it to her. I said, "Give it to Aunt Bella, it isn't worth anything." They did not speak for more than 10 years over this junk, and then it wasn't the same friendliness as before. My mother was to blame. I was a recipient of gifts and cash by will in two estates. I had to fight for the bequest, five years before one was settled, the other was settled in 10 minutes when the judge took a pen and said to the executor to write a check there in the courtroom. I could go on and on, when people die, greed comes to the surface and shows its monstrous face. Relatives fight over money, and property. Most people don't know this until they are involved in a will contest. I hope you have your final affairs in legal order.
  2. Not my decision to make

    by Mm When my father died, one of my siblings (all above age 40), managed to help themself to $100,000 thinking no one would know. The other sibling was made aware of this, and we decided that it was never ours, so we just put it behind us. How can anyone presume that something that was not earned by anyone other than the person who died is theirs? We put family before money and never said a word to the one who made that choice. A healthy life and the ability to work and afford what we could is more important. Knowing that we all were good daughters helps with the loss. How you live your life and love the person when alive alleviates the pain of the death.
  3. Precious Memories

    by Juanell When my father died, my brother took a lot of things that belonged to my father that he had told my children they could have after he was gone. They were things that had been in our family for more than two generations. Well, my brother grabbed everything he could and carried it off before anyone knew what he was doing because my mother is old and was in a state of deep grief because she and my father had been married for almost 56 years. Once we realized what he had done, it was too late. We figured he had already sold it all for money to buy whatever he thought he wanted. It would do no good to go to court for it. It would not bring it back and it would only cause my mother more grief. It hurts to think of it but oh well, I still have my memories of my father to share with my kids and we still have my mother.
  4. Only Child Never Told When Dad Died

    by Rick Imagine all of the best memories you can ever recall about your father or mother, or the person you call mom or dad. Now imagine if that person passed away, but you were never told. That's my story. I am my late father's only birth child (an only son). I had a relationship with my father for nearly 50 years. He was married to his 4th wife (not my birth mom). He was a grandfather to my kids. He passed away from cancer (days after my last call with him). I was not notified of his death by his wife, OR by any other member of my family. Nobody contacted me by any means of communication (which they had). I discovered my father had died based upon a person who posted a tribute message to him on his social media page..WEEKS later! Laws currently exist that permit a surviving spouse to NOT notify the only child/grandchildren of the deceased parent's death and arrangements, including funeral, which both me and my kids missed. WHY???
  5. Mother's stuff...

    by Christine My mother died in 2006, and I'm only now getting over it. I've let my two children have all the items they wanted as I'm ill with cancer. They would get it anyway over here in the UK, we don't do that much suing as it's not realy worth the effort. Why upset all the family left over a few small items that are just not worth losing more family over? I'm an avid fan of yours Judy and watch you so often. What you say is like in the past my two children know that I love both of then and that they will have what I have left. I'm selling the better things and opened bank accounts where I divided the monies between them. What's left they can fight over.
  6. Parents' legacy

    by Susan Our parents gave us many of their belongings as they moved to successively smaller homes as they became less physically capable of caring for a large property and more eager to do other things. They tried to keep the distribution even in financial value, and to give to each of their children what that child most wanted. Because we are not much alike in personality, each of us treasured different items. The most valuable legacy they gave us was to tell us many times that what they wanted most of all was for us to remain friends. We loved our parents very much, so we still continue to be friends: the artist with the sports jock, the liberal with the conservative, the religious with the anti-religious, the slob with the neat freak. Our parents' legacy is a gift that continues to make our lives richer and fuller forever. If we can hand this legacy on to our children, we are truly good parents. Thank you wherever you are, Mom and Dad!
  7. Its not yours just because you think so

    by Tina When my grandparents passed they left their house equally to all 4 daughters. The house was rather run down and needed work but it still had some value because it was lake front and a big piece of land. The youngest aunt felt that it should be hers because "she was the youngest" which made no sense to anybody. The next youngest aunt got an appraisal, divided it by 4 and took out a mortgage on a paid off house to buy out the other 3 sisters. The youngest had the same option but had horrible credit and no income so couldnt get the mortgage. She got paid though like the other 2 sisters. BUT to this day she still throws a fit when her sister makes some repair or renovation to "OUR" house without "consulting" her first - changes that as the owner of the house the aunt who bought it is more than free to make. Now the aunt who bought it plans to leave it to her son when she dies. There's a whole NOTHER reason for the youngest to throw a fit!
  8. Another woman in my mom's house

    by Sylvia My mother was an accomplished hand crafts maker. She had afghans she knitted, pictures she needlepointed and rugs she made. Those and family pictures were all I wanted after she died. My stepfather kept a particularly beautiful afghan Mother had made even though I had asked for it. Then when I found out that he had moved another woman into my mother's house within a month after Mother died, I was very angry and demanded that he give the afghan to me, which he did. I was not having his "girlfriend" using something my mother made. Maybe sometimes it's grief but in this case it was rage.
  9. Things are things

    by Audrey Before my paternal grandfather died, he'd given my Dad a fiddle that had belonged to my Dad's mother, my maternal Grandmother. He gave it to him, he said, because he didn't want a particular daughter of his to have it, because he was afraid they would sell it. It said Stratavarius on the inside and was VERY old! When my father passed, he was staying with this particular sister. When MY youngest sister came to get his things, my aunt asked if she could have it. My sister let her have it, not knowing what else to do. It was inappropriate for her to ask for it. For awhile, I was VERY angry that she'd gotten this. But I've realized over the years, after losing many people in my life that things are things and they can be broken, destroyed, lost etc. You can't take them with you! People and relationships are ALWAYS more important! Besides, those that have passed on don't care anymore anyway! So, I eventually got over it! Others need to do the same!
  10. The World's Best Step-Mom

    by Judi My mother passed away a month shy of her 50-year wedding anniversary. They had seven children, acquired a moderate degree of success and wealth, and SHOULD HAVE NEVER MARRIED IN THE FIRST PLACE! They never really liked each other. My father, within a couple of months reunited with a girl he had loved since they were 13. Within a couple more months they were married. Marguerite was the most amazing, loving person I have ever met. In the first year of their marriage, she sent letters to each of us children asking if there was anything of our mother's we found especially important to us. We each made a list, and she and my father boxed up those things and sent them to us. To her it didn't matter the value of the item, it didn't matter if it was a treasured heirloom. It did matter that it was with someone who would treasure it. Unfortunately, my father became very ill and their marriage turned out to be 7 years of her caring for him on his final life journey. Bless You, Marguerite.
  11. My Daughter

    by Donna I raised my daughter for 16 years on my own. Her dad promised to buy her the world and give her things I could never give her. When she turned 16, she moved in with him because she kept telling me I was not letting her have things. I live in Ohio and my daughter's father lives in Wisconsin. She has been there now for three years, and I have not gotten to see her since she left. This is sad because her dad really did give her what she wanted. The courts said that I was suppose to have her in the summers, and he had her for the school year. It never happened. My ex refused to pay her way even though the court commissioner said to do that. Now she is 18 and graduated. I missed out on my daughter's last three years of school and graduation, and no one cares. This is the best I can say it for my story. I miss her and I love her, but I will never give her things because she wants them, I could never afford the things she wanted, My daughter never understood that. Thank You, Donna
  12. Mom takes it all

    by Kelsey My parents divorced when I was seven, and my Dad died when I was nine. My Mom was the executor of his estate, and dealt with it fairly, giving my two half brothers whatever they wanted. Whatever was left was either sold to cover debts, donated, and she kept some stuff for me. However, when I turned 18, she started taking his stuff, piece by piece, and hiding it/locking it in a safe because "it isn't appropriate that you have it." She now won't even let me take his ashes so they can be buried properly. I am now 22, have few photos, and only have a keychain of my fathers. My mom has a desk, his uniforms and work suppies, a safe full of coins, badges, leather coats, his ashes, and numerous little objects. Her obsession with keeping everything leds to many arguments, but I can't win against her crazy belief that "I was married to him, so everything belongs to me!"
  13. Let it Be (My dad loved the Beatles)

    by Michelle My father owned an AM radio station. At the end of the 80's, I'm not sure what happened. The story I've been told is he filed bankruptcy and the bank didn't know what to do with the radio station, the FCC license.... I call BS. So my dad gave it all to our church, and we moved far enough away for my parents to feel secure that I would never find out the drama that surrounded it (affairs, ministers, yeah). Nine years later, he died. Soon after that, we discover the church sold the station, and we still own the property the tower sits on. Then we find illegal stuff... blah blah blah. We let them keep it. It might of been his mistake to give it to them, but it was his mistake to make. Around that time, my Uncle died and after his death we discovered he took everyone's inheritance from when an Aunt died. Nobody really pursued that either. He must of needed it. May they rest in peace. They can't rest until you let them. Don't rob your future (kids) by dwelling on the past. Let it be.
  14. Prepare ahead

    by Jean My 88 year-old Mom could go at any time, so this is something I may have to deal with in the near future. I am the executor for my mother's estate. My mother chose me as she knows I will be fair to my brothers and sisters when she passes. Everyone will get to choose what is most sentimental to them. I will NOT allow any bickering amongst the siblings. If anyone chooses to be greedy, or moan and groan, I will simply eliminate that person from the process and that person or persons can take whatever is left of my mother's possessions after the other siblings have chosen what they cherish most. I consider it disrespectful to my mother for anyone to argue over her possessions, especially during the grief that will accompany my mother's passing. My mother would not want that. What you suggest, Judge Judy, is what is the best, which is prepare a will where everything is spelled out.
  15. Had to let it go...

    by Roberta After 45 years of marriage and a beautiful love affair, my mother passed away almost 20 years ago. After my father married a horrible woman who alienated him from his children and grandchildren. I was a guest at his funeral. He had a handwritten list of personal items he wanted the men in the family to have...my brothers got theirs but my husband and son she would not let have their items. My mother's hope chest is still in the house. None of this has much monetary value but our hearts are broken. There are many items my mother picked out that I would love to have but I am afraid are lost for good. I would NEVER sue...the damage is done, getting back the items would not repair our hearts and I fear would just prolong our agony. My husband put it well...he said that this is my father's fault. He did not protect us and the items would be tainted if we ever received them. The best we can do is learn from this and pledge that this will NEVER happen to our children.
  16. Late Sister's Belongings

    by Michele Twenty years ago my sister committed suicide and she lived in another province in Canada. The grief of her death caused a division between two sisters. It was over her belongings and jealousy that she left one sister to be the executrix and not the oldest one. It is very sad that "stuff" takes priority over relationships. Good memories cannot be taken away and are much more valuable then "stuff".
  17. Chosen Child

    by Mickey My aunt was the only unmarried child out of 11. Her brothers sabotaged her career and forced her to be the sole caretaker for their aging parents...parenthesis - that theie wives would not be indisposed. Their parents passed away 8 years apart. When their father passed away, I was at the funeral home with her making arrangements. When we returned home we found that family members had broken in and trashed his room while looking for valuables that did not exist. But they helped themselves to all his personal effects, crystal my aunt had been collecting for years and her watch collection. Not to mention ripping curtains and splitting the mattress looking for money my grandfather never had. My aunt was able to only recover my grandfather's rod and reel only because it had been promised to a dying great grandchild.
  18. Let It Be

    by Linda When my mother-in-law died, one of her nieces went immediately to her home and took many items out of the china cabinet and gave many pieces to her daughters. We have two sons and wanted a few of those beautiful pieces for them. We live three states away. By the time we got there all that was left were the dust marks on the glass shelves.... We said nothing. Let it be....I told my husband, having been through this with my own family....there is no reason to start a problem over this. My mother-in-law, a widow, lived with her brother, a bachelor. She made major improvements to the home and took care of him. He willed the house to her. In her will, she left it to my husband with the provision the uncle could stay there until he died. The uncle outlived her and died recently. My husband sold the home a month ago. All was settled and he received a sizable check. The niece called and asked if they were all going to share in the proceeds of the house. My husband was just amazed....but I'm not...
  19. Sad Topic

    by Stefano I have not dealt with this personally, but I would try and resolve the situation amongst the family first, would I take someone to court over this? I think it depends on how strongly I feel about that person no needing to be in possession of the item in question...I can let some things go without further action being taken, but if I truly feel they have no right to possess the item in question again I would let my voice be heard, if that is not enough I would definitely sue to get the item back, especially if I know who the person who passed away wanted to have it.
  20. Mothers Son

    by Gale When my husband's mother got the flu, his brother and wife took her to their home. Before we knew what was going on, they had moved her bed and dressers and some belongings to their home. Then the key to the house that had hung for years in the garage was taken away so my husband could not get into his childhood home. For years, he had cut her grass and cleared the snow for her, and was now told that he no longer had to do it as they had hired someone. Next he was told he was not welcome in his brother's home, where we had gone on Sundays for years to visit them. Next their son, who resided in British Columbia was told to come home to Oakville, Ontario as his grandmother was not well. The story goes on, however, when she died, the house was sold cheap to the grandson, my husband never saw his mother's will and was offered nothing from the childhood home, not even pictures. He said he was not willing to fight over his mothers death and he didn't.
  21. Mother's Possessions scooped up!

    by Kathy There were five siblings when our mother passed away.The two oldest kids were 22 and 18 years old. My sister, brother and I were 12, 7, and 11 years old (me). Two weeks after our mother died, my oldest brother, his wife and child moved out, along with my oldest sister. They took my mother's jewelry, clothes, journals, our baby books, pictures, shoes, home movies, and even the toaster, and food from the freezer. My father just stood there distraught, and let it happen. That was 47 years ago. My brother, sister and I (the youngest kids) have always regretted not having her journals, pictures, jewelry, the scrapbooks she kept from WWII, when Hitler invaded, the items my father brought back from Japan during the war, etc. Everyone says it's not about the money, It wasn't. The three of us were so young when our mother passed, having some of those items would have kept her close in our hearts. Our two oldest siblings never shared these items. I know its just stuff, but it was Mom's stuff!
  22. Passing of my parents

    by Robyn When my Dad died, I was 22 years old. My Dad left everything to my Mom, and my Mom left everything to my dad in their will. I was married and had my own family at the time, so I didn't feel a desire to want any of my Dad's things, but I was given his flight jacket and his Bible. My brother was not happy about it, and eventually I gave the jacket to him. When my Mom passed away, I was supposed to get a lot of her family heirlooms. She and I were the same size, and I was supposed to get her clothing, handbags, etc. I didn't get anything. Mom had left my brother the house and its contents in her revised will. Her thinking was that my brother would just give me her things, and he needed the house. My brother took her passing really hard. I have not bothered to sue for anything or try to make him give me anything, he is family and THINGS DON'T MATTER as much as FAMILY MATTERS. Instead I have made efforts to connect with my brother. He gives me things of hers here and there, but he is what counts now.
  23. I love my brothers more!

    by Elizabeth My grandfather believed that male children were the only ones that counted. He had four daughters before "God" gave him a son, my father. My daddy did not necessarily share the same chauvinistic views, but he respected his father. It was made perfectly clear that the family farm would remain in the family name. Daddy's sisters fought and hated for years until Daddy bought the farm at fair market and gave his sisters their fair share. Fast forward 30 years. Daddy passed away, and my mother is discussing who will keep the farm. Two brothers are not interested, but my middle brother and I are. I am summarily dismissed because I got marrried and changed my name. I will get nothing because I was born female. Does it hurt my feelings? Hell, yes !!! Will I sue my brother? NOT IN A MILLION YEARS!!! I choose to move forward, love my brothers, and accept the fact that my parents grew up in a different world.
  24. Avoiding the tension....

    by Will When my mother passed I was named as sole beneficiary, and my eldest sibling was not happy. To avoid the tension and having realized that it was more grief than anything, I split the possesions between all of us even though I was the only one to take care of mom for 10 years. You are right, people end up in court more often over anger, sadness, and stupidity. As a law student I watch your show every day and admire your ability to think critically about things presented to you. I hope to one day be as an incredible Judge that is kept "around because I'm smart." I think you are a great example of using your brain to see and understand things. You are my mentor.....thanks for teaching me by way of your show.
  25. Brotherly Love

    by Judy Last December, my brother passed away. He had me make out a will that would leave me everything, against my better judgment. He was divorced and his adult kids have not seen him in over five years and my other sister had not seen him in over 15 years. His distance between his children was because of their resistance in getting help due to drugs, and my sister was due to bad words when my parents died. My brother wanted nothing to do with any of them, and upon his death, the will came up missing, leaving his children everything. Without a Will, there was no reason to argue the case. The kids got it all, but I got the last word at his funeral, by reading out loud to everyone what his thoughts of his sister and kids were. He wrote this and left it to read at that time. They might have gotten everything, but they did not take away the greatest memories between my brother and myself for the last 0ver years, they did not. Material things can be replaced, but memories you can never put a price on
  26. Thieving Sister, controling ailing mom

    by Diane My mom has been ill for years. In and out of the hospital and rehab for healing. I am one of seven children: five sisters and one brother. As siblings, there is never any getting along. Since my oldest sibling, a sister, has taken control of mom's finances, health care, and voice, it has been war sometimes amongst us all. My controlling sis has lied, cheated, and stolen from mom. She only stopped speaking with me once I found out she had taken mom's bank accounts and put the funds, solely, in her name. I demanded that she put mom's funds back in mom's name immediately. Since she has POA, she was able to act on mom's behalf. What she later did, after my insistence, was change the account to "add" mom's name. Now, this simply meant that my sis still had the control to mom's funds because mom was not able to drive to the bank, and act on her own behalf.
  27. The money was never really ours...

    by Debbi When my parents divorced in 1979, they remained friends. My father's trust even included my mother as an equal 25% share of his estate. My father parlayed his very small settlement into quite a tidy fortune...over $500k while my mother invested nothing. I am blessed to have 2 brothers who agreed that we needed to use the money to first support my father in an excellent facility when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and then to do the same for my mother who also had it. We three kids wanted the best care available for them both and were willing to pay top dollar for that. My father passed away three years ago, and my mother has just weeks left now. We always said that any money left over after their passing would be split but that if it worked out that there wasn't a penny left, we were okay with that because that meant our dad and mom were taken care of. It looks like our dad was a genius; we'll have maybe one month's care fund left. We never thought of the money as ours and we're fine with that.
  28. Bad Brother

    by Lois This story happened many years ago with my mother and her father. In grandfather's generation the sons received everything while the women were just married off. My mother took care of her father for 23 years. The brother only stopped over occasionally to cause trouble. Any work or care related to my grandfather or his farm was done by our family. Upon grandfather's death, the brother took everything of value and totally shut out our family; we weren't even allowed on the property. We were the only grandchildren but it didn't matter to him. My mother sued him for a few positions and won them in court. My grandfather was wrong to do what he did but the justice system corrected it. It is worthwhile trying to settle these disputes in a friendly manner, but when that fails, sue them. The courts can make things right. The uncle who got everything of value is now 92 and all alone in the world. What are all those things doing for him now? Nothing. He can die strapped to his chair.
  29. GRIEF

    by Barb I have found when a loved on passes away, we all feel the need to hold on to their posessions. After the grief subsides to normal, the feeling of holding on is less and most things can be let go. I lost my husband, mom and dad and now their belongings are not an issue. I no longer need them to keep them close, so there is hope.
  30. Can you give too much?

    by Sarah Good morning. I lost my husband and stepson two days apart in Sept. 2011, just a couple of days from 9-11. I had items at the house that belonged to the family that they had given both husband and stepson, and I made sure they got the items back for it didn't belong to me; they were part of that family. I willingly gave back a ton of items to the sisters, nieces, etc..., but you know what?...some wanted more. They got almost everything, but where do you draw the line? That left me with the bare essentials and some of the items were things we had accumulated together, but I wanted to ease the family's pain. Maybe I over did it and honestly an ex sister-in-law and ex niece now, wanted even the bed we slept in. Where does it end? I had to put my foot down and when I met the man I'm married to today, I looked like a person who didn't have a penny to my name. Can you over give to someone when their loved one passes away?
  31. Mother-in-Law

    by Sharon My husband's mom died about 18 months ago. She was living with her sister. She's moved in with her, all their possessions co-mingled. Upon her death bed, we were called to her bedside. Her sister announced what she was taking. Then announced what the older brother would be getting. Then asked what my husband and her only grandchild(our child) wanted. There was nothing left. She did have a stack of 2 dollar bills, and had given them to our son. When the aunt/sis walked in and found out they'd been given to our son, she said "You are NOT giving them to him." So Mom asked my son for them back. After her death, we decided that litigation was not something we wanted to do. However, the aunt had gotten everything and we do not see her anymore. We are not angry, but she got what she wanted, and she wanted "things" more than she cared about her relationship with her. When she calls we talk, but she got what she wanted, and they are just things!
  32. awful sister

    by Karen My mom passed away from brain cancer several years ago, and my sister lived with her and my dad. She would not let me in to visit her. So she passed away and I only saw her at the funeral home. A month before she passed, I phoned her and asked if she could give me something of hers for myself. Dad gave me a flower pot that I had given her and a tea cup when she was in the hospital. So if you want something from them to remember please ask before they die.
  33. Grandma's Ashes

    by LuAnn After taking care of my mother-in-law for 18 years, she went to her daughter's house for a brief vacation only to get sick and wind up in the hospital. Our communication with the family was at their whim and losing what information we were getting in the begining was now put on the back burner because we were not "family", my husband, her son, passed three years earlier and it became apparent that they were now taking the reigns of blood relative to a whole new level which was something they never did. Grandma's destination: nursing home. At that point, I knew this vibrant 92-year-old woman would no longer have the light in her eyes, I knew it would be over for her. She has passed and her wishes were to be next to her son's ashes, in the home where she spent the last 18 years but they were to no avail. I am not a blood relative and the family has cut me and her grandson out of their lives. Grandma would not like the fighting so I put it to rest and will have fond memories of her and our life together.
  34. Divorce the Boat

    by Denise I was married for 20 years and during that time my father passed away. At the time of his death, my father told my mother to be sure my husband and I get the a fishing boat her had. It was nothing special, but my husband and my father had spent many hours fishing together on it. Twenty years pass and my husband and I are divorcing, and the day he moves out he takes the boat with him. No discussion, just that he thought that my father gave it to HIM. To be honest, I really did not think anything of it. I did not spend that much time on the boat, and my son did not like to fish. My emotional turmoil over the divorce itself was foremost in my mind. My mother on the other hand had a different idea. She went wild and cried and swore about my husband taking the boat. She made a huge deal about it, I thought she cared more about the boat than she did about my feelings going through the end of my marriage. It got to the point that I was glad he took the damn boat.
  35. Pictures are worth a thousand words.

    by Sylvia My special grief is over pictures that wer destroyed. My advice is get copies while the loved one is still alive. Things come and go, but sentiment is for life. I lost thing through divorce, and much after they were stolen by someone else. Things broken, trown out. Forever gone. I had to keep the treasured memories, but knew the past isn't coming back so I aquired other unique things that some how took their place. I learned to accept it with grace.
  36. Respect the deceased!

    by lorna I would let it be unless it was the wishes of the loved one who passed away. At the end of the day, it has all to do with respect for the deceased and never tarnishing his or her memory, so if that means letting it go, i would let it go.
  37. Stuff is Just Stuff

    by Abbie V. I am 72. My parents and other older relatives died years ago. My dear husband died three years ago. So, I'm experienced. I believe stuff is just that, stuff. People attach way too much meaning to grandma's old gravy boat, or Uncle Harry's WWII army boots. I've seen families torn apart over something really stupid. I think people should learn to forget about unimportant things. My sibling and I are the only people I know who've never gotten bent about who got what, and we've even swapped things! I would never sue a relative over anything.
  38. I'm my own Grandpa

    by Peggy My Mother's Father passed away several years ago, leaving three daughters. He had been in a nursing home for a couple of years prior to his death, and most of his belongings were in storage, at least that was what Mom believed. When Grandpa died, the truth became known. Mom's older sister had taken all Grandpa's belongings to her home, had sorted, sold, and boxed some few items for her younger sisters, Mom and her sister (the youngest) were advised to come pick up. Mom did so. My younger Aunt, who lived 1500 miles away, could not. I don't know what happened to her things. Mom was looking for an item in particular that I had bought for Grandpa, a sentimental piece only she and I would enjoy. Auntie told Mom that the item had not been among Grandpa's things. Period. Mom had a long talk with me. She said that whether or not this item, a vase, was missing or not, did not matter. She shared with me and my sister the things she had been given, and a lesson in love.
  39. Forget about it.

    by Christy After my mother passed away, my oldest sister could not contain herself. Anything and everything in her path went out to her car. The remaining 4 siblings, including myself, didn't care. These were merely "things" just "stuff" they were not important. Nothing was going to bring mom back. My sister also lost mom. There were so many things she took that had so many fond memories, a table cloth, artwork, furniture, etc., that I still remember and smile. My sister eventually got rid of the things that were so important. Our relationship is intact because the items were less important.
  40. Grief Driven Litigation

    by Jane Grief from a death was not the issue I had to deal with when my things were disposed of after my divorce. I had an antique hatbox dresser I had always had and planned on having but when my living arrangements changed I couldn't take it with me. I took it to my parents home with every expectation I could come and get it when the opportunity was right. Within six months the dresser had been given away to a niece who had "always" wanted one just like this one. How nice! It was my great grandmother's dresser and it was in good shape but it was no longer mine. My niece has it and she cherishes it now and I guess I'm glad she does. But the sting of it being given away is still very real. Under no circumstances would I consider a lawsuit to get it back. A different set of circumstances might have changed my willingness to do that.
  41. Lost son

    by Wendie My son married a young lady two months after meeting her. They used fertility drugs and she became pregnant with four babies. She started to get hysterical about me and I was not allowed to go to their home. After the babies were born and three of them passed away, I was left wanting to meet my only grandchild. I had not seen my son for months and called him. I was told that he already had a family and did not need us. I could have gone to court to obtain my grandparent rights and visitation. This would have been nasty and painful to all of us. I believe that you have to pick your battle and grief can overcome the best of us. It has been three years since I have seen my son and I will probably never meet my grandson. This has been a huge loss for me but I cannot drag someone through hell just to get what I want. I have no doubt that my son will come to see me when he is ready. As for possessions, they are not worth the heartache.
  42. Fabulous Collection

    by Sandy My favorite cousin was a music professor, and he had a marvelous collection of classical music and opera cds. I was a music major, and we had a lot in common. When he passed away, his sister, who didn't even like music, rushed in a grabbed all of the cds and laser discs. I thought that she would at least ask me if I would like anything to remember him by. But no, she was the same grasping, obnoxious cousin I always remembered. I never thought to take her to court, but I will never forget this. Her behavior showed me what kind of a person she really is.
  43. Lousy Litigation

    by dacu Instead of making another rich lawyer, all due respect to you Judge Judy who started as a lawyer: Try diplomacy first. Ask nicely. Ask if the shoe were on the other foot "How would you feel?" And if it doesn't work, just let go. Ultimately, what goes around comes around and if someone is hanging onto a 'thing' that doesn't rightfully belong to them one day they will wish they had done the right thing. Here in Hawaii we call it 'living pono. Strive to live 'pono', it's just better for the heart and the spirit.

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