My mother died just over a year ago March 2011, and despite her age suddenly, and without a will.
I’m from what would now be considered a large family of 8 children (5 boys, 3 girls) and I count myself as Number Six.
#3 child, the eldest sister and her daughter remained the closest, geographically, and spent a lot of time with mother through the years.
The rest of the family dispersed itself to parts afar and wide, myself in New Zealand, #1 Son in Australia, others to Derby, others to Norfolk, a bit all over the place really. There is even a missing person, the youngest of the family Stewart who one day just stopped talking to #3 sister( #5 child) and hasn’t been heard of since.
To say we’re not a close family is a bit of an understatement. And I bet this has never happened to anyone who lost a parent;
“When we all arrived at your mums on the day of her funeral <…> had already cleared the property and all that was left were photographs and bric-a-brac. Anything of any alleged monetary value was gone”
It’s difficult being so far away to be judgemental, but the anger and angst that that causes is palpable and drives a wedge in the family that doesn’t need to exist.
Trying to get even a guesstimate on the remaining monetary value of the estate (bank accounts, insurances etc) has proved impossible, everyone has a figure in mind, and they’re all different. If someone knows then they’re not saying, and trying to get a bank to disclose anything is a mission.
I know it’s only a year, and I know that resolution of someone who has dies intestate may take time to resolve. The will of the family however appears to be questionable. We’re not close (did I mention that) and by-and-large it seems that at least 5 out of the 8 children (can’t speak for the missing one) are financially not challenged enough to want to pursue this more vigorously.
My points of contention and – if you like – anger are around who’s doing what? and why are we all waiting for someone else in the family to do something?. And that someone else, why don’t they email the rest of us to tell us what’s going on? To which a couple of answers, one of which I already mentioned, financially it makes no difference.
Secondly there is a thing called “life” that gets in the way, the birthdays, the holidays, the parties. the getting on with life in general. A day becomes a week, becomes a month, becomes 3 months, it just happens. No one is to blame.
However, whilst a few hundred or a thousand pounds/dollars might not make a difference one way or another to me (or at least 4 others in the family) it might make a difference to the other 3. IT might make a difference to a charity organisation, a sheltered accommodation group, a women’s refuge. It’s just in the way you look at it as to how to decide if if makes a difference.
I fear that getting to a resolution is going to cause more rifts than it cures, and for an already estranged family it might yet get just that bit stranger.
I need to say that if my family are reading this – it’s not about you, it’s about the way I feel about it, remember offence is taken not given, and you can choose.