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Topic : 04/07 Will Fights

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Created on : Thursday, November 08, 2007, 07:36:51 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 11/13/07) Has an inheritance that seemed at first like a stroke of good fortune become a dividing force in your family? Meet four sisters bitterly fighting over their aunt’s inheritance. Virginia's original will divided her estate four ways: Pat, Linda and Barbara would each receive $10,000 and Carol, the youngest, would get the remainder of the trust -- approximately $400,000. But the inheritance was split six ways to include Linda’s two kids after Aunt Virginia went to live with Linda. Barbara says she can’t imagine why her aunt would change the trust unless Linda manipulated her. Does Barbara have a case against her sister, or is she just being the family troublemaker? Their mother, Fran, drops a bombshell about the real reason the will was changed. Then, Sondra says she and her husband, Patrick, fight constantly since they blew his $100,000 inheritance in less than a year. After purchasing five new cars, a new TV and furniture, they can’t afford to pay for their daughter’s college tuition. How can this couple end the battle over the buck? Share your thoughts, join the discussion.

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April 7, 2008, 4:07 pm CDT

Understanding the Caretaker

99% of the time, when families fight over a Will or money, there is usually only one person who has taken on the day to day care of the loved one.

 

It is very easy to "not get involved" in the everyday care of a loved one, especially when someone else has taken on the task.  Unless you have cared for a loved one yourself, you can't imagine the amount of effort it takes, both physically, mentally and financially.  As soon as the person passes, everyone comes out of the woodwork with their "concern". 

 

I took care of my dad for the last 6 years of his life.  The last 2 years were the hardest, as he suffered from Alzheimer's disease.  The day to day care was grueling, not to mention everything that we needed to do to make sure he was safe.  We slept with a baby monitor next to the bed.  Alarms on all the doors.  I stayed up with him until midnight, so we could worry less about him getting up during the night.  I was up by 5:30 with my daughter.  The last thing in the world my dad wanted was to be in a nursing home and I couldn't bare to do it to him.  I received his pensions for his care, which was the very least I could make, without me having to go back to work.  Not only was it a win/win for both of us, but he received much better care for a fraction of what a nursing home would charge.  My sister would come by a couple of times a year and stay for 10 or 15 minutes.  My dad was a hoarder, so I spent two years cleaning up his two acres.  My sister said that she didn't want any money spent on cleaning the property and that it should just sit and go to the county for back taxes.  She also told me that if I had a problem putting him in a nursing home, just call her.  She would have no problem with it.  Gee, after six years of taking care of my dad and all his affairs, guess  who wants to contest the Will??  My sister feels that she is entitled to half of everything.

 

If I had put my dad in a nursing home, just as if Linda would have put her aunt in a nursing home,  there wouldn't be anything to fight over.  It would all go to the nursing home.  If you aren't involved in the day to day care, either get involved or thank the person who is taking up your slack. 

 
April 7, 2008, 4:11 pm CDT

The LittleRed Hen

If ever there was a cautionary tale for todays show, it is the story of the little Red Hen.  Both sisters wanted (Carol and Barbara) a feast at the end of the day but were unwilling to do much for their Aunt while she was alive.  Linda steppd forward and offered irginia a place to live and loving care for the rest of her life.  Caring for aged relative is hard demanding work smetimes even at the expense of your own family  Although Carol believed she was the primary heir, she did not step forward to help with her Aunt's care.  The real "Pot Stirrer" in this story was the attorney who really was just speculating on what might have happened.  He suspected that something had happened to deceive the elderly lady.  One could make an equal case that she rethought her decision to divide her estate unequally and decided to correct it.  Many times elderly folks have an opportunity to make justice though their estates,  Rewarding those who helped them when they needed it.  If Barbara is really concerned about justice for her sister, she could give Carol her 62K windfall.  When someone says its not the money its he principle...its the money.  These sisters are using ths inheritance to club one another.  Pat, run for the hills you have a toxic family!
 
April 7, 2008, 4:27 pm CDT

04/07 Will Fights

Quote From: lynlovel

 good for you and your siblings!when my dear mom passes away, my brother insisted he would help me with funeralcosts, etc (i lived near my mom. he lived 3000 miles away.) but i knew he was having some financial problems and told him that i could pay myself back from her (small) estate, if need be. he kept saying he would send me some money, but, in the end, he did not and i paid myself back, as i said. (he didn't try to object or anything like that.) still, many people told me i should demand the money from him, tell him off, etc. but i've seen too many fights over wills and will-related issues and didn't want  get intoe that situation. sadly, a few years later, my brother died, as well. i am so glad we didn't waste any time arguing over how things should be paid. unfortunately, i realize it doesn't work this way for every family and sometimes people get drwan into a fight they didnt want. i'm just gratefull it didnt happen to my brother and me.

Yes, I am also glad I didn't fight with my brother or sister, too! We lost our brother in a terrible car accident on Christmas Eve 1995....I would have hated to have been at odds with him when he died..especially over stupid stuff like material things or money!  tomorrow is promised to no one...you need to treasure each moment you have with loved ones...you never know! The only thing that comforts me is the fact that the last words I said to my brother before he died were: "I love you." It's the way I end each visit with EVERYONE I love, whether in person or by phone..or email!

 

Love each other while you have each other... money and material things mean NOTHING!!

 
April 7, 2008, 4:30 pm CDT

It's Aunt Virginia's Fault

I'm guessing that Aunt Virginia set this up by perpetuating and manipulating this crowd with her money while she was alive.

Scenario One: In my family, my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. I got his $5 beach flip flops, my brother got his Rolex Gold Presidential. NO ONE CARED WHO GOT WHAT--We were equally happy to have a special remembrance of him.

Scenario Two: In my husband's family there is a history of wealth and manipulation of those who are "waiting for their chunk of the pie" We opted out--we refused to play the sadistic game of jockeying for position and sucking up to the big-money matriarch. This particular "pie" is in the NINE FIGURES--Everyone else's piece just got a little bigger, but we have a happy, sane, non-toxic home. I don't think any amount of money is more valuable than that !!!
 
April 7, 2008, 5:01 pm CDT

inheritance

 Our family has been destroyed by inheritance issues. We are a blended family two adopted children and two biological children. It has never been more apparent since we lost our mother. My adopted brother was executor of our parents will for twenty years. Then our mother went to live with our sister who is the bio child. Just one or two weeks, before mom died, the will was changed and my sister became the executrix. Mom died, then our sister announced she was the new executor. we were all concerned except our sister's bio brother. then, everything changed. My sister wrote herself a 18,000 check and did not produce receipt's. she wanted the pendant that had been given to me. So took it to her jeweler to have a copy made, then planned to give the fake one to me. I did hear that she was planning that and asked her for it to wear to the funeral. She then had to go back to the jeweler and get it as I asked for it, earlier than she expected. She now admits to it. Then her story was that mom really did not want me to have it because she wanted to keep in the family. Next, she stated the the inventory for probate that the necklace was worth 10,000 and it was not appraised. So when I did get the necklace, I had it appraised by a certified appraiser , it was appraised for 1,800. When I spoke to her she said that she appraised it and she determined the value. She said that our mother told her that she hated me and wished that she had never adopted me. she said that mom told her that she loved her more. she said our mother hated my brother's wife of 25 years. My sister then asked for the things that my bro received in the will, back at his death because our mother did not want someone not in the family to have it at his death, he's 55. She said that she did not consider any of our spouses or children to be part of the family. I could go on and on. Now our adopted bro and I are very close, as we have lost the two bio siblings and their children as part of our lives. When we ask why she is doing all of this, she responds that she is being fair and doing what mom wanted. In will we were all given 1/4. No one has ever heard this from mom before her death. Or sister said she spent many loving hours with mom and she confided in her. If any of this was true, I would have kept it secret as what would it accomplish. This is just a drop in the bucket of what has happened. If anyone thinks this is about the money, the total cash amount was 125,000 divided among four.  The thing that began to worry some of was that when our mom died and my sister was in charge, she changed the coffin and flowers that our mom chosen for the funeral because she said they were ugly.
 
April 7, 2008, 5:17 pm CDT

very good post

Quote From: elliethin

99% of the time, when families fight over a Will or money, there is usually only one person who has taken on the day to day care of the loved one.

 

It is very easy to "not get involved" in the everyday care of a loved one, especially when someone else has taken on the task.  Unless you have cared for a loved one yourself, you can't imagine the amount of effort it takes, both physically, mentally and financially.  As soon as the person passes, everyone comes out of the woodwork with their "concern". 

 

I took care of my dad for the last 6 years of his life.  The last 2 years were the hardest, as he suffered from Alzheimer's disease.  The day to day care was grueling, not to mention everything that we needed to do to make sure he was safe.  We slept with a baby monitor next to the bed.  Alarms on all the doors.  I stayed up with him until midnight, so we could worry less about him getting up during the night.  I was up by 5:30 with my daughter.  The last thing in the world my dad wanted was to be in a nursing home and I couldn't bare to do it to him.  I received his pensions for his care, which was the very least I could make, without me having to go back to work.  Not only was it a win/win for both of us, but he received much better care for a fraction of what a nursing home would charge.  My sister would come by a couple of times a year and stay for 10 or 15 minutes.  My dad was a hoarder, so I spent two years cleaning up his two acres.  My sister said that she didn't want any money spent on cleaning the property and that it should just sit and go to the county for back taxes.  She also told me that if I had a problem putting him in a nursing home, just call her.  She would have no problem with it.  Gee, after six years of taking care of my dad and all his affairs, guess  who wants to contest the Will??  My sister feels that she is entitled to half of everything.

 

If I had put my dad in a nursing home, just as if Linda would have put her aunt in a nursing home,  there wouldn't be anything to fight over.  It would all go to the nursing home.  If you aren't involved in the day to day care, either get involved or thank the person who is taking up your slack. 

People who go about their life as if nothing else mattered have no idea what sacrifice it takes to do what you did for your Father.  It is not easy and I admire you for doing it. 

 

As I said before, it feels like the others abandon the parent and the sibling doing the work.  What gives them that right?  I didn't think it was an option to walk away when your parent needs help.  Sometimes there are fights or other things that make people feel justified in walking away and leaving the parent to someone else.  I say what about the person doing the care taking?  Is it their fault, don't they care about the sister or whoever does the caretaking?  It would be nice to share the burden but some feel they don't have to.

 

I hope the Will stands up and your sister gets exactly what she put into the deal, nothing.

 
April 7, 2008, 5:42 pm CDT

04/07 Will Fights

     If your fighting over a will then your probably fighting about a lot of other things. It may help to look at the relationship before the will came around. If you and brothers and sister were fighting and arguing before that. Then when the will comes it just adds to it and gives more to fight about.

     These sister on the show. The will was divided one way. They argued.

     The will got divided a second way/evenly. They argued.

   It don't matter how the will gets divided up. These family members will pick that inheritance as a target for something to fight about...............

 
April 7, 2008, 7:25 pm CDT

04/07 Will Fights

Quote From: number3child

My father died in Dec. 2006, leaving a will that put me as the executor of the will, my older brother as the next in charge if I were unable to be the executor.  My Dad had been sick on and off for the past 3 years.  Well, he met this person(I can not call her a woman because she is less than that) at his church in Oct 2005.  She moved in w/him in Jan of 2006 and they were married in April of 2006.  Did I mention that he was 78 and she was 18 years his junior?  She pretends to be an evanlansgelist. She quit her job at a bar in Sept 2006.  Attempted to move her alcoholic sister in but my father protested this.  My Dad's health went down a lot after marrying this person.

 

In Nov.2006 he had open heart surgery at her doctor's request.  Three weeks later he suffered a heart attack while she was driving.  He was in a coma until he died.  While in the coma the wife tried to band my brother,sister, nieces and me from seeing him.  She wanted him to stay hooked up to machines when Dad had made it clear to everyone that he did not want that to happen.  I had to go to his lawyer and get a copy of the will to get them to turn the machines off and respect my father's wishes.  the funeral was a joke, with our family having to sit behind her family(many who did not even know him) at the church.

 

She moved in her sister and brother, both drunks who do not work.  The will was probated and I was appointed executor.  She did not contest the will.  However, after being married to him for 7 months she is entitled to 1/3 of his estate.  She has destroyed and removed property from the house without telling me or my brother.  She has lied repeatedly about bank accounts, coin collection, and photos. 

 

My Dad trusted that she would take whatever she brought into the marriage with her and he would take his.  No, the wife feels she is entitled to everything and we his children get nothing.  This has been in court since last year and it continues.

 

PLEASE Advise your love one to get a prenupt.  A will does not mean that the wife of 8 months can't do whatever she pleases.

I can related to your story.  My Dad passed away on Dec 26/07 after a 3 yr battle with cancer. 4 years ago he married a woman.  This woman always insisted that she did not want anything that it took my parents 40 years to accumulate, unfortunately that is not the case.  In the 4 years they went through all of my dads rrsps all of his money and all of the money that my dad made on the sale of some land last spring.  And yes some of the money went to medical costs but keep in mind that this is canada so the medical costs were low.  Also he changed his will 5 weeks before passing.  Meanwhile the executors are struggling  pay the bills and the widow is sitting pretty not having to pay a cent.  Even with all the heartach( including having to sell the family farm) going on I would rather have my dad back.  And yes there was a prenup but the new will cancelled that
 
April 7, 2008, 8:17 pm CDT

fighting families

Hi Dr. Phil

My mother passed away Thanksgiving 2006 and i would just like to say to the family that was on ur show today that they are lucky they still talk. My siblings and i are not talking because after our mother passed away leaving no will and all my siblings could do is blame me for hiding things from them and for letting our mother die in the hospital alone. When i called them to let them know our mother had passed away all they wanted was the things she left behind. I didnt care about the things she left i wanted my mom back.

 

The best advice i could give to families fighting over money is stop because fighting over is not worth the love of losing a loved one and helping each other over the sadness of the loss.

 
April 7, 2008, 8:41 pm CDT

Dr. Phil Missed it on Patrick and Sondra

 Patrick lost his dad. He was grieving - and that was not addressed by either his wife or Dr. Phil. To the wife it sounds like the money was viewed as a windfall - and she forgot to see that her husband was in the middle of an emotional loss. That's why he spent the money, question is why wasn't she mature enough to see that they needed to take a step back?  And why wasn't this aspect of the problem addressed? Of course Sondra wants to move on - this way she doesn't have to face up to fact that she let herself and her husband down.

Dr. Phil is famous for saying you can't change what you don't admit -- well this was and is a problem here -- Patrick is depressed - he's lost his dad, in his grief and immature way of dealing with it blew his dad's legacy with the willing help of his wife, his helpmate. Now the guy is working two jobs - I'd like to know what the wife is doing to help now? Is she working part-time in evenings or on weekends even one day a week to help him?

They both seem like nice people and a nice couple - but they need to face the fact that both of them played a part in thiis and that both of them let each other and their family down - Patrick didn't do this alone - and when we are experiencing grief as he did we hope and pray that our mate is there to steady us - to take the lead for a while cause we're overcome by grief.
 
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