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The Aftermath- warning, this is very long


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My Dad passed about a month and a half ago. I’m not going to go into all the sordid details but I would be interested in talking with other family survivors who are dealing with the aftermath.

I believe everyone acknowledges in my small family that my Dad’s death hit me hard and I am grieving immensely. We truly were best friends and kept nothing from each other. Just for example purposes, he was the pop-up king and when he received a pop-up that his unit could be extended or whatever, it was my house these products went to. I know a little weird, but he trusted me with his innermost secrets.

My Dad died without a will and the day after his funeral, his brother Rick, the person he said I would be able to trust, began delving into my Dad’s financial affairs. About three weeks later all the locks were changed on my Dad’s house and my stepmother of ten years said Rick did it and she didn’t know why, call him. I did and Rick wanted to hold a family meeting that night. Six hours earlier, I had my Dad’s 14 year old dog euthanized and buried him because of kidney failure. Losing Bear was like losing my Dad again and I was an emotional wreck.

Saturday night, Rick told my sister and I, he owned my Dad’s house, though, he had never put a penny into it. He will now decide on the distribution. Dad needed him as a co-signer in 1993, after my Dad’s second divorce. He was placed on the deed and was never removed and had survivor’s benefits.

My Dad paid off the house in 2002 and put my stepmother (M) on the deed upon her insistence. Ever since his diagnosis, he wanted me on the title and the new mortgage they made to buy a truck, my grandparent’s property and home repair. Like the will, my Dad never thought he would die, the property transaction never happened. In 2002, he did leave me with a handwritten note, before his diagnosis and refinance, that he would like my stepmother to have a life long lease on the property and the house would go to his kids upon his demise.

Anyway, my uncle told me he couldn’t trust me and when I asked him why he said “because you expected M to pay for the insurance on your Dad’s car that you are driving”. My daughter turned sixteen this summer and I needed his spare car. Shocked, I looked at him and M and said no, I gave her all my credit card information to make the insurance payment. He looked in disbelief; she grunted something incoherent, blamed it on her grief but the writing was on the wall. She had been disseminating lies to hurt my character.

I’ve decided to wash my hands of it. I don’t want anything to do with this mess. Out of my Dad's $200,000 dollars in equity, I would just like my Dad to have a headstone. There’s not enough Xanax in the world that can get me through my Dad’s death and the family infighting that will ensue.

I know this is long but if you have the time to read the email I wrote to my uncle, please do. If you don’t want to disclose your dirty laundry, please PM me as I need to hear from other’s who have been overwhelmed by death and relatives. And Katie, this includes you!

Here's the email:

First, I would like to apologize for my emotional outburst last night.

This letter is not an effort to excuse my behavior; it’s an attempt to

clear up what I perceive as misconceptions.

My Dad trusted me unconditionally. This was a trust I earned and

treasured. As I’ve taught my daughter and as my Dad taught me, integrity

is a person’s most valuable asset. My Dad literally trusted me with his

life for which I miserably failed to save. I hope in time, I’ll be able

to forgive myself and find peace.

It saddens me that I have given you reason not to trust me Rick. I’ve

always respected you, Dad told me you were the one person I could count on

in the event of his death. I’m deeply grieving my father and this is

another hurtful circumstance I would rather not confront. But I must, my

only rationale for your mistrust is one side of a story is left untold.

When my Dad was diagnosed, he was seriously considering divorce. I have

hours of ICQ chat logs that describes Mabel’s malevolence and the anguish

he endured in the marriage. There was nothing Dad and I kept from each

other, it was a very close father and daughter relationship that

unfortunately not all parents/offspring are able to enjoy. November

18th 2004, my Dad walked out of the doctor’s office alone and called me on

his cell to tell me he had lung cancer. We cried, I frantically googled

lung cancer and with all the scary statistics, I told him this was grim

and he said “I know”. Mabel was at work and she had received word that

her sister was in a serious car accident, so Dad and I decided to wait

until she came home from work to tell her. This was the day our world

forever changed. Subsequently, I spent every spare waking hour

researching small cell cancer for a cure I could not find.

With a prognosis of 12-18 months, I called Mabel at work one day to ask

her to consider other placement for her son Steve. He had been living

there for a few months and with the realization that my Dad may be living

his last year; we would want it to be as pleasurable as possible. [As a

very hard worker, my Dad loathed Steve for his sloth.] Mabel said she

would take care of it, hung up on me and we didn’t speak for months. Of

course I caught hell from Dad, I had no business calling her and his home

life would then be compromised by her wrath. He was right and I

apologized profusely. She never bothered to find placement for Steve,

which indicated to me she didn’t care about Dad’s happiness and Dad kept

the peace for a few more months until he could take it no more.

During his roughest months of chemotherapy and radiation he asked Steve

around 1:00 PM to get out of bed and complete a chore. Steve got in Dad’s

face, was ready to fight him and said “this is half my Mom’s house too”.

At this point, Dad put his foot down and Steve was gone.

As I’ve learned in my studies and witnessed in real life, people who have

a super sweet side also have an equal evil side. I would classify Mabel

as one of these people. She has an agenda and it seems you’ve fallen for

it… hook, line and sinker.

My Dad would have appreciated a working ceiling fan, outside lights and

locking doors while he was alive. I know nothing about electric but I did

try to fix the door. Tara and I spent almost every weekend with him after

his diagnosis taking care of maintenance, fixing his satellite dish,

watching movies, paying bills and just enjoying the time we had. As a

teenager, Tara gave up many Saturday nights for her Papa. I digress.

On several occasions, I asked my Dad to prepare a will. If he wanted

Mabel and her son to have the house, that was okay. I just needed to know

that is what he wanted. Well, as we now know, he didn’t leave that will.

I expressed to him, I didn’t want anything, but I would rather the house

go to charity then Mabel’s son. He assured me that would never happen.

The day after my Dad’s funeral you began delving into his finances. I’ll

admit, I was appalled. Unless Dad told you something he didn’t tell me,

he wouldn’t have considered his finances your business. I have his online

banking information, he showed me what bills needed to be paid and I would

have discovered the back taxes in due time. Your involvement was too

much, too soon.

My Dad’s estate owes for that mortgage whether we can find a loophole or

not. He always paid his bills and he would honor that debt if he were

still alive. I wish you would have discussed the possibility of you still

owning the house while he was alive. Regardless of what Mabel proclaims,

that mortgage paid for the truck, the roofing on the house, remodeling of

the kitchen and my grandparent’s property. Up until November of last

year, I had been paying $150.00 per month for my portion of my

grandparent’s property. At that time, Dad told me to not worry about the

payments, but help Mabel with the mortgage payment if he died. I agreed

to do this, yet you stepped in and I don’t know which way is up. Again,

regardless of what Mabel tells you, she has over $60,000 in CD’s that my

Dad would not let her spend. This money came from the proceeds of the

last man in her life who died from lung cancer.

With Dad and Bear gone, I have no reason to go to his house. I understand

it is Mabel’s residence and can fully respect this. I wish you would have

involved me in the process of changing the locks as I would have fully

understood. Somehow, I’ve been viewed as the evil step child. I’m not

stupid, I’m sad and feeling I have to resolve extraneous issues


In closing, as I said last night, I offered to pay for the Lincoln’s

insurance (actually I thought I had paid it), and I also offered to help Mabel

with the payments for Bear when he was admitted last Monday. I also paid

over $200.00 to have him home with me for one last night and to have him


I’m not sure what your interest is in his estate. He was your brother

but he was my Dad, the only one I’ll ever have. My hope is you share

the same integrity as he.



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I wis I knew what to say Sheri. I am sad tht things are like this with you and the Family. The only thing I can ofer right now is thoughts and Prayers for all of you in this Situation. Wish there was somethin else though..

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Sheri, I PM'ed you this message, but for those who may find it helpful,

I am appalled by your family's behavior, and until recently i would almost think that it would be impossible for a grieving family to act this way. But...one of my dearest friends, Marc, passed away on August 29th. He is why I'm on this board. His cancer diagnosis began my quest for information and options for him. His funeral was Sept. 2nd, 2007.

He and his beautiful wife were living in his father's/stepmother's condo (paying the morgage and the homeowner's dues, but not the property tax.) He got married 2 years after his diagnosis (in fact, not even a year ago) and his wife gave up everything to care for her husband. She was most assuredly the reason that he survived as long as he did. He was in MAD LOVE!

He passed away quite suddenly at 37 y/o, and while his widow, Felicia, thought she had the support of his family, his father called her a week after the funeral and said that she had to be out of the condo by Sept. 30th because they needed to rent it at a profit!!!!!!! Not even a week after her husband's funeral!!!! I couldn't believe it! SHe gave up everything for her husband! She was not working. He was everything! She was the reason that he lived 3 years and 2 weeks with stage IV NSCLC!!!

It turns out that the father had feelings of remorse and called her a week ago crying and said "I don't know why I did that! I'm sorry, you can stay/"

Well, now she has to be out by Oct. 31, but she feels that her relationship with the family is still intact.

As far as I'm concerned, I still think that it's shameful to expect her to get rid of all his belongings, get a job, and move out all in 60 days time.

Well, whatever. People act strangely when their loved ones pass away. The greed comes out. Front row center. People are petty. Stingy. Not seeing the forest for the trees...

Anyway, just wanted to say that i relate.

Be strong.


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I'm so sorry you are having to endure these issues while your grief for your father is still so raw.

I agree with Katie that you need to check the laws of your state. I would take that a step further and suggest that you need an attorney to represent your interests in settling your father's estate. If nothing else it would be someone who could explain things to you objectively and without the emotion that often gets involved in family disputes. An attorney doesn't have to be adversarial, but can help you understand what the process is for settling an estate and what your rights are.

In the meantime,



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Sheri, Katie is correct. If he dided with out a will then you need to check the laws of intestacy in your state. Typically, if you are the only child, you are entitled to 1/2 of your father's estate and his widow the other half.

This could get very ugly, but his pronouncement that he will distribute the estate (as he sees fit?)is crap as there are laws that will determine this distribution.

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If there was no will I am not understanding how your uncle is acting as executor. I think your e-mail is very well done but if he won't meet with you to go over the finances you may want to seek an attorney (I bet the widow certainly will have one real quick so she gets her share of the estate).

I am sorry for what you are going through.


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As much as you probably don't want to deal with it, I would seek out a reputable estate attorney. When Bill and I were having our wills drawn, we joked a bit with the attorney about the family situations he must witness. He made a comment about one of his clients having nothing but a hand-written note that wasn't even signed, which I believe was being used in court. The fact that you had all of the financial access is proof of your dad's complete trust in you.

Seeing how the brother is acting quickly, I'm afraid you'll have to act quickly too.

So sorry you're having to deal with this on top of everything else.

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