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Hi all,

I'm just beside myself right now and I need some advice. I know some of you that have lost parents have experienced the loss of their memories, their possessions, etc...whether it be through unsavory relatives, new spouses to the remaining parent, etc...

I have two sisters and two brothers. The brothers live out of town and don't give a hoot about any family heirlooms, possessions, etc. It's pretty much my sisters and me that care about this stuff, and we all live within the same metro area as my dad.

The issue is...my dad has started dating, which I can't really deal with, but oh well, it's his life. It's not something we talk about b/c, well, I can't deal with it! My sisters feel the same way. Having said that, we all see my dad regularly, everything is "normal", per say.

Dad has already had us go through certain things early on - Mom's jewelry, clothes - but there are still a lot of precious things in the house. Porcelein knick-knacks, our grandmother's cherry furniture, Mom's dining room set, their wedding crystal, etc. Dad makes a lot of noise about moving and downsizing, but he's a talker and not a doer (except in the dating world, it seems). He has mentioned us going through more stuff and seems very open to us taking whatever to get it off his hands...but he won't make decisions as to what exactly he wants us to take. It's hard to split beloved items between three girls unless you know what is being offered. The bottom line is he has no emotional attachment to any of it. Before my mom died, he never paid any attention to it - now, I hear him saying things like, "You girls are aware of what a da-n nice crystal set that is, aren't you?" He's very into the material value of things now that he is dating - he actually told me that he was "hot property" among the local women, etc.

I could go on and on and on...but I'll try to cut to the chase. Today he mentioned he had a dentist app't to get teeth pulled and when I asked if he needed a ride home he said he had a ladyfriend that will take him home. I finally opened my eyes to the fact that he is bringing total strangers into this house, people he's met on the internet. I'm sure this woman could be perfectly nice, but who knows, quite frankly? My husband's stepmom was lovely and caring, but in the end she got rid of a lot of stuff without notifying anyone, much of it going to her own children.

Honestly, this is not about us being moneygrubbing kids waiting for an inheritance, it is about our love for our mother and all of her heirlooms and legacies, which she made CLEAR she wanted to go to us. And don't get me started on the lake house thing (I wrote about that before) - I could use some advice on that too.

How do we do this? How do we present it to my dad? I know he probably won't be unwilling to part with the smaller things or maybe even the crystal and stuff...but we can't waltz in there and take half the furniture. Who knows, maybe he'd be open to that, too...

I would appreciate any advice on any of this. Literal advice as to how to approach him, b/c we are definitely going to approach him. As far as advice on how to deal with this and whether I'm handling the dating part of things correctly - well, I've seen my husband go through it (and he was a saint), and I can't change the way I feel right now - so probably advice on that end of things will just make me cry and feel bad! So...advice on the daughter-dad talk would be welcome....

PS- I should mention that about seven years ago, my (now deceased) father-in-law remarried and handed over everything to his new wife - my dad has heard me vent my sadness over this and how it affected my husband. He always sits there nodding his head in agreement, and since my mom has died has pledged that he won't give anything away and that it all belongs to us. But I've seen too many older men (including on my father-in-law and some dads on this website) just lose any of that sensibility when they are in a new relationship. I just don't trust that my dad will remain so sure in all of this...but much, much more than that is the fact that someone may come in and TAKE the stuff, or target my dad and have friends that will take the stuff when they are out, etc. My dad is gone most of the summer. I know this is dramatic, but it happens a lot, esp. to people that dangle their possessions on the internet, etc...

Thanks you guys, so much.

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Thanks Katie, I totally know what you mean. And most of what I speak of is heirloom-y type stuff, things that Mom inherited from her mom and that she treasured, trinkets, special pieces of furniture, stuff like that. As far as the actual house, other stuff, the money, all that - it's all Dad's, absolutely they worked hard for it, and I tell him every day to just spend it, you can't take it with you.

I guess I've seen so many examples of it going to the extreme, I'm just very concerned. I know my husband kind of waited it out when his dad started dating and remarried, and in the end some very sentimental things went his stepmom's sons...nothing of high value, but things that meant a lot to him....

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Hi Momsgirl, since your Dad has already mentioned you going through more 'stuff' I believe I would take him up on it. Be sure to let him see what you're taking and I'm sure if you or one of your sisters were to take something he wanted, he would let you know. In fact let him know right from the get-go that he has the last word on anything you and your sisters take. As more time goes by and he becomes more of a 'hot property' you may very well loose this window of opportunity. I would act now.

Good luck


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Ah Michele, such sad times, huh? Maybe I am reading between the lines ~ so keep that in mind as I reply.

Seems Dad has already opened the door for you by having you go through some things already. Then he has mentioned downsizing and also you girls going through even more stuff. Maybe you girls should get together and list all the things you definitely do not want to 'disappear' and then decide who wants what. Then approach Dad making mention that 'WHEN' he is ready to downsize and/or distribute things that you girls are ready with the things most meaningful to each of you. If it happens to include cherry furniture ~ so be it. I do believe he has opened the door for you. He may actually be relieved to not have to 'appear' like he is the one trying to get rid of things.

Now I don't know your Dad or the family relationships, but letting him know that whenever he's ready, so are you. For sure, I wouldn't remain silent and worry as to what was going to happen to priceless memories. Just some thoughts. Wishing you best of luck and hope things work out.


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I've seen so many people lose family heirlooms and property to second spouses that John and I actually had a conversation about this if anything happened to me. I made it very clear to him that the things I had worked for and were in my family (and his) should go to our children. Maybe your mother had a similar conversation with your dad?

I would approach this now before there is a significant other in the picture. There will be an opening somehow to start the conversation and then go for it. It's not about money, it's about the sentimental things.

Good luck-- and let us know how it goes.

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Hi Michele,

I haven't really been in this situation. With Bill's parents, it was never an issue (no other relationships occurred). I do agree that your dad seems to have opened the door for you. I would talk about it with your siblings, and decide what items are really important to you. Then I would plan to all talk with your dad together. Particularly since you went through the situation with your husband, and spoke with your dad about that. And since he's talking about downsizing, etc. At least it's out in the open then. He may not know how to deal with it all himself.

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I know this is hard and I can try to give you two prospectives on this. First of all let me say that I think your dad may be saying those things because he wants you girls to take what you want. He is ready to be done with it no matter what the reason. It even sounds like he may be telling you that he wants you to take what you want so you won't think he would ever be like your husband parents.

On the other hand when my mom died she had a house full of things that I could remember being there all of my life. I took the most important things home with me. I had but only one brother left and he didn't want anything. I took what I could and what was most important to me. It wasn't easy because I lived 2400 miles away. Many things stayed behind, not just because of the distance but I didn't want to strip my dad of everything.

Once Mama was gone Daddy didn't cope well. He fell fot the sob story of a caregiver the state sent to help out. He became infatuated with her (she was very young) and eventually mortgaged the house to loan her money. My brother learned and managed to save the house but there was a big mortgage on it and it had been paid off.

Eventually another caregiver was sent out. She moved into the house and took very good care of Daddy. She also helped herself to a lot of things that should have been for our family. If not for me for my nieces and nephews.

Men who have been married to one woman for so long react very strange when they find themselves alone. The are vulnerable and easy targets. The woman your dad is seeing may be a wonderful caring person but you can't depend on that. I suggest you have a talk with your dad. Just tell him you understand that he is ready to downsize and move on with his life. Explain to him how much those items mean to you and your sisters emotionally and not because of the money value. Tell him that they were promised by your mom and you want to make sure her wishes are carried out. I think you will find him not only understanding but relieved.

When I divorced I left many things behind. Some I designated to my children and grandchildren, other things I left with Denis with the understanding that they were his as long as he wanted to keep them (especially things from my parents)then they would go to the children. Sooner if he ever remarried.

When Denis died everything was where I left it. I never went back into the house but I told my children where to find everything important. Things that had been mine and things that had been for Denis. They found everything where I told them it would be. I just brought home a few more things on my recent trip but many things are with my children and much more is stored in the attic. All of the things that seemed so important to me don't all seem to be any more but it is sure hard to see them in someone elses home even if it is my children.

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Can't add much to what the other's have said. I've been down this road and have a very strong sentimental attachment to family heirlooms. Fortunately, so did my siblings.

When gold diggers come around, and they will, family heirlooms need to be out of the picture. My Mom gave a lot of things away to the kids before she died. Once funny business started happening with my Dad, there were a few items that needed to be out of that house to insure they would stay in the family. I spoke with my sibs, and went to my Dad and asked for certain items. I never mentioned why I wanted them and he didn't ask.

You are smart to be on the ball in this situation. The alarm bells are ringing -- listen to them and take action. I'm very sorry and know how badly you must feel over all of this developing.



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