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any lawyers willing to advise???

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  • any lawyers willing to advise???

    I put a "cryptic" post on my FB, but got no opinions, so I'm turning to all of COTH for advice and wisdom!!

    hopefully I can type this out and have it not too confusing!

    My mother was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor in Nov. 2003

    ~~ when my son and I went to Florida to pick her up, she took off her wedding rings and gave them to me, saying these are yours now.

    ~~ Mom died in April 2004. in her will, all of her jewelry was left to her granddaughters, to be split equally.

    ~~ I have NO biological daughters. so even tho I have a step daughter, my niece "technically" got all of my mothers jewelry. I say "technically" because my sister really has it all.

    here's the problem/question. ::: before my mother died, she gave my oldest son my father's wedding band, and my youngest son my father's flag from his casket. I didn't take these items home at the time, as it was too raw, and at the time, my sister and I were best friends, attached at the hip.

    through a series of events, the year after my mother died, my sister and I stopped talking, and she prevented me from going into my mother's home to get my kids things, as well as anything else I might have wanted that belonged to my parents, in the wills, other than what was specified, we were supposed to share equally.

    the only items I have are my mother's wedding rings. my boys have NOTHING. not one item that would be a momento of my parents.

    ~~ my niece had a conversation with me recently, and told me that my sister misses us, and wants to find a way to have some sort of relationship. We have not spoken since 2005, and I told my niece that if this was the truth, my sister should start with my boys and give them the things that my mother gave to them before she died.

    ~~ my son got a text from my niece saying my sister would be willing to give my boys their items, but that I have to "turn over" my mother's wedding rings for this to happen.

    I say the rings are mine, because my mother knew that they were the absolute only pieces of jewelry that I ever wanted that were hers, and she gave them to me before she died so that they would not be part of the will, so that they never were supposed to go to my niece.

    WWYD?? (for the record, neither of my boys wants me to give them over, as they both feel it's extortion. they are debating on whether or not to try to go to court to get some sort of help)

    **I know this really belongs in Off topic, but I don't know when that'll open up again, and I really want to be able to give some sort of advice to my boys. At 27/23, they're old enough to take this to court if that is the direction they should go.

  • #2
    I'm sorry that you even have to deal with this. If your sister really wants to extend an olive branch, she should give the rings to the boys and just be done with it so you all can move forward.

    I hope that's what she decides to do. I'm not qualified to give legal advice.
    Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
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    • #3
      Families can be so awful when a parent dies. I would just cut my losses, keep the rings and kiss sis goodbye. Unless you want to have a relationship with her.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        thanks to you both.

        at this point, I would never be able to have a close relationship with her, but I wouldn't mind being able to go to family functions and not worry that I want to rip her head off, LOL

        this is just one of the unethical things she's done to my brother and myself.

        Comment


        • #5
          The rings are not part of the estate because they weren't your mother's property at all when she died. She had already given them to you as gifts. The jewelry in the estate refers to jewelry that belonged to your mom when she died. The rings did not belong to her, they are not part of the estate, they belong to you.

          Think of it this way--if a will says I leave my car to my son, it only refers to whatever car I owned when I died. If I had given a car to my daughter, it doesn't become my son's car when I die. Because that car wasn't my car to bequeath.
          \"Non-violence never solved anything.\" C. Montgomery Burns

          Comment


          • #6
            My youngest sister has several screws loose and is an alcoholic on top of it. I just ignore her and treat her like a distant acquaintance if I see her in family gatherings. That's the problem with families, some times you would never choose them as friends. That might work for you, if your sister will cooperate.

            She does call occasionally...I've learned not to answer the phone after 5:00 on a Friday when the drinking light is lit. Thankfully, my other sister and brother are fairly normal (not that I'd call myself normal either .)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by gabby.gator View Post
              I put a "cryptic" post on my FB, but got no opinions, so I'm turning to all of COTH for advice and wisdom!!

              hopefully I can type this out and have it not too confusing!

              My mother was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor in Nov. 2003

              ~~ when my son and I went to Florida to pick her up, she took off her wedding rings and gave them to me, saying these are yours now.

              ~~ Mom died in April 2004. in her will, all of her jewelry was left to her granddaughters, to be split equally.

              ~~ I have NO biological daughters. so even tho I have a step daughter, my niece "technically" got all of my mothers jewelry. I say "technically" because my sister really has it all.

              here's the problem/question. ::: before my mother died, she gave my oldest son my father's wedding band, and my youngest son my father's flag from his casket. I didn't take these items home at the time, as it was too raw, and at the time, my sister and I were best friends, attached at the hip.

              through a series of events, the year after my mother died, my sister and I stopped talking, and she prevented me from going into my mother's home to get my kids things, as well as anything else I might have wanted that belonged to my parents, in the wills, other than what was specified, we were supposed to share equally.

              the only items I have are my mother's wedding rings. my boys have NOTHING. not one item that would be a momento of my parents.

              ~~ my niece had a conversation with me recently, and told me that my sister misses us, and wants to find a way to have some sort of relationship. We have not spoken since 2005, and I told my niece that if this was the truth, my sister should start with my boys and give them the things that my mother gave to them before she died.

              ~~ my son got a text from my niece saying my sister would be willing to give my boys their items, but that I have to "turn over" my mother's wedding rings for this to happen.

              I say the rings are mine, because my mother knew that they were the absolute only pieces of jewelry that I ever wanted that were hers, and she gave them to me before she died so that they would not be part of the will, so that they never were supposed to go to my niece.

              WWYD?? (for the record, neither of my boys wants me to give them over, as they both feel it's extortion. they are debating on whether or not to try to go to court to get some sort of help)

              **I know this really belongs in Off topic, but I don't know when that'll open up again, and I really want to be able to give some sort of advice to my boys. At 27/23, they're old enough to take this to court if that is the direction they should go.
              Many hugs to you.
              I have nothing to give in terms of advice.
              Only my condolences to offer that things are in this state.
              Originally posted by BigMama1
              Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
              GNU Terry Prachett

              Comment


              • #8
                just don't engage... Go take your nicest photos of your folks, get nice reprints -frame them with wonderful frames (homemade might be nice). Give them to your kids. Let it go...

                In my opinion, a flag from a casket and a wedding band aren't worth the fight and the expense and the heartache and the dishonor you all are placing at the feet of your parents. Keep what you have, pass it down to your kids when you die or give it to them now. It is just stuff -what matters are the memories and what they have taught you.

                Would your parents really want you fighting like this...over stuff??? I hope not!
                Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF
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                • #9
                  Not a lawyer, but here's my take on this:

                  MandyVA is correct. The rings are yours - they became your property when your mother gave them to you freely of her own will and put them in your hand physically. At that point they no longer were part of her estate. It doesn't matter if this happened 2 minutes before she died, or 20 years before. She was free to give you whatever she wanted, whenever. It is only after she died that whatever remained of her property became an estate to be administered according to her written will.

                  You will need some kind of statement showing that the husband's rings and the flag were, in fact, given to you by your mother. The fact that it is now almost 10 years since those items have remained at the house, you might have a difficult time proving ownership unless there is something in writing, or you have multiple witnesses that will support your claim.

                  If I were you, I'd take the wedding bands - as a gift to you by your mother before her death - and give them to your sons as mementos of your family. Write off your father's wedding band, as well as the flag. It just.isn't.worth dragging through the courts to try to get them after this long period of time. When it comes to family arguments, the drama and costs of legal suits - especially for a $10 flag and a $100 ring - isn't worth the effort unless great amounts of money ($20K and up) are involved. All it will do is engender more hard feelings and possibly a permanent rift between you and your sibling.

                  BTW - Trying to mend fences with your sister while she's being an ass ain't gonna work. She apparently dislikes you, and that isn't going to change. Take a deep breath, center yourself, write her off and let it go. She's toxic at this stage, and you don't need to drink the poison.
                  Last edited by pdq; Mar. 17, 2013, 03:31 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There is no really relevant legal advice, here, except to say that you have no legal obligations and the jewelry is is yours.

                    How much do you want the relationship? Is it worth a few pieces or jewelry? Or isn't it? Only you can answer that question.

                    G.
                    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Unless your mom put it somewhere in writing that she gave your boys the ring and flag (or unless your sister acknowledged that she knows those items were actually given to the boys by your mom), legally you're probably SOL. If dad predeceased mom and didn't separately will these items to the boys, they would've been part of mom's estate and at least as far as the ring, part of the "jewelry" that went to the niece. Sucks, but it boils down to "she says/she says" - and the opposing "she" has the written will on her side.
                      Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't think this is about any possessions.
                        Your sister doesn't want to make amends, she wants someone to build drama with, her life must not have enough.
                        You fit the bill if you play along.

                        When someone tells you who they are, believe them.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Let it go. Give your mother's rings to your boys whenever you want, like maybe when one or both get engaged. They can have the stones reset in whatever style appeals to their girlfriends.

                          Sadly, with the price of gold, I suspect your father's wedding band has already been sold for cash and the proceeds drunk. The flag is probably lost. Hence the reason I'm guessing your sister has not turned them over to your sons.

                          You'd've thought that after my eldest brother handled my father's estate for my mother, he'd have learned the lesson about talking with all of us (including Mom) before she died. But no. Denial is a big ol' river in our family
                          ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
                          Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

                          "Life is merrier with a terrier!"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I am so sorry. It seems so typical to fight over "stuff".I have the one thing I wanted from my mother and it is a quilt her grandmother made, I have had it for 10 years. My mother is still alive but my sisters fight over her stuff now. My mother gave her house to my brother and it made my sisters mad, even though no one wanted the house and we all have our homes. I want nothing from my mothers estate and I have made it clear to her and everyone else.

                            I also won't have anything to do with the fighting. Again, I am so sorry that must be painfull to part with your sister over "stuff" that is all it really is. My children have their memories and that is enough.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think that the take away in this for you is to spell out your wishes for the disposition of your valuables so that your children don't have to go through this.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                thank you all again for your responses--- to be clear-- we are not *actively* fighting. we (my sister and I ) haven't spoken since 2005.

                                I know she's toxic, and I'm over "the loss" of the relationship. took a few years, but really, I'm better for what I know now.

                                I just feel really bad for my boys, as this does hurt them.

                                and for those of you who suggested that I give each of them one of the rings, I have thought of that, and will more than likely give them to the boys when they find that right girl and want to take the next step.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                  I don't think this is about any possessions.
                                  Your sister doesn't want to make amends, she wants someone to build drama with, her life must not have enough.
                                  You fit the bill if you play along.

                                  When someone tells you who they are, believe them.
                                  Couldn't say it better myself.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Goof for you OP, your last post is so positive

                                    My crazy mother, who I just severed ties with AGAIN after letting her back (mistake) has always been on a do-what-I-want-or kind of person, generally that she won't give me money (that she never has given before) or I won't get anything in the will (that I don't really want). I have no siblings, so I hate think what she will spring on me in her later years....

                                    OP, your sister sounds like my mother, to a point. She'll do something you want if only you give her something she wants. Drop it. Not worth the hassle and heartache. Your sons understand.
                                    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Give the rings to the boys now. Don't wait. And especially don't wait until they "find someone". It is important that you show them you are giving it to them and them alone - not to a future bride. Giving those rings now shows the depth of love you have for them to decide how they want to make these rings a part of their lives. They might not want them to go to anyone else - heck, they might want them to be resized and refitted to use as their own rings.

                                      Also, if you do it now, you throw oil on the waters caused by your sister. It will remove the "hurt" as you will be making this a gesture of your mother's love for her own family in you passing on this gift in the name of your mother. She gave it to show her love. You would be a wise mother to do the exact same.

                                      It would be so deeply expressive - a gift from both you and your mother - that your sons would carry that love with them forever.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by pdq View Post
                                        Give the rings to the boys now. Don't wait. And especially don't wait until they "find someone". It is important that you show them you are giving it to them and them alone - not to a future bride. Giving those rings now shows the depth of love you have for them to decide how they want to make these rings a part of their lives. They might not want them to go to anyone else - heck, they might want them to be resized and refitted to use as their own rings.

                                        Also, if you do it now, you throw oil on the waters caused by your sister. It will remove the "hurt" as you will be making this a gesture of your mother's love for her own family in you passing on this gift in the name of your mother. She gave it to show her love. You would be a wise mother to do the exact same.

                                        It would be so deeply expressive - a gift from both you and your mother - that your sons would carry that love with them forever.

                                        this is a really good post, and a wonderful idea!!

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