My oldest sister and I have been estranged for 11 years since the death of our father. There are two other siblings. She is the oldest and I am the youngest.
Long story short, she submitted a false will to probate his estate. My father was not in his right mind when this will was supposedly done leaving everything to the oldest sister. (He had Alzheimers.) The will was never filed. When she was questioned about there being a will, we were told there wasn't one.
There had been one done that I knew of and was present at. So I called the attorney and he is the one that told us about the different will. When she was questioned about it, she needed time to grieve and get over his death. Soon after we find out that a will had been submitted to probate.
My brother and I hired a lawyer that ended up being a crook. He did nothing about contesting the will in probate. But did file a lien against my Dad's house when I threatened to report him to the State Bar in his state and that I wanted a refund of our money.
My brother has not spoken to her since. The middle sister and I made up with her 4 years ago at my cousin's funeral. I broke off contact again, after about 6 months. The middle sister has remained in contact with her since.
Two Christmas' ago she was at my niece's (middle sisters daughter) and I would not let her keep me from having Christmas with them. The next time I saw her was Feb of this year at the same niece's first home party for Tomboy Tools.
She has been here since October and has been at several family events and we have been getting along and spending time together with other family members present. She has recently given my brother and I information on insurance policies that our Dad took out on us.
She had left the papers at my niece's for my brother, as he was doing some handyman work for her with a sticky attached that didn't really explain anything. I learned about this from my mom. I start checking with the niece to see where the papers were as my brother left them at her house. I called the said sister and got very little information from her. Communicated with the middle sister through text that said she had talked with our brother and everything was OK. I got the papers from my niece and have mailed them to my brother. The oldest sister gave me my papers about a week ago with no explanation other than if I need a copy of my Dad's death certificate she would get me one. The sticky note gave me the policy #, amount paid up on the policy to date and said that a payment need to be paid by January. It was attached to Change of Ownership (deceased owner) and Change of Beneficiary forms. At the time we were at my Aunt's house for the weekend helping with a garage sale and I did not want to start an argument.
I spent last weekend at my niece's house doing another garage sale with this same sister present. I did not bring up the situation as I knew it would lead to what happened today.
Since this started I have wondered why it has taken 11 years to come to light. My Aunt and I are close and she is close to this sister. I was talking to my Aunt about it this weekend. She did not know anything about it and this sister usually tells her things like this. She was wondering like the rest of us where these policies have been for 11 years and who was paying on them. I told her I didn't know and didn't ask as I knew it would cause an argument. My Aunt encouraged me to find out why she waited until now to give us this information and to find out when the policies were taken out and if she has been paying on them. This sister has been living on disability for about 5 or 7 years and has to live frugally.
I emailed her today and asked her why it has taken 11 years for these policies to come to light. I get a phone call about 10 minutes after sending the email. After I say hello, she very defensively with major attitude asks, Is there a problem? I say no, that I was curious and had asked a simple question. She kept on being defensive and accusatory that it was our fault since we didn't talk to her for 10 years. The conversation wasn't going anywhere and was leading back to her not accepting the consequences for her actions. So I told her that this phone call was becoming a problem and that I was hanging up.
The middle sister has lived in the same house for 33 years of which she had the address. Plus, she (the oldest sister) was in contact with the Aunt that was in contact with me and the middle sister. She had passed along other information through this Aunt during this time-frame. So why not this? Plus why did it take her 6 weeks to say anything to me?
If my mom had not told me about the situation with my brother I would not have even known about it. As my brother went out of state for an indefinite period right after he was at my niece's and probably would have never brought it up with me. I only looked into it to see what was going on as my mom said my brother was upset about it.
I talked to him today after all the call with the oldest sister and he was asking the same questions. He felt like when the papers were left at my niece's that they were trying to get him to sign the papers changing the beneficiary to this sister.
I really don't think that was the intent, but like I said there was only a cryptic message that did not really explain anything. I also wondered why she couldn't have written a more in depth note explaining what was what to my brother. My mom thinks she held on to the policies trying to figure out a way to cash them in herself.
At this point I am done for good with this sister. I really was not upset about it...I was curious and the talk with my Aunt helped me to decide to ask the question. I was calm the short time we were on the phone. I know I am going to be accused of starting something on purpose and that I let my mom brow beat me into this. It was my decision to make.
(This sister has not spoken to my mom in 22 years. Because I am close to my mom I am always accused of letting her influence me and direct me in things by this sister.) There has always been drama with this sister.
The email I sent was very short. I put in the subject line - Question and in the body I asked, "Why did it take so long for these policies to come to light?" I had really hoped that since I had moved on and let all this go that she had to. Was I being unreasonable to ask this question?
In a perfect world-no that's not an unreasonable question. But all things considered it's easy to see that it would be construed as unreasonable. Although an answer should would be nice.
My son got married this summer. I wanted to do a toast, "Rachel picked Jonathan and Jonathan picked Rachel, but you can't pick your family!"
K8memphis you are right. I guess I am just really disappointed. In some ways I have missed this sister and because of recently spending time with her and things going so good I was hoping. I had told my aunt today that she got so defensive about it because she knows she was in the wrong. My aunt is the type of person that is very direct and doesn't mince words. I know she will have something to say to my oldest sister.
There's no easy answers but a sister is an important person. We're all pretty fricked up to varying degrees. If it was me I'd call a silent truce on the 11 year feud and be cordial and sisterly and very careful with eyes wide open but it sounds like you want to move on to a new place with her.
If this moving on is dependent on her changing then the chances of success are slim. If it's because you want to proceed with a sisterly relationship the chances of success would be much better. Is that gonna resolve an 11 year feud? No.
No easy answers.
You are right and I was again, trying to move on. When we started talking four years ago and I cut off contact after 6 months it was again because of her attitude and not being able to let go of the past.
I had been cordial with her the Christmas two years ago and at my niece's party. And at other recent family events. That is what led up to the spending more time interacting together.
I had really enjoyed spending time and talking with her the last 6 weeks. We had an outing with all three sisters and it was nice. I have missed that. Because of the way things were going and how we were communicating I decided to ask what I had wanted to know. I am disappointed and shouldn't have been surprised at how she responded.
The thing with my Dad's estate is over............he didn't have much, except his house. 11 years ago it was only worth about 40,000 or 45,000. Now from what I hear the house is barely livable. It was more how she hid things and lied about it to be able to have it go through probate to get the outcome she wanted.
There is of course a long history and other things that have been forgiven and forgotten and at the time it was the last straw. But time and life lessons do have a way of impacting your life, changing the way you think of things.
I guess it boils down to, I don't trust her and probably never will and that will always be there. That if it wasn't this it would eventually be something else.
Thanks for your thoughts.
I don't think it was unreasonable to ask that question- any normal person would've wanted to know. She was defensive because she knew she had something to hide- I would take that as my answer- that she had been sitting on them trying to figure out how to cash them in herself, otherwise, if there had been any other reason, why wouldn't she just tell you?
What a shame she is so crazy. I can't imagine she doesn't know what she has done is wrong, but I think some people are just so bad at admitting that they're wrong, even to themselves, they just get nasty and defensive about it to try and deflect the blame. You know she should have told you about those policies- they were in YOUR name from YOUR father. It wasn't unreasonable for you to ask where they had been all this time. It was unreasonable and probably illegal for her to sit on them all this time. But she knew just how to make YOU feel like it was YOUR fault for asking her anything about it.
I'm sure she knows it was wrong for her to forge a will for your dad and leave herself as sole beneficiary. She's awfully lucky that her siblings have been so forgiving, because she could have faced criminal penalties for stuff like that. I wonder how she justified it to herself so that she can live with what she did to her father's last wishes for his children?
She sounds like kind of a sociopath- sometimes they're really good at making it seem like they care about people when it benefits them, and then their actions make it clear that they really don't have any emotions. It is so hard to cut off family, especially when they have made YOU feel guilty for so long- but when you cut them out, the guilt just stops after a while, and believe me, it is so worth it. Good luck!
Yeah--I get yah. No easy choices no cookie cutter answers.
There are hills I will die fighting on. Estate money is not one of my fighting hills just because of all the additional drama I encountered along my way at those times. I understand that there's other drama for you-just saying for me. Besides almost all those folks have passed away now and which their passing probably saved my life.
I've also learned that it's better on me, on my health and well being to accept those things I can't control. And there's a big difference between accepting and condoning--I don't condone them. I wish things could be made right but keeping your sanity however you can-- trumps all.
Honestly, with the history of your sister and the problematic family relationships, I can see how she took that question the wrong way. She is probably as on guard as you are right now and I bet she felt like, "Aha! I knew it!" She was waiting for the other shoe to drop, and to her, it did.
I would send her another email and make it quite a bit longer. You don't want a miscommunication to be the reason you don't speak to her ever again, do you? Tell her you think perhaps your wording may have implied something you did not mean and apologize for the confusion. Then explain, in detail, what you want to know and why you want to know it.
Does she deserve that kindness? No, probably not. Do you want to be a person that takes care of mistakes? Yes. No matter what happens, you want to be able to sleep at night knowing you did what you should do.
Unless she's made big changes in her life, I wouldn't get too close to her. There's no need to drag drama into your life or set yourself up for heartbreak. However, you need to do what you need to do to live with yourself.
For now I have decided that I am done..............I've done this way too many times in the past and I'm just tired of trying and trying again. When she is at the other sister's house, my nieces or my aunt 's, I can and will continue to be pleasant and sociable if we are there together. I will not let her come between my relationship with these family members that I am close to and care about a great deal.
I don't wish her ill, she is my sister after all. I care about her but don't like the person she is. The sisterly bond in this instance is not strong enough to overcome. I haven't really lost anything in this instance, that had not already been lost a long time ago.
That's the best way to handle it. Just because you're related to someone doesn't mean that you have to like them, or hang out with them. If it causes you too much stress then being cordial when required is enough.
Just because you're related to someone doesn't mean that you have to like them, or hang out with them.
Update.....she mentioned this to our Aunt that I mentioned previously. It was as thought she wanted "a pat on the back" for paying for these policies for 11 years and now has a way to provide us with some money (both my brother and I are unemployed.) I have been unemployed for 2 years. My brother longer. She told my Aunt that my email had a tone and is what started it. My Aunt told her that was BS and that an email has no tone and that you inject the tone into it. She really couldn't say why she had held on to these policies all these years. Tried to say that because we we were not speaking she had no way to contact us or knew where we were. My Aunt told her it was BS. She gave the middle sister her policy sometime in the last 4 years.