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  1. #1
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    Feb 2017
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    Legal Advice After the Loss of a Loved One

    Hi. My name is Anne and I was mums main carer for the past 2 years whilst she suffered with vascular dementia and pulmonary fibrosis. Before that, being the third of 4 children, I was the main person in her life, where she spent most of her time with me and my family over a period of 30 years since the death of my father. I lost mum in May to the fibrosis in the end and I now urgently seek advice as a I can't have closure as my mum still hasn't been laid to rest. My brother & sister who are the executors weren't in touch that much with mum until she went in to hospital before her death and were in denial about mums illnesses throughout. Since mums passing, they have literally closed me down on any information or any assistance in clearing out mums stuff. They only let me know things as and when they need to.

    I want to say right now that this isn't about me.... it's about mum and ensuring mums wishes are carried out. Mum had no real possessions, so any contents are sentimental value only, by which she stated clearly what she wanted me to have. I have spoken to my family about mums wishes as her will was very vague. Re her ashes, it states her wishes are that she be cremated and her ashes scattered. This was very clear to me, but doesn't seem to be to my siblings. Since mid-June mums ashes are still in a cardboard box, has been taken up north whilst my brother is on holiday. In the mean time, my sister who is custodian of mums ashes at this time was meant to be checking out our grandparents graveside, which our family doesn't own the deeds to due to step family circumstances. Someone at the local council has informed my sister that she will turn her head so we can change the current headstone and do what we wish with mums ashes. 1. I understand this would be illegal and mum would not want to go out of this world like this. 2. Mum told me that as the last 15 years of her life was down south she wanted to be scattered where she was cremated as she'd not want to be in a box like her friend was for months on end. My family may be trying to do the right thing by mum as she lived up north for 70+ years, but they are ignoring what I have informed them about mums and my conversation and therefore I see it as going against mums wishes, which is upsetting me greatly. As my mums carer who saw her most days of the week, phoning twice or sometimes 4 times a day if i knew she was down and visiting her at least 4 times a week whilst carrying out a full time job, does this give me any rights? Mum was diagnosed with dementia in 2015, her will was written in 2013, so I am wondering how this stands in terms of mums state of mind when the will was written?!?! When mum informed me she had written a will, she did tell me who were the executors were and I asked her why she didn't choose me since I knew her the most, her response was she felt she had burdened me enough and thought it would be a straightforward divide by 4 beneficiaries, she didn't even contemplate that there would be issues on where to scatter her ashes, as she was living near the crematorium where she wanted her ashes scattered. Unfortunately in her will it does not name the place. I am struggling with the fact that the executors may not do the right thing, but think in their minds, that they are.

    As for the sentimental items in the estate. i.e photos, I suggested we upload them so we could all have a copy of each and keep the original photos in their albums so they remain together and share these albums out between us to be fair. Executors again are not giving anything away on what they decide is best for the photos. Again, having informed them of mums wishes.

    My sister (1 of the executors) took her gifts she had given to mum over the years the day after the funeral. None of these items were put on an inventory and I can't confirm that all she took was what she had purchased for mum. Anyway, a few weeks later an inventory was created. My gifts to mum appear on this inventory but could not remove anything the same day as my sister and I now have to wait until September. For all I know they are selling my mums flat, which is owned by my 2 brothers, so I have no idea what is going on. It seems there are different rules towards me.

    I used to have a key to the flat to let myself in to care for mum. This, along with all correspondence on mum had to be returned. All siblings now have a key except me. My sister has also removed items from the estate described as cards from us all to mum; papers miscellaneous; will kit! With regard to papers, this is personal letters and has not been listed before removing from mums estate. I do not know what my rights are with regard to this, but it is my understanding that the executor must state a list of objects etc prior to removing them from the estate.

    I have no say in anything, I have been kept in the dark and I state again they didn't know mum like I did and feel that I must have some rights to be able to speak out.. Am ignored when asking questions for example, the donation box that was meant to be in the chapel during mums service (don't think this happened) so asked about setting up links for people to donate to their 1 of 3 chosen charities. I know my siblings are are feeling guilty that they didn't see or do more for mum when she was alive, but it hurts me greatly that they aren't prepared to listen to me and hear mums wishes through me which I thought would help them when making decisions.

    Until this is resolved, I can not grieve properly and put closure to this. If anyone reading this understands the law or better still is a bereavement lawyer and in a position to advise, I would be very grateful. I am not working at the moment as my contract ended at the time of my mums passing. I'm not claiming any benefits and therefore not entitled to any free legal aid.

    Thank you for your time in reading this.

    Anne

  2. #2
    Registered User marionq's Avatar
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    Apr 2013
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    Anne your hurt is clear. Family can be insensitive but don't compound the hurt by hanging on to this. You are confident you did your best by your Mum so you have something they don't have. Don't throw away that peace of mind by dwelling on this I beg you. Get back to work, go on a holiday, start again and don't look back.

    Come back and tell us if you can how things have gone for you.

  3. #3
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    Welcome to the forum Anne.

    I'm afraid that, sad as it is, I don't think your siblings are actually doing anything inherently wrong. Morally, emotionally, yes, they probably should involve you in dealing with the estate and in sorting out photos etc. and I have to say your idea of uploading them so everyone could have a copy was a good one. That's what I did with the literally hundreds of my husband's old slide photos of his family. He had eight adult children, so they were all able to get copies done that way.

    If your mum wasn't diagnosed until two years after she made her Will, then I doubt you could bring her state of mind into question at the time of making the Will. My husband had not been formally diagnosed when he made his Will, but he certainly had signs of dementia. I explained that to the Solicitor, who just had to satisfy herself that my husband did understand his Will, and what he was doing, and she was satisfied that he did.

    I know the scattering of the ashes is an issue, and that must hurt. But I think, at the moment, you have to accept that you have told them your mum's wishes, and that is all you can do. If they don't want to do that, there is no more you can do. Some people do have objections to just scattering ashes. They prefer to have them interred in a grave.

    Hard as it is, I think I have to agree with Marion. If you hang on to this, it will just poison your life. I'm sure your mum would not want that.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2010
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    I get the impression that your siblings are behaving like this to make up for what they didn't do when your Mum was alive.

    Almost as though by controlling all this they still keep her with them.

    If only they'd done more when they should and could have - but you did, and you have the memories of happy times with your Mum that they don't. The photos can't make up for your pictures in your head of your Mum when the two of you were together, the chats you had, the simple happy hours together.

    You will be able to feel at peace with yourself that you did what your Mum needed, and looked after her - they never will have that. Perhaps focus on those things, and find a way to shrug off their petty behaviours.

    Easily said, not so easily done. But you can rest peacefully, whereas for them no amount of "things" will make up for those lost times.

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