Sunday, January 10, 2016

In which my co-worker is dealing with his own issues with wills and grabby inheritors

A co-worker, Idris, and I were comparing notes on greedy relatives and wills and the lack thereof.

I don't even know how we got on the subject - we were talking about lean operations and TIM WOOD and does the "S" really fit at the end because then it's not the seven muda, it's eight.

So then it was all about relatives and settling estates and what a person has to go through to settle an estate and how estate settling sure brings out the ugly in people.

Idris said that his sister had died without a will. He had lived with his sister, but I gather she owned the house.

Then I got totally distracted.

Me: Wait! Are you married?

Idris: No.

Me: Have you ever been married?

Idris: No.

Me: Whaaaaat? You are so eligible!

(He is a really nice, middle-aged guy with a good job. He is really, really nice. Sweet, good sense of humor, hard working, and, as an engineer, can undoubtedly fix things. These are all excellent qualities in a husband.)

Idris: Wellll..... Anyhow.

(That is a rude question, I know. I hated it when people used to ask me that until I realized what they were saying was not, "Wow! You are so undesirable that nobody has seen fit to marry you!" and was instead, "How is it that someone as fabulous as you has not been proposed to many, many times?")

Me: Sorry.

Idris: My sister died a few years ago and I was traveling a lot for work and she didn't have a will, so I have had to figure it all out. My niece, my nephew, and I are the heirs.

Me: Because no will.

Idris: Yes. My sister and my niece were not close. She did nothing to help after my sister died.

Me: Not taking her clothes to charity or anything like that?

Idris: No.

Me: So what happened?

Idris: I had to get the house valued. I wrote a check to each of them for their half.

Me: Because you still live in the house?

Idris: Yes. At the lawyer's office, I gave them each a check. My niece asked if I wasn't sure the house was worth more.

Me: Oh good grief. Money fell into her lap and it wasn't enough?

Idris: The lawyer said she could pay her own appraiser.

Me: Did she?

Idris: Nope. She cashed the check the next day.

Me: Yeah.

Idris: So at the lawyer's office, the lawyer said that the house was the only real property and the rest was kind of worthless stuff like my sister's clothes and jewelry. And that's when my niece perked up again and said she might be interested in the jewelry.

Me: Even though she never had much to do with your sister?

Idris: Exactly!

Me: I swear it brings out the ugly.

Idris: I just want to be done with it. I am tired of dealing with it. I am tired of dealing with my niece. She is so grabby! My nephew is OK, but I really do not like my niece.

Me: Do you have a will?

Idris: No. Not married. No kids. Haven't really ever thought about it.

Me: But if you die without a will, your niece will get half of all of your hard-earned money!

Idris: What? Oh! Yes! You're right! I need to make a will! I can leave it all to my nephew. Ha.


  1. Estate settling really does bring out the ugly in a lot of people. Reading these stories makes me thankful my husband and his siblings were so agreeable and fair with each other after their mom died last year. And it's always the ones who never took care of the deceased who are the greediest, isn't it?

  2. My friend had to handle her mother's estate - her brother was living in Europe. After untold hours of clearing a three storey house and a three car garage packed to the gills with stuff saved by three generations, the house was ready to sell...She sold it...and sent her brother a cheque for half. Her brother complained - he did not think she asked enough for it!

  3. We don't have kids (childless by choice) and have been trying to get our wills done for about a year now. Non-responsive lawyers. Ugh. Every month or so we try again. Because we DON'T want to be problems for whomever will have to deal with it and also because we do want to have a say in where the estate goes. Never easy!

    So did you tell Idris you have some great friends for him to meet? :-)

  4. Goldie, I'm glad your talk with your coworker has a positive result. Funny how we don't always see how things apply to us.