On January 16 my father died. One month later both my former in-laws died within a week of each other. I loved them very much, and they loved me.
They were all old and ill, so none of the deaths were a surprise, but it was still sad. Our grief was deepened by the actions these people had taken before they passed away.
Each of them had changed their wills and/or life insurance beneficiaries to eliminate one or more of their children from inheriting parts of their estates.
When I called my father’s life insurance company to get the paperwork to file a claim, I was told they could not give me any information because I was not listed on his policy.
I asked if my brother was listed, and they said yes, and he would have to call them himself.
I was angry, hurt and frustrated but said, “He’s in jail.”
And the lady on the phone said, “I was hoping you wouldn’t say that.”
So, I was the one handling my father’s meager estate and fielding phone calls from the nursing home, funeral home, Medicare Recovery office, and collection agent for the nursing home. I was also trying to recover the little bit of money he had in a bank in San Antonio without a POD listed (payable on death). That money is still sitting there.
My father cutting me out that way was a slap in the face for me. One that I did not deserve. It was him being selfish and irresponsible even after his death. Anger was his legacy to me.
Something similar happened with my inlaws’ wills. What should have been an estate in good shape was in fact full of confusion, resentments and misinformation. Since she had Alzheimer’s and his health had been declining for years, there was no excuse for the estate to be left in such disarray.
I won’t go into the details about this out of my respect for the people I love who are still wrestling with this mess. But it makes me sad that anger was their legacy to their loved ones, too.
Please, if you are estranged from a child or grandchild, don’t let that carry on into their lives. Do you want your children and grandchildren to think of you in the future with hurt and pain and grief that cannot heal? Surely not.
Don’t let anger be your legacy, please.