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Frustrated with brother AIBU?

(35 Posts)
Mamma66 Mon 23-Nov-20 02:49:59

My father died early in October. Although he was very elderly his death was unexpected. We loved him dearly and he was a wonderful Dad. We couldn’t bear the family home to be sold and tentatively had a conversation with Dad a couple of years ago about buying my brothers out and it becoming our family home. Dad loved the idea and supported it enthusiastically.

When Dad died we did those outstanding jobs you never get round to and put our house on the market. I am very neat and tidy and don’t like mess. Dad had not decorated the house or changed anything since Mum died some years earlier. Perfectly understandable, he didn’t want anything to change.

But, it is a substantial house and needs decorating and reflooring throughout. Both bathrooms need replacing. Obviously we would like the work doing before we move in.

My younger brother is not working at present and took it upon himself to organise emptying the house. I admit this is a mammoth task. But he is controlling the process, going very slowly and won’t allow any involvement from anyone else.

I realise that this is part of his grieving process, and have tried to be sensitive to this, particularly as he provided the majority of day-to-day care for Dad in the last couple of years. This aside, my brother is driving me nuts.

We wanted to start work on the house a month ago, but agreed to put it back till the beginning of December. This is nearly upon us and we are no further along. Three of the five bedrooms have fitted wardrobes which all need coming out, but my brother says he put them in with Dad and he wants to take them out. Any offer of help or involvement is blocked and yet we are supposed to be moving in early in February. He insists on controlling the process but is getting nowhere fast. Work is due to commence next Monday. The whole house was supposed to be emptied by then and I can see that not one room will be clear. There is a load of furniture which needs listing, he hasn’t done it, but any offers of any help are met with firm refusal. I love my brother dearly, but he is driving me nuts! He also has become very awkward about anything being taken to the house. We have taken 3 or 4 pieces of furniture over (we need to keep our house pristine whilst selling). I explained to my brother that finances dictate that we have to buy some second hand furniture and have snapped up bargains whilst we can. The house is large, we wanted to empty a room at a time, decorate, refloor and shuffle furniture about. Instead of which almost all the large furniture remains and nowhere can be used or decorated. My brother agreed to one room being emptied in readiness for decorating starting next Monday, I have changed my plans and want to decorate a small bedroom first as an anniversary surprise for my husband (in December). As the whole house was supposed to be empty by then I didn’t think it a big deal, but the balloon has gone up. I received a very stroppy text off my brother earlier about his frustration in me changing my plans.

I realise that my brother is particularly struggling with the loss of my Dad. He has been fairly prickly, I truly have tried to be sympathetic and supportive, but I can see us selling our house and having to live in absolute chaos whilst the work is carried out and it is so unnecessary.

Should I continue to just grit my teeth, keep quiet on the premise, least said soonest mended and hope for the best? AIBU? I don’t have the objectivity to tell anymore.

eazybee Mon 23-Nov-20 09:39:52

My advice would be for the brothers to see a solicitor and examine closely the terms of the father's will; it appears that the poster is determined to gain possession of the family home as quickly as possible, and of course, 'possession is nine points of the law'.
I too wonder how much involvement the brothers had in the arrangement between father and daughter about the future of the house. Nothing should be touched until probate has been completed.
It would be best for the house contents to be sorted out by the children together, and it does seem as though the younger brother is dragging his feet, but it was his home as well, and he probably fears the poster turning up with a furniture van and stripping the house, while at the same time using it as a repository for her newly acquired furniture.
It so frequently happens that the child who undertakes the bulk of caring responsibilities is suddenly reduced to the same level as the other children 'who sadly were not able to be involved', but are there immediately demanding equal shares of any inheritance.
What is the other brother's involvement in this?

Nannan2 Mon 23-Nov-20 09:40:45

A death that is unexpected is also a huge shock to the system, so he has to deal with that too.I would definitly slow down, an 'anniversary surprise' sounds like a poor excuse tbh and might not even be accepted as a 'surprise' so might estrange you in more ways than one- please put a hold on this, also as others have said, have you even gone through any legal proceedings yet? Reading of a will etc, buying of the actual house, paying your share? Is there anything in actual writing that says you are allowed to do this? That this IS what your dad wanted to happen? You may need to take legal advice first.There seems to be a rush on for more than 'an anniversary'? What if your brother finds a newer will while he's sorting the house that changes the plan you made with your father? What then? It could be he really wanted your brother to have it,as they'd done all that work in it together? As he was his carer?etc etc. Why should you have 'dibs' on it? Maybe your brother would really rather buy you out, but he daren't tell you? Looks like a lot has not been sorted, as well as the rooms.!

Nannan2 Mon 23-Nov-20 09:46:34

What could have been a "enthusiastic" musing on far future plans one day with your dad may be something far different now he's died, according to the law! And yes, what does your other sibling think? I think youre rushing to 'possess' the house before its all been fully looked into by lawyers and probate.Im not sure, but that could even be an offence?

MrsThreadgoode Mon 23-Nov-20 12:09:29

MIL died in May and we got probate 4 weeks ago.

MrsThreadgoode Mon 23-Nov-20 12:12:45

I wish we had an edit button! I was going to go on to say that there might be Inheritance Tax to be paid out of the estate, a friends parents died, their old large farm house and land was valued and she had a 6 figure tax bill to pay.

NotSpaghetti Mon 23-Nov-20 12:28:11

Are you still here Mama66?
Firstly, I am truly sorry for your loss. It's not at all easy when loving parents die, whatever age they are.

I think you should back off a bit here, and yes, as you say, grit your teeth. You sound as though you are in a massive rush for some reason- clearing a loved-ones home is not just a job, it's deeply challenging.

This is not the time to rush things and I would say hold off selling for a while yet or you will probably make everything worse.

Also, it was totally unreasonable to agree a room to be empty and then change your mind. This involves a whole series of mental gymnastics for your brother.

There is no mention of your other sibling(s)... where are they in all this?

B9exchange Mon 23-Nov-20 12:50:54

Your poor brother, most counsellors advise not making any major decisions for a year after the death of a close relative. Your father's death is incredibly recent, and as his main carer, your brother has a huge burden of grief to work through. Your rush to wipe out your father's memory, as he probably sees it, will be adding to his distress.

You say you love your brother, then try and see things from his point of view, and give him time to grieve. I suggest he refuses offers of help because he is frightened you will put pressure on him to destroy his memories and throw out things that are precious to him.

Why not agree to leave things until January, don't give your brother deadlines, presumably you are not going to be thrown out of your own house? Once probate has been granted, which may take longer, then you can look at arrangements for moving in, but please show your brother some love and understanding.

Mamma66 Mon 23-Nov-20 18:59:58

I responded but my reply wouldn’t post, so I will try again.

Firstly, I would never dream of ‘turfing’ my brother out of his home. My brother didn’t live with Dad, he rented nearby, Dad needed a bit of support but lived independently. The fact that my brother rents is actually one of my main motivating factors. I am actually looking out for my younger brother as much as anything else.

Following divorce my younger brother was not in a position to buy and Dad’s estate probably represents his last chance to get back on the property ladder again. He would dearly love to buy a house, but has a pretty small window of opportunity because of his age / affordability of mortgage over a shorter period.

The rush is due to the eye watering interest we are paying on Dad’s house, if we can sell our house quickly and pay off the remainder of the mortgage we can just wait it out until the will and probate is sorted. We actually have two houses to sell and the agreement we have between us is that we will pay off the mortgage first and a proportion of the money owed to my brothers (depending on which house sells first) and on the sale of both properties we will have enough to buy them out. If we don’t complete within twelve months we risk being compelled to sell the house on the open market. I am probably worrying unnecessarily but would hate not to be able to achieve Dad’s (and our) dearest wish.

Also I would prefer not to camp out for months in chaos. Houses are selling unbelievably quickly around here and I am just trying to balance everything out so that it works out best for us all.

I will try to calm down a bit, I think I will just feel a bit more confident once we have some interest in the sale of one of our houses. Everything is out of my control at present and it is making me feel anxious.

Toadinthehole Tue 24-Nov-20 10:35:33

Hopefully, this won’t be a repeat of the message I tried to post yesterday, and wouldn’t go, as it seems...did you! Thank you for the update.
I don’t want to sound harsh...but it does sound awfully quick. When you say “ we had a conversation with dad”, do you mean you and your brothers? People can agree to all kinds of things before an event, often I think, because it all sounds so far away in the future somewhere. Now it’s painfully real...your brother just feels different, and I think you need to give him time.
If you say houses are selling quickly, need it be so urgent? I understand you want to fulfil your dad’s wishes, but I would be more inclined to focus on the needs, emotional and physical, of you three siblings. Isn’t it more important to have good relations with them?
I do hope you resolve this. You’re all grieving, and I’m sorry for your loss?. In the overall scheme of things, are houses so important?