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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.

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?

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.

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.

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?

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.

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

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

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🤔

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.!

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?

harrigran Mon 23-Nov-20 09:23:55

Yes YABU, there are others to take into consideration.
Sorting of estates takes quite a time and there are very few short cuts.
I took care of everything when my mother died and it took nine months.

Grannynannywanny Mon 23-Nov-20 09:23:31

Mamma66 I think it’s early days after the loss of your Dad to be trying to make much progress. If your brother has been your Dad’s main carer in recent years I suspect he is feeling overwhelmed with emotions just now. I’m picturing him there on his own in a house full of memories and trying to dismantle it all.

I’m inclined to think you should let him move at whatever pace he is comfortable. Then if and when the house is officially yours you can move in and tackle the jobs you want done. If it’s a substantial house you’ll be able to do an empty room at a time.

In meantime, if you haven’t already, maybe your brother would appreciate being told he did an invaluable job caring for your Dad and you realise his loss has been particularly hard on him.

I hope it all works out in an amicable way for everyone 💐

Nannan2 Mon 23-Nov-20 09:19:29

Quizqueen does have a slight point though, doesn't she?Maybe not the last bit, but maybe her brother literally has no where else to live? He does seem to be deliberately dragging it out-maybe because he has nowhere else to go? Have they even asked him this? Where was he supposed to be moving to? Maybe that has 'fallen through' and he daren't say? Or if he is meant to be staying in the house with you then maybe he is too overwhelmed by all this at once? Its a bit too much at once? Maybe you can try ask (gently) if you can help him yourself because you too wish to share in his memories of dad? So maybe just you & he on your own could do it?I see you're on a timescale but really maybe he needs more time? After all xmas has suddenly shot up on us in this lockdown and indeed i myself don't even know where the whole of most of the year has gone! But maybe it seems all a bit much for your brother, its only a few weeks since your dads death, perhaps your brother thought he would have been able to handle it more by now but finds he can't. You need more understanding, more careful handling of the situation, and he maybe then would 'allow' just you into one room to empty it while he tackles another? He might find it helpful or cathartic to go over memories with you as he sorts things, but he definitley needs gentle handling.Not like you only need him as a means to an end.(sorting/emptying house)

lemsip Mon 23-Nov-20 09:17:02

Feel so sorry for your brother to be honest!!

Hetty58 Mon 23-Nov-20 09:12:35

Mamma66, yes, I think YABU.

You say, yourself ' I am very neat and tidy and don’t like mess' and, it seems, you are in a tearing hurry to get everything organised, updated and changed.

What, at present, is the legal ownership status of the house?

I'd assume that the will and probate are ongoing. It's very early days, so I expect that your brother feels equally entitled to do things in his own way.

You've thrown a spanner in the works with your 'anniversary surprise' idea. Who is it really for? You come across as pushy. Are you the big sister, I wonder?

It's time to take a back seat, slow down and, perhaps, delay the sale of your present property, don't you think?

25Avalon Mon 23-Nov-20 09:08:00

I agree with MrsThreadgoode you do need to get probate through first as you can’t touch the estate until it is done. Also who is the executor who has a legal responsibility to carry out your father’s wishes in accordance with his will? Unless the will specifically states you have a right to buy out your brothers it has to be by mutual agreement. All of this usually takes at least 6 months so I think you are rushing it. You too are grieving so try to step back a bit. You don’t want to end up estranged from your brother as so often happens in these cases when emotions are raw.

Shropshirelass Mon 23-Nov-20 09:00:28

I had to empty my parents house when my Mom went into a care home following my Dad’s death. It wasn’t a huge house but it took over a month to sort out, it is a very difficult process. I have also had to empty another relatives house following his death in May, this too took a few weeks. I have a sister and all she does is hound me, no offers of help though. I have told her that I don’t care how long it takes, it will be done in my own time.

Sarnia Mon 23-Nov-20 08:59:27

Your post wasn't clear on a couple of things. Is the house your brother's home and did your brothers have the opportunity to voice their feelings about you taking on the house after your Dad's death? As an only child I had to clear my Mum's home on my own and it takes time and many emotions to go through paperwork and effects. You say your brother cared for his Dad day to day and has spent hours doing work in the house with his Dad so I can see that this must be a mammoth and difficult task for him, full of memories. Letting him go at his own pace may be frustrating to you and your plans but you cannot put a timescale on grief. Allow him the decency to grieve in his own way.

Onthenaughtystep1 Mon 23-Nov-20 08:57:06

Your brother does seem to be deliberately dragging his heels. Who is paying the bills at the moment (council tax, power, TV, phone, broadband)?
The family needs to get together and decide a timeframe taking into account everyone’s needs.
Was your younger brother living with your parents? If so he has major adjustments to make. Your needs don’t trump his.
Have you considered what you will do if your house does not sell? The market is quite unpredictable.

MrsThreadgoode Mon 23-Nov-20 08:53:54

Just a quick question , have you had probate done on your Fathers Will yet ?

Until it’s been sorted nothing should be altered in the house until the valuation has been done.

sodapop Mon 23-Nov-20 08:51:50

I'm sorry for the loss of your father Mamma66 . I do have to agree with the other posters who say you are rushing your brother into clearing the house so soon.
I understand you want to get things moving but whilst you will be moving back to the family home your brother will be leaving it. Can you talk to him and compromise on a schedule which will allow him and you time to grieve for your father.

M0nica Mon 23-Nov-20 08:50:32

After my DF died, it took my sister and I nearly 6 months to empty and sort the contents - and all that was involved was a two bedroom bungalow, admittedly a large one, with a large loft stuffed to the gills.

We had very few emotions invested in the house, because my father had been in the army and we had moved home many, many times. So this was just the time it took us to empty and dispose of the contents.

I would think it reasonable to think that it might well take your brother a year to disinvest himself emotionally from the house as well as sort out alternative accommodation.

MrsThreadgoode Mon 23-Nov-20 08:40:46

I’m sorry for your loss, but until you have given your brothers their share of the money it is still their house too. I can imagine that your brother must be so upset, removing wardrobes that he helped you r father to build let alone throwing out everything that he has been a part of for so long.
So, Yes URBU, give him time and slow down, sell your house, pay the brothers their share and then you can dictate the time frame.

Iam64 Mon 23-Nov-20 08:40:07

Your post gives the impression that your brother was living with and caring for your father. You say your father was enthusiastic about you buying your brothers out of their share of the family home and living in it yourself. Were your brothers involved in those discussions and did they support the idea.
I agree with others who say you're moving very quickly. When mum died, we three daughters agreed we would sell the family home. We decided nothing would leave the house unless all three of us were in agreement. It took several months to go through all the treasure boxes, paintings, books, jewellery etc. We were all still working, so finding time to meet and work together was essential. The process helped us grieve and grow closer.

Kandinsky Mon 23-Nov-20 08:02:10

Way too soon to be going in with the bulldozer IMO, - I feel a bit sorry for your brother tbh.
I would have given it 6 months to a year if it was me, especially as there’s a pandemic going on. This pandemic has made many people feel more lost and vulnerable ( not saying your brother is feeling like that, but he could be? ) and that, on top of losing his Dad, is a blooming lot to cope with.

Message in a nut shell - ‘too soon’

Galaxy Mon 23-Nov-20 07:41:04

I have no idea if that is what you are doing but its perhaps worth reflecting on .