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Family, what does it mean to you?

(83 Posts)
Catlover123 Thu 08-Dec-16 13:09:14

My husband's family are discussing the sharing of the estate of their parents, who should get what piece of furniture or picture. When I joined the discussion I was told I was not 'family'. I felt very aggrieved about this as have been married to my husband for 40 years! I realise that their concept of family is not the same as mine! I thought I was 'a fully paid up member' not an 'associate member'!! what is your feelings about family?

Day6 Thu 08-Dec-16 13:18:12

I'll admit those closest to my heart are my children, grandchildren and siblings. We have a strong bond. I would walk over burning coals for them if necessary. Am I alone in often having unspoken reservations about the partners my children have chosen for themselves? I support them, always, but often think they could have done better. Awful confession, but true. shock

My partner's family I tend to view as distant friends rather than relatives and we have amicable relationships. My ex-husband's family are still very dear to me, even though we have been divorced for over 20 years!

eddiecat78 Thu 08-Dec-16 13:31:53

Sorry Catlover but I think I am with your husband`s family on this one. When it comes to sharing out things that come from their parents I think they should have priority over you. You could have a quiet word with your husband - ie "I`ve always liked that painting" or "please don`t have that hideous table" - but it`s probably best to keep quiet when they are discussing things together. I`d be a bit miffed if my sister-in-law started to lay claim to things that had been in my family for generations and which I might have a strong emotional attachment to.
It doesn`t mean they don`t regard you as one of the family

Anya Thu 08-Dec-16 14:15:35

I agree with eddiecat.

Teetime Thu 08-Dec-16 14:24:50

I think eediecat has put it very well. I don't consider myself part of my husbands family and they have never made me feel part of them. Conversely my husband is an integral part of my family and everyone consults him and wants his opinion and advice. I kept well out of any discussions about mil estate except to say please don't bring anything home at all.

TriciaF Thu 08-Dec-16 14:26:37

I tend to think that way too, though they could have put it more tactfully.
Or family weren't very interested in Mum's and Dad's things, except for our eldest son, who chose the very few antique items.
No one else wanted them. So there wasn't any argument. I took Mum's old address book, and papers of Dad's relating to WW2 and newspaper reports of his work as a coroner. He liked history and so do I. I got all the family photos too, no one else was interested.My sister took Mum's jewelry (such as it is.)
Not a very sentimental lot, our family.

Teetime Thu 08-Dec-16 14:29:12

I juts remembered when I was helping to empty MILs falt I was very careful not to do anything without the elder brother (complete control freak) permission and wishes. I asked him if hwe would like me to empty the underwear drawers and he agreed. While I was aborting the knickers (for discarding and the bras for the charity bag) he barged over and starting rifling through. I tried to kindly say you don't have to do this (knowing there would probably be something less than clean in there) and he shouted at me 'I have to be involved' I resisted the urge to dump the knickers on his head and said 'shall I put the kettle on'. wish I'd never offered to help. Best to keep out of the way. Neither of my two SILs offered any help but accepted large bags of all kinds of tat.

Dee Fri 09-Dec-16 11:05:12

Well here is a counter to that. My beloved husband died very suddenly 33 months ago. he was one of four children and his mum was still alive, she is now 100 and a fabulous woman. Some weeks after my husband's funeral I got a phone call from my Sister in L to say that they had had a family discussion. My MiL had planned to share her estate between her children but had now changed it so that it would be shared 4 ways between the 3 surviving ones and me.
I can't express how this made me feel, it wasn't about the money, it was about how they felt about my place in their family. I am an only child and both my parents died years ago but I feel like their daughter and sister. They can never replace my husband but its a great comfort that his family love me.

Bez1989 Fri 09-Dec-16 11:15:13

DEE.......Thats SO lovely.sunshine

radicalnan Fri 09-Dec-16 11:20:17

How kind of that family to think of you.

It made tears spring to my eyes, that people can be so generous and honouring of their brother, to want to do the right thing by his widow.

I am so glad for you.

Jane10 Fri 09-Dec-16 11:31:10

Absolutely. It says something about you too-in the words of the old song ' You made them love you'.

Teddy123 Fri 09-Dec-16 11:32:55

Am thinking I wouldn't want any of my in-laws picking over my possessions when I snuff it. This is despite the fact that they're all pleasant people etc.

When my MIL popped her clogs, I actually found it rather distasteful watching her 'family' go through everything. My husband asked for nothing! And got nothing! And I can say with all honesty it didn't bother either of us.

Apart from the old family photos ....
They would have been a nice keepsake ....

Day6 Fri 09-Dec-16 11:34:52

They sound like good and kind people Dee. I am so pleased that they remain close to you and that you can support each other in your grief.

Families can be a blessing and a curse I think.I know of so many families split by rifts and bad feeling.

vampirequeen Fri 09-Dec-16 11:36:22

How lovely, Dee.

My family have things very organised. We learned from our mistakes when my grandma died and some family members swooped in like vultures.

I'd have thought that after 40 years of marriage you would be allowed to have an opinion but as I found out inheritances bring out the vultures in some people.

My mam was so affected by how other family members acted that she's written in her will that apart from me being allowed to go in once to get her will out of the cupboard and set the heating to come on regularly her house will go into lock down. Everything in her house will be valued and only then will my sister and I be allowed to choose any items...the value of which will be counted as cash. Everything will then go to auction or house clearance and the house will be sold. This will stop any family member insisting that mam said he/she could have 'whatever' which they would. Mam has even prepayed for her funeral so no one can interfere in her wishes there either.

Hmmm....I think we may be a very dysfunctional family lol

maureennan Fri 09-Dec-16 11:44:43

Dee - what a lovely story and family, but you must be a lovely person too

Emelle Fri 09-Dec-16 11:50:54

My in laws have split their estate between their sons and the grandchildren. Should either son predecease them, the estate is then split two ways. So, after nearly 30 years of marriage the other daughter in law and I count for nothing. It confirms what I have always known, I was only needed to provide grandchildren and once I had done that I was surplus to requirements. Relations between me and them are non existent. Their loss!

Lilyflower Fri 09-Dec-16 12:01:01

My dear other half was the apple of his mother's eye and I was never going to be quite good enough for him. His mother and I had a somewhat abrasive relationship at first which calmed down over the years. When she passed away I found I had been mentioned in the will specifically as I had been left her jewellery and a lovely Art Deco teaset I had always admired. I was beyond touched, really, and I think it goes to show that goodwill is a vital quality in order for relationships and the world to flourish.

I am currently persuading my DD that, though her beloved boyfriend's mother can be a trifle old fashioned, she loves him and will come to value anyone who loves him and cares for him and who does not become resentful and apt to take offence.

Juggernaut Fri 09-Dec-16 12:06:45

I'm an only child, married to an only child and our DS is an only child too!
It's difficult at times, such as when I was looking after my seriously ill mum, and not having a sibling to share thoughts and feelings with.
However, it makes it problem free when it comes to sorting out estates, I was the executor of mum's will, and the sole beneficiary, and my DH is in the same situation with his dad.
My aunties, mum's younger sisters did both ask for a 'small' thing as a memento, one wanted a small crystal vase, which was no problem, but the other cheeky madam asked for mum's Tahitian pearl necklace which was a silver wedding present from my dad.....(and had been valued at £4350). Needless to say, she was told "no"!

Caretaker Fri 09-Dec-16 12:23:03

We were talking about Lottery wins and I said if I won a large amount I would share it out among the family my side and my wife's family. My sister in law looked surprised and said "Oh would you, well I would not share any of my winnings with your family"
I thanked her for her reply and said " on second thoughts no I would keep the lot. Bugger them, my wife grandchildren and siblings are the only ones I would help out.
We have been together 48 years married 45.

Suzan05 Fri 09-Dec-16 13:06:07

This is a tricky one, I am in a second marriage. My in laws have made it clear that my family are not part of their family, my children, all grown up with their own families have never tried to be a part of their family but feel a friendship would have been nice. One of my brothers in law tells me every time we see them that my children are not part of their family and my other sister in laws children likewise. After nearly eleven years of this I'm afraid the last time we went to stay I pointed out, calmly and politely that my children had had their grandparents (sadly none are still alive) and were not looking for substitutes or extra uncles/aunts. I also said that if I had to make a choice if something was on at the same time with both families I would be with my family. My husband said he'd stay at home otherwise he would offend one family or the other, my second brother in law would support his partner!!! There's no easy solution! Mother in law told me that she doesn't want their money coming to me/my family (same for husband's other brother) if either of them should die before me or sister in law. I just said you'll have to add something to your will and refused to get into an argument! Families!

Nebbs1 Fri 09-Dec-16 13:11:53

The doctor ask me if anybody in the family had diabetes, I said yes my husband, he said he is not your family. I said well we have only been married for 42 years does that not count. I think he would be upset if he was not included in my family.

Jane10 Fri 09-Dec-16 13:16:37

Nebbs you're not likely to share the same genetic inheritance as your DH.
My MiL left everything to her two children -my DH and his sister. It never even crossed my mind to expect to be included in her will.

HootyMcOwlface Fri 09-Dec-16 13:23:09

My husband's family don't regard me as family and never have done. I am merely tolerated. Anyway, I don't want any of their stuff. What would I do with a broomstick and cauldron?! Hahah!

annodomini Fri 09-Dec-16 13:32:19

My aunt's husband, and therefore not a blood relative, was a very dear uncle to me and my sisters. When he died, only 8 days after my aunt, I organised their joint funeral; I and one of my sisters were executors, and equal beneficiaries in his will with his many nieces and nephews. I never thought of him as anything but family

TriciaF Fri 09-Dec-16 13:35:29

Personally I hate this system of passing on "money" and wealth.
We worked so hard to bring up a 'combined' family, getting on with eachother. We would hate to think of them falling out after we've gone. But I supposed we won't know about it by then!
There won't be much to argue over anyway.