Death, Executor, and Grief



  • jackyannjackyann Forumite
    3.4K Posts
    I echo all that is said above.
    Plus: Do use the Probate service. They understand difficulties, have seen it all, and have good advice about how to deal with problems.
    Take your time - I don't mean put things off, but just take it all steadily and don't make any major decisions until you have all the information - again - ask the Probate Office to help clarify where you stand.
    You don't say what your work / life situation is. If you can, talk to your manager / HR about taking some time off - they may allow some as a goodwill gesture, or allow unpaid leave - if you can afford it, sometimes even a day or two's space can make all the difference.
    Think about someone sensible to share this with.
    good luck
  • GoldiegirlGoldiegirl Forumite
    8.8K Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Rampant Recycler Hung up my suit!
    Totally understand how you feel.

    In the two months after my dad died, the grief was almost a physical pain. I could never have imagined I'd feel so bad.

    I didn't have greedy relatives to deal with, but my dad had been my mum's carer, as she had Alzheimer's. she was just getting to the point where she couldn't be left alone. So I was dealing with my dad's estate, sorting out my mum's care, and getting power of attorney for my mum - all at the same time as coping with the grief.

    It was difficult to keep going, but as I was the only child, there was only me to do it. I had great support from my husband, but I was the one who needed to do everything. If I crumbled, the issues would still be there, so I somehow got on with it all.

    The best way for me to cope was to list everything that I had to do ( it was a long list) and my aim was to tick off one thing a day.

    It was slow, but I worked through everything. All their belongings that I felt I couldn't part with I brought home. Gradually, over a period of years I was able to part with things, selling them on eBay. It's nice to know other people will get pleasure out of these items.

    I now have a couple of boxes of special objects which hold special memories.

    The grief will get easier to bear. You'll always miss him - my dad died in 2004 and my mum in 2008' and I miss them, but remember them with happiness.

    Incidentally when my mum died the grief wasn't nearly as hard to bear, as I'd already partly lost her to the Alzheimer's.

    My very best wishes to you.
    Early retired - 18th December 2014
    If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough
  • van22663van22663 Forumite
    196 Posts
    I probably cannot add anything more than the wonderful advice that you have already had but I just wanted to send some more hugs out to you.
    I too, lost my wonderful Dad 2 months was the biggest shock of my life...i was laughing with him at 7pm & 2 hours later he was gone (ruptured aneurysm.)
    I have been fortunate not to have greedy and very disrespectful relatives and that has made the task easier. As someone else has already will come back on them !
    Trying to clear a family home is very hard because of all the sentiment attached to it. Try & get some advice about any debts from Citizens advice or your local bereavement service linked to the council. I found them to be really helpful.
    You really think that your parents will be here forever & there is almost a feeling of being abandoned when they die.
    You sound like you are doing a wonderful job & keep talking to people on here, there is always someone here and you will not feel so alone. Take each day at a time.
  • Beyond that, what on earth do you do about grief? I'm floored by it on a daily basis. I'm good at my game face, and being professional for the 'world at large' but in private, when I wake at 4am, when I sit late at night sifting through the last of his belongings - the minutae of his life, when I drive to and from anywhere, when I go shopping, when I've cleaned his house of every last trace of him, when I long to ring him and say -"Dad, please help cos I dont know what to do next" - I'm a sobbing mess. I actually want to howl
    OP, I am so sorry for your loss, and have a little idea of what you are going through, having been through it with my dear mum just over a year ago

    You will find that some days you are better equipped, emotionally to go through his things, there is no logic, you can just put it aside if it's a tough day and pick it up again another

    I had difficulty with things like spectacles which seemed so much part of mum, but on another day I could see that they weren't her so tehre was no sense keeping an object

    I like to keep examples of handwriting, as they seem to sum up the person

    Just be aware that each day does not get progressively better, you can have several good days when you feel almost guilty and then suddenly something will hit you - this is normal. I can feel better on a sunny day then suddenly guilty that she is missing out on the sunshine

    I was lucky in that I have a strong feeling that my mum was always supportive of me, so she would be supportive of whatever decision I made about her estate; would this be the case with your dad? He trusted/trusts you

    There was one specific item that she said she'd want me to sell for x amount after she'd gone and that has turned out to be unrealistic but I have a sense not of letting her down but of her laughing about it from wherever she is and saying "well obviously I'd just expect you to do the best you can"

    That's what your dad would expect, surely, not perfection, just your best effort. Whatever you do now won't affect the fact that, in life, he was a gentleman

    The tears are part of the process, so howl away, I find that if I have a day like that, other people are of no use to me and it is better to cancel appts/meet-ups etc and tell them after the event "I was a sobbing mess yesterday" and don't expect them to understand until they go through it themselves
    You never know how far-reaching something good, that you may do or say today, may affect the lives of others tomorrow
  • I've seen my family in a shameful new light, and it's very very sad. They emptied his valuables in the hours after his death, whilst I was still at his side, saying my goodbyes. I don't think I could have prevented what they were intent on doing.

    How truly apalling for you.
    Dealing with the death. grief and executorship is one thing. (Or three!)
    Dealing with thieving relatives is a whole other horrible dimension, making your job as the Executor SO much more difficult and probably making you feel like you have now 'lost' other members of your famliy as well. I don't see how you can ever trust them over anything else again, and I don't know how they can look you in the eye.

    You seem to be handling it very well so far by doing the requests in writing, and dealing with things calmly and methodically, despite your grief. Good for you!

    I would concur with the advice to talk to the Probate Office. They WILL have come across things like this before.

    After that:
    At the end of the day, if the thieving relatives 'get away with it' and you can't deal with the will quite as you had expected to, you know that you have done your best in the circumstances. Your Dad will understand.
  • I think you are proving that your dad made the right decision in appointing you executor. How much worse the situation could have been if one of "the others" had control of the estate. I know you feel you have to sort through every last item to maximise the outcome but some of this sorting can be incredably painful. Your dad would not want you to make yourself ill and I am sure he would have been proud that he had brought up such an obviously honourable person.
  • heartbreak_starheartbreak_star Forumite
    8.3K Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker Rampant Recycler
    I am so sorry for your loss, OP. I could cry reading your posts - it ripped my heart out when I lost my father a few years ago.

    I heard it said once that grief is a sign of love. Remember how much you and your father love each other. You will always have that.

    Lots of love to you.

    HBS x
    "I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another."

    "It's easy to know what you're against, quite another to know what you're for."

  • pollypennypollypenny Forumite
    29.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    AE-Jan., I've only just seen your thread. Sympathy, condolences and hugs!

    It does get better, there will be fewer times when you get that lurch with the feeling of their absence. It's very early days, you must allow yourself to grieve. Your father clearly trusted you to manage his affairs. After my dad died, I still used to ask him things, it helped to voice my thoughts.

    Just go day by day.

    Pol xx
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
  • Without question, the kind thoughts and words expressed on this thread have helped me immeasurably. I've been so lost, so alone, and popping back here every now and again has been good - just to know that others 'get' it. Thank you.

    It is a very slow, painful journey, this road called grief. I'm mired daily by the practicalities and legalities of executorship, and this hinders and helps in equal measure. I like to be busy, but busy isn't always the answer. Being the executor, when bereaved and grieving, is very very hard. Doing it alone, in the face of family greed and hostility is harder still.

    I'm finding each task 'ticked off' brings new waves of tears and sadness, but looking back now I can see how much I have accomplished so far, and alone. His house is sold, his accounts cleared, I'm now sorting tax and other affairs. I can't bear to open any boxes at the moment, it is all just stacked here for another time, when I'm more ready. It's progress, but away from him, my lovely, kind and generous Dad. I miss him with all my heart, and I hope that I can complete his final wishes, as he wanted, the best I can.

    Love and best wishes to you all xx
  • AE-J, you sound as tho' you are doing incredibly well :)

    Do try and take short breaks from all the work and recharge 'your batteries'. Don't worry about all of the boxes at your house, Rome wasn't built in a day.
    Hopefully, as the days are staying lighter for longer and with some sunshine and a few spring flowers, we will all feel our loads are lightening a little.

    Hugs and prayers to you. Take care.
    Love generously, praise loudly, live fully :)

    save 10k in 2013
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