testament in english

Ask Rene: Battle Of Will..
What Should I Do Now?


Hi Rene:


My mother-in-law made me the executor of her estate about 10 years ago. She was confident that I would do the right thing with whatever assets she had. She died last spring and she did not leave a will, so now I have to figure out who gets what after all the financial dust settles.

I know that my mother-in-law intended for all of her four children to receive an equal share of her money. There really isn’t going to be that much money left to each child—maybe $5,000 each—but my 35-year-old sister-in-law thinks she should get the lion’s share of it because she has young children while everyone else’s children are grown or nearly grown.

My mother-in-law did a lot for her daughter because she never has gotten on her own two feet, but it hardly seems right to go against her wishes, although I could. My sister-in-law is making my life quite miserable as I go about this process—calling me constantly to make her case, talking about me to other relatives, and going out of her way to insult me. It’s getting stressful and keeping me up at night. I almost want to give her everything just so we can all move on. I won’t do that, but I really would like your advice on how to get out of this with as little damage as possible.


Torn in Toledo



Dear Torn:

As  if the death of your mother-in-law weren’t traumatic enough; I’m sorry for your loss.  Sadly, in many cases, death brings out the worst in people, especially when there’s money involved. Okay, so here’s what I would do if I were you.


1. Avoid Sister-in-Law

Image 1 of 3

Maybe avoid is too strong a word but I would definitely keep your SIL at arm's length. This is not immature as much as it is self-preservation. Your sister-in-law is not really rational at this point and you don't need the aggravation. Avoid her so you can make your decision without external noise/pressure from her.