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Old 04-26-2017, 01:06 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
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I am sorry for your loss.

Yes, please see an attorney to make sure that the estate is handled correctly.

Regarding her sister. Do not let her into the house to "take whatever she wants".

Maybe, in a few months if the sister can list a few items that had belonged to their parents you can give them to her. Perhaps, things like the family Bible, or old photographs or a few things that you know that your wife received from her parents or grandparents when they died. But, other than that why would her sister ignore her for years and suddenly decide that she wants material things that belonged to her sister?

BTW, do not feel that you should rush getting rid of your wife's things. When our mother died my father did not move or touch anything that belonged to his wife, our mother, for a full year. Her clothes were in the closet. Her personal items were in the bathroom. Even her medicine was in the medicine cabinet. After a year he was ready to go through everything (with the help of his children).

Other people may be different, but many widows or widowers take weeks, if not months, before they go through their late spouses things. Don't feel like you have to do it right away. If it is too painful to see those things have some friends help you box everything up and set it aside and go through it later.

Last edited by germaine2626; 04-26-2017 at 01:16 PM..
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Old 04-26-2017, 01:37 PM
 
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First off, I'm so sorry for your sudden loss of your wife. I agree w/ the other posters to get an attorney. Your wife and sister had no relationship prior to her death, what makes the sister think she can just come waltzing in and take what she wants now? Tell her to back off when she keeps insisting. Funny, she wasn't around before your wife's death, yet now she can't stop bothering you. Think how that would make your wife feel. Even if it's stuff you don't want, donate it to charity, but only when you're ready.
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Old 04-26-2017, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Georgia
4,514 posts, read 3,772,562 times
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I think I'd be telling the sister to "cease and desist" unless she can figure out how to act like a human being instead of a greedy pig. (Maybe I'd phrase it a little differently . . . ) Or, at least wait a few months until you are ready to deal with your wife's things.

I agree with a previous poster that there may be family memorabilia that may not mean much to you, but might be important to the sister -- old photos of relatives you might not even know, etc. With no children, there's really no one to pass those ancestral mementos to in your own family, but that might be different with the sister. Your sister-in-law sounds like a dreadfully unpleasant person, but you might want to give her a bit of a break, on your own terms -- she's lost her sister, and may be regretting their past estrangement.

Meanwhile, email her or mail her a letter inviting her to tell you specifically what she would like as a memento, and you will take it under advisement as you work through how you wish to preserve your wife's estate.

I am so very sorry for your traumatic and unexpected loss.
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Old 04-26-2017, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Middle of the ocean
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I lost my husband when I was 40 and he was 43, his was a sudden/fatal heat attack also. I am so sorry for your loss and the shock and pain you must be going through.

I would imagine that as the surviving spouse the estate is yours, but definitely check with an attorney.

They tell you not to make any big decisions the first year for good reason.

Tell her you have no intention of releasing / disposing of anything right now, and will get back to her when you are ready. Period.

This is not something you need to deal with now.
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Old 04-26-2017, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Denver CO
18,975 posts, read 10,032,914 times
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I'm so sorry for your loss. Not sure if you know who Patton Oswalt is, but he's a comedian and writer who lost his wife suddenly a year ago, at age 46 . He's written some really touching pieces about her and about making it through this that might resonate with you.

I agree with the advice to talk to a lawyer so you can take care of any probate requirements and also so you are sure what your legal position is (although I agree that as the surviving spouse of someone with no kids, I think it's highly likely you would inherit everything).

I would tell your sister in law that you aren't prepared to deal with disposition of anything at this time, but if there is something specific she has in mind, you'll keep an eye out for it when you get to that point. Nothing that's a commitment, but on the other hand, if there is something that has a sentimental value for your wife's family, even despite her difficult relationship with her sister, it may still be nice to give to her since it would not hold the same value for you.
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Old 04-26-2017, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Middle of the ocean
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I didn't move a cup by the couch that my husband used for a YEAR. Crazy widow prerogative.

I felt under no obligation to do anything by anyone else's schedule. I'm blessed that his family put no requirements on me for anything like that. They understood.
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Old 04-26-2017, 02:48 PM
 
Location: At the Lake (in Texas)
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All the posters here have given you excellent advice.

I too am so very sorry for your loss - I can't imagine how difficult her death is for you.

One thing I would like to stress is do not under any circumstances allow the sister to roam through your home...please do not give her any access whatsoever...What an intrusion. You should definitely have time to grieve and process your loss without her interruption...and then, when you are ready, I agree it might be nice to send her some "family" things which she may value. By her asking to roam through your home, it appears to me that (1) she is nosy, and (2) she will be looking for anything of monetary value she might take.

I wish you the best as you begin to heal and find a way to remember and celebrate all the love and happiness you and your wife found together.
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Old 04-26-2017, 02:58 PM
 
5,706 posts, read 12,818,347 times
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Recently had two friends pass without Wills. Not sure why people neglect this important document. Without a Will the lawyer gets rich. Definitely go and see an attorney. Since you are her spouse in most states everything passes to you. I would not let the sister enter your home. If your wife was not close with her, there was a reason. I would give things away before I gave her anything. Don't let her play on your emotional state.
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Old 04-26-2017, 03:23 PM
 
4,107 posts, read 3,444,432 times
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This is terrible. I am very sorry for your loss.

You are in still very much in the grieving phase.
Do not let the sister have one thing until AFTER her estate is settled.

Then after it is completely settled IF you want to, give this sister whatever you want to. Or nothing at all. I would stick to family heirlooms & photos, the grandmother's china that type thing. High dollar items, hmmm? Your wife would have left a will previous to your marriage specifying items if she intended her sister to receive them. So I think she did not.

What a cheeky female. I depise this type of behavior. I wish you peace.
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Old 04-26-2017, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Squirrel Hill PA
1,864 posts, read 1,740,952 times
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Very sorry for your loss.

When my husband died we also had no children and there was no will. Legally everything went to me as his next of kin. Your wife's sister is not entitled to anything and you most certainly don't have to allow her in to pick and chose from her sister's belongings. The next time she asks tell her that you have to go through the legal processes before you can allow anyone to remove anything. All I had to do was go to my local courthouse and talk to the probate judge who will help you with the necessary paperwork. Legally(in most states) all of your wife's property should go directly to her surviving spouse which would be you.
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