Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Inheritance Blues

We know we are neurotic when good fortune makes us anxious.
I had a long serious conversation with my father last night whereby he expressed his regrets at the probability his home will be liquidated and sold for cash immediately upon his death. (My only sibling has been eying this future event with a mixture of practical acquisitiveness and an icy lack of either sentiment or dread of the demise of our father.)
I expressed my sadness at the prospect of the family home being sold off and the equity squandered and memories discarded like last season's lawn trimmings. Dad surprised me by offering to put my name on the deed with rights of full ownership upon his death. This will remain confidential in order to postpone the inevitable angry wrath of my sib who will be denied the opportunity to cash in.

So now, the anxiety and obsessive worry begins. Will the sibling relationship be destroyed? We "get along" superficially, but have very different values and a long history of uneasy mistrust. There will also be cash assets and other property to be split between us so it isn't as though she is being cut out of the estate distribution.

Will I actually be ready to move from the city to live in an outlying suburban home an hour away? I could live very comfortably back in the old family house, but I would have to give up my beachside apartment or straddle between two residences. I suppose many people would relish the luxury and I am sure there are many lucky folk who live this way with nary a regret.

I feel loved and honored that Daddy trusts me to retain the family home, but I am confronted with his mortality and the associated grief and loss that will ensue. Mom's death was gut wrenching to endure and I just can't stand the thought of having to experience something like that again anytime soon.

My sister will not cry for Daddy's passing or miss his presence. She was Mommy's girl and didn't really cry much when our mother died. Our maternal grandmother died after Mom so Grandma's estate was administered by my sibling. She didn't cry when Grandma died, but neither was she completely devoid of emotion. Inheriting the lion's share of the estate put a very big smile on her face and gave her the money to purchase an upscale house and lifestyle. Upscale lifestyles are expensive to maintain and when the money dwindles it it extremely convenient to have another inheritance to refill the coffers.

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