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Roommates
Old 08-05-2020, 09:53 PM
  #1

Rlyndecker and her roommate had a complicated relationship. Roommate does not pay rent or bills. She paid for Costco runs. Rlyndecker paid the mortgage, car insurance, house insurance, household bills (PG&E, internet, phone, etc.-has to be at least a few hundred a week). In exchange roommate cooked for her, drove her everywhere and interpreted medical and legal stuff/gave advice on it. This has been the arrangement for the last 8-10(?) years.

For the last month, roommate has lived in the house and somewhat helped my father. My father told her she has until the end of the year. I feel this is ridiculous. She will live there free for 6 months? The, ďEstateĒ will be paying for it. She already will get 20% of whatever is left per the trust. There isnít going to be much left between the funeral (at least 25,000 and that was for a pine box) and the repairs to the house. She doesnít have much equity in it.

I donít think this is right as she gets 6 months Scott free and the other people wonít get anything. Since the trust didnít say anything about her living there (just that she gets the cats and 20% of the estate) and my dad is the executor, do I have any recourse? I have been busting my behind going up there 2-3 times a week to clean everything out, while she sits in front of the TV. 😡


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Old 08-05-2020, 10:02 PM
  #2

If you have a claim to part of the estate, I would think you get to have some input. That is a very long time to live rent free. However, I guess there are some factors to consider. Would it be better to have someone living there while getting the house ready to sell? Does the roommate have a job and can she afford to move out? And then there's the pandemic. It might be a hard time to move right now. It seems they were close, so what would your sister have wanted to happen? I'd trust your gut. And maybe your father just doesn't have it in him to deal with it all right now. Good luck!
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Old 08-05-2020, 11:01 PM
  #3

If you have any "rights" to the estate, yes I would say something to your dad. I think 3 months would be more than generous. It does seem as if your dear sister gave her a "free" ride consider the money/bills your dear sister was responsible for.
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estate and probate
Old 08-06-2020, 12:51 AM
  #4

Given the pandemic and given that she helped your sister, I think I'd let the arrangement stand. (Any other year, and I'd shorten the time.) BUT, I'd be up there when you can and start cleaning up and packing up around the roommate. Leave the packed boxes where the roommate can see them so as to remind her that her time there is limited.

Sell the car or give it to a family member and eliminate the car insurance.
Take your sister's name off of all bills and close the accounts except the electricity and water. The executer has to do this anyway in order to probate the will. Let the roommate know when the date will be for the cutoff. You need to keep it on right now anyway while the house is being sold.
The house also has to go on the market, so set a date, like Sep. 30th and contact the real estate agent. Ask your father first if you can take that responsibility off his hands or at least help him. Then let the roommate know when it is going on the market.

The point is, you don't have to or want to wait until January of next year to close out the estate. The roommate may be mad, but that's what happens. So. She'll have to deal with it.

Also, you don't have to include the roommate in too many decisions about the estate. Courtesy notice about electricity and telephone and on the market and car is fine. No discussion is really necessary unless she wants to buy the car, and then insist on money up front and not dragged out over the next few months. Blame it on probate "rules".
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Old 08-06-2020, 03:13 AM
  #5

I guess I would consider the depth of their relationship in it. Were they best friends or partners? That would play into it for my decisions. Does she have an income that will allow her to assume all the additional expenses? What is your relationship with her? She may be going through depression (explains just sitting watch tv while you work on cleaning things out). IDKó you say it was complicated......


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Old 08-06-2020, 03:22 AM
  #6

In my mind this conversation should be with your dad, not your sister’s friend.
If this is the arrangement he made with her friend/roommate that’s between them and him being the executor makes it his decision unfortunately.

It also sounds like, though complicated, she was an incredibly good friend to your sister. If this was their arrangement for close to 10 years than obviously your sister didn’t have a problem with it. And if she left her 20% of her trust than I also would assume they had an incredibly close friendship.

If it’s possible for her to stay in the house until the end of the year, I personally wouldn’t have a problem with it. People will always come before money with me. Even if you don’t like her very much... I know she was at the hospital/appointments/etc. with your sister and I would assume a huge support for her. I would honor what ever you think your sister would have wanted.

Since you’re not the executor of the estate I really don’t think that legally you have any say unless you were to declare your dad unfit to be the executor.

(As far as her not helping clean everything out...
Have you asked her to?
Emotionally maybe she’s not ready to and (I may be remembering wrong) but I believe you’ve said in the past she also suffers from cancer... that could be a factor too?)

Cat Woman: I just saw your post and was going to ask the same thing on friend vs partners
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Old 08-06-2020, 03:28 AM
  #7

It sounds as though she functioned as housekeeper, caregiver, and companion while your sister was sick and needed help. In exchange for those services, she received housing for free. This was a long standing arrangement.

Talk to your dad about this since it bothers you so much, but I wouldnít go against his wishes if he feels strongly. Will the place be ready for sale before yearís end?

Have you asked her to help with the cleaning out? She must know you dislike her and the arrangement she had with your sister and may be unwilling to help without a specific request.
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Old 08-06-2020, 03:34 AM
  #8

Itís complicated. Everyone is emotional.
Your dad is executor. Heís made a decision. If you wanted you could probably challenge it in probate court, but is that something you really want to do? There is no guarantee you would win as the executor has broad powers. What would Rlyndecker have wanted?

The roommate sounds depressed. Her life is in turmoil. Her roommate, who she cared for, is gone. She has to move in the middle of a pandemic. She also may not feel comfortable emotionally sorting through Rlyndeckerís things with you.
Itís complicated. Everyone is emotional.
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What are the rommate's options?
Old 08-06-2020, 03:49 AM
  #9

If she had no other resources beyond your sister's income, she is probably in a bad situation right now. How will she find another place? Does she have family who will help her? Will she end up homeless?

Also, you should, if possible, ask or check to see whether your sister made provisions for her roommate in her work insurance or retirement benefits. I know my CalSTRS had a $25,000 death benefit if I died before retiring and $6,000 if I die after retiring. Did your sister leave that benefit to her roommate or to family? The trust does not control those assets.

Was there any life insurance? Who gets that? So many things have to be dealt with after a person's death.

I was kind of amazed by this comment:
Quote:
There isn’t going to be much left between the funeral (at least 25,000 and that was for a pine box)
Was that a typo or is someone actually charging $25K for a funeral with a pine box? Sounds quite excessive.

The roommate must be struggling with grief. You did not say if they had a romantic relationship or were just friends, but either way, 8-10 years is a long time for them to have been involved in such a highly dependent relationship.

If the roommate gets 20% of the estate, who is named as recipients of the other 80%? Surely, that goes to family. As for whether you have any say, are you a named beneficiary? Depends on how the trust is structured and what it actually says. Have you read a copy? Get an attorney to read and interpret it for you.

This is so difficult. Do you have a friendship of any kind with the roommate? Can you talk to her about her plans or assist her in figuring out what to do or where to go? So sorry you are going through this.
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Old 08-06-2020, 05:59 AM
  #10

Quote:
I donít think this is right as she gets 6 months Scott free and the other people wonít get anything.
I assume youíre ďother peopleĒ and have a personal stake in the outcome, but I think you need to remind yourself that if your sister had wanted you making the decisions, she would have made you executor. I strongly feel you need to leave all decision making to the executor. If you donít like cleaning out her house, donít do itólet the estate pay someone to do it after the roommate has moved out.

I apologize if my strong opinion seems harsh, but I very much want the executor Iíve named to be the only one making decisions about my estate when Iím gone. You make me want to add a clause that anyone who questions my wishes will be excluded from any benefits (if I havenít spent it all).

I vote you back off and let your dad handle it because thatís what your sister stipulated. Good luck.


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Old 08-06-2020, 06:30 AM
  #11

Wasnít the roommate sick too?

I agree with Amiga, I am the executor of my momís estate and non-executors have made things more difficult for me.
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Old 08-06-2020, 06:59 AM
  #12

Can you give the roommate little jobs? Can she go to Loweís and buy packing boxes, buy cleaning supplies, drop off boxes at Goodwill?

I truly would not worry about other people getting anything or what will be left in the estate. That kind of thinking only creates stress. Focus on doing what needs to be done to take care of the house so it can be sold.

This is a really difficult time for everyone. Iím so sorry you are going through this.
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Old 08-06-2020, 07:03 AM
  #13

I just read Amigaís response. I do agree that you donít have to clean out the house, especially if it is going to cause you anxiety or stress. It can be done by someone else after the roommate moves out.

Itís a lot to think about and there is no need to rush.
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Old 08-06-2020, 07:33 AM
  #14

I would honor my sister's wishes and allow the executor to handle the decisions. It is a tough time for everyone and if I were you I would not make waves . You would have a lifetime of regrets. Identify what is really upsetting you. Is it your assigned role of cleaner? Along with the loss of a sister you are dealing with cleaning out her classroom and home. Your plate is very full. I'm sorry rachelmpd.
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Old 08-06-2020, 07:47 AM
  #15

The relationship between Rebecca and her roommate has to be considered. They had an understanding and that needs to be honored. Your dad is executor and has a say in what happens. That is hard for other family members to accept. I would let your dad's statement of the roommate staying stand with the understanding that the house will be sold. Each person is grieving in their own way. The roommate is grieving just like you. She may not know how to express that grief. Like others have said talk with her and ask for her help. Maybe there are items of Rebecca's that she would like as 8-10 years is a long time friendship. Maybe cut your visits down each weeks you do not want to get overwhelmed with the stress. Continued positive thoughts for you at this most difficult time.
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Old 08-06-2020, 09:44 AM
  #16

I think it does give you some extra time to move slowly through the process of grieving and cleaning things out to prepare the house for sale. I think others gave you good recommendations.

Nothing can replace Rebecca. You were her twin sister and I am sure you meant a great deal to each other. There are things you share that can never be replicated with her friend. Because this friend was able to do caregiving doesn't diminish your relationship with Rebecca. It is probably easier for me to say that than for you to believe it. You had Gabriel; you couldn't help the way her friend could help. The friend was sick too, I believe, so there might have been a commonality and understanding of her needs there that would have bonded them. You were her sister and the aunt of her beloved nephew. You can never be replaced in her eyes. I am sure she wanted to honor the friendship and care she was given by her friend by leaving her money. Rebecca was a good person and you have a good heart too. Just let the situation alone and take your time to grieve.
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Old 08-06-2020, 10:29 AM
  #17

Your dad is the executor. He makes the decisions. Has he asked you to help clean our the place? Who gets all the stuff... donated, people in the will, etc.

As far as I'm concerned you need to let executor handle things. If your sister had anything of value and it's not specifically listed in will I'd get that stuff.

All that being said,, if my brother acts like a jerk when the time comes to be executor of my mom's estate, I'll take him down!🤣🤣
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another thought
Old 08-06-2020, 11:08 AM
  #18

Hmm....having dealt with freeloaders and moochers quite often, I guess I'm taking a harsher view. There are ways to make sure she doesn't outstay her welcome and that you and your family are not just waiting until December to deal with more drama. That said, the end of the year sounds fine. It all seems so difficult because while you have empathy for her, you also seem to be a person who deals with emotions by making a list and getting it done. I do the same thing. It helps organize my life when I'm confronted with a chaotic and stressful time. (For example, I like to go in the classroom two weeks before school starts and get it ready so I don't have to deal with it during preplanning.) I don't understand people who don't make plans. But I get that we're all different and I can respect the way other people do things.
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Co-dependent
Old 08-06-2020, 05:43 PM
  #19

The best way to describe the relationship was that they were co-dependent on each other. Started as a friendship. Something happened and roommate lost her house. She moved in with Rebecca, started by driving her everywhere and somehow went from her paying a little rent to not paying anything. Rebecca chose Roommate over me to deal with the Leukemia (way before Gabriel- yes still pissed that she didnít trust me). She does have or had Cancer, not sure as she finished radiation and is supposed to get a scan.

Yes, the Pine box was 8,000, I believe (for another 1-2k, we could have gotten a star on it), it was the second cheapest box. I personally liked it. then there was the plot, the death certificates, we had her buried in a traditional shroud as putting her in a dress or having her make up done would have cost even more. Then there is the opening and closing of the grave or something like that. I was astounded last year when dealing with my Aunt who had been cremated and was going to be buried with my grandma!

I have no idea what roommate has in terms of money. She is savvy with the stock market (no idea what she has invested). I am not saying kick her out, I just think some of the money should come out of her share. She was left a I believe 15-20% and the cats. The other people are my older sister, 3 family friends, Gabriel, me and her somewhat niece (Gabriel and niece each get 20 or 25%, I think). I have almost everything that belonged to Rebecca out aside from furniture and stuff roommate is using (Just stuff for Goodwill anyways). My goal is to finish tomorrow. She has gotten boxes for herself and packed one box (in a month). It took me forever to get her to tell me what stuff was hers. The thing that really gets me is she canít open and close the doors when I am schlepping stuff to the car!
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Painful loss
Old 08-06-2020, 05:45 PM
  #20

Rachel, your father is the executor. Unless he is doing something horrendous (like embezzling from the estate--and it sure doesn't sound like he is), he has the responsibility for making the decisions. There are only five months left in the year. The house needs to be cleaned out, prepared for sale, and sold. That's not actually a lot of time for accomplishing such a huge task. Even if he keeps moving ahead on the estate work, closing on the house wouldn't be soon.

Perhaps your dad is simply being kind to someone who was very helpful to your sister. Perhaps he believes that it is wiser for the house to be occupied, rather than empty. Perhaps he doesn't like confrontations. Whatever. He is the executor.

Your "job" is to be supportive of your father. To thank him for the work that he is doing. To love him and grieve together for your sister. And thank him again and often. His work as executor is not easy, either in terms of the actual work and in emotional energy.

And, only if you actually want to, you can volunteer your time to help in cleaning out the house. If that's not something you want to do, or not something you want to do while the roommate is living there, you do not have to do that. "I will not be able to do any more work on the house after this week. You will need to make other arrangements."

And stick to it. "No, I have done what I am able to do."

I'm so sorry. The loss is so very painful.
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Old 08-08-2020, 04:42 AM
  #21

I donít think thereís a good answer when so many emotions are involved and everybody is still trying to go through the grieving process.

Quote:
Rebecca chose Roommate over me to deal with the Leukemia (way before Gabriel- yes still pissed that she didnít trust me).
I think you may be holding some resentment towards your sister and taking it out on her friend. When a good family friend passed away I will never forget somebody telling me ďeven though theyíre not here anymore, youíre still allowed to be angry with them for choices they made.Ē
Youíre allowed to be angry with this choice your sister made. But, she made it, not the friend.

I would let your Dad handle things and if he asks for your help give it. Otherwise, I would stay hands off for now and let yourself grieve the loss of your sister.
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