My grandma passed away from COVID last October. I already wrote about that in a very angry and bitter manner so I won’t get into it again. I thought I mentioned something about ‘the impending family in-fighting for her possessions’ but can’t find that written anywhere. I’m surprised we’ve made it more than a half-year before the infighting began; it was all but inevitable.
My grandma didn’t have much: a home, a half-lot next to her home, and a 1-acre/4 lot field behind the house. I’ve always had an attachment to the field behind their home and one of my earliest memories was of my grandpa pulling trees down with his tractor. The land used to be covered in woods; grandpa deleted all the trees so he could have a garden. He did all of this on his own, as he did most things.
As a teenager, talk was that I’d get the 4 lots when they passed away. “I’ll garden on it!” I naively thought. Years passed along with grandpa himself and all of his things naturally went to grandma. Talk happened around 2010 about removing my inheritance from the will. I don’t recall the reason really, but at that age, a mid-20s not-quite-as-naive adult, I didn’t think I had a use for them. There’d be taxes to pay, and did I really have time to garden in a field that large? Was it even worth it? I told them, sure, it’s fine, take me off the will. It’s just a big field anyways.
Grandma passed and I didn’t expect anything really. I recently came around to the idea of those lots though, and figured I could reclaim them by just buying them outright. It’s not a smart idea to buy what was previously willed to you, but I can acknowledge my mistakes. My uncle, the executor of the will, offered to sell them for $6,000. Sure, I said, I’ll contact the realtor and just make an offer. Easy, right?
I made the phone calls, signed some papers, made my offer, and paid $500 in earnest money to buy grandma’s field. Cool! Then the realtor called me one day — she sounded pretty pissed on the phone — there was some legal issues with me buying the lots. Apparently, according to her lawyer I was willed the lots. I couldn’t buy them because they were mine. Well no wonder she was pissed. I acted dumb and shocked because I was dumb and shocked, and turned her fury towards my uncle. He told me I could buy the damn field!
Okay, what happened to the will that was supposedly changed?
Throughout this I periodically talked to my uncle and he seemed to have no idea what was going on either. Whatever. The problem with him is he likes to act like he knows what’s going on even if he doesn’t. You know the type: those with the confidence and the insecurities that prevent them from ever considering they might be wrong. I decided to investigate the will myself.
I submitted a request for a copy of grandma’s will, filed about a month after her death. I paid the $10 fee to the court clerk (or whatever) and was emailed a .pdf a few days later. Here’s what it said…
To my grandson, JEREMY LASTNAME, I bequeath the 4 lots on 22nd Street. If I do not own those lots on my death, then I bequeath him the sum of Five Thousand Dollar ($5,000.00).
To my other grandchildern who survive me, I bequeath the sum of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00).
Well that’s pretty clear-cut isn’t it?
My uncle didn’t think so. He called last week speaking a bunch of shit that didn’t make sense. He’d sell some stuff and give me, my sister, and my cousin $5,000 and if I wanted the lots I could contact the realtor to buy them. I just had to make an offer. Oh? Didn’t I already try to do that and have it blow up in my face? I continued to mention that the will says I just get the lots, but he wasn’t having any of it. He kept spouting nonsense about me needing to buy-out my sister/cousins part of the lots, and that the will says something about splitting things into thirds. I was getting confused, but mostly angry about this because it seemed he was trying to fuck me over in the most obvious way possible.
I asked him if he even read the will. “Of course I have!” he said. And I didn’t know how to make it any clearer for him. “The will says I just get the lots; it doesn’t say anything about making an offer or anything. The other two grandkids get $5,000 and I get the lots.”
“Well, I’m not a lawyer and neither are you,” he said.
“But, no. It’s written pretty clearly. I’m not a lawyer but I don’t think you need to be a lawyer to understand it. Have you read the will? No seriously, have you read it?!”
This went on for another few minutes. Him saying whatever and me trying to explain what the will says in plain non-legalese English. He eventually got pissed and hung up on me.
It gets even sillier!
My mom got some paperwork from the lawyer (his lawyer) later that day. It said, surprisingly, that I get the lots and cousin/sister get $5,000 each. So…wait, what? How was his own lawyer on board with the wording of the will and he wasn’t? I just didn’t make any sense. She mailed all of this paperwork out days earlier and he still didn’t know what was up? Where was he getting his information? What’s his motive? Has he really lost his fucking mind?
It get’s even better!
The next day I wake up to a text from him. I’ll type it out verbatim here because it really give you a glimpse into my uncle’s psyche.
Ok little Buckaroo. Got official (in writing) confirmation from lawyer that your still “entitled” to the lot so so put your little shiny pennies back in your bulging fat wallet and continue living off your mother-in-law like your mother did her mother and father…and if you still don’t trust me I will write you Check or give you cash until you can sign the deed. You are so much like your mother…your Grandparents paid 18K for her degree & now she thinks she’s gonna get cheated. The GREED in this “FORMER FAMILY” of mine is UNBELIEVABLE!!! THANK GOD(HOPE YOU MEET HIM SOMEDAY) FOR WITHOUT HIM YOU ARE NOTHING!…SO.ELECTRIC..in the meantime be patient…get in your little marvelous electric car and go suck up that new green fresh air and be a good boy for the “NWO”. All I asked my MOTHER for was her quilt her MOTHER made her and one of you MF’S TOOK IT. YOU”LL NEVER BE THE MAN YOUR FATHER IS OR YOUR GRANDFATHER WAS. FOR GOD’S SAKE LET YOUR MOTHER & GRANDMOTHER “REST IN PEACE”. DON’T EVER TALK TO ME AGAIN. YOUR XXX Uncle!
(Note about The Text: I got a hearty chuckle out of him attacking me for having an electric car. That’s what you’re going after me for? Okay, have fun paying those gas prices for you massive, beat-up truck I guess. And the “NWO”? Honestly I was even made about the things he said because they were so fucking delightfully unhinged.)
About all I got out of that mess was that, basically, I won! I get the lots! I get what the will says I get! And that’s all I wanted; the will to actually be followed. I didn’t even think I’d get the lots but once I realized that, yes, grandma and grandpa wanted me to have them then Goddamit that land is mine! He’s not selling it to some random person and fucking me over!
There’s so many layers of confusion though. He made it sound like he went out of his way to give my greedy-ass the lots; it was just written in the will that way. And why was he trying to sell them? Didn’t the lawyer talk to him at all? Is he just imagining shit? Was he trying to screw me over somehow? Even that doesn’t make sense; the whole story of his is too ridiculous to be a legit scam. Like the law won’t let me buy my own stuff just because he says I have to. It just…it just doesn’t make sense and I think that’s why I’m so infuriated about it. What’s his angle? What is he really thinking? Where does he get these ideas that aren’t written anywhere in the will? Is he just crazy?
Remember when I said they wanted to change the will and remove me from the inheritance? My working theory is that Larry, my uncle, did just that but never had his lawyer actually file the will. Maybe in his mind there’s a ‘real will’ that was never filed and this is why he’s so fixated on selling the lots to me; perhaps he doesn’t realize that the legal will, the one we’re all working off of now, is the original one filed in 1998. That’s the only thing that makes sense to me and even that doesn’t make much sense.
We’re all sure Larry is trying to screw us over, all of us, and that’s kind of unifying the family a bit. (Best example: Selling grandma’s house to his fiancé and low-balling the offer so everyone gets less cash and he still gets a place to live in!) I had one of the best recent conversations with my mom just ripping into Larry. Hell, I even have some sympathy and comradery for my cousin, the one with the child-molester boyfriend who got her three kids taken away. Yes, she’s and idiot but the enemy of my enemy is friend as they say.
It’s a victory and it almost feels like a major one even if I didn’t actually do anything besides say “Have you even read the will?” about a dozen times. I stood up for myself. I called out some shit that wasn’t correct. I pissed my uncle off in the process. I might’ve bonded the family together in an anti-Larry fervor. He isn’t going to talk to me ever again. And oh boy I can’t wait to set up a bunch of ‘green energy’ solar panels all along the property line of ‘his finance’s’ property. I’m going to be the most obnoxious neighbor possible!