My step-father had 10 teenagers all at the same time, which probably explains a lot about his frustration with all of us. During this time his favorite saying seemed to be that "puberty should be deemed a form of temorary insanity". Like tuberculosis patients, his solution was to lock up teenagers until their brain began to work again. Normally around age 22. Later, as an adult with a teenager, this saying never seemed more appropriate!
As a teenager, I had reason to be insane. My family was nuttty, hormones were coursing all through my body and I was trying to find a place for a young woman to grow and support herself and make her way in the world.
Perhaps grief is the excuse my usually perfectly normal clients use for the following form of temporary insanity.
This other form of insanity takes over an otherwise perfectly normal adult human being. I think I'll call it probate psychosis and I'll define it as: temporary loss of reality after losing someone that you love. This psychosis, in my experience, can last from a week or two, to a year or two.
The top 3 issues with probate psychosis are:
1) Family Friction: An otherwise un-greedy person suddenly decides to bend or even completely overlook the intent of the will to their advantage. I have seen folks alienate their entire family over a thousand dollar trinket or old photos.It seems like some sort of self preservation instinct kicks in and years of great family relationships and loving relationships are thrown out the window.
2) Disappearing Act; Everyone handles problems differently but this person can hold things up indefinately for the rest of the family due to their inability to confront the issues at hand.I don't even know if these people realize what they are doing. The primary excuse I hear is that " I am just so busy". I had one escrow held up for 16 months until we realized that the issue would never resolve on it's own and we chose to get a judgment to move forward with a property sale.
3) The controller: This person is has not been named executor of the will and is angry. Using demeaning tones, attorneys or other experts, tax law, etc in oder to undermine and derail the distribution of the deceased belongings.
After all this time, I have come to recognize these different parties to the transaction and have gotten pretty good at diffusing them before they derail the sale process. Each situation is different, that's the fun of the business, but we've helped many many of our clients through the pain and loss of losing a family member. We'll ofthen take over property management while the family grieves and takes their time deciding how to proceed now without a vital part of the family. Sometimes we'll help the widow muddle through the paperwork, debts and credit issues, helping her decide waht her finances will allow. Sometimes we have heirs in other parts of the country that want the property rented or sold. Sometimes we help other family members clear up title issues and move into the property themselves.
There is no set solution to losing a family member but we're pretty well equipped to help you objectively analyze your situation and move forward with all your probate and estate issues.