“You can’t take it with you” is one of the cruelest jokes played on the wealthy. In this one story, it takes on the sublime when a daughter of the deceased interprets that to mean “all or nothing”.
A rich dowager lady abruptly passed away. She lived a very comfortable lifestyle with a residence in Chicago as well as one in Florida for the winter. Despite her wealth, she had been forlorn about losing one hundred fifty thousand dollars in property value on paper for one of her condos as a result of the housing market crash. As if no one else had. As if she had a mortgage to pay. As if she was going to sell it at some point and move somewhere else. One day, she fell down and with the blink of an eye and the formality of a doctor to place a sheet cover over head, there was no longer any fretting over lost income.
All the beauty parlor appointments were memories to no one else. All the rides to and from airports, arranging for her car to be taken down to Florida for the winter and back to Chicago, the worrying about hurricanes, the cleaning lady coming over on the designated day of the week were insignificant facts that caused no one else to lose sleep.
It was not an end, but a beginning to a drawn out process on how to distribute the dowager’s assets. Sure, there was a will and a trust but along with that invariably went hard feelings.
Continue reading “Where There’s a Will, There’s a War”