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I sold off a family heirloom – now my siblings are threatening to SUE ME


Dear Jane,

My mother passed away a few years ago. She lived a wonderfully full life and my siblings and I were incredibly close to her. She was not only a wonderful mother, but also a wonderful grandmother to my three children and would have done anything for them.

The reason I’m telling you this is because after my mother died, she left me and my siblings with very little “inheritance” other than a few heirlooms that she scattered among the four of us.

To me, that heirloom was a vase that had sat on our mantelpiece for years when we were kids, usually gathering dust and occasionally serving as a secret prop in the games we played as kids.

When it was passed on to me I thought it was more of a sentimental gesture than a financial one – but I decided to get it appraised anyway, just in case, and I was absolutely blown away when a guy from a local auction house told me would probably fetch somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000 if sold to the right collector.

Dear Jane, I sold a family heirloom to pay for my kids’ college tuition and now my siblings are threatening legal action if I don’t share the money with them

I’ll admit the first thing I thought of when I heard those numbers was, ‘Boom, that’s it. That’s my children’s school fees.’ Or at least part of it. And so I sold it. Because I know that what my mom would have wanted most would be to help my kids get the education they deserve, without having to worry about money like we did.

But when I told my siblings about my decision, thinking they would be so excited for me, they reacted the opposite: they freaked out.

They started yelling at me and telling me I was greedy, that I clearly don’t care about our mother, her memory or our family. They called me selfish and then insisted that I split the money equally between the four of us because it is also part of their legacy. They even threaten legal action if I don’t agree.

I am so shocked by their appalling behavior. Why can’t they be happy for me and understand that this is what our mother would have wanted?

They are the egoists, not me… right?

Van, inherited problem

International best-selling author offers sage advice on the most burning issues of DailyMail.com readers in her weekly column Dear Jane agony aunt

International best-selling author offers sage advice on the most burning issues of DailyMail.com readers in her weekly column Dear Jane agony aunt

Dear Inherited Problems,

So sorry for the loss of your mother, she sounds like a wonderful woman. Who knows what she was thinking as she spread out the heirlooms to her children, whether she might have had an inkling of the value of that vase, but technically the vase is yours to do with as you please.

The fact that you’re not sentimental about the vase – and happened to hit the jackpot – shouldn’t have anything to do with your siblings. Would they make the same fuss if you sold the vase on eBay for $20? I do not think so.

As for sentimental value, it’s a vase. A VASE. Forgive me, but how much sentiment can a vase contain?

As much as I disagree with your siblings’ behavior, as much as I think a gift is a gift and the vase is yours, to do with it as you please, I am reminded of the phrase, “You can be right, or you can be happy.’

I doubt the siblings will actually take legal action – not only is it shockingly expensive and time consuming, they don’t have much leg to stand on.

There are only four reasons a will can be contested: how the will was signed and witnessed, mental capacity at the time of signing, will fraud – as in, she didn’t know she signed her will – or if she under the influence.

But I want you to think about it another way: It’s possible that your mother had no idea what that vase was worth, and if she had known, she might have divided her possessions more fairly. If you think this is the case, I think it would be right to share this with your siblings.

There’s a reason why greed is one of the seven deadly sins. I would think hard about your mother and what she would have wanted, and whether money is more important than family.

Dear Jane,

I’m 24 and pretty fresh in a brand new office job. My department boss is an older man in his early fifties, a fairly strict and no-nonsense type.

A while after I got here I started to suspect that he treated me better and more leniently if I was a bit more ‘dressed up’, and I started experimenting with it.

Wear a shorter or tighter skirt, a nicer blouse, maybe undo an extra button before going to the office, just be a little sexier. And it certainly worked! I’ve really doubled down on it over the past few months and it’s gotten to the point where he treats me favorably and gives me preferential treatment fairly.

However, at this point he starts dropping pretty heavy hints about being interested in me and wanting more, and just being a lot more forward with me. I’m not really interested in such a thing, but I have no idea how to turn him down without losing all the favors and little bonuses I have.

Dear Jane’s Sunday Service

We live in times where it is very easy to play the victim. Poor me, poor me, poor me.

This renders us powerless and relieves us of any responsibility, which is a very bad thing.

It is vital in life to watch our side and keep our side of the street clean – we are powerless over other people, but we are absolutely in control of how we behave.

Any help would be very welcome!

Van Keep it professional

Dear Keep it Professional,

Oh, the sin of unintended consequences! You’ve messed yourself up, and the truth is that once he’s turned down, chances are your cozy office job will turn into a nightmare.

I hope you’ve learned a lesson from this: It’s never a good idea to use sex or seduction to gain favor in the workplace.

The profit is usually short and always has a consequence, which you are now discovering. I don’t blame him at all for dropping the hints – you used your sexuality to lead him, and now you’re metaphorically up against a wall.

Aside from quitting your job, I think your only way out is to find out what the company rules are about inter-office relationships – most companies have a policy against this – and then very nicely tell him that how much you like him, you have been warned by HR/the company that you would fire both of you if something happened, and this job is too important for you. That way, hopefully he won’t take it as a personal rejection.

But don’t do this again. This does not end well, and while it is easy in these times to always blame the man, you must take responsibility for your part in this and learn from this mistake.

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