My mother and father kept everything in terms of paper.
Years and years of carefully filed credit card bills, receipts and bank statements. Medical bills, enough to paper the whole apartment.
My mom had filled her bureau with letters, cards and more. The bureau in the foyer? Filled with blank greeting cards, cards received, more letters, more papers.
There are piles and piles of papers waiting to be shredded. I carefully sorted through the cards and letters. Those of family interest, I kept, including a treasure trove of letters Daddy wrote to Mom when she was in France, the year before they got married. I need to sit down and puzzle out his handwriting the way I used to the patient records in his optometric practice.
But in all the papers that filled her bureau, his bureau, the hall bureau, the file cabinets in my brother's old bedroom and some file boxes there was no sign of a signed will.
There were copies of a will written in 1994, but nothing signed. And my brother had gone with them to an eldercare lawyer a few years ago. Mom had told him afterwards that the lawyer was "too expensive" and they were going to someone else.
But no sign of another will.
I went up again last weekend, and Andy and his wife finally showed up--first time he'd been there since Mom died. We went through papers. Still no will. We'd have to have it go through the courts as it was.
Shortly after they left, I heard something bang in one of the rooms. I don't know where. I went room by room, and I've been doing a lot of sorting of their things, so it could have been anywhere. No sign of anything.
As I have tried not to be too catty in pointing out to my brother, I have spent a lot of time alone in my parents' house during the last 2 years. I've gotten used to it. But suddenly, I felt spooked.
When I went into my brother's bedroom, where the Man and I usually sleep when we're there. I remembered that even though early that evening I had cleared the hall coat closet, there were still more coats in that bedroom's closet. I opened it to check.
Hanging on a hook inside was a black messenger type bag. I lifted it off the hook. It had something in it. I opened it up, expecting to find more medical equipment or such.
And inside were the vital papers. Including SIGNED, witnessed copies of that 1994 will!
I think that Mom and Dad must have taken that will to the second lawyer, that he told them that it was fine as it was unless they wanted to make any changes, and that they came home, hung the bag back up in the closet and either forgot about it, or left it there so they could grab it quickly in any emergency.
It would have been nice if they'd told me--or my brother--or the Man about this.
Perhaps they did last Friday night.
But did they have to wait 7 weeks to do so?