My uncle died in late 2005. He was a very successful artist and director. He painted and sold maritime paintings for thousands of $$$. In 1961 he won an Oscar for a film he wrote and directed. I am also an illustrator, and have inherited his genes as a flaky, emotional artist.
In 1991 he was married until a divorce in the late 90's. Because he was notoriously unorganized with is finances and lifestyle, he had nowhere to go; thus he remained in residence with his estranged ex-wife from roughly 1998 until his death. He had no children, only a brother (my father) and two nephews (one is me)
He wrote a will in 1992 that gave her virtually everything. My brother and I each got 1%. We got none of his artwork, effects, nothing, not even the Oscar. I have no idea on earth how he wrote such a will, other than he was careless about his affairs.
I have written two very sincere letters to his ex-wife the situation from our perspective, explaining my relationship to him, how much he meant to me, how it is very difficult to accept as we are his biological family. And we would appreciate if she could part with a few things, especially the Oscar. It is very important that something remains in his biological family that we can celebrate and share with our children/grandchildren. As of now I have nothing, she has everything.
I got no real replies to the letters, only a brief statment from her attorney offering to effectively sell me a painting for my 1%. That's harsh.
I am beyond upset, I am shocked and disappointed that she can be sooooo cold and selfish, hoarding everything. This has been a great life lesson, how with legal and family matters people can be so cold and mean. Evidently she feels that because she put up with him and supported him financailly after their divorce, she has the right to recoup that by selling his work. Fine.
I understand I have virtually no legal ground, as she is the executor.
My last desperate appeal I believe is to contact her family. She has a son who is a doctor in New York, I am hoping he is reasonable, to win him over. Lastly, call her and make an impassioned, sincere, polite case. I do not expect her to be reasonable whatsoever.
This whole situation disgusts and saddens me, it is so hurtful and cold.
My question is, what are my options? What would be the best way to appeal to her or her son directly? My father recommended calling her attorney to see what they say, but I don't see where that would get me.
It's like my uncle has been erased from existence, us left with nothing to remember him. Meanwhile she, who seemed to be so fed up with him, has everything, presumably to sell off to the public. She seems unwilling to part with anything. I must call her and/or her son to find out directly though.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.