Out of My Family Tree: Pat, Rosie

Sibling Squabble

"Rosie is obsessed, constantly talking about Daddy's will, Daddy's house, ‘What's going to happen when you die?'" Pat says about her sister. "Daddy left the house to me because he knew that I would take care of it."

"I do feel like my sister has cheated me," Rosie says. "My daddy wrote his will to say that Pat got the house first, and if something happens to her, the home comes to me."

"I decided to go to court to settle this. Rosie was furious," Pat says. "All I had to do was pay Rosie the $18,000, and the house would be mine."

[AD]"Patsy took me to court and had my name taken off my Daddy's estate," Rosie says. "My daddy wrote in his will: ‘My daughter, Patricia, gets my house for herself to live in and rent as long as she lives. Then my home goes to my daughter, Rosalie, as long as she lives.' The will also states that my sister's husband, Hazen, is not supposed to be in my father's shop or in the home, and it upsets me terribly that he lives there. My daddy stated in his will that the home stay in his bloodline and never be sold."

"I'm almost to the point where I feel like I've got hate in my heart toward Rosie, because she keeps bringing this up. Nothing will satisfy her, and she just cannot get over it," Pat says.

The siblings' father passed away in 2000. The feud between the sisters has been going on for more than 10 years.

Rosie tells Dr. Phil, "I heard about my daddy's will every day of his life, and so did my sister … My daddy was afraid of what has happened. He didn't want any lawyers involved, he didn't want any courts involved, he didn't want Patsy's husband up there, and that's exactly what's happened." She says the house now goes to Pat's husband and son in the event of her death.

Dr. Phil clarifies, "The will left the house to you," he says to Pat. "And it said that you were to pay her $18,000 and then you would get clear title to the house."

"Yes, sir," Pat says.

Rosie agrees.

"Did you do that?"

"Yes, sir," Pat says.

"All right, thank y'all for coming," Dr. Phil jokes. He looks at Rosie. "Seriously, isn't that game over?"

"My daddy did not want it to go to her husband and her son," Rosie explains.

"Well, once you own something, you own it. You can burn it down if you want to," Dr. Phil says.

"I want it in paper, like my daddy wanted it, that it will go in his bloodline. That's what he wanted," Rosie says.

"But she owns it," Dr. Phil says.

"Well, then she'll just have to do what she wants to with it then," she says.

[AD]"But you want a writing from her that says when she dies, that you get the house?"

"Or if I die first, it's supposed to go to my daughter, not her husband and [son.] That's why he left it that way. He paid $36,000 for the home. That's why I got $18,000, and I paid for my daddy's funeral. And that's why I got so little, because it's supposed to come back to me and go to my daughter and her two children." Rosie says it upsets her that Pat's husband is going against her father's wishes and spending time in his shop. "He just didn't like him, period," she says.

Hazen tells his side of the story in a videotaped interview:

"When Pat's dad died, that's when the feud really began. Rosie has never gotten over her dad leaving Pat the house. She can't accept the way things are," Hazen says. "Rosie accused Pat of cutting her out of the will, and that's nowhere near the truth. When the father passed away, a copy of the will was given to Rosie. She went off, having a fit, and I told Pat to give her $40,000 for half the value of the house, and she cussed Pat out and told her there was no way she was going to be ripped off. Rosie likes to go on about my father-in-law not liking me. I didn't have a problem with him. Rosie gets a thrill out of causing problems. It's been going on for 20 years, and it's got to stop. I hope Dr. Phil can get them straightened out."

Dr. Phil introduces civil and family attorney Areva Martin. "Areva, help me out. This seems to be a really good example of why you need to get a lawyer, because this will " which was just written out by [their father] " it contradicts itself top, side and bottom. It's full of inconsistencies and one thing kills another."

"Yeah, Dr. Phil, classic problem with this will," Areva says. "In the first part of the will, he clearly is giving Pat the house in exchange for her paying $18,000 to Rosalie, but then the will goes on to talk about basically a life estate. He wants this property to stay in the family. He wants Pat to live in it first, and then he wants Rosalie to live in it, and then he wants Rosalie's daughter, Michelle, to live in it, and her grandchildren to live in it, so Dad had a couple of things that he wanted to accomplish in this will, but they are conflicting things, and without a lawyer looking at it and telling him what he could and couldn't do, he created now what is essentially a mess. And we see this happen a lot with inheritances.

 

[AD]"Pat went to court. She got a court order that says the house was hers if she paid $18,000, and we heard her say that she did that, so now she's legal owner of the house. And so her husband, who Dad didn't want to have anything to do with the house, he now has rights to the house because he's married to Pat. And Pat's child, who's also not in this will, can also be an heir to this home because the home belongs to Pat. So, unfortunately, Dad's wishes about Rosalie and Michelle mean nothing," Areva explains. 

Dr. Phil asks Rosie, "Do you really want to write your sister off over a 50-year-old house?"

"It doesn't have anything to do with that house," Rosie says.

"Apparently it does!" Dr. Phil exclaims.

"No, it's due to respect for our daddy."

Dr. Phil explains how the women can honor their father's memory.

 

"Don't make that your father's legacy here. Close this gap up," he tells them. 

At the end of the show, Areva recommends that people get a lawyer when it's time to plan their estate. "Get a lawyer when you start and update your will, because what we just saw was a will that was 10 years old, and clearly this father's wishes had changed. If only he had a chance to make those changes, I don't think we would've seen the fight that we've had here today," she says.

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