Dear Annie: My older sister and I are both in our late 40s. After years of putting up with “Mary’s” nasty, critical comments and her tantrums when she doesn’t get her way, I am ready to cut all ties. The only problem is, Mary still has possession of a number of family photographs and jewelry that once belonged to our mother.

After our father passed away, we put all of the family stuff in storage. About a year later, Mary bought a condo in another city, packed everything up and took it with her. She never asked whether I wanted any of it or whether I minded that she took the contents of the storage locker. I had to fly to her city, rent a car and a trailer, and then go through everything, dividing up most of the estate.

Because I was living in a small apartment, we agreed that Mary would take care of the family albums until I got my own place. Fifteen years later, she still has them and ignores all requests to make copies. She has found new “reasons” why we cannot divide the more valuable pieces of jewelry. I have neither the time nor the money to visit her again, and I’m fed up with her delays and excuses. I can’t afford to take her to court, but how can I get her to share without resorting to legal measures? Those pictures mean a lot to me.

Fed Up

Dear Fed Up: Of course Mary should share these things with you, but she apparently has no intention of cooperating voluntarily. You will either have to find a way to visit her and go through the photographs and jewelry, or take her to court. Visiting is probably cheaper, so start saving your money.

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