A schism in the family...

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My mother entered ALF back in November. As far as I can tell she’s doing well. My problem is the rest of my family, except for my DH who is staying out of this mess and I WANT DH to stay out of it. It seems things have turned into a power struggle. My father has used the situation to first wrestle all money to be under HIS control. Well that’s OK, as long as mom’s needs are met. (In my opinion.) He quickly went and purchased a new Honda, which is fine as he says mom can enter and leave the vehicle without so much struggle with her mobility difficulties. Then dad’s ‘orders’ began being issued. He expects my middle aged daughter to move in with him, so he’ll have a cook, housekeeper, company, whatever a female’s function is in his mind. I was involved in attempting to negotiate a reasonable deal where everyone is slightly unsatisfied (a real compromise). It fell flat. He’s promised the remaining estate to my daughter if she’ll do this, even though I cannot see her lasting a month without having to be admitted to the psychiatric hospital. I’m serious, my daughter is unstable mentally and has been in trouble off and on for her entire adult life. He demands TOTAL OBEDIENCE from her. He sends me messages of how all I care about is the money, although I’ve told him just spend your own money on mom and yourself! My parents were both all about the MONEY. I left their house at 17 and it’s worked well, I thought. I kept in touch. I’ve tried to do the right thing through the years. Respect to parents on short visits... The final problem is I’ve been very sick with influenza for over a week. I alerted dad through daughter and assumed dad would alert mom. So I went home and went to bed, taking my meds from the doctor and slept when I wasn’t vomiting and having unreal diarrhea. They wouldn’t leave me alone. Decent people don’t harass ill people. Despite being so sick I’ve thought the last few days about how I’ve been assuming a lot. My daughter and dad may not have passed along messages. The messages could be distorted. I’ve just about had enough of Daddy Warbucks and The Sad Victim Who’s Never Responsible. I just want to get stronger and visit mom more often at ALF. I know I’ve forgotten something so feel free to ask questions. What do you think?


Well-----sounds like this is a hot mess.

Dad promising her the estate is a piecrust promise--easily made, easily broken.

However, your daughter is a grown woman and can do as she pleases.

I'd step away from this, not answer the phone and let the drama continue w/o my interference. Sounds like you really just want mom cared for appropriately, which is great. Just keep reiterating that you don't care about the money and maybe that will finally sink in for him.
It sounds like your dad may not be doing as well as you think. I'd write down his symptoms, odd spending, forgetting things, unreasonable demands, hmmm......not sure if you want to get involved, but, is there a way to make sure that's he really paying the bills, making sound financial decisions? If not, someone may need to step in as Durable POA or Guardian, if there are grounds. If it's too much, let other family members do it. Sounds like you have had a bad experience.

Promises to leave property on some vague conditions.....is he serious? If I agreed, I get an attorney and in writing, but, if she's unstable, I wouldn't encourage it.
Please don't put any belief in promises like your Dad is making - He could make a will one way one day and the next totally revoke the promise in a new, superseding will. So you have no security there. Also, how do you know that any possible inheritance will not have to be spent on Mom and Dad's medical care? You are wise to tell him to just spend their money on Mom and himself. And it sounds like you are wise to do what you can to keep your daughter out of it. She really does not need this type of manipulation. I suspect that what Dad is all about is "it's a woman's job to take care of me, so when my wife can no longer do it, then some woman, any woman, needs to step up to do it!" Now, I do know of this type of situation and a friend who decided to teach Dad a lesson, but I would never suggest this to someone, anyone, else. My friend was really a decent person, but when her "I'll help Dad" stint was over, you would almost feel sorry for this wanna be domestic tyrant - he had discovered the truth of that old saying "Be careful of what you wish for, you'll get it!"
Detach. Detach from Dad. Detach from daughter if necessary, at least temporarily.

Totally forget the money. You have no control over it and it isn't yours. I can absolutely understand you wanting to protect it for Mom. I wish you could. His money, his decisions. Is there enough money involved so that Mom won't ever have to apply for Medicaid? If not Medicaid looks at every dollar spent in the last year.

If Medicaid does pay for Mom's care, they will have a lien on the house. Your Dad can stay in as long as lives, but it won't be available to pass to someone else. And there will be no estate to inherit. That will have to all be spent on mother's care, except for a fixed amount for dad to live on (or invest or whatever.)

Detach. And thank heavens your husband isn't involved! It must have been very hard raising a mentally unstable child. Now you and husband need to enjoy a little retirement. Is there a warm beach in your near future?

[Would it do any good to explain the facts of Medicaid and inheritance to your daughter? Just the facts, ma'am. Not a word about Dad at all. Would that at least give her an idea of what she is really getting into. Or has it become so much of a power struggle that a little reason is wasted?]

Thanks for the good advice everyone. I’m deciding that for now I’m stepping back and letting Daddy Warbucks do his thing and I’m also letting my daughter handle her own position on her own. She’s stirred up some extracurricular problems for herself that will keep her busy. So she honestly cannot move right now (Daddy lives 3-4 hours away from her and she’s gotten into ‘trouble’ again). I wonder if she deliberately set this latest debacle into motion?

Court date in March, she’s hired her usual defense attorney...we’ll leave it at that....

Things usually work out in interesting ways, so I’m over this, it’s just business as usual. I’m calling mother regularly and she’s doing well. She makes more sense than anyone else involved in this nonsense!

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