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Someone just posted they were executor of mom's estate and how much work that entailed, there are five siblings. It occurred to me that only children might benefit from my mom's experience.

Mom wanted to leave everything to me, her only child. Every passbook, CD, etc., was held in a trust account with mom as the primary beneficiary and me as the contingent. All of her money was held this way in probably eight different banks.

Every bank allows funds to be held this way. No probate. No attorneys. No nothing. When mom passed, I simply took her death certificate with me and claimed the money. "I'd like to open an account where I'm the primary beneficiary and my only is the contingent beneficiary." That's all it takes.

One could do this if one has only one child or several. Very simple.

Mom's home would have been more work, but her live-in partner of 50 years bought it after I had it conservatively appraised, fixed every little problem in it, and bought him a home warranty for three years.

I'm not an attorney. This is not legal advice. Just relating our experience. Hope some find it helpful.

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I"m an only child with step-siblings and a step-dad. Years before she got bad off, my mother put me on all of her private accounts as joint owner with right of survivorship along with her private securities as well. Her will also left me everything that was hers to me. I think the steps were expecting some change, but that's how mom set it up.
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I'm an only child as well. Only family is an elderly uncle 3000 miles away. When I sold my home and moved to care for my mother (parkinsons, strokes and dementia), we pooled our resources and everything went into our joint names. After almost four years it was evident she needed care 24/7 and, following a major fall and hospitalization, she went into a lovely NH out in the country 100km away and I bought a tiny house nearby. Her dog and cat came to live with me.

As the bank we dealt with only had branches in cities I transferred all assets to a different bank in a nearby village in my name alone as by that time she was totally incapable of making decisions or signing anything, only leaving her personal bank account open to receive her pension and SS. I'd done her banking (executor of her Will, done 10 years ago, and POA) for years and withdrew cash monthly to go towards paying for her NH care.

She passed away a couple of months ago. I cleared her room, which after 3 years was packed with stuff, figured out what to keep, donate or dispose of and attended to all necessary government paperwork. I have paid the funeral home bill and bequests and scattered her ashes as she wished. I have a refund cheque from the NH made payable to "the estate of .." and once the government death benefit cheque arrives, which will be payable in the same manner I can attend at her bank and wind things up.

Thankfully, due to everything being put in place many years ago when my mother was of sound mine, things went as smoothly as they could in the circumstances.
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Only child here. No biggie. Can't miss something I never had. Pressured as I sometimes feel, I am relieved and grateful to not have the static and conflicts that most adult sibs have regarding aging parents' needs. At times, I wish I had a "witness" or a "peer" -- if that makes any sense. What I means is, mom lets her sister (late 60s) and me (late 40s) into her life. We are the only ones who have full knowledge (such that it is) of mom's household habits, physical and mental limitations, personality tics, finances, strange priorities, etc. My aunt is a dear woman and has taken on more of this than she ever saw coming. But aunt and I have are very different in terms of education, career/skill set and overall life knowledge. When aunt and I touch base about what's going on at mom's house, the convo is constantly sidetracked cuz I have to explain for the umpteenth time what an IRA is....the difference between long-term care insurance and health insurance....that it's OK for mom to use rental income to pay personal expenses....that yes, EMS/fire dept can get in if need be, despite mom's stack o' crap "security system" that she piles against the doors every evening.....that Alzheimer's is not the only dementia....and so on.
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Freqflyer, Yes, All those accounts in separate banks! Before my MIL passed, FIL had accounts in 3 dif banks, MIL, had Her monies in 2 different banks. She neverwworked, in fact never even drove until my husband left home at 16, she then took driving lessons, got her drivers license, and bought a little red 65' Mustang, then she got very independent! She got a job at the local Water(utilities) department, and was making real good money, and my FIL worked his entire life and retired from the Seattle Times Newspaper, but she kept their monies separate. The ole 'whats your's is mine and what's mine is mine' mentality. All of her own earnings went to home improvements and entertainment, and vacations, not a bad system, but her idea of a vacation was Grand! Always the best, very boastful, and had the pictures to prove it. This is where my husband re - enters the scene, post HS. and they always took little Johnny on big expensive, elaborate, best of everything Cruises. That was her thing. 10 years later, enter Stacey (me). My husband's 1st wife wanted nothing to do with it, but I think she caught the tail end of the wreckage of the siblings situation, by the time I entered the scene, they were long gone, and the parents were in recovery and recreation mode. Every year they took a mega expensive cruise, and when hubby and I married in 89', they wanted to now take me, of course I would Love to go! But even after dating him for nearly 4years, I didn't know a smidgen of what I know now, about this families prior dynamics, but forward on... We did Cruise with them. All expenses paid, sometimes with our 4 kids, sometimes not, (we each brought 2 young children into our marriage, all under 5, when we met) and we had a blast, I think I went on 10 or so Caribbean Cruises, but That is how MIL at Large, wanted to spend her money. It did repair and cement husband's relationship with his parents, hence him living with us since she passed away 11 years ago. MIL was incredibly bright and invested money into stock, FIL worked away in his was clueless about what she did with Her money, but I do know, that she was passing alot of it along to her no good daughter, ( which BTW was an illegitimate kid she brought into their marriage back in 1950, which was such a no no in those days and was a pinicle bone of contention in their relationship and with FIL's old NORWEGIAN parents, hence the the F'd up childhood, can you say Princess complex) , a lot of money. About 18 years into our relationship, it was found out that the crazy alcoholic daughter had opened 3 charge card accounts under her mother's identity (SIL was then living in Florida), and had charged them up to 68 thousand dollars, and were now in arears, so now it gets tricky, and the House on the Lake, that was going to be left to my husband, was sold, before the CC Card Companies could slap leans on it, and they moved into an apartment near us. MIL, had now become very very ill with COPD, ans Severe Arthritis and Osteoporosis, and would Not press charges against her own daughter, so they (with my help) closed those accounts, and made some arrangements with the CC Companies to pay off the better part of all 3 cards, but some discounts were applied due to the circumstances, gee thanks Sis! A lot of things like this had gone on behind my FIL'S back, lots and lots of secrets! Brother had his hand in many pies too if you know what I mean. And Yes, they were very generous with us to, but it was all above board, and part of enjoying their lives with my hubby, the youngest and only child participating in their lives with our little family and the Grandchildren. Sorry for the Saga, but it's how my mind plays out in my writing, and it's very cathartic! So life went on, my MIL passed away, FIL moved in, all bank accounts have been consolidated, stocks have been sold and put into secured CD's, FIL, is now 85, all legal, health, Will, and Trust are all safely completed, and FIL still must go to the bank on the 4th of ever month to confirm his SS check and 2 pensions have been deposited, lol. Now we just have to keep the street level down in the house, caused by those Vultures circling above our home. We've heard next to nothing from hubby's Siblings for 11 year's, and only recently, derived from a phone call that, Yes, he is now declining, fragile and frail, and it's got those 2 coniving and has ruffled their feathers, damn birds!
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Not Google god......Good god..........G...D...spell check.....
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Windy, that is also my worry, who will go first, and whomever is left where will they live. Guess I will deal with it when it comes, but it causes a lot of sleepless nights for me. Too bad my parents hadn't mentioned what would they do if that time comes, I believe they are in denial about their age :0
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Some great stories here. I like to think that I'm super prepared for anything , but damn, you just never know. I'm always trying to guess who will go down first: Mom in a diabetic coma? Or Dad into memory care. Either way neither could live at home without the other.

And the question of screwed up sibs....Maybe we should appreciate the fact that as only kids we can do it our way with out calling international conferences over the latest UTI. I really don't know anymore. My sibs could never take care of their own lives much less help with our parents.

But having said all that, Google God, would it be nice to have a sib, aunt, uncle, ANYONE down home to give me some help and keep an eye on things.
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I am also an only child, and am on all my parents financial accounts, This was so helpful when dad passed. I was able to get every question answered and all the accounts straightened out. Just this week I moved all Mom;s money to a local bank, so it will be easier for both of us, as she likes to "go to the bank" and get her monthly cash. And as I have been through it once it will be easier to do again when mom passes. I also kept a file off all the numbers I had to call ( SS, retirement, etc) to help me later. Yes, sometimes I am very glad I am an only. But I do have some great cousins who help out too, and I help them out!
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Ever notice how many different banks that our elder parents will use for checking/savings? Oh my gosh, must still have that fear of the Great Depression where some banks went under.

I had put together a large red 3-ring binder [easy to find among the dozens of my Dad's black 3-ring binders] with a whole slue of financial questions for Dad to answer like where are all his stocks.

For years I had been suggesting to Dad to have all those stocks with one broker.... Dad had a habit of buying stocks directly from the companies to save on broker fees... [sighs].... so I don't know if he has paper copies of stocks he bought in the 1940's and 1950's, and if so where are they.... safe deposit box?.... buried in the back yard?.....or became mice nesting material in an attic?

Windy, I did the same thing with my parents, got them to update their Power of Attorneys, Living Wills, and whatever else they needed while they were still able to understand what was going on.... whew, that was close. How I wished they would have done a Trust, but it's been almost a year and Dad still hasn't finished up the paperwork :P
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Windy, don't get any idea's about spell checking my posts! I see my errors, but on my little tablet, it is so difficult to do the corrections! So I know that they are there, but I risk losing my posts if I try to. So Love, NA NA NA!
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Windyridge, yes like you, my husband is for all intents and purposes, an only childealing with his FFather who has been living here in our home X11 years. With my help, of course, but in reality, he does have 2 totally absent and completely worthless sinlings who both live in other states, and several hundred miles away, not that that matters, I understand, many people are able to assist and Love their parents from afar, but these 2, have been emotionally and financially draining this old geezer since I met my husband 31 year's ago! My husband the youngest. comes from a very messed up family and the only way he escaped the crazy, I believe is that his parents moved 40 miles away, when he was a Sophomore in High School, and he was 'allowed' to remain in his school and in the area, bu living with his girlfriend and her family. I mean what normal parent lets a minor 16 year old live under someone else's roof, snd doesn't even participate in their education, contribute to their wellbeing and basically abandons them at 16? He was the lucky one in this case, as there was so much crazy going on in his home at the time, that they did him a favor. He grew up very quickly, completed school, always had a job, and turned out all right, well mostly alright, as issues of abandonment came into play later in his life. But he was able to resume his relationship with his parents on his own terms, and he has been the best Son ever, in my eyes! We have always thru the years, very close with his parents, and as he tells it, they were much better Grandparents to our kid's than they were as parents, or maybe his sibling's were the Devils spawn from the moment they were born, but my husband has forgiven his parents for so much angst he observed in childhood, and in all the years I've known him, his two siblings have only ever caused havoc. It is interesting now, that they are only in the past 3 months or so, scheming and circling their fragile and frail Dad, I believe to put themselves in line for any monies they believe he has, so as not to miss out, but boy, won't they be surprised!
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I am the only child of an only child so our family unit is small. When my journey with my mother first started I whined and moan about not having relative/siblings that could help but after reading the many many post of difficult siblings I am thankful for the prayers God doesn't answer.I can at least make a decision without a lot of armchair quarterbacks giving their opinion!
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Yes, very helpful. I'm the only surviving child. After my Sister and Brother died 2 years apart, I had been spending time with my patents in my hometown. I live 10 hours away. I realized they had declined dramatically in the last couple of years. It also hit me like a ton of bricks that I was all that was left to deal with every thing.

After freaking out for a while I got busy. Dad was already in mild dementia and Mom was diabetic with too many other health issues to list. My sis died of a drug overdose at 42 leaving 2 small boys. Dad began running all over the place, moving funds, buying crappy annuities, hiding stuff in safe deposit boxes, and generally making a huge mess.

Due to the shock of my sisters death and her bad health Mom had become an invalid but told me Dad was doing some weird stuff with finances. After freaking out again, I was able to convince them to give me POA, update their wills and draw up living wills. I then spent 2 weeks tracking down all the finances, making copies of EVERYTHING while nursing Mom and trying to keep Dad on the leash.

My brother died suddenly 2 years later. By this time Dads dementia had progressed to where it would have been impossible to get any cooperation from him on any legal or financial matters. So thank god I did all that stuff in the past cause now I'm all there is. To be honest, given my sibs screwed up lives I've always been "All there is".

Sorry for rambling here but the post caught my eye. I've posted lots of this info before in other discussions including long distance caregiving threads. But I would be interested to hear from others who are the Only Child (sounds odd at age 60)

I would also note that it can be a lot to shoulder as the sole caregiver, but so many people deal with worthless sibs who just make things more difficult. So I guess in some respects, us only kids have it good.
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