Regarding the question of wills and siblings, I was very, very lucky.

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My brother, sister and I went with my dad to an attorney before he became so disabled from Alzheimer and got the will written. My brother & sister asked that I be named power of attorney, because they believed that I would spend the most time looking after him. Every month I sent them a spreadsheet of expenses & balances so they knew exactly what was going on. When dad died, I took all that was remaining and divided it equally 3 ways. We were more interested in using Dad's money to care for him rather than being concerned about what was left for us. We were very grateful that he planned so well for the future. Even after he died, we each received a tidy sum, but if he had needed it all, it would have been fine with us. We are probably one of the few families who had no issues over money or anything else.


I think the key to keeping things civil between the siblings when it comes to the money and will is threefold. First there should be agreement that it is the parents money and it should be used without reservation for their care. Second is a will that treats everyone equally. This can be out of the siblings hands - personally my parents wanted me to have more but I was able to persuade them to make it equal. This money should be considered a gift and not a final statement as to who deserved more, who was the better child. Lastly the sibling with the control, the POA and/ or executor should be open in sharing information with their siblings. I'm not talking account numbers and passwords but rather accountings on how the money is being spent. Just a couple days ago my middle brother asked to read my moms will. Moms not doing will. I'm not sure what his motivation was but since there is nothing to hide I agreed. After thinking about it I decided to include my oldest brother. I'm facing major surgery in a couple months and if something happens to me my middle brother will be in charge. I'm not so sure he would be as open with our oldest brother as I have been so this seemed like a good oppertunity to lay it all on the table. My brothers came to my house - my home court - and I went over every account, general bills and finally we read the will. It felt a bit morbid but I think it was a good experience for each of us. No surprises, everyone felt included and valued. The three of us were able to talk like we haven't in years. The only rule I have regarding the whole process when the actual time comes is that I won't be dealing with their wives and they won't be invited to any discussions. My two SILs don't get along with each other and they tend to get my brothers all fired up and argumentative. To be honest, these days I not too fond of either of them and it wouldn't surprise me if its a mutual feeling. So best to keep it to just my brothers and me.
We used to be called the silent majority. I still believe that most families are like yours, it only seems that they are few and far between because those who have discord are those who shout the loudest. Today with the internet dominated by scandals and trolls and cruel memes it sometimes seems that dysfunction is normal.
I thankfully had the same equal treatment regarding our parents wills andvtheir equ distribution of their personal properties. We (all 6 of us), never argued about this, and it was common knowledge that everything that was left, would be shared out equally. We each seamlessly fell into our prospective rolls, when it came to managing their care. My brothers built ramps, installed air conditioners, did all of the building related things, and helped with entertainment and even Dr's visits, as well as my Mom's many radiation therapy visits. The brothers also were combined financial POA's, while the girls did the majority of the health care needs, personal care needs, meals, cleaning and such. Yes, I know, it was typical man/woman age old division of responsibilities, but it worked in our family. I can also see where there are instances, when one child may receive more, but only if there is a fairness about the situation. I know that 2 of my sisters, who had our parents living with them at different times, also received additional monies for home repairs, where our Moms wheelchair had scraped up walls, doors and doorways, and the other had some carpeting replaced and paint and such, but for what they did, and sacrificed for our parents, that only seemed fair. I wish things were simpler for many, when it comes down to division of assets, but that often isn't the case. Our parents monies are meant for their care in the here and now, not for holding onto, to line their childrens pockets, or to hold that financial carrot over their heads! That is how I feel anyways.
Staceyb - I couldn't agree more with what you said. I think if there are siblings that occurred a financial loss while in a caregivers roll every effort to rectify/reemburse
Crap! Accidentally posted while trying to fix spelling! Anyhow - efforts to reimburse for time, repairs etc if they are going to come into play - should be done while the parent is still living. I think a legal caregivers contract can go a long way to head off trouble when attempting to "settle the bill" - so to speak - prior to a will coming into effect. Emotions can run so high at the time a will is read - dealing with the death and all. Any efforts to make the final wishes run smoothly and surprise free - is well worth it, in my own opinion.
I envy the relationship you have with your siblings and how you all shared the same goal of ensuring your father was provided for without concern for what was left for you in the end. I hoped my sisters and I would be the same way in regards to our mother but sadly, 2 of my sisters have made it clear that mom should live off the $1000 per month social security she receives and not touch any of the savings that her and dad had managed to acquire which amounts to $35,000 when combined with the life insurance policy she received after dads death in 2012. They've accused her of being crazy and living extravagantly and decreasing the value of the family home by living in it when it could easily be sold and divided among the 4 children. Other than a heart attack 2 years ago, high blood pressure and diabetes that is controlled with diet and exercise, our mother (76) is healthy and her mind is sharp showing no signs of dementia and there is no reason she should move out of the home her and dad built and raised their family in. Who in their right mind thinks a parent should give them their inheritance before they waste it all on living? Like most parents, when the kids were young and living at home, mom and dad made sacrifices and did what was needed to provide food, shelter, medical care, clothing, education and whatever else we needed as we grew up. Our parents never lived extravagantly even after we were grown and on our own. I see my mother living more frugally than ever and going without some comfort items and even health related items for herself yet taking the responsibility and financial costs of helping one of her grandchildren when my sister proved herself to be an abusive and unfit mother. The court system determined her to be unsafe for her child to live with when she was less than a year old and at age 17 my niece wanted to have a relationship with her mother and tried moving in with her and ended up going to the police and getting a restraining order against her mother and asking her grandmother, my mother, if she could live with her so she could finish the school year and graduate here rather than move back with her dad and transfer back to that school. Mom said she would have to make sure that was ok with her dad who is and has been the legal guardian and parent. He said as long as she was safe and did not have to be alone with her mother he saw no problem and he visits and sends money when he can. His parents also help out financially so my niece is not an overwhelming financial burden on mom yet my sister claims otherwise. Mom enjoys having her granddaughter around. My sister, the mother of my niece told mom that allowing her daughter to live with her will come back to haunt her and she will regret it til the day she dies which won't be soon enough.

When I look at the way my oldest sister and youngest sister have lived their lives and abused their children, I was ignorant for believing we all would have moms best interest as she grew older.

Mom is still able to live without assistance but knows the clock is ticking so she asked me if I would consider being designated as POA and possibly caregiver when the time comes for her to need more help. I accepted knowing full well what I will be facing when the inevitable and sad day comes when my mother passes away. I will deal with them when the time comes. Another thing mom mentioned and will be interesting to deal with is, she has talked to her lawyer and will be updating her will and removing two of the sisters from the will. It won't be a big hit for them financially as there is no pile of money and the home and property are already quit claim deeded to the 4 kids. and that can't be changed.

I really do envy families who get along. I am faced with a two way split. One of my older sisters and I remember a normal childhood of ups and downs, good times and bad times. My oldest and my youngest sisters talk of a life of nothing but a life of abuse and neglect. Two of us want mom to be happy and healthy for the rest of her life and hope for a long life. The other two want her to suffer until the end and want it soon before property values drop. I vent here and worry about things but when I am done, I'm going to visit mom and talk about pleasant things and help her fill the bird feeders and have her show me how well her flowers are doing and enjoy the time together. I will take my mind off the hateful things that are being said at the local bar and hopefully, bring a little joy to an old widow lady.

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