ScottO Asked May 2012

How to start with my just barely independent uncle?

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My uncle is 86, never married, I'm his executor. He had a stroke some years back, gets around with a cane with increasing difficulty. He's a former prison minister who doesn't care about this world, only the next. So his mobile home is filthy (cat urine everywhere, grime, almost unbelievable; my wife refuses to set foot in it), yet he gives about $4000 of his $28000 retirement annually to his church (I do his taxes), still drives other people to church and elsewhere as a volunteer (I worry about his driving). I don't believe he has any savings, though otherwise he seems to be able to manage his affairs.

I've let it go for several years now because he was always such an independent guy; he never argued with my suggestions, just never did any of them and I didn't push it.

What should I do? Leave him be in his squalor, though I know he's not unhappy, until falls and hurts himself, or falls and expires because he can't get up? Should I get him an alert device? Or should I take charge and tell him he has to get his place in shape or I'll be taking over his finances so I can see that it's done? I have yet to research whether he could afford some sort of assisted living arrangement.

I know others have much larger problems, but this is where I am.

Thanks, ScottO

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