There are not enough words to express my appreciation for everyone here. I've never posted anything online but I come here sometimes hourly just to see I'm not alone. I'm trying very hard not to write a novel here but I guess I'm venting ... I'm married 37 years... 4 adult children ... 2 grandchildren ... I have a lovely house about 10 miles from my mom's house and I haven't seen it in months. I started this journey like we all did .. a dutiful oldest daughter who wanted to help her dad beat cancer. I was 35 ... had 4 young kids and was attending nursing school full time. My dad had esophageal cancer and I brought him to my house for hospice. As hard as it was to watch I will always be thankful I did it. Long Island New York the hospice that came to my house through Sloan Kettering were angels on earth. My dad passed in 2002 and that day my mother became someone I don't recognize. She won't help herself to do anything at all. She went back to her house in Fla and I got a call within 3 months that if I didn't come down, the hospital was essentially going to put her in a nursing home and just take everything my father worked all his life for. Needless to say I sold my house to the first bidder and moved to nowhere Florida with 4 very unhappy teens. 15 years later I am here on her couch so she can call me at any whim she may think of. I've been here 24/7 the last 3 years. before that I was doing 5 days here and weekends at my house. I have siblings ... brother is concerned with his inheritance ... he lives 10 minutes away and stops on way home from work once a month to let me know what I'm doing wrong. I have a sister who lives in my parent's vacation home up north bill free... Mom has lupus... breathing issues .. now dependent on depends ( recent change).. walker in home ....I put her in out bed ... So much for not writing a novel... My issue at this time is something I'm conflicted this time the will is all split 3 ways. My mother mentioned a few times making changes to reflect their lack of visits and phone calls. Not their lack of assistance because she feels I can handle it .... If a change was made to a will that was made back when my father was still here is that something that very greedy siblings could challenge? I'm so raw emotionally at this point that I'd be ok never seeing either of them again but I don't have the fight in me. Thank you all for being out there for me the last few years and I'm so so sorry this is so long ....

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I have been outside for a quiet snivel ending in a laugh.

One reason I am sensitive on the subject of rejigging inheritance is that the moment my mother chose to wake up to it was after the second of her strokes, when we were sitting waiting in the ER. Disoriented and agitated, and allowing for the mild aphasia which had been her presenting symptom, she began a tearful hand-wringing monologue about how worried she was about my future and it wasn't right, it wasn't right, it wasn't right...

"Now she tells me - !" I thought. I tried reassurance and diversion; but we were there for about two hours and in the end I just sat and let the irony wash over me. She was better soon, restored to the status quo ante and content not to worry about it.

I could have seized the day. She was still capable, at that point, of creating a valid will. I know full well that this possibility was one of my sister's chief fears and suspicions - my sister and brother shared financial DPOA. But my sister was projecting: she was not correct in her suspicions of me.

The big "But" is this. What merit system are we using, here? How far back do we go? And who decides what points and penalties a child gets for what actions and omissions and qualities - how do you decide what counts with the person leaving the estate?

Most parents, while admitting that they are only human and have private feelings, will insist that they love their children equally, and treat their children equally. Love, regard, concern for your children do not operate on a penalties and rewards based system.

Moreover, your contribution to your parent's final haul of joys and sorrows accumulates over your shared lifetime. It isn't only a matter of who's picking up her prescriptions, remembering her birthday, wiping her behind *now*.

Not knowing the rest of the family dynamic, I won't use the sister's free rent example; I'll pick others I do know about that I expect were etched on my parents' deepest memories:

21st birthday party
being born
serious motoring offence and substantial fine. Twice.
setting fire to bedroom
catching warfarin-related bleeding in time
writing off car
swearing at grandmother
arranging ruby wedding celebration
cutting up damask tablecloth at christening
redecorating house ready for their return from trip overseas
project-managing new kitchen
being thrown through car windshield as an infant
screaming adolescent meltdown in old kitchen
dropping out of college
perfect wicket-taking delivery in cricket match
puking in brand new car
legitimate children
illegitimate child
getting expelled
drunken attempt to seduce married guest at formal luncheon
winning 800m race
being the apple of one's eye
going missing
being forgotten

If you want to divide the estate according to each child's deserts, or more to the point if your mother wants to do this, fine. What deserts, though, how measured?

Sister should be paying rent? Why?

If the mother has been perfectly content to let the sister and her family live rent-free in this "spare" house, *and can afford* to continue this arrangement without risk to her own financial security, then that is what ought to happen. A POA ought not to vary what has been the established practice of the principal without relevant, material grounds. For example, if the woman's as rich as Croesus and has always sent every grandchild $100 every birthday, you carry that on. If she has a pattern of giving to charities, and again that is not in fact problematic, you carry that on. You do not have the right to correct what you consider to be unmerited generosity towards causes you don't happen to feel kindly disposed towards - even if they do include your sister and you think she's an ungrateful brat.

Who has POA?

It is the fiduciary duty of the POA to see that mom's assets are being managed well, and that properties are being utilized to mom's benefit. Sis should be paying rent.

I really don't see anything wrong with the will being changed. Whatever the father worked for all of us life (to have split three ways upon his wife's passing) isn't really relevant, since two of his children are not doing anything to help their mother. If it's to be all about what he wanted, then is THAT (two children doing nothing for their mother) what he wanted? 

If the mother inherited everything from the father, then what SHE wants upon her passing is what should happen. I see nothing wrong with having that will changed (I know others don't like this idea). But still there is the issue of perhaps no inheritance at all if the mother needs to go into a nursing home and qualify for Medicaid.

So it is a very good idea to start getting paid for all the work. And getting paid well. Why is your sister with her three adult children continuing to freeload  in that vacation home? Why does your mother consider her worth that and you have gotten nothing? 

Please let us know what the elder attorney says. And be clear with him that you expect something for compensation out of all of this. That would be the caregiving salary. And your mother should tell him she wants to change her will. And don't forget to mention the freeloading sister at the vacation home.

Keep us updated!

You may need to threaten to walk away to get the attention of your selfish siblings. Tell them that it's their turn to take care of your mom. It may change their attitudes.

The first thing I'd do is sell the vacation home and use the money to hire in home help! Obviously your mom does not need a vacation home:)

Good morning all,

My feelings may be too raw for a public forum ... the" put her in a nursing home and take all my father worked for" statement occurred when my father died at 62... at 62 I completely assumed my mother would get back on her feet ---- I never thought in terms of inheriting anything but I wanted my mother to be ok. At that time her grieving led to dehydration and malnutrition which flared her lupus.

Also.. I agree .. I sacrificed my life but not at the cost of my children .... I have a third year law student... 2 engineers and a stay at home mommy... they come visit often and are here for the major holidays.

I know I need to make changes... that's why I came here ... for the support. I have an elder care lawyer that's coming here for an in home appt...that's my next step...

And yes ... not only is my sister and her 3 grown children living in my parents vacation home but my mother still pays the mortgage and utilities on it.

My sainted husband travels for his job and supports whatever my decisions are completely.

Thank you for all the replies ... and to all my fellow caregivers ---blessings to you !!!!

They were going to "put her in a nursing home and just take everything my father worked all his life for" is the part that jumped out at me. Hm, your father worked hard all his life so that they would have the resources to be taken care of in their old age... isn't that where we are now? I imagine that your years of lost earnings would add up to well beyond anything an inheritance could ever compensate, and that your sibs are doing OK financially too so clinging to this idea of preserving the inheritance is really a false premise. I've seen it time and again on the forum where one child makes all the sacrifices and ends up poorer for it, I firmly believe that no one should be quitting employment to care for another unless they can be financially compensated (in the present, not based on some pie in the sky hope of a will). It is time to take a step back and see the forest and not just the trees - this could go on for years and years. Make a plan for your mother as if you were not in the picture and then take steps to implement it.

Nope. You don't.

If you feel you should be compensated financially for the care you provide for your mother, discuss it with your POA brother. A useful start is pointing out that if you were not able to provide this care, or decided you couldn't continue, he'd better find out how much the alternatives would cost.

Wow...has "this" hit home! I'm in a very similar situation. I've been taking care of my 85 year old mother (with dementia) for the last 2 years since my father passed away. I have 5 other siblings and none of them are doing anything....oh, maybe a phone call (some of them don't even call) once ever month or two. My brother is my mother's POA. Do I have the right to see her will?

I completely agree with CM. Estates are very poor conduits for transferring monies that are being earned by work. For one thing, if your mother ends up needing facility care and her funds are used for that, then there is no estate. Especially if Medicaid comes into play.

I can't fathom why you would put your mother's interests over those of your children, but that's water under the bridge.

I completely agree with BB about a caregiver contract.

The will is a separate issue.

Brother and sister have been unhindered by their mother's care, true. But what choice was available to them that was not equally available to Mimi? If you choose to make sacrifices, that is good and virtuous and loving and all the rest of it; but it does not give you the right to penalise others for not doing the same.

The *only* thing that matters in the drawing up of a will is the wishes of the testator. And although Mimi's mother may have been making noises about just deserts, and although she absolutely does have the right to change her will if she is serious about it and does so after sober reflection, it's really not that simple. The source of the estate is not Mimi's mother, it is the hard lifetime's work of her late husband. His will left his estate to his widow; but it sounds as though the married couple drew up mirror wills, and the father had an expectation that the estate on her death would then be divided equally among his equally beloved children.

The demands that Mimi's mother has made on her over all this time have been onerous. Meeting them was voluntary. That is not grounds to vary the original intentions towards inheritance.

Mimi, try to separate out all the issues going on here. The impact on your life; the sucky/detached attitudes of your siblings; your future wellbeing; your mother's ongoing, increasing, endless needs; your weariness and hurt; the general unfairness of everything. You do have grievances, they do need addressing, but I doubt that they'll be soothed by making controversial changes to your mother's will.

So you have been living with your mother since 2002? I take it you never finished nursing school?

So your financial future was ruined. Do you have any income? Barb is absolutely right; you should have a caregiver contract drawn up ASAP by an eldercare attorney.

As far as the inheritance goes, yes, your selfish sibs should be cut out of the will (or given just token amounts). I also think it is selfish of your mother to think that you should be able to handle her care by yourself. She should also have insisted this be done by now. Your brother and

Your mother is taking advantage of you. Don't allow it any longer. Your brother and sister have been able to go about their lives unhindered by their mother and eldercare. (And your sib has been living in your mother's vacation home rent-free?) Your mother should have realized how grossly unfair this is to you by now.

I guess I shouldn't ask if your mother is compensating your for being her full-time caregiver. A caregiving contract should be set up and you should be paid for your time. Social Security should be taken out, and taxes, so that you will have something for your own retirement.

Talk to an eldercare attorney about this TODAY.

PM I think Sue has done well answering.
I just wanted to say may God bless you for your labor of love and I will be praying things work out for you, and for you the endurance you may need.

Thank you SueC1957 for your lovely words of an only child you have everything on your shoulders as well so I send a hug your way.

Tonight my supportive lecture from brother was " you know I have a neighbor who is 114 and she runs 20 miles uphill both ways while reciting the Gettysburg Address"....
I exaggerate but as I try to tell him that is not our mother's state of health .... he left when I said I didn't have time this evening to go over my mother's finances again with him.

Please SueC1957 accept my appreciation for your reply and sweet words... Tonight was seeming very bleak and you are an angel tonight more than you'll ever know ...Thank you !!!!

Burnout for sure!

Bless you for your sacrifice but it's not surprising that you're burned out. You have given years of your life (and that of your children) and your useless sibs sit back and expect their inheritance portion for not doing a thing? Phooey!

I believe that, as long as your mom is of sound mind, she can change the will to whatever she wants. Your sibs may decide to contest it but, if she wants to cut them out, she can leave them $1.00 each.

I'd be ticked off if I were you. Good thing I'm an only child.

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