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In July of 1996 my father died of a massive heart attack at the age of 66. My mother was 59 at the time. My father was a businessman who owned a business as well as property. The will stipulated that upon his death. The property and the business would be turned over to me and I would have to provide my mother with an income from the proceeds of the property. My father left my mother their mortgage free house as well as a significant IRA and savings. My mother has always had a problem with money and gambling. This is why my father created his will the way he did. To preserve what he worked so hard to accumulate while at the same time providing for my mother to some degree. The problem with the plan is my mother. She wants me to take the role of my father in that she should have a steady stream of money whenever she wants without any question or discussion of how she is spending it. As you can imagine, especially in this economy, the property is rented but not generating an endless amount of money. I pay the bills and the expenses on the property I inherited and send the balance of the rent to my mother every month for the last 16 years. She is not happy. Nor are my sisters who constantly call me to pressure me to give her more, more, more. When I ask why she needs more with what I give her, what she has in savings and social security, they balk. She needs it, what kind of son says no to his elderly mother. The kind that is not going to support her gambling habit! They are in complete denial of this fact. My sisters feel that I should support my mother in the style in which my father did, forgetting that I am her son, not her spouse. I am 53, married with two children and my own responsibilities and aspirations. They look with disdain when I make a purchase or improve my home as if I'm using my mother's money to do these things. When I ask them to come see the checkbook to prove that the bills are paid and the rest of the rent goes to my mother, they run, They refuse to acknowledge the truth. My wife and I both work full time. We work hard to make a nice home and life for our family. It is disheartening that my own mother is resentful of this fact. I did not cause her to become a young widow. She made decisions in her life that put her in this position. I am only executing my father's wishes and getting the brunt of her and my sister's anger over her circumstances. My father was wise, he knew that the assets he had would be gone in a slot machine if left directly to my mother, but as the diligent son, this is a hard position to be in. I am doing the best I can with what I was given and get no respect or admiration for it. I am the only person who's inheritance has cost him money and aggravation.

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To JeanneGibbs: Thank you so much for your insight. It helps to hear the reality of the situation is not just me over reacting to it. I am praying for guidance and to find the balance between giving love and not allowing our family to be used.
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GoodWifeIHope, If MIL and SIL are able to guilt your husband into meeting their ridiculous demands, would you mind PMing me their contact information? I'd like to learn their secrets so I could try it on my kids or my siblings. :)

Or maybe your husband should get my kids' contact numbers. They'd have him straightened out about duties to parents in no time flat.Of course they have an advantage in that I did not have the foresight to install the appropriate guilt buttons in them.

You are not such a good Christian because you resent your husband being treated like an ATM machine and a free handyman? That is an interpretation of Christianity I haven't seen, but I'm no expert on religions.

As a couple, your first responsibility is to each other and to your children. Provide a comfortable, clean, safe home for them. Spend time with each other. Plan for your own future so that your children will not have undue burden for you. If MIL were indigent I would hope you could help her out, but not to the point of depriving your own family, and I hope you would help her find resources in the community. Since she has more money than you do, to give in to her demands at the expense of your own family's needs is, in my opinion, immoral. Neglecting your responsibilities to each other and to your children so that you can look like a "good Christian" is sad. I hope your resentment leads to some changes in your behavior (you and your husband). You can't change MIL, but for the sake of your family, you should change your responses to her.
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Read Coping with an Older Difficult Parent. There is a lot of insight in the book.

What all of you are describing in Narcissistic behavior. You can't change it, but you can set boundaries. My boundary is 1500 miles. I live in AZ and Mother lives in IL. If I am back for even 3 days, Mother's neediness creeps in.

Her demanding nature led to my middle sister's early death. And then, Mother didn't even go to the funeral home. So, the kind of stress that you describe can kill you.

My husband is his Mother's POA and it is really time consuming. I don't know why anyone would actually "want" to do it. You get very little thanks.
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I was searching the internet for answers to the same questions you have, only more than a year later. I was feeling guilty that perhaps I am not such a good Christian for being somewhat resentful of my mother in law that continues to make my husband feel pulled to pay for her needs even though she has a retirement fund, works full time and has $25,000 in the bank. Just today, she called him to demand he fixes her house AC and other things(which she has made clear she is willing to his sister and not us) My husband's dad dies some years back and left her over $200,000 but she wasted it away, mostly on his sister which lived with her for the last 20 years with her 2 kids and husband. His sister only ever worked part time even though his mom paid for her college education and she is a teacher, bought her a van to drive and tons of other things. A few months ago that sister moved out of state and we get a 3 page letter on how she needs help financially. We have 2 small children at home and NO retirement savings as my husband owns a business. Our house is modest and in need of repairs and we both work full time. She acts like he is her husband and does not ask, but DEMANDS we pay for things for her. She has more money than us and who will take care of us at retirement??? Is this selfish of me?
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romans13, i have my mom in assisted living near me and have control of all her assets. fortunately, my 2 brothers are perfectly fine with it, but my sisterr is not. I keep my brothers informed on all things, but do not talk to my sister unsless absolutely necessary. she has nevr been goodd with money and my brothers (and her children) have told her it is none of her business about my mother's finances. my 1 brother and i have DPOA. I keep track of every penny that is cash and reimbursement to me in case I ever need to show it to my sister. We have no problems now, but I am sure there will be a problem with her when my mother passes. If 13 romans refers to the bible, i sent rom13:14 as the only response to a vile email that I received from my sisters partner which was sent about a medical problem my mother had. He sent this vile email to all my relatives and some friends. Have not spoken to him since, nor her. hopefully you will not have this problem with your siblings, but all we can do is take care of ourselves and document for the future.
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onlyoneholly--we had the same problem with MIL, but she lives with us. after a stint in the nursing home for medical problems, my husband locked her access on the tv to hsn etc. unfortunately you cannot do this. she was pretty mad!!!
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Thank you! I wish you both the best in this situation and many hugs to you!!
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Yes, we are married.
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Out of curiosity dvhenal, I take it that you are 13Romans? Just to clarify.
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Folks, I guess I am just so tired myself of feeling obligated to others when I'd like to be only a "partner" in a marriage. When our kids turn 18, aren't they supposed to have a certain amount of responsibility to take care of themselves? If our parents are over the age of 18 (obviously!), aren't they supposed to have a certain amount of responsibility for themselves? Our generation has been told to "take care" of folks. I've never seen a generation so worn out by taking care of others. I'm in my 50's. When I was 18 years old, I was "on my own" (in her words) and I've done it. I've taken care of her for more years than she's taken care of me. I've still got a child under the age of 18 at home and I think that she and my spouse have priority over my parent. Is this wrong???? As noted in my comment above, my parent was not a model parent. I'm sick and tired of doing things out my own time and resources plus being challenged on what I designate as the applicable payments to my parent's needs. Insurance, medical, those are needs. I do not see a "need" for 100 outfits, 30 prs of shoes, knickknacks around the house, ect. She has to have an apartment big enough w/ closet space to hold it all. Every time I go there I have to tidy up just so things accumulated won't get tripped over. But, I'm not allowed to ask her, tell her to please stop, or send a directive to the Shopping network/catalogs to stop accepting her calls???? I could do this for a minor in my home. Sometimes elders are worse than toddlers. Ok, now I've said it.....
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I certainly can relate to your concerns. I was directed to manage a retirement amount for taking care of my mother. She inherited other assets that were solely hers to choose to spend as she wished. My father died unexpectedly and I never got to ask him what his thoughts and wishes were; there was only the basic statements in a standard will, which mainly indicates to the favor of the surviving spouse. My mother has gone through most of her "side" of the assets and wants me to provide now for things that I see as her "wants" not her "needs." I get the same guilt trip and threats if I disclose that my spouse (who is very frugal, bless him) and my children have gotten something (like orthodontics for the kids, or we went on a trip). She thinks we are pilfering from "her" monies and it makes me very upset and hurt. I can bring my books to the table any time and have periodically, but I will not send her any proof on paper. I made that mistake years ago; I discovered info about the assets with account numbers and sums in a pile of papers out where anyone could see. I told her because of that I will only bring my books and show them to her. We even had a third party sit with us to verify, but it was useless, the person was not there to officiate -- she was there for the iced tea :-( pathetic

I guess what I'm saying is that I understand your concerns -- all of you. I am so worried that the cash flow will run out in both accounts and then it's all on me and my spouse. My mother has a thing about ordering from QVC, HSN, and catalogs. She has companion aides come in to take care of needs and provide a social outlet and she has many opportunities to socialize in her area. She would prefer to sit home (agoraphobic) and run up her credit card, then panic when the bill comes in. She wants me to call and/or visit a lot. I live 2 days drive away; she will not move closer. She is a child of the Depression and feels that everyone "owes" her because it was a "stressful" childhood. She was not a model mother herself. Folks are amazed at how much I do (much of my own time and money) after what I went through myself. I guess I'm wondering when I get a break. I'm sad and disolussioned at what I thought would be a "golden" time in her life where maybe we could mend fences. She only beats me down with the fence slats every chance she gets. Why aren't there more advocates for persons in the sandwich generation? Do you all know of anyone who is willing to speak up for our rights?
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The business was disolved and the property underwent extensive renovations by a new tenant. The building is completely rented and the income it generates is solely the rental income. All the commercial property my father owned became mine the day he died. My mother's house, cash and jewelry will be shared by my sisters. I have no claim to that as they have no claim to any of the commercial property. The problem here is that my mother likes to think she is my partner. She is not. I assume all the expenses and issues that arise with the property. Problems with tenants and non payment of rent do not affect her. She gets her money each and every month. The problem is to her it is never, never enough.
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13Romans, of course you should not have to support your mother out of your own income, any more than your sisters have to. Taking care of her out of the proceeds of the business and properties is what you were directed to do.

You do not mention the business. What is its status? If it is profitable, where are the profits going?

After your mother dies (which may not be for decades), what happens to the properties and the business? Are they yours by the terms of the will? What did/will your sisters inherit? I ask to see if this will shed some light on their attitudes.
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You are not harsh and no apology is necessary. It is important to for 13 Romans to get an unbiased perspective. The mom has no expenses except for food, supplemental medical and personal effects. My sister lives with her rent free, but pays the utilities. She has it very good. She makes more income than most families by today's standards and has been given a few increases over the course of the 16 years. Thanks for your input. It helps to bounce these issues off others who are not involved and have better perspective. Thanks again.
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What exactly does your mother have to pay for out of the money you send her? Is it all free money for her to with as she wants? Have you given her any increase due to cost of living? I only ask this to get a better picture. What I will tell you is that the siblings who are not handling the responsibilities almost always complain that the one who is handling everything is either using money for their own needs by buying things for themselves instead of giving it to the parent or they are hoarding the money for their own inheritance. It is very easy to sit in the background and criticize those who doing while they sit back doing nothing. You, your wife, your children all deserve to live comfortably within your own means without siblings criticizing that you are using mom's money to pay for your improvements. Since you are POA, are you accountable to an attorney or the court by providing financial records of your fathers money that you use to support your mother? If so, have the attorney send them a letter outlining how the money is being used to support her. If your mother is blowing all the money on gambling, it is not your problem or obligation to provide her more money. Let your sister's know that you have a responsibility to provide for yours and your wife's elder care when that time comes and suggest that they get a job to do the same. I apologize if I sound harsh, but it really angers me when parents expect their children to give up everything to take care of them in their elder years. This is why we work, we save, etc. It is not about a daily casino free for all. I think you are handling everything wisely and conservatively which is needed in this economy. You should not have to be broke and in the economy hole to take care of mom. Let your sister's give her more money. Take care and hugs to you!!
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