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Two years ago I had to leave helping my mother as her constant physical and emotional abuse of me had me on the verge of suicide. My siblings, who she loves (unlike me), refused to help in any way even though they are in better positions financially and otherwise than me to do so. When I was there, my mother would talk to people not in the room, accuse me of things not happening etc. I brought it up to family (who again never see her whereas I was with her 24/7 at that time) and dismissed it, telling my mother who went for a brief appointment with some doctor who told her she was fine without doing any testing. I was concerned for her safety, but since my suicide wouldn't be helping either of us, I left. Since then a few pieces of mail arrived for me that slipped through the forwarding and address change cracks. Sometimes she'll tell me and sometimes she won't. If she emails and tells me and I say you can just throw that out she'll mail it paying express postage. If I say it's something I need and offer to pay postage she'll "drop it in the mailbox" but I never get it. This one cost me $1,500, which was hard for me, to fix. This is just one stupid example.


On business things (I'm the trustee for her trust etc) each year I have to go through hell with her challenging me on why her lawyer set up the trust so she pays taxes while she's alive. She thinks I should pay the taxes because as trustee, I "stole all her money." (The trust beneficiaries are me, my siblings and their children and spouses - I'm single and childless. My siblings, though successful PhD professionals and a housewife with a law degree accuse me too even though I've explained the trust to them several times). I have to send her the interest statement so say can pay the trust taxes (it was a measly $197 this year) and sent at least 30 emails challenging me on it again this year. She's also demanded that I buy her a home (paying in full with cash) with the trust money. It's an irrevocable trust that prohibits that - even though her income and assets are sufficient for her to buy a home without the trust money. She then told the rest of the family, who she's alienated from me with her lies about me, that I won't help her. I could go on, but this is just some of the stuff that happens.


Based on what I saw when I was there and her bad financial dealings (giving her credit card to internet hackers etc, giving $30,000 check, which was cashed, to insurance salesman who came to her door and then disappeared) I truly fear she has cognitive impairment but I know my siblings (who manipulate her easily for their own unnecessary gain) - and her - will challenge it.


Most days I tell myself there is nothing I can do and I just have to watch the train wreck happen, while underneath I'm racked with guilt over not helping or protecting her (which I spent a lifetime doing so much that I didn't create a life or family for myself as I wanted). Or do I help her?


By way of background, I'm the scapegoat of the family - as well as the only one who's helped her over the decades. She's also screwed me over in similar and worse ways my whole life, so maybe she's putting on the crazy act for me just to screw me over time and time again. Also, I put all my stuff in storage across the country 4 years ago when I went to help her thinking I'd be back in a few months. Downsizing her wound up taking 2 years and I was so broken by it all, I've not gotten myself a place to live or my stuff yet, so I can't take her in or help her financially.)


So do I help her and if so how or do I just watch idly as she goes downhill, to surely be blamed by all those who won't step up to help when something goes wrong?

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In case it helps anyone else, the irrev trust has it's own name, but it's called an "intentionally defective" trust with the grantor paying any income taxes on income earned while the grantor is alive.

BurntCaregiver - you summed it up perfectly. I have no doubt my sister in law, who rules the family, would stick my mother in the cheapest place she could.
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Marymary, if you want stellar, free legal and financial advice, post at www.bogleheads.org.
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marymary2 Mar 8, 2021
Thanks, Barb.
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My gosh, what a nightmare!

I hardly know where to begin.

Wash your hands of all of it. You don’t owe any of them anything. Let them figure it out for themselves.

Bottom line, you tried, you can’t reason with the unreasonable. They are only going to see what they want to see. We all want a happy ending. We don’t always get what we want.

This is a giant headache! It isn’t worth it!

Walk away from your entire family and gain the most valuable things in life, peace of mind, self respect and dignity and NEVER allow anyone to make you feel ‘less than’ ever again.

You know who you are. You don’t need their stinking approval for anything.

Break away. Live your life to the fullest.

Wishing you all the best. May you find everlasting joy in your heart that you so deserve.
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marymary2 Mar 8, 2021
Thank you, NeedHelpWithMom. Wishing you all the best. (I need to print these comments out and read them 20 times a day to change my thinking!)
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Thanks. I guess my desire to finally get her love is hard to kill. I was her protector all these years too - so I've gone low contact and moved away. Working on doing all I'm advised here. I just needed others to tell me "no you don't need to help her" - I've been doing it really since my father had his brief affair when I was 8 years old (and my mother dragged me into her things...), so finally killing my habits off.

Yes, the trust is named Irrevocable and can't ever be changed. I have a copy of it. Yes, I'll look into resigning. I hadn't done it earlier because my thieving siblings will empty it out immediately and I don't have the resources to legally pursue my measly portion which I could sorely use. At this point, I have to accept all is lost.

Thanks for all the tips. As a single person without a home town or long time friends, any kindness (which I get from literally no-one) is appreciated - but I'll take the harsh helpful tips too! That strangers care enough about a fellow human to take the take to read all this and answer with tips is wonderful.
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marymary2 Mar 8, 2021
Just on a side note, I wonder why others get such kind words and I get all the harshness, albeit with advice. If you've never experienced it, it's hard to not feel worthless and deserving a ill treatment - what I had my whole life. Really hard to fight those thoughts...
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Mary, what in the world are you doing?

I am sorry if I seem harsh but, hon you have no obligation to help this viscous old woman.

My understanding is that ALL grantor trusts are revocable and they are set up to minimize taxes at death. She could very easily change her trust and leave you nothing. Which isn't the worse thing that could happen.

You need to search your heart and find out why you willingly stay in a toxic relationship with your mom. She has never given you one good reason to stick around.

Pizz on anyone that tries to guilt you to help her. Their opinions don't mean squat to you and your life unless you let them.

I would resign as Trustee, regardless of what any of the incompetent "professional" people you have met with tell you, you absolutely can legally resign as Trustee and the only way you would be written out of the Trust is if she changes it. Which she can do even if you are the Trustee because she is the Grantor and that means it is revocable.

This whole trust could just be a farce from everything that you have said here. Is anything actually titled to the Trust? Is it named The Irrevocable Trust....? Because some of the things you said are contradictory to the legal definitions of types of trusts. I would just hate to see you get even more burned because some idiot attorney created a non trust trust because they didn't know what they were doing. You deserve to know what is going on in reality.

That the Trust only had 197.00 income tells me that she hasn't actually funded the Trust by putting her assets in it. She still owns everything in the Grantor trust but, the Trust doesn't have anything if she doesn't fund it by title transfers and such.

Sounds like a right proper mess that you would be better off out of.

It is okay to leave her to her own devices, whatever happens is not your responsibility or doing, it is the consequences of her choices. Please quit owning her hateful attitude about you, you deserve to walk away and never look back, you deserve to be loved and have happiness.
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Thanks Midkid. I only put that part in as I thought people commenting here might suggest it - given the other comments I've read on other questions. Lordy, no, I'd never take her in now. Thank you so much for your advice and kind words. It is so helpful to hear others say what I feel in my heart and know (somewhat, though it's growing!) in my brain.
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You state at the end of your post "I haven't gotten a place to live so I can't take her in".

WTH?? With all this drama and backbiting from family you'd WANT to have mom live with you??

That shocked me, I must say. You can't even talk to your sibs about mom's trust w/o drama--how in the world would moving her in with YOU make that situation better.

I admit to knowing less than nothing about trusts, etc and am happy to let my attorney and financial planner handle stuff and explain it to me.

If this were my mom and my family, I would mom into an ALF and spend as little time as possible with this toxic family.

Sounds like you have given up your whole life for a person who looks upon you as little more than a servant. When we say we'd rather be dead than deal with the crap that life has thrown at us--wow, is that a telling sign that all is NOT ok.
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Instead of fighting with her is it possible to just pay the measly 197.00 from the trust?

Whomever made you the Trustee of an irrevocable trust had the confidence that you would do what was needed.

I do hope that you are being paid to administer the trust. I would keep track of the hours and pay yourself the maximum allowable for your time. Mom wants to send 30 ugly emails, okay, because you get paid to read and respond to all 30.

Your "family" has made their decisions and now you need to write them off. They have shown you who they are time and again, believe them. You have no obligation to put up with their crap, so stop giving them the right to screw with you.

Unless they hold a position besides beneficiary with the trust you do not have to tell them anything. I would send a mass certified mailing that states any and all future communications need to be in writing, period. Then stop taking the phone calls.

Get yourself down to the post office and find out how to get all of your mail forwarded. Get a form letter sent out to everybody and anybody that might send you mail with your new contact information.

Stop trying to get any of them to love and accept you. They are not worth the time and energy you are giving them. You deserve better and you will never get it from them, so go get it from the family you build for yourself.

PS: keep meticulous records, you already know that they will challenge you. Head it off by preparing for it. I would also request that any legal fees come out of their portion and not yours.
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AlvaDeer Mar 6, 2021
Boy, do I agree about the record keeping.
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You say you are the scapegoat of the family. However, you are also the Trustee of the Trust, an IRREVOCABLE TRUST, at that, and, I assume, the primary recipient upon her death of said Trust? You can't really be both a simultaneous victim and recipient. So I am uncertain about that. Were things such niggling amounts, as you said, I might consider paying them (197.00) if I were able to.
It does sound as though you are correct that Mom is more and more losing it financially. She is certainly making poor choices. But if she is not diagnosed with a dementia in which she is unable to make her own decisions now, I don't think you can do a guardianship.
As to what the siblings think, it is neither here nor there. YOU were made the Trustee of the Trust, and it is and irrevocable trust that will be distributed by you as Trustee upon your Mom's death.
I think you are doing all the work. That you are Trustee and "trustworthy" makes me think you should just stay right where you are and understand that you will "hear it" from this crew (sibs and Mom) when they want to vent. Cut calls short. Say goodbye. As to whether you should assume guardianship and remove charge cards and such from Mom, that is dependent on diagnosis. If she fights guardianship (she is likely to) you are unlikely to be able to protect her without good documentation as to her inability to act for herself.
I would run that past a Lawyer (her current diagnosis, and her current actions with her money). I don't see a way to protect your Mom from herself without this.
I do not see you as a victim here. I see you as the strong one, as the one chosen to hold the trust, as the one who still cares about what Mom does in decimating her remaining assets, as the one chosen to settle her estate when she dies. Yours is a difficult job. I think you are up to it, and up to setting boundaries on this troublesome group.
I do have a concern about "the irrevocable trust". That would be that I assume we are talking property here. And you describe yourself as cut off from Mom basically, and mail slipping through here and there. If the time comes that Mom DOESN'T pay taxes on some property, it could be lost without your knowing it, Trust or not. So I think it is time to see an Elder Law Attorney about all the financial stuff. Rereading your post it looks like Mom is "competent", or adjudged so far to be, so yes, step away. As to buying her a home? Why would you do that. The answer to that is "Oh, I couldn't possibly do that". If she's competent and has funds, as you say she does, she can buy a home when she likes, and she may wan to reconsider making another child Trustee of and Irrevocable Trust in future.
Wish you good luck. I know what it is to "downsize" someone and to manage a Trust, and know it can be hard work. I am glad you managed to extricate yourself. As I said, I don't see you as a victim but as someone who did and who can take care of herself. The victims are the ones who stay, take care of the person bodily, and get nothing.
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Isthisrealyreal Mar 6, 2021
All of the property should be titled in the trusts name or it isn't part of the trust.

This is where many people get in trouble, they want a trust, they set up a trust and then they fail to change anything to the name of the trust, because it belongs to whomever it is titled to. The trust is the owner only after the asset has been transferred to the trust. Even bank accounts need to belong to the trust by title and then you can name someone to have access as a Trustee.
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No you do not continue to help her. Why do you feel that you deserve to continue on with her abuse of you? I guess that's a good question for your therapist(that I hope you have.) You have chosen(sadly) to wear the label scapegoat, almost like a badge of honor. Only you can make the choice to change the dynamics between you and your mom, and if that means cutting all ties, the so be it. You must do what is best and most healthy(mentally and physically)for you. Your siblings have already figured out the smart way to deal with your mom, and that's by not helping and putting up with her nonsense, so now it's your turn to learn that same lesson. It's almost like you just keep trying as to finally once and for all get some type of approval from her. I hate to tell you, but if it hasn't happened yet, it never will, so learn to accept that, and get on with your life. Wishing you life's best.
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marymary2 Mar 7, 2021
Thanks Funky. You're harsh, but correct. After decades of therapists, I've yet to find one that did NOT encourage me to keep trying with my mother. It's the internet and sites on narcissistic mothers that's helping me learn.
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