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My grandmother and I didn’t get to know each other when I was younger. My dad was more of a hermit and I didn’t get to know any of that side of the family. My dad passed away 14 yrs ago and he was my grams beneficiary so when he passed it got put into my step-mother's name. I believe had she known my brother and I this would not have been the case. My SM lives on the other side of the country and two years ago she told me Grammy was living in despair and not taking very good care of herself so I went to check on her. From that day forward I’ve been taking care of all of her needs and living 45 mins away this was no easy task. Very stubborn woman and I had to fight her on everything just to get her meals on wheels and a visiting nurse. You wouldn't believe the struggles. So when she had a fall and went to the hospital, went to rehab I took the opportunity to keep her in the nursing home which is absolutely what she needed. I had to clean out her apt alone and make all decisions on her behalf. I became her legal guardian and was her HCP. I visit her as often as I can and am consistently making sure she is taken care of. I’ve had many meetings about what I feel needed to be improved. So my point. Step mother has not seen her in two years and before that was 5 yrs. Like I said my dad didn’t see her often so I can count on one hand the times they (my dad and SM) saw her. I’ve gotten to know her asked as many questions as I can think of to learn about her and my family I missed out on. I love her more than I thought possible. She’s like one of my kids I’d do anything for. My SM has since remarried, and is still the beneficiary and nothing can be changed at this point bc gram has been deemed incompetent. When I asked SM how the moneys would be split up she got defensive. I feel like I’m giving her the opportunity to be fair but if she’s not (which history indicates, when my dad passed he had no will and she didn’t give my brother and I anything) I plan to do something about it. But WHAT CAN I DO? Sorry for the very long explanation!!!!! Thanks for any input!

If your father predeceased your grandmother, then any beneficiary designations naming him would have become invalid on his death. Generally, his spouse would not then receive the funds in his stead, unless the beneficiary designation was specifically set up that way. You need to look at the documents that govern the particular asset. Are we talking about real estate, bank accounts, life insurance, pension plans, what exactly? They would all be governed by their own documents.

If there are no specific beneficiary designations for the property then the property passes by the will, if there is a will. If not, it passes by the intestacy laws of the state in which the owner lived. If your father was an only child, I think most states' laws provide that his descendants would inherit in his stead. If he had siblings, either the other siblings would inherit his share, or his children would, depending on the particular state law. The property would in no case go to your father's wife unless she was specifically designate as the contingent beneficiary, or the documents were changed after your father's death to make her the beneficiary. In other words, this would not happen automatically by operation of law.
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Paulcar ..... It seems you are good to your grandmother. Taking care of anyones long term care needs is hard. As for financial matters.... you really should "fact check" you said as of your dad's passing, "it" was put in your SM name.... what is "it"? Is my first question.... next thing if a person dies without a will the estate of the deceased I believe gets divided into all living heirs....this may depend on the law, in the location, where the deceased resided or where funds were handled at the time.....
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You ask "if there is no will"? Is there a will or not? If there is, your Dad was not in your life or Grandma so she changed it to his spouse (which is logical) after Dad died. I understand where your coming from but I would not think about contesting a will. This is what the woman wanted at the time. If not a will, upon Grandma's death u can go to probate and get appointed an Administrator. That depends on how big the estate is. Then the courts will determine who is next of kin.

Is Grandma paying for NH? Or is Medicaid. Paying privately her estate needs to be liquidated to pay for her care. If on Medicaid she has nothing to inherit. Insurance policies with cash value need to be cashed in.

Are you actually talking about an insurance policy? Don't think you can challenge that.
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This is interesting to me because 1) I don't think you can change the beneficiary (of a trust, I'm assuming, because your comment leads me to believe there's no will) with GM deemed incompetent, but also 2) you are the legal guardian, yes?

If you're the legal guardian, I would think you're able to act as an estate POA, too, even without the official POA title... Because as guardian, if your charge needs something, then you should be able to access GM's financial resources to provide for her.

You can look into a legal way to change beneficiary of the trust, of course. I don't think it will be an effective effort and also, this is your choice, to be GM's caregiver under these circumstances. GM made her choices, SM made her choices, you've made yours. It doesn't matter what you think should happen here. Your opinion about what is morally correct with regard to estate distribution is worthless when it comes to legal documents like a trust with a named beneficiary.

Without knowing more about the situation to change my opinion, I'd advise you to focus on ways to receive fair compensation for your caregiving now. I can't see how you can change beneficiary of any will, trust, insurance, or other legal document once someone is deemed incompetent.
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AliBoBali Oct 30, 2018
I just read some of your other comments. Your GM is being cared for in skilled nursing facility so your expenses are minimal, I presume.
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Hi chilliest there is no POA. I became her HCP and legal guardian after said step mother abandoned my grandmother and I stepped in. By then there was no POA. And nothing in place no because she was deemed incompetent. But if there is no will does the beneficiary replace that? The thing is since my grandmother didn’t really know me 14 yrs ago when my father died I’m sure SM just said to put it in her name as it would be only natural to her. BUT she is not blood. And I think inheritance is spouse, if no spouse, then children, if no children, it would follow the pattern and go to the grandchildren. Idk what I can do but I was hoping someone on here had some experience with this type of situation. I will investigate and find a lawyer for advice when the time comes. It’s so frustrating. I don’t think my SM is even capable of loving someone the way most people do! 😒
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worriedinCali Oct 30, 2018
The beneficiary cannot be changed because your grandma is no longer competent. There’s no US that says you are entitled to anything if Grams. She can designate anyone she wants as beneficiary. You may be a grandchild but your step mom as your dads wife may have legal standing to anything left to him. Depending on laws and how things are written, if there is an inheritance left to someone and they pass, it may go to their spouse not their children. I would contact a lawyer & see if anything can be challenged. Most will give a free consultation. Wouldn’t hurt to meet with attorneys & have a consultation so that if and when the time comes, you know what to do and which attorney you want to hire.
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I found this on a legal advice website:

"In general, grandchildren do not have a legal right to inherit property from a grandparent. In some states, if the parent of the grandchild is deceased, however, the grandchild may have a statutory right to inherit property from a grandparent if the will does not contain an express statement of the intent to disinherit the grandchild."
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Countrymouse Oct 30, 2018
That's interesting, and worth exploring. Just one note of caution - if the website is connected with a firm of attorneys, think twice before you do anything they can charge you for. It could be in their interests to make a very long shot sound exciting.
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Oh dear.

Your grandmother can't change her will because she is incompetent. So the last will she made is valid and will be executed. Unless... do you know how long ago your grandmother did this?

If your stepmother hasn't even seen your grandmother to speak of, there's no question of her having unduly influenced her, blackmailed her, conned her, anything like that. So you can't challenge the will's validity on that score.

I am very much afraid that all you can do is regret that a thoroughly undeserving woman is your grandmother's beneficiary. But your stepmother's being the type to run off with the cash saying "ha! I win!" and give no thought to common fairness is not grounds for a legal challenge.

You could take legal advice and see if there is anything to pick holes in but I'm pretty sure you'd be wasting your money.

On the plus side, you have gained a loving grandmother. That's not nothing. Hugs.
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After your grandmother dies I don't think you would have any option except to attempt to sue the estate, but I'm not hopeful you would be successful. In my mind it would be better to attempt to get some financial recompense while she is still alive by being paid as her caregiver. Who is her POA, would they work with you to set up a caregiver agreement?
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