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My daughter's MIL lives in Oregon alone. She took in a drifter to do lawn work several years ago, and now that she is showing strong signs of dementia, he has moved into the house and becoming a full-time caretaker. She recently changed her will giving him everything she owns at death, from the paid-for house and her bank account, completely ignoring her daughter and my daughter's four children. Contacting the Protective Services for the Elderly, my daughter was told that there has to be evidence of a crime, an the Sheriff has to investigate first. In the State my daughter lives in, it is against the law for caretakers to inherit property like this.
My daughter needs to know if Oregon has laws like this and how she can contact them. Her mother-in-law will not give permission to contact her lawyer who drew up the new will, not even his name. She appears to be completely controlled by the caregiver.

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On this forum. we, the responders, may come across as “not on your side”. It’s because we have seen both sides very often. We generally are on the side of the caregiver and always the side of the elder. Because we are a community of caregivers... Although often, what we have to say isn’t what the elder would hope for. They often need more care than they admit to needing.

Having said that, people who are not the caregivers seldom understand how very difficult it is to be that caregiver. Your daughter, her in-laws and grands perhaps should be very grateful to this person who has stepped up at the right time to help a needy elder live out her last days as she chooses. Several years you say. How lucky is your daughters MIL to have found such a person?! That she has the ability to reward the one who is seeing her through is commendable. .

I can appreciate that you are a bystander (although an interested grandma) who is just asking about the legality of the situation and no disrespect is meant towards you. I don’t know the answer about Oregon laws. But there is generally a reason why an elder decides to make a bold decision to reward the person who is caring for them, even though they are not blood. I’m sorry if I have misunderstood the situation.
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sometimer Nov 16, 2020
Thank you so much, as I know where you are coming from. I'm a caregiver too. This gentleman --as he may be -- has a record as long as his arm.
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A competent person can leave their assets to whomever they choose. This certainly does not have to be a family member. I'm not sure how we got to the point of simply assuming that by being a relative, we are entitled to assets (property, funds, etc) upon a person's death. If someone who is unrelated has been supportive, been there for the LO, completed errands, provides friendship and companionship and performs helpful or care giving functions, there is no reason (moral or legal) in any state in the union why they can't inherit assets. Not sure what state your daughter resides in but if she takes time to investigate she will find there are legal contracts that will permit a caregiver to inherit assets.
Best way to make sure that as a relative you can inherit assets upon death............ stay engaged, stay in touch and be supportive. In other words ..... be a bit of a caregiver yourself and don't leave it all to someone else.
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theguardian Nov 19, 2020
Fantastic answer!
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Where was your daughter and her “four children” all of this time when the mil needed help and probably company too?
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Lymie61 Nov 20, 2020
Mourning the loss of their husband and father I think, not to mention prior to that caring for him as he fought Cancer and taking care of all of those details of life and death within their own household. Imagine all of this has been on this poor woman’s plate (the daughter) during COVID (it says husband passed 6mos ago from Cancer I believe) and they live in a different state from the MIL. We are all experience in the problems of travel and contact with our aging loved ones.
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Why was a drifter able to move into your mother's home? You, your daughter and the kids she's left out of her will don't have all too much contact with her do they? If she made a will with a lawyer several years ago that is legal, then it will hold up in court. You can try to break the will in court after she dies, but that rarely works and most of the time the court will dismiss a case like that. People have a right to leave their money and property to anyone they want. This drifter is the one who cares for her and takes care of her now. If all this was done years ago, then no court will take you seriously. Why should they? Did you and your daughters have any issue when the drifter first moved in with her? Or was that all right with you at first when a drifter moved into your mom's house to help her because you didn't know about her making him her heir?
Years ago, I worked for a homecare agency and one of my co-workers (another CNA) took a position with a wealthy old man. He didn't have any children, but he did have family that did not see him or speak with him. As he declined, he needed someone there 24 hours a day. He wasn't mentally declined though. So my co-worker and her little daughter moved in with him. He did a will with his lawyer making them his heirs to an 8 million dollar estate. When his relatives from all over the place learned of his death they all rushed here, tripping over each other trying to get to the money. They brought it into court too, but the state of Connecticut upheld that will that he'd done years before making my co-worker and her daughter the heirs to his fortune. That will was carefully done and air-tight. He made sure to mention all of his relatives and their kids, and left each one a dollar. That way it could not be contested. Good for him.
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jacobsonbob Nov 19, 2020
That's super! I'm happy it worked out the way he wanted.
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There was an award winning movie about a father and grandfather up in years, his own son and daughter in law and their kids rarely visited didn’t help much at all, did things such as calling every so often for a brief chat and sending him a senior phone for Christmas. They clearly weren’t there for him he was heartbroken but didn’t want to come out and tell them he felt abandoned by them, one particularly heart rending scene he had learned he had a serious diagnosis and called his son to tell him but his son cheerfully before he can get out the words his son cheerfully starts talking to him like a child and says he only has a few minutes and as if to console him says they’re going to send him a senior phone for Christmas ( hooray) He realizes in that moment his son, daughter in law and grandkids who are teens (and old enough to form their own relationship with him if they wanted to) don’t care at all. In the meantime, he meets and becomes friends with an unrelated young man who actually talks to him, shares with him about his life, is there for him and helps him and more important than helping him, truly cared about him talked to him not like a child to offer a senior phone, but would have real long conversations with him, eat meals go on walks etc with him, in the end the grandfather as an adult decides to leave pretty much everything to the young man who was a true friend to him and was there for him, one of the last scenes of the movie shows the family racing to get what they automatically think should be theirs to discover he changed the will and wrote out his grandkids bc frankly they never gave any genuine sign of caring about him, were spoiled materialistic, didn’t spend any real time with him yet expected* to greedily inherit all this stuff, the look on the grandkids face when learning he left his beloved car not to the spoiled grandkid but instead to his beloved friend.

This movie highlighted the sad reality how many seniors are more or less forgotten about by their relatives in laws etc and if a kind person ends up caring about them like in the movie the in-laws are in a uproar wanting “their money”
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sss1957 Nov 19, 2020
What’s the name of movie, I’d like to watch, thanks
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If your MIL was of sound mind when she made her will, it should stand as it is. It seems the drifter has been much more involved in your MIL's life and care than her children or grandchildren. If family members have just been sitting back waiting to inherit MIL's money and property, they are going to need to revise their dreams.
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I am confused. You first say "My daugter's MIL" (where is your daughter's husband in this)? Then you mention a daughter and grandchildren also left out of inheriting. So this would be your daughter, the DIL of the woman in question. As well as the woman's real daughter and her children? And a son, presumably of this woman?
And are all these people close and loving family members with strong relationship ongoing over the years with the Mom/MIL? Involved with the Mom and helping with her care? Loving and involved grandkids?
The fact that MIL will not share information, and that a sheriff has been called, makes me think there is not a good family relationship here?
So basically I need more information.
As to the dementia. Is this diagnosed dementia? Are the son and DIL POA for the Mother in Law? Do they even live in the same state or town she lives in?
I just need to say here that my money would go to the person I chose it to go to. Not to someone because they are my blood. As it happens I am very close to my daughters/grandchild. My money will go to them. However, were I to need help and care in age, and my daughter and children were unable to "be there for me" while some other person WAS THERE for me, to assist me in staying in my home, and to getting to doctors, shopping, cooking and care of my home? Well, I am just saying, yes, that person would stand to inherit some of my money from me.
Given that this will may now go to being contested by family(and of course it can be), if this poor woman did indeed feel that the man with her the last two years is more a son to her than her blood son, I guess she would have done well to adopt him.
I think one reason this so interests me is that I have three friend/acquaintances where money is NOT going/did not go to family but to caregivers who have/had become "family". In two cases there was a long ongoing illness and disability; homes were actually built on properties left to caregivers. In one case an aging person who needed help, and whose own son was an alcoholic who did nothing but take from her all their lives.
I guess in some cases the definition of "family" varies.
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Sarah3 Nov 19, 2020
I agree. Family isn’t always there for people when they get up there in years but they’re the first ones chomping at the bit expecting to get “their money”, family is who is there for you and who cares about you, spends time helps and talks with you. It doesn’t sound as if any of this was the case with this “family “ there was no mention of the woman’s son and by every indication it doesn’t sound like the daughter in law had any place in her life either. I suspect the “kids” are old enough that if they wanted to they could’ve have been talking and writing to their grandma but instead were just grandkids by name only. The person who’s been there with and for her of course has become like family to her, it’s a lot like that award winning movie that did an amazing job of highlighting this issue
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From what you wrote the observation is that your daughter and her kids weren’t involved in mil’s life, not in any real way, is that correct? And now she’s pressuring this senior lady to give her information about her money and her lawyers name, to which the mother in law declined wanting to do so.
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sometimer Nov 20, 2020
Sarah, you have completely misunderstood the situation. What makes you think they were not involved in the MIL's life? And they just want her money? All I wanted to know is, what are the laws in Oregon concerning this situation, if any? Please don't read between the lines. They were very much involved with her.
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If the MIL is still considered competent, a lawyer isn’t going to be able to compel the MIL to discuss her will. That’s not to say the lawyer can’t tell her how to proceed in the future though. MIL still living so really your daughter has no right to try to get money for the grandchildren, she doesn’t have a right to make MIL include them in the will. Her MIL, as long as she is competent, can do what she wants with her money. Instead of worrying about the will and getting money for the grandchildren, she needs to focus on MIL and whether she is a)being properly taken care of by the caretaker b)whether or not the caretaker is taking advantage of her and exploiting her and c)whether or not MIL can be declared incompetent. Your daughter isn’t boots on the ground. Her MIL could be in far worse shape. Or she could be better off than your daughter thinks.

I think there should be an APS investigation first. Because again a lawyer cannot force the MIL to show him her will & discuss her assets.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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I think a lot of this depends on the relationship MIL has with the grandkids. Do they actually visit on a regular basis or just exchange gifts at Christmas? Is the 'drifter' taking good care of her? Has anyone seen abuse by this caretaker? If MIL is of sound mind she can leave whatever she wants to whomever she wants. She sees the caretaker every day and if she is happy with him that is who she wants her money to go to. Why would she leave it to relatives she never sees?
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