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Moved in with father-in-law 18 months ago. He promised to pay all expenses if we took care of him. He got my wife to agree we should pay for all food and house supplies. Then he told her we should pay half utilities. I think he should pay for everything as promised. He has plenty of income and savings to do this.

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"'He is a man who has lived off everyone else his entire life.' Why did you expect he would be different now? You sold your house and moved in to take care of him, without any written agreement?

It is hard to understand how you fell for his promises, but it is time now to protect yourself. Get his promise in writing and enforce it, or get out."

Having dealt with family members like your FIL a big part of my life, I'd recommend not even bothering to try to enforce his "promises." Just leave. 

If he has spent his life using other people, he'll find a way to use you—one way or another as he already is trying to. Remaining in his house will make you and your wife even more vulnerable as he owns the property and therefore has more power over you. There is a great potential for all of your retirement savings to be used up and your marriage to be ruined. Do everything you can to reach through to your wife and set some boundaries with this man—and move as soon as you can.
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Well, it's not working out .

Time to move on. Either you like living in the South ( and so you buy or rent near him) or you buy or rent somewhere else.
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it was my wife's idea to do this, not mine. i told her to get it in writing and we should see an eldercare attorney before we went. we did not want to stay in NJ after wife retired, and we thought this was a cheap way to see if we wanted to live in the south.
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Please stand your ground.
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"He is a man who has lived off everyone else his entire life." Why did you expect he would be different now? You sold your house and moved in to take care of him, without any written agreement?

It is hard to understand how you fell for his promises, but it is time now to protect yourself. Get his promise in writing and enforce it, or get out.
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The knowledge that you are both retired helps me with this. If his bills are not higher, he is getting a pretty good deal with you there!
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BTW, I think a parent paying their caregiving child is a very good thing. Mine doesn't pay me and it doesn't matter, but many parents do pay their children for helping them. They draw up a caregiving contract and treat it like a job. I think it is a great idea if it is possible.
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It is sad, but there are parents who will use their children and justify it by saying they owe it to them. Sorry you got tangled up in this. It sounds like your FIL is very self-centered.

In some instances parents see caregiving children the way they saw them as tweens. If they moved back home and had some money it made sense that they would pay room and board. It's different when you come home as a caregiver, because you're coming home like an employee. To expect an employee to pay you to stay is rather silly. The employee would not be wise to do it... even if they are family.

Many elders don't have a mortgage. If the income is low enough, there is also little or no property tax. The only things to pay is insurance, maintenance, and utilities. They would have had these things to pay even if no one else lived there. IOW, it's not really costing an elder anything extra to have a caregiving child there. And it is saving a lot of money. I do think a caregiving child should pay for their personal things, but not for the housing expenses.

In my case I don't let my mother give me any money or anything because it would come with strings attached. I know my mother so I know to avoid those sticky strings.
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thanks for the replies. a little more info. FIL asked us to sell our home after my wife retired, come down to Myrtle Beach and take care of him in exchange for the following. he would pay are expenses moving to MB. he would buy us a car of our choosing to drive him around. he would pay all living expenses. we could store our stuff in his garage. he has not done any of the above things. he is a man who has lived off everyone else his entire life. everything he has now is from his wife who passed away 4 years ago. he knows exactly what he is doing, he wants to live off us now. my plan now is to tell him he has to abide by the original agreement and see an Elder attorney or we are leaving. i know he doesn't want to go to assisted care or nursing home so i have that in my favor. any more suggestions?
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Whoooa! Your FIL thinks you should take care of him, pay for all groceries, household supplies, and part of the utilities? And he is not destitute.

Totally unacceptable. Poor man is not thinking straight. He is most likely not trying to take advantage of you but he's clueless. His ignorance should not become a problem for you. In the nicest way possible, explain the facts of caregiving to him. Perhaps an outsider could explain it in a way he'd accept it better: a social worker, a clergy person, his doctor.
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I have a slightly different take on this due my FILs situation. My BIL and wife talked dad into selling his perfectly nice home and buying one in the most expensive area around here, paid off, said they would move with him and take care of him and MIL. BTW the new home is one block from their daughter, has a pool and some land.. just what 90 year olds need. Away from all their friends and activities that they could easily get to. They were supposed to sell their home to add to the pot. Short story.. renting their home out for income. SIL works at a good job. Says she is never moving again so they are planning to keep the new home (luckily in FIL only name) And banking all her money. MIL now in MC.. FiL paying that. He now has home care aids several times a week he pays for, although BIL does not work. They go on vacays several times a year and leave him home alone. The only thing they contribute is groceries. He is running out of money, BIL keeps trying to get my hubs to "come over and help out". We knew nothing of this until it was a done deal! So I don't see anything wrong with paying some bills if you are living with fIL and are still working. Or else I hope you are doing everything for him. HIs money is going to run out, and with 3 people living there the expenses are going to be higher. My FIL now has the biggest TV package ever,, etc. Hope you had a contract drawn up,, we sure wish my FIL did. After the parents pass this is going to be a mess,, the will says 50-50. MAybe I will send my mom to live in our half of that dang house!
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JessieBelle: "In my mother's mind she thought she would save their money and leave it to all their kids. In my mind, I would be the one paying the money that would end up being divided four ways with three other people who don't help at all."

I have a less extreme version of this, but the reasoning is the same. My mother expected me to use MY gas and time so that she could save pennies here and pennies there on her groceries. "It's YOUR inheritance!" she proclaimed. I pointed out that I got $.25 on the dollar (split four ways) and it was MY gas and MY time. She didn't seem to understand...

And when I pointed out that she would have paid thousands for in-home help when she became nearly helpless with back and neck strains and I had to stay with her for 8 days and nights, she got furious and thought I was trying to "take advantage" of her. That told me that there is no way that she will ever pay me for personal care. So I'm not doing it again. I'm not crossing that line again. "ANYone would have done what you did!" she said. Well, next time it will be anyone ELSE. Maybe one or more of my brothers would like to come down and be her personal care attendant. Maybe she would like them to bathe her? We shall see!

She acted like I was lying about being with her for 8 days. And while I was there, she obsessively controlled every move I made. I did NOT need to be told how to take out the garbage, make tea, wash dishes, put what towel on exactly which place on the towel bar, etc. And she wasn't grateful.
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Don't let yourselves get into contentiousness about this. Older people live in their world where a couple of dollars for a tip is a big deal, they have no idea that a loaf of bread can cost over three dollars. Conveniently not know, maybe. Get some expert advice, develop a plan. It might be better if you take him as a dependent for tax purposes. IRS rules are simple. If you charge him rent it might be easier for everyone. Report the income on a Schedule E, Rental Income.
Report all income, but deduct qualifying expenses as well. Determine how much space he has, his room and storage space, if it is 30% of the home, that's your number. Deduct that percentage for real estate taxes, insurance, utilities, bottled water, newspaper subscription. You can depreciate the cost of furniture, rugs, appliances which will allow you, importantly, to upgrade and improve your rental. You can expense items that make your home age-friendly, handicapped accessible. Have a lease he signs. Get a security deposit. Treat it as a business, he'll take to that better than thinking he is overpaying and that rest of you should be more frugal. Show him what rental costs are similar in your neighborhood. Qualifying expenses come off of your rental income, sometimes you might have a loss which comes off of your earned income in that year. Better to treat it as a business than to try to explain to somebody who survived the Depression----things are not as cheap as they used to be. Show him how it works. He'll say no at first, but if you write down average expenses for laundry, utilities, fair market value rent, eventually he'll come around. Get a sit down with an accountant who understands the situation and can show him....Life At Our House $2200 per month.
Life At Assisted Living $5300 a month. Trying to explain what things cost to somebody who bought his house for 40K, is going to take awhile. Determine fair market value easily, include maintenance and upkeep, food and transportation, but show him how you came up with the number. Let him fine tune it, give him a voice. Make simple improvements which will increase the value of the rental, as well as convince him that he's getting good value. Trying to talk to them about finances is like talking to the kids, they cannot fathom the cost of things. Notice that their income is more than they ever earned....that they don't need explaining.
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First, this in the FILe house. He asked his daughter to move in to care for him. It's not room and board for the person who owns the house. If he made an agreement that he would continue to pay all expenses for u to help him than that is what he should do. In my opinion, you are only responsible for your personal needs. Your car, gas, toiletries, clothing, etc. By you caring for him, the increase of utilities and food bill are the cost of being cared for. If he had a Live in caregiver, he would have to pay a salary plus increase in utilities and food. Tell him he is getting a good deal and if he doesn't agree tell him u will be finding another place to live.
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markevans999, when father-in-law does start to pay for his fair share, make sure you have it in writing, and keep copies of the utility bills, food bills, etc. and write on the receipts how much father-in-law paid.

The reason for doing the above is if down the road Dad-in-law needs to go into a skilled continuing care facility, and if Medicaid [which is different from Medicare] need to be called in to help pay for his care, they will see from the paperwork you saved that father-in-law wasn't "gifting" you this money.

Sometimes we would need to cut back on spending if you are paying for Dad's upkeep. Like don't get Dad his favorite food, just tell him the cost of groceries has increased and you need to cut back. Turn down the heat, again the cost of heating is gone up. Cut back on cable if he watching a lot of TV. You get my drift. Maybe he will start contributing to the household expenses.
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I think you are right. He is getting a free service that he would pay dearly for if someone outside family was doing it.

My mother talked about me to paying the house bills and expenses when I moved in. She thought I should take care of them -- her reasoning ability was gone. She had turned it around in her mind that they were taking care of poor destitute me, so I needed to pay for my upkeep. As it is now, I pay for my own things, e.g. cell phone, computer, car expenses, and about 1/3 the food (she eats a lot more than I do).

In my mother's mind she thought she would save their money and leave it to all their kids. In my mind, I would be the one paying the money that would end up being divided four ways with three other people who don't help at all. Of course, it is likely that no money will be left in the estate at all if she needs to go in a NH. It would not be wise for me to pay for things.
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