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My mil receives what she calls a "pension" check from her late husband. He worked for an Ohio utility company (electric). After he passed she began receiving his as she calls it his pension. She has absolutely no paperwork on this. She thinks its a pension. Im trying to find out what it is exactly, getting proper paperwork for it, etc. Im also wondering if she should be withdrawing lump sums every year, like is required. She has no will or money for funeral expenses when the day comes and my fear is that she will pass and my husband (her son) and I will be stuck trying to find a way to pay for her funeral and outstanding debts, etc. We are not in a position financially to do this. To describe this woman as briefly as possible, shes narcissistic and is only concerned about what she can buy with her money. Which does not include being responsible or considering what this will do to her son. And please do not tell me, this comes with age (77). This is her. Its how she is and has always been. So, needless to say, we (more like I) are trying to figure out what she has and try to set something up to cover her expenses and funeral, etc. Where would I start to find out about this pension? And believe it or not, if shes able to withdraw money, if she knows this, she will blow it and not be responsible with it. Any suggestions?

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Get Guardianship immediately. That is the ONLY way to stop her from frittering away all she has.
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You husband needs to get more involved in Mom's finances. There should be 1099's on all previous Tax filings. That will give you an idea of how much money is coming in each year. Are there other siblings? A group meeting might be in order to let Mom know changes have to be made if she wants to well cared for in the future. If she has an accountant, maybe that would be a good starting point for the reality of her situation. You are not responsible for her debts and do not sign anything that indicates you/husband are responsible party. Good luck!
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Who does her taxes each year? There will be a 1099 or something that comes to her in January to be filed with taxes. The info will be on that.

You will need to find out who is beneficiary as well. I've never heard of taking out lump sums from a pension, but that doesn't mean it isn't ever done.
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speak1104, learn from this situation. Hopefully you and your hubby have money set aside in case something happens to either one of you.

Also, don't blame your mother-in-law about the lack of knowledge about where this *pension* is coming from, and for her debt. Apparently her husband never shared that information with her, which isn't that uncommon.... that generation many of the men worked and took care of the finances, the woman took care of the house and bought what the household needed and whatever she would like.
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Your description sounds (to me) like a traditional pension plan. The worker gets a echeck for as long as he lives and if the worker predeceases a spouse, the spouse gets a check monthly for as long as he/she lives. Benefits stop at the second death. Lump sum wothdrawals are generally not permitted.
Presumably, your MIL also receives monthly social security checks.Does she own a house? CDs? Bank accounts? Life insurance? Where does she live? My bigger concern would be the need for future care if there are no savings or assets to draw upon. The funeral is the least of the challenges, arrange for a cremation as that is relatively inexpensive. If you can get her to 'save' or arrange for a prepaid funeral that she contributes to each month you may meet your objective of not worrying about paying for her expenses. Her debts die with her so if there are no assets, that isn't a worry.

Your MIL can get info on the pension from her spouse's employer.
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