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Quick background: Dysfunctional family. Grandfather just passed away. 86-year-old grandmother has dementia and must now move to an ALF. Only daughter (my mother) is executor of grandfather's estate and trustee of the trust he set up for my grandmother's care.

Problem: My mother is EXACTLY the kind of person who would siphon off money from my grandfather's estate and the trust. (She has lots of money problems of her own, is 65 and has no retirement savings. She earned plenty of money over the years, but spent it on a big house, horses, expensive trips, etc.) Given her history and the numerous red flags, I fully expect her to use her position to HER full advantage.

I have no legal standing whatsoever. I am not even a beneficiary in my grandfather's will (thanks for thinking of me Grandpa!). All three of them, both grandparents and my mother, utterly failed to protect, love and support my sister and me. I've got the horror stories to back up that statement.

I'm torn. Do I try to "do the right thing", keep an eye on things and intervene if necesssary? Or do I just walk away? I FEEL like walking away. When the crisis eventually comes, it'll be something along the lines of "the money's all gone and your grandmother still needs care, can you help?"

I will WANT to say "No, sorry, I didn't create this situation and I'm not going to bail anyone out of it". Then the guilt-trip will come full-force, all about how I'm so selfish and ungrateful. (These are people who think they made a tremendous sacrifice by feeding & clothing my sister & me, when they could have just dumped us in foster care instead.) Heaven only knows what will happen to my grandmother, what kind of facility she will end up in, but regardless, the family view will be that it is ALL MY FAULT.

Like I said, dysfunctional family. What do I do??????

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Good news! Some internet surfing led to finding out the correct legal terms for this situation. From there, I got some good general info. There IS a process for checking up on a trustee. I'm not sure exactly what it entails in this area, but I guess I'll find out soon enough.

It's still early days. The plan is to move my Gma to an ALF - it looks like a very nice place and it'll be close enough for me to check in on her. I'm not worried about that part and thank god my Gpa had enough assets to cover it.

It's just scary when at one point my Gma says that supposedly my Gpa left about half a million dollars, but another point says that my mother told her that she (Gma) doesn't really have much money. And that my mother got them to give her $50K to improver her house so that my grandparents could move in with her. (Notice that the plan has changed now that it's just my Gma. I personally doubt my mother ever really planned to take them in.)

Yay! Crazy families!
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Hi Margarets,
You mentioned that your Mom was not there for you and I wondering if your grandmother filled in that void some? My Dad was kinda hands off --he traveled a lot-- and so I really was attached to my Grandfather. He passed from a heart attack before he needed any care but I know that is my Mom was mishandling money for my Granpa's care I would step in. She wouldn't and couldn't but if she had I think I would have tried to help.

My advice is do what you can live with. Make the decision based , not on what you think you should do or what you do not want to do because you are so mad at mom but on what your heart is telling you to do. But do some research first about caregiving and be sure it is something you can commit to as I have learned from this site that full time caregiving is very, very hard. And you would not be selfish or a bad grandchild if you decided you could not be the caregiver to your Grandmother.
From my experience , when I am faced with decisions that involve other people and their actions and their reactions I have learned that I must be true to myself and my morals to be happy. If it means p1ssing people off so be it , if it means a lot more work for me so be it and if it means that I am getting the short end of the stick so be it. I can deal with all that if it was MY decision based on what my heart was telling me to do.

Good luck and many blessings!!
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Margarets, that's where you can use an attorney or make some calls on your own. You can see if your grandfather's will was filed with the county clerk. I had to do that with my dad's will when he passed away. I don't think it's necessarily mandatory, but maybe it was done. So you can show your grandmother your grandfather's will.

She must know what her daughter is like...it's too bad your mom is her executor. But I agree with the other comments that it's between your mom and grandmother, unless there is some kind of abuse involved, which doesn't sound like it's the case. . Good luck...
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Eek! Just got off the phone with my grandmother. It's much harder to stay detached when she volunteers troubling information. E.g. she has never seen my grandfather's will. They never discussed it, and now that he has passed, she still hasn't seen it. It's at my mother's house, apparently. Under the law, as a beneficiary, she should automatically get a copy. So I don't know what the heck is going on, and I can't trust my mother to tell the truth. (We are pretty much estranged.)

Whew. Deep breaths. I gotta "accept the things I cannot change" and all that.
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Dysfunctional families are everywhere. I'm sorry you were brought up in one. But understand this - your grandparents money and care are your mom's responsibility - not yours. If she squanders the money, unfortunately there's nothing you can do about it. Her parents (your grandparents) chose her as executor of their estate. If they didn't trust her to do things like they would want, they could have chosen one of their grandchildren to be the trustee. But they didn't, so all you can do is hope your mom does the right thing even though her past experiences aren't the best. But I think no one should expect an inheritence from anybody. I learned early on that it's their money that they earned, and it should be spent by themselves or on their care. And if it winds up there's some left over - okay. But not at the expense of the person being cared for. But in no way should you have any family member tell you that it's all your fault or you're being selfish and ungrateful. A person was designated (your mom) as your grandparents caretaker - so it's ultimately her responsibility. Now if she wants to involve you in caretaking and treats you as an equal - that's great and I would probably do it. Because it sounds like she could probably use the guidance. Good luck!!
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How can it be your responsibility? It's your Mother's responsibility. You are just the one with the conscience. I would move far away-- yes, walk away. Listen to your gut instinct. It is correct. Don't doubt yourself, ever, from this point forward.
Live your life, make and manage your own money. Don't marry someone like your Mother, either. That happens a lot. Comfort zone. Lol
Btw: ALL families are dysfunctional. That term has become redundant. It's like saying you love your kids, and you love chocolate ice cream. Different;) xo
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Like I said, Margarets, sit down with all the family members, discuss grandma's care - and your concern about fiscal planning and then follow up with a letter to document so they don't come back and demand you to care for grandma when momma blows through money.
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Honey, don't worry about it. We are going through the same thing with my Fil. He has ran through a ton of money and could have had enough for 24/7 in home personal care for pretty much the rest of his life. We are not doing a bail out. People like this have one crises after another, it never ends.
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"How your Mother chooses to manage Grandma's money is HER decision. Period."

That's not really true, under the laws of the jurisdiction where all this is taking place. It's a trusteeship, not a blank cheque. That said, trustees do get up to all kinds funny business, and my grandmother does not have the cognitive ability to address any problems that might arise.

Anyway, I'm not asking for legal advice. I *know* I have not legal standing. It's more about the ethics/morality. Do I just leave grandma at the mercy of my mother?
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How your Mother chooses to manage Grandma's money is HER decision. Period. You *could* contact an elder attorney if you have reasons to believe that your mother is spending grandma's money to support her lifestyle instead of the well-being of her mother.

I recommend you and your sister, and these "other family" members you mentioned, to sit down with your mother and have a clear discussion about it. Then, I'd follow up with a written letter for documentation to each of them. When what you think happens, does happen, you simply refer to the letter.

If these other family members are not in the vicinity, have a conference call and follow up with a letter.

Dysfunctional families have blurry boundaries. Draw one with a heavy marker and stick to it.
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