My 81-year-old Mother-in-Law (MIL) unexpectedly needed to have live-in care starting two years ago when she became a widow suffering injury in an auto accident that took her husband's life. She is mobile and uses a walker when not stubborn about it. She suffered a brain injury that has left her with anxiety and easily becomes exhausted making it difficult for her to do things for herself such as laundry/cook/clean/bathe without assistance. She is fully cognitive making her own decisions about how she spends her money and her activities, socializing, and travel. She loves her home and does not want to live in it alone or live in an Assisted Living facility. She has investments totaling a high six-figure, no debt, owns her home plus an additional house outright that she had bought for her own mother and kept after her mother’s death. She has no debt and her monthly income including pension and social security is approximately $3,000. She has good supplemental health insurance coverage. There are 3 siblings of which my husband is the eldest. All are married and financially stable. One sibling works intermittently and lives 5 mins away and is POA due to business needs related to the accident and was already selected as parent's estate executer. The other sibling is retired living 40 mins away and appointed by POA to coordinate MIL’s health care. My husband works a full-time physically demanding job M-F and has two years until retirement. MIL hires a caregiver to provide 40 hours of care Mon-Thur. My husband is the caregiver all other hours night/day and I help him. At first, we took turns while still living in our home 5 mins away and we barely saw each other and we both had full-time jobs. At MIL’s invitation, we moved in. We rent out our mortgaged home and will not sell because we need it to go back to in the future. The siblings had us sign a roommate agreement with MIL to pay 2/3 the monthly utilities and MIL did not want us to pay rent. The agreement can only be terminated by us or MIL. We insisted on and do pay all food costs including a weekly dinner out (in-laws ate out once a week). We accepted that the siblings will enter and the house as they please and we would have no private area other than our bedroom. After a year, the siblings demanded we pay rent and gave us a formal letter containing a rental contract and a threat of eviction if we did not sign it. They did not mention what they would do about MIL’s care. MIL did not know about this demand. We had to hire a lawyer since they would not accept their action as illegal due to the fact of the already signed roommate agreement. The irony is not lost on me that one sibling lives rent-free in the other house owned by MIL at the invitation of in-laws prior to accident and therefore not anything we give concern to. They insisted they pay the yearly real estate tax which is about half the cost of what we pay yearly on food costs for my MIL alone. MIL told siblings she does not want us to pay her real estate taxes because it is her home and we pay on ours. Both siblings have now stated that I should have no priorities outside of MIL’s needs because we live “for free” in her home - neither sibling seems to value what my husband and I do for MIL including general maintenance of her home and that her needs never go unmet by us. Recently, I visited my own mother who lives out of town. MIL decided that instead of finding family to cover on the Friday, a workday for my husband, she would hire the caregiver who had offered to work. My husband, after working several days in a row during a heat-wave, had to take a sick day due to exhaustion (he’s 60yrs old). Once the siblings learned of this, they informed my husband he should have told the caregiver not to come in. I don’t get it, my husband was exhausted and felt he was unsafe to work, so why would his siblings think he would have been safe to care for their mom that day? Subsequently, we received a written demand from the siblings stating that, in the future, my husband and I will have to pay for any care hired to aid MIL if it is outside the weekly 40 hours, but if my husband stayed home sick during the 40 hours, we will not have to pay. Everyone is smilingly polite in MIL’s presence, but my husband and I know that what we say and do is being scrutinized. No one yells at or name calls but there is an atmosphere of cordial hostility when not in MIL’s presence. We just want to provide this care for as long as it works well for my MIL’s needs or she decides she wants something different for herself. MIL has made a point to thank my husband and me for what we do and said to us that she knows it is not easy to take care of a parent (she and her husband did the same with their parents). MIL does not know about this recent demand by the siblings. If she did, I think she would be very unhappy, but we are hesitant to tell her even though I believe she is the only one who can stop the bullying. Any suggestions?

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The one thing that glares at me is that Siblings rule the roost. They have powers of dictatorship over absolutely everyone and everything. They feel obliged to rule over you and Hubby and both your lives, even telling you when you can get sick. Or not. I don’t understand why a simple POA and executor of a will would give them this power. Maybe I’m missing something here.

When you availed yourself of the services of an attorney, you probably should have had some sort of rules/agreement drawn up. Every minutiae of who would pay for what, when and how should have been included. The attorney is a neutral observer and could have been trusted to take everyone’s interests into account.

As far as the sibs having free reign to walk into the house whenever they feel like it, well, that’s not illegal, just rude. And I hope you have a padlock on your bedroom door.

Were it me, I would divest myself of this responsibility and these over empowered people and go back to my own home. MIL apparently has the funds to pay for caregivers. If Siblings need to pitch in, well..too bad.

Do go back to the Attorney and have agreements drawn up that are agreeable to all parties. Go with the intent of equal distribution of funds and responsibilities. No one holds power over anyone else. I hope Hubby is feeling better.
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Ahmijoy wrote, "Were it me, I would divest myself of this responsibility and these over empowered people and go back to my own home."

Were it me, I would do the same thing.

Let the sibs be fully in charge. Bow out. I realize you may not be able to do this until your renters' lease is up, but plan now to do it then. For MIL's sake, give sibs a few weeks notice, so they can make changes to her care arrangements. That is all you owe them.

Don't abandon MIL. Be pleasant. Take her on outings. Invite her to dinner at your house. Just resign from the role of serf (or maybe it is slave they picture you as.)

BTW, you do understand that live-in caregivers do not pay rent or utilities, etc. Room and board is part, but only part, of their compensation.
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If MIL is capable of making her own decisions than POAs are not in effect. By being caregivers you should not be expected to pay rent or 2/3 of utilities. Look at her bills and see how much they have gone up and pay the difference. Groceries, ok, one more person is not all that much. His siblings are trying to protect their inheritance. If MIL is with it, I would tell her what is going on. Maybe she will put the other two in their place. MIL sounds like a sweet lady so I know this is hard. Executorship doesn't come into effect until her death and that doesn't give him the right to be the boss then or beforehand.
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It sounds to me it's all about the money (inheritance) on the siblings part, which is very sad.

Same (kinda) thing going on here, but not enough money to be obsessed with. I keep telling my husband that the money from the house and property are for HER care! Seems no one understands this!!

Best of luck to all of you.
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These guys are on the right track; if it were me, I'd respect my MIL enough to tell her what's happening (siblings are counting on you not doing that), and letting her deal with it. If she doesn't, or doesn't believe you, you can bow out then; even getting a temporary place if you have to; this is no way to live.
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Unless MIL appoints your husband POA, I'd leave.
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If your MIL is mentally competent, she is free to revoke the existing powers of attorney and create new ones.

Having myself been in the situation where I was the primary caregiver but my siblings had "durable" POA, I can heartily NOT recommend it. Nothing dreadful happened - in particular, nothing dreadful happened to my mother - because of it, but there were numerous things that could have been done better without these complications; and the added emotional and mental strain on both me and everyone else has done permanent damage. I no longer have any contact with any of my siblings, it's the only way I can get over it.

The thing is. Everybody involved can have the very best of intentions towards the principal, your mother, and still get things very wrong. You don't have to question that they genuinely mean to protect her best interests. But when there are differences of opinion about how to do that; or, in your case, a highly skewed assessment of where the cost burdens are falling; that's where the conflict arises and it can become volcanic.

So. If you can afford it, go and get legal advice. Draw up a plan of action that includes a detailed costing for your MIL's care going forward and for the household budget; find out about creating new POAs in a way that will be above reproach and therefore less likely to be challenged; in short, get to grips with the whole project.

At the moment, no doubt as I said through being blinkered rather than intentionally horrible, your husband's siblings are treating the pair of you with the most contemptible contempt. I am hot in the face and longing to slap them. But being angry will get no one anywhere. What you want to aim for is calmly taking control.
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Afterthought: seeing as that's my "no ruminating" rule done for for the whole of today, I'll share one tiny gem of an example.

I was taken to task for tipping a manicurist £5. I had submitted that month's receipts to POA1, a time-consuming exercise which in itself was a trifle irksome, and the reply was not thanks, or fine, or any acknowledgement of work undertaken; and it certainly didn't cross the POA's mind that perhaps this particular manicurist might have merited a generous compliment... No. It was this directive that in future tipping was not to exceed 15% at the most.

If for no other reason, you want to get your husband's siblings off your backs so that you do not end up sincerely hating them.
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This whole situation makes my blood boil!!!!
Please listen to all the wise advise given, especially by CountryMouse, who has lived this scenario and  has the scars to show for it.

I'm worried about the long term effects on your husband's health, especially.  This kind of stress is unnecessary and damaging. 

I'd say you need to sit down with sibs and MIL and say "this arrangement isn't working out for us" and set a date for it to end.

Make it clear that while you will continue to socialize with MIL, you will not volunteer your time to do home maintenance or anything else; it's all on the siblings from here on in.

What has been done about investigating the source of MIL's anxiety? Has she been seen by a geriatric psychiatrist?
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Yes, I just can't leave this thread alone. I am SEETHING on the OP's behalf.

It's the RENT. They don't pay any RENT. OHMYGOD they are gaining here! The old lady should be getting RENT and they're doing her out of it - !

The POA siblings just can't take their eyes of the rent.


MIL pays for 40 hours of care each week. Daytime care.

There are 168 hours in a week. 56 of those hours, minimum, are unsocial. A further 32 are at weekends, also commonly paid at overtime rates.

The OP and her husband are supplying 128 hours of care per week, of which 88 take place during unsocial - i.e. time-and-a-half or double time - hours.

Call round a few agencies and put a market price on that time.

Send them a backdated invoice.

The siblings are so obsessed with their terror that MIL could be financially exploited - you're not paying RENT - that they haven't even glanced at care costs, let alone added up.

The moderators would not allow me to use any appropriate words for this. And anyway I am a lady.😇
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Yes, absolutely send them an invoice. You could deduct your rent from it if you are feeling generous. The bill would still be HUGE! This will give them a clear picture of what they will be paying a caregiver. Wonder if their greed will cause them to go stay with her round the clock themselves. They will give up one weekend and then will be begging you to come back to stay there, rent free.
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There was a situation like this in my family; one of my cousins moved in with his parents to assist with caregiving (i.e., preventing his demented, mentally ill father from further damaging my aunt [when she fell and broke her hip, he dragged her around on a throw rug for several day; when the EMTs were called, he attacked them for"taking his wife away from him"]. My aunt insisted on returning home after rehab and my cousin idiotically gave up his work and moved in; there were daytime caregivers, but my uncle was unpredictable, large and STRONG like an ox.

Family protested long and loud about his living there "rent free". Poor bugger all but ruined his life for his parents.
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