How to get Mom to make a Will?


My Dad died in 2008 without a will. It was not a issue at that time because everything passed to Mom without a problem. Their only asset really is the house (paid off). It is worth around $70,000 fair market value.

My Dad's philosophy was "I don't care about making a will because Mom will get everything and I'll be dead, so someone else will have to take care of everything" basically. He was not a talker, planner and was really depressed (I think) his whole life. He didn't care to have anything taken care of (i.e. will, burial plots, etc.) Consequently, my Dad was cremated and his cremains are sitting on my Mom's dresser in the bedroom.

My Dad's passing wasn't expected (I think my Mom was in denial about his health, although it didn't surprise me). Mom is now 85 years old. She's not in terrible shape, she's just frail and old. She's sometimes forgets things (like what she wants to say) but she is "all there" pretty much. Lately, though, she's been crying and depressed because she's old and (I think) regretting her life decisions. She keeps saying she doesn't think she's "going to make it" to her next birthday (May 1st). There is nothing physically wrong with her other than old age.

I know it's got to be depressing knowing that you are at the end of your years but geez, she cries everytime I see her. My brother lives with her and he's not the most "supportive" person. She has hearing aids in both ears and they're not really helping her hear because they just don't help anymore. Consequently, my brother yells at her all the time (like my Dad did) and gets pretty frustrated with her after repeating things for the umpteenth time. I've told him to stop yelling at her (it's abusive) but he doesn't "get it". Ugh.

My sister is no help at all. She has her own mental problems. She prefers to stick her head in the sand and rarely visits Mom (although she lives closer to her than I do). My husband and I are really the only voice of reason in my side of the family. I want Mom to make a will because I know it will be a major headache if she doesn't have one when it comes to dealing with the house, banking, etc. after she passes. However, I hesitate to bring this up to her because she's in such a morbid state. Please don't suggest putting her on an anti-depressive medication because it takes months to find the right medication. I've been on anti-depressants for anxiety/depression myself and it took quite a while to find the right combination of medication and talk therapy. The thought of going through this with my Mom is daunting to me. I don't even want to go there.

I love my Mom and I'm not in any hurry to see her pass. I try to help her as much as I can and try to be upbeat when I'm around her but she's starting to get morbid. No one wants to think about their ultimate demise. I'm the only pragmatic one in the family. Everyone else (my brother and sister) believes that if they ignore the situation, it will go away. I know that when our Mom passes, they're going to expect me to take care of everything related to her estate, funeral, etc. I take Mom to her doctor's appointments, visit her, balance her checkbook, etc. etc. but I'm tired of doing it all. (Of course, I've asked them to help me, but they just don't.) Sigh....

I guess I'm just here to vent right now, but I really need some sort of plan to try to get her in the right state of mind to begin this process (will, estate planning, etc.) Thoughts???

P.S. I will NEVER do this to my children.

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Antidepressants might just be worth the hassle though. However long or short she has left, you'll feel better if you have happier times to remember. It is not a sure bet, but a lower dose of what worked for you might be a good start.
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Thank you all for the suggestions. I like the thought of telling her that we (my husband and I) want to update our wills, too, while she does hers. I think that will make it more palatable for her. I know I need to find an elder law attorney that can do a simple will and do it sooner than later. I'm trying not to pressure her but it would be so helpful if she will just cooperate. I know she would feel better if she knew everything was taken care of but it's getting her to come to grips with her mortality that's the hard part. I know when I bring up the subject, she always gets weepy and feels her life is over and she's going to die next week. Thank you all again for your encouragement.
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Would she be more receptive to the idea of a will if you explained how much of a mess it would be for you if she died and had no will? I just got in under the wire with my dad as his dementia worsened. I told him the state would get every thing, not true of course, but it got him to sign a new will, POA, and give me acess to financial accounts. Two years later, I'm able to handle their affairs pretty well. His dementia has worsened and he will not agree with the most simple issues any longer. Get it done while you still can.
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I love the idea of doing your will the same time she does hers!

Your mother might live another dozen years, and if so, she may outlive her money. There may be nothing to pass on to anyone! This is especially the case if her health deteriorates and she needs a care center.

Seeing a lawyer who specializes in Elder Law (not Cousin Marty who does mostly divorces) sooner rather than later would be very useful.
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help2day, one question for you, do you have a Will? If not, try to make an appointment for both you and your mother to see an Elder Law attorney to draw up Wills. Your Mom might be more receptive in doing a Will if she thinks someone young is doing the same thing.

If your Mom is starting to become forgetful, get her into that Attorney immediately.... otherwise if your Mom waits too long the Attorney might not allow her to sign any documents if he/she thinks she doesn't understand what she is signing.
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