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Hello, my name is Christina.


I am a 21 year old community college student. In February of 2018 my grandfather passed away and left my grandma alone in their home and before doing so verbally expressed his wish that we live in their home and take care of her until her passing. In their living trust my grandfathers wishes were to leave their home to my mother Rita who was a caregiver for him up until his death in hospice care. My mom is an honest self sacrifing woman that is living a nightmare. We lived in an apartment up until his death. It was agreed upon verbally and made the most sense for our family of 5, my dad, mom, brother, sister and I to move in and aid my mom in being a caregiver for my grandma who is living with dementia & depression. A week after the death of my grandpa a fight erupted between my mom and aunt because she was upset with the decision that the house be left to my mom. Still though the house is under the name of my grandma, rightfully. We have taken care of her since then and have lived here and dealt with a lot of ugly trauma, so much so that I write this in tears. We are not perfect but have done everything right and have tried our best at keeping things orderly however my uncle has threatened my father & accused us of only living here for the house. My aunt has created a lot of drama and fear. When my grandma goes out with her she tells my aunt my mom writes checks with her money and she doesn’t know where we spend her money. While not being true it is still very hurtful and unsettling. It worries us and makes us feel inferior and there is no one but ourselves to back us. We have no help from other family members, it is just the five of us. We are afraid that we will be kicked out even though we’ve been the ones feeding her, cleaning after her accidents, making every single pharmacy and doctor appointment trip. We pay every bill except for the landline and the house taxes as we have no use for the landline and the house is not under the name of my mom. We’ve fixed up the house a little bit it being a 101 year old house, and done our best at keeping her warm, fed, and healthy. But we are at our wits end and need legal advice. We too are human and are living with the fear we will have no where to go. We want to give her the best care while still protecting ourselves as these things can get ugly. What can we do & how do we protect ourselves and be transparent about the care we provide? Trying to put aside the way we feel about an aunt that believes herself to be highly educated and has a superiority complex because she owns a house and drives new cars and an uncle that for decades has had a drug dependency and has been in an out of jail (some background: my grandfather was on oxygen, and my uncle was watching him one night but before that my aunt went to the nearest bar and had drinks with him, in the middle of the night my mom gets a call from my grandma that my grandpa’s concentrator was broken and thrown at the wall by my uncle leaving my grandpa without oxygen for more than an hour I believe. He is known for his violent nature. These are the people we are dealing with.) We want to have peaceful and limited interactions with them. Desperate for advice and to feel like I’m not about to be thrown out on the street. We’ve never abused our grandma and we’ve always swallowed our pride but what can we do, we’ve done our best.

Welcome to the wall of invisibility. Experiencing 1 of my siblings who lived at Mom's for a 3 month stay turned into 10 yrs scott free. I live out of State so Mom & I talked pretty much every day sometimes twice a day. Mom ended up in the hospital with an infection women get often that it could have killed her. My sibling "convinced" Mom, my other 2 siblings AND my ugly step-siblings that I was going to place Mom in a nursing home and take all of her money & house. BTW I'm the middle child, yes it is everything you learn in psych 101. This sibling even told me I was never to talk with Mom again. She even listened in on my phone calls. I'd ask Mom if this sibling was listening on the other extension, pregnant pause "a no". I surprised this sibling & the day I arrived OMG Mom was in the hospital again! What a shocked look on sibling's face "priceless".
Then 1 day I receive a call from the ugly step-sister telling me this sibling moved out from Mom's! Then I get a text from sibling telling me that I should have been the 1 caring for Mom, AMAZING. My 3 siblings "allowed" me to become guardian/conservator, YAY! Perhaps you've seen my post re: ugly step-siblings. You're there sista! START by finding a GREAT Elder Law attorney. Do research. Have proof of everything you & family have been accused. Proof of your Aunt/Uncle have done too. I used what I had without any one of them knowing how I convinced them to give me the job so I would care for Mom like I had promised from the time I was in the 4th grade. Get the Will/Testiment, place in safety deposit box. Find every and anything that will prove what Grandpa wanted for Grandma. All legal documents including deed to the house, insurance policies etc. Everything that Aunt/Uncle can use to take everything from Grandma. Get guardian/conservator for Grandma. Aunt/Uncle can contest, but have the proof they're lying and actually are the ones hurting Grandma. Notify Grandma's banker so he/she will inform staff to be aware if Aunt/Uncle bring Grandma into the bank, elder abuse for financial gain! Step-sister did this when she took 65% of Mom's $$ etc. You have to think outside of the box even if it makes you want to vomit like it does me. I'm the 1 who my Dad would walk by me & say "don't even think about" and keep walking while my siblings did what they wanted. So hard for me to think that way, but I have to protect Mom. Go after the others by playing their game. It's hard and I learn more rules of the game every day.
STOP BEING NICE AND FIGHT
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Reply to dkentz72
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Christina: I'm sorry I couldn't get back to you earlier for your post on June 7.

97yroldmom had a great perspective above. Your mother is having cognition issues, but it sounds like she can be aware of her actions, maybe not every time. If GM is having a good day (she understands what she's signing and what it's for), if she'll agree to sign and have notarized a General Durable POA to your mother would make things right.

About her delusions and hallucinations, has she seen a doctor? Perhaps a UTI test as a urinary tract infection can wreak havoc!

Dealing with the here-and-now is so important, but it's also time to look ahead for GM before her mental capability diminishes further. Has your mother talked with your grandmother about updating her will and her living trust? For any financial accounts, is your mother a signatory on those accounts or has GM assigned Pay on Death so the monies go directly to the beneficiary without requirement of probate)? For that matter (not to be ghoulish) but are you all aware of GM's last wishes? When GM's time eventually comes, handling her affairs are very simple, which can offset the stress that your aunt might cause.
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Reply to MountainMoose
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dkentz72 Jun 12, 2019
A lot of what you said is the truth. One must know if:
Common property or Community Property
Probate State or not, Will depend on the difference.
Record with County Recorder's office.
Get POA, guardian/conservator
Yes UTI does cause a lot of issues
Grandma could be suffering Sundowners, she's at her best in the morning after breakfast.
BEFORE Grandma can sign any legal documents, she must prove she understands and can verbalize it before an attorney or notary
Rresearch State laws for probate, guardianship, conservatorship, POA, certifications AND NOTARY LAWS/RULES/REGULATIONS
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Christina, I’ll try to give you another take on this. A house is normally a very valuable asset, for most ordinary people the biggest thing in an estate. For you at age 21, this caregiving stage has been the dominant thing in family dynamics since you were quite young. For your parent’s other sibling/s or relations, it’s not like that at all. They look at ‘whole of life’ interactions, the love for them as children, who did what when a long time ago. If they see your mother getting the lot when your grandparents both die (their parents too), just because of the last few years of caring, they are not going to be happy. The way this shows can and will go from bad to worse.

As is often the case, it would be much better if your mother and grandmother could sign a caregiver agreement so that your mother is properly compensated for what she does and will do. It could include a lump sum compensation for the care of your grandfather, and will probably be held over to be a debt paid from the estate (ie the sale of the house). Then your grandmother’s will can leave whatever remains in equal shares. If grandmother eventually needs Medicaid, it will be an enormous help to qualify.

All of this could be negotiated with everyone involved. It’s difficult when things have got this bad, but with a lot of luck it could bring the family back together. Perhaps looking at things from this perspective might help. Good luck!
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Christina
Thats great your mom has POA. She needs to read it carefully. It will state what responsibilities have been granted to your mom and what has to happen before she can use the POA. Some POAs are valid upon signing. Some have to have two doctors say the principal (GM) is no longer competent. You just have to read it to know.
Sometimes both medical and financial power of attorney are included in one document. So, again, she just needs to read it carefully.
People with dementia do not necessarily progress at the same pace. The behavior where she acts better when others are present is called showtiming and is very common behavior with dementia. You can do a search on this website for showtiming and you will see many posts covering it.
Also look up Teepa Snow on YouTube and you will see some methods for dealing with GM that might be helpful for you.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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ChristinaE97 Jun 8, 2019
thank you again so much for your advice, i’ll definitely make my mom aware.
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Christina
You seem to know exactly what the issue is.
Its been almost two years and your GM has gotten worse and your family has no formal legal standing.
GM will be less able to make her own decisions. But for now she sounds like she might still be competent enough to cause real trouble.
Does she have moments of clarity where she can sign documents?
If so, She could sign those for your aunt or for your mom or both. So again a person with dementia can have moments of clarity where they can make legal decisions.
It won’t matter that your mom has cared for her two years or ten years, Aunt could produce a document showing GM had deeded her the house.
If there are no documents stating otherwise, What you have now is a place to live in exchange for caring for GM and the knowledge that GM and Aunt can make trouble at any time.
So your fears are well founded.
If GM died tomorrow intestate your mom would have to move her family out and sell the home as aunt would have a legal right to her portion regardless of how unfair that may seem.
What GP wanted is soon forgotten. GP himself is soon forgotten. Sorry for that but it’s what I’ve observed.
So you can see that even if GM wasn’t causing a problem with her wild accusations, and told your aunt to take a hike, it still wouldn’t matter if things weren’t legally documented. Rita would still have to split with aunt.
Many people do not have the proper legal documents and nothing bad happens.
But those people probably don’t have an aunt like yours.
Sometimes WITH the proper legal documents, bad things can still happen.
*The best thing for a peaceful life is for GM, if she is able to understand, to sign a care contract for your mom that pays her for her services.
To give Rita legal authority to access GM bank account to pay her bills etc.
To give Rita a POA for medical and financial care.
To deed the house to Rita if that is GM desire. (Even then your GM would need to live five more years without Medicaid for your mom to inherit).
If GM has lost the ability to do this or chooses not to do this then your family is operating on a day to day basis.
Once it is clear that GM can no longer make legal decisions and a doctor agrees then your mom could file for guardianship but that is even more record keeping and reporting and Aunt could say she wanted guardianship instead, etc. And the assets, if any left, would still be divided. AND it is very expensive.
I know your mom didn’t take care of her father and now her mother for the assets but each penny she saves her mother will be split with her sister. Just so she knows.
And the larger cost is to her marriage, you children and her own health. This is your mom’s life being spent in servitude and to a lesser degree you own. Many do it. I have done myself but there are many issues to deal with that most of us only learn about when the occur.
If GM is placed in a Medicaid facility for care then a lien is placed on her home so that her estate can pay back to the extent possible any funds GM owes the government for her care.
In some states if a person was cared for in their home for a certain length of time that they would have otherwise needed to be in a facility, then that person (Rita) who did the care that kept them from the state sponsored care, could continue to live in that home until she moved or died.
So in that scenario your mom still wouldn’t outright own the home.
101 yr old home with delayed maintenance might not be worth much to Medicaid but the property it sits on might be.
You see there are many variables and ifs and maybes.
Which is why, Amijoy says, walk away. Let “know it all” Aunt take over.
MM gave very good advice and if you look up her posts you will see that she had POA and a sweet mom and still had to deal with the sisters.
There are no guarantees and everyone’s life matters. Not just GMs.
edit: I agree with Joann, if there is a trust that needs to be clearly understood.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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I just looked up Living Trusts. It looks like a couple can do a "joint" living trust.

Here is what I found:

"When one spouse dies, the surviving spouse is often designated as the sole remaining beneficiary and is generally named as the surviving trustee, then upon the death of the surviving spouse, property passes to the named heirs. ... It is also possible for each party to create his or her own living trust."

I doubt if Gma is cognitive enough to change the trust. So it will remain as it is.

You really need to see the lawyer who drew it up. Also need to get GMa evaluated and declared incompetent.

In hindsight, the deal between Gpa and ur Mom should not have included the other two. They would have found out about the trust at Gmas passing.
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I really don't know much about Trusts. But, if GDad had a trust made up saying ur Mom gets the house then I don't see how Gma can override it. I would think it was done legally. I would go to the lawyer who wrote up the trust and see how it reads before I make any decisions. If its ironclad then there would be no problem.

Then I would talk to the lawyer about writing letters to the 2 siblings telling them to knock off the harrassment. That the Trust is binding. (If it is)

I am assuming here that no one has POA? I hope Mom does. As POAs Mom would not have to tell siblings how Gmas money has been spent. Keeping good records is a must. Like u said Gmas bankstatement shows the checks used.

If grandma has not been diagnoised, she needs to be evaluated. Labs should be done and a neurology check up. A good physical.
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ChristinaE97 Jun 7, 2019
so my mom made me aware she does have POA financially, medically i don’t believe she does. we do keep all receipts for house bills etc. she has been diagnosed but has not been declared incompetent, her current dr has told us it’ll be a few months till pelative care can be something we look to. thank you for your advice it very much appreciated and give some comfort.❤️
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I am so sorry, Christina. I lived that nightmare when I left my home in another state to live with Mom and care for her until she died. My local Twisted Sisters basically accused me of the same things.

Twisted Aunt seems to think the house is your mother's per your grandfather's living trust, but if the house is indeed in grandmother's name, as you wrote, your grandmother decides where it goes when she passes. Your aunt is stirring the pot for no reason (Yeah, I know, people like this don't need reasons.)

- Write a Memo for Record of everything in your recollection of what was said in the past, when (dates, times), places, and list the people who witnessed it. Be specific. Add to the Memo whenever anything happens.
- Keep receipts for everything. Attach a little reminder note of anything that pertains to that receipt. Maybe it was for an odd thing or service and a note explaining it can be a big deal.
- Get a copy of Grandfather's living trust if you can. While the trust states Grandfather wants the house to go to your mother, your grandmother does control who gets it.
- Keep a log of services you all have done for your grandmother, such as scheduling or driving her to a doctor's appointment.

- You wrote: " When my grandma goes out with her she tells my aunt my mom writes checks with her money and she doesn’t know where we spend her money." This is very concerning. Your grandmother is claiming your mother is stealing her money or, at the very least, mismanaging it. Nip this in the bud immediately.
-- How does your mother document paying your grandmother's bills? Every penny of GM's finances must be accounted for.
-- For my mom, I made up a monthly sanitized [no account numbers or bank names] statement accounting for every penny. One page was essentially a checkbook ledger, but I made it full-page size so I could include any notes to explain a particular entry. (That saved me when my two narcissist Twisted Sisters descended on me that I had mismanaged Mom's money.)
--- Also, I had another page that included property taxes, insurance (when they were last paid and when it was due again), any loans to family members, et al. At any time, a family member could review the latest statement and know exactly the status of anything involving Mom's finances and property.
--- Make sure this statement balances with bank statements to confirm.
--- Keep a copy of each statement for yourself.

-- When your grandmother is having a good day and cognizant, have your mother sit with your grandmother and go through GM's finances slowly and carefully. Ensure GM is assured her money is well spent and in good hands. Don't stop until GM is satisfied all is well with her money. Do this every time GM mentions the slightest concern with her money. With my mom, when I first took over her finances, she was distraught, which is entirely understandable. Over time and by slowly reviewing her monthly statements and her checkbook with Mom, she became quite comfortable with me handling her finances.

-- Consider recording the conversations. I recorded the conversation when Twisted 2 questioned my handling of Mom's finances armed with a list of questionable distributions by Mom's lawyer [this was less than week after Mom passed!]. It's all recorded that we went through the list together and TW2's on-speaker phone conversation with TW1 that all was well that TW2 was satisfied with my handling of Mom's finances.

I know it's terrifying. It was for me too. It's been a bit over a year ago and I'm still not over the trauma. If your aunt is going to accuse you all of mismanaging or stealing your grandmother's finances, make her work to find proof. Ensure you have proof that all is legal and proper.

As for your uncle and any possibility that he may get violent, be prepared to leave immediately and call 911. Don't hesitate.
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ChristinaE97 Jun 7, 2019
thank you so much for you advice!
do you have any knowledge of at what point she can be ruled incompetent with running her own affairs? she is currently at a point where she cannot cook for herself, she only wants to leave the house when her other daughter calls, she’s forgetting events and people gradually, is starting to have delusions and commonly hallucinations at night. she very hesitantly showers once a week. spends maybe 14-18 hours of her day sleeping and the rest watching tv. to other people that aren’t w her on a day to day basis she seems ok but sometimes off. those people get the best version of her. when does the time come when we have to make all decisions for her, more so than we already do. and legally how do we go about that?
thank you so much.
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It’s disturbing to me that it sounds like you have nothing in writing like a Caregiver’s Agreement. You mention “verbal agreements”, but bottom line is, in a situation like this, they’re no good and there is no legal arrangement in writing and drawn up by an attorney. You say you’re paying for things. Do you have receipts? If Mom is spending money for Grandma’s care and/or for the house, she needs to keep EVERY receipt so she can pull them out and dispute Grandma’s accusations that she’s doing sometime untoward with Grandma’s money.

If it were me in your situation, I would have a meeting of those who care-give for Grandma, make a budget, pool your resources and get back into an apartment. Do any of you work and have an income? I would divest myself of all this drama, let others who think they know it all care for Grandma and get out.
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ChristinaE97 Jun 7, 2019
hello, thank you for the advice. yes we do keep all receipts & bill payments. the only way my mom has access to her money is through a debit card that was given to her so that when my grandma is incapacitated it cannot leave the house. this was done by my grandma btw. she only uses it for when we need to get her prescriptions and diapers. basically her personal supplies. all which can be proven with her bank statements.
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