My mother in law is in her late seventies. Her sister just recently passed away and her other sister is in and out of the hospital on a regular basis. With her older sisters recent passing, none of the decisions for funeral planning or...I am not sure how to say this correctly...where to put her were made or expressed in advance. (One of her four children had to fit the bill entirely on her own. The poor girl had to put the entire thing on her credit card...and I am sure by knowing her siblings will be paying it off on her own as well). The siblings that didn't bother to help of course had a boat load of opinions and wanted to disagree about everything. I feel unless my mother in law gets it together...we will be stuck with all of the finances and have to deal with the deadbeat siblings in our family. She absolutely refuses to even discuss it. When I told her that my husband and myself have a plot already paid for and have very precise instructions as to our choices, she told me she didn't care what we decided. I asked her if she had any money set aside for this (she has about $1700 a month in disposable income). Her response to me was that, it is not her responsibility to pay for it, that we have to deal with that. (Excuse me, what?) We built a thousand square foot mother in law apartment/addition onto our home. It has a separate entrance, separate yard, we fully furnished it with the furniture she chose and put in all the appliances and fixtures, flooring she on and so on. She pays no rent or utilities of any kind. My husband paid off her car and pays the insurance and maintenance. Mind you, we live in a subdivision and still have a mortgage and now a second mortgage due to this. I was flabbergasted. What? I am fully annoyed. The fact that she will not even address the topic is very frustrating, but the fact that she feels we should provide for her funeral and burial without even making an attempt to take care of it on her own. Frustrating. Have you had this talk with your parents, did they make these decisions...did they avoid it? Did they expect you to pay for it? I am at a loss. I feel we have done so much and I do not think what we are asking of her is out of line. Maybe uncomfortable, but not out of line. How do we make her understand she needs to address this.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
She has $1700 in disposable income and is not paying rent? Of course she feels entitled, you have created a monster. Time for some boundaries to be put in place.

First start charging her rent. $595 per month is 35% of her income., Me, I would be charging more to to cover utilities. Put the rent collected right onto your mortgage.

Second, let her know that unless she prepays and plans her funeral, you will be donating her body. She does not seem to care what happens, so let a teaching university or other place that takes the remains of the indigent take her away.

Third, her car. Unless you hubby is on the registration, why would he pay it off for her? That makes no sense at all. Even once she pasy you rent she will have $1100 per month for food, car payments, insurance etc.

Stop making life easy for her. She is an adult woman who needs to be held responsible for her expenses. What on earth is she spending $1700 per month on?
Helpful Answer (27)
So agree with everything you just said!!!!
And she is not paying rent...Why? Where is your husband in all of this? He sounds like he is an enabler to his mother.

I wouldn't worry about what to do with her after she dies, cremations are inexpensive and she won't know the difference. The days of the big showoff funeral are long gone.

Start charging her rent, $600 a month is a nice round figure. Stop enabling her.

If you husband doesn't have her durable POA time to get it.

The problem is not her, it is that you and your husband have no boundaries. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Helpful Answer (26)
Harpcat Oct 2019
Excellent! Although I do think the mother feels entitled and they have enabled her
Respectfully, you are asking how to have a conversation with the wrong person. This is your mother-in-law, not your mother. Your conversation seeking answers to the questions you've asked should be with your husband, not your MIL.

As a minister, I counsel families in this situation often. This isn't new. And sadly comes all too often with a spoonful of extra pain.

I fully understand your desire, and right, to have your questions answered. You are wise to be looking ahead with practicality. That said, if you take the lead in asking her these questions she is likely to make you the "bad guy" for forcing her to face these issues. Resentment generally will then bubble to the surface creating a host of other problems. I'm not suggesting such responses are justified, only to say, I've seen it happen countless times.

My suggestion would be to have a private talk with your husband to find out where he stands. Once you two are on the same page with expectations of what you will and will not be taking care of, it then becomes his job to have a talk with HIS Mom.
He can respectfully ask her what her wishes are for her years ahead, and then clearly state which of those details you & he will be helping with and which details she will need to financially cover with other sources.

I find myself explaining to people that these conversations come down to one thing, setting healthy boundaries. It need not be an ugly conversation once healthy boundaries and expectations are set. The thing I cannot stress enough, that conversation needs to happen between parent and child, AFTER the "child" has come to definite and unequivocal agreement with his/her spouse. And it actually makes the conversation with the parent easier when they enter the talk clearly knowing in advance which responsibilities they will accept.

Be the encourager to your spouse reminding him, once the two of you are on the same page, the talk with his mom is not a negotiation. He is simply sharing the facts with her. How she responds is her choice. MIL may not initially like the boundaries set, but to be blunt, "oh well." She'll swallow them a whole lot easier though if they come from her own child.

Your standing in the role of just 'supporting your husband' will keep you out of the line of fire and make your home a whole lot more peaceful as MIL must start making decisions she preferred to shove off onto others.

It's important to be respectful to our parents, while remembering our relationship with our spouse comes first.
Helpful Answer (23)
CaregiverL Oct 2019
Inn, that was best answer! Hugs 🤗
See 1 more reply
If she doesn't plan - it doesn't have to be expensive. No funeral and do an inexpensive cremation.
Helpful Answer (15)

She could get a small insurance policy to cover final expenses. I would make sure there's no cash in value and stipulate it for funeral so Medicaid can't touch it.

I would also sit her down and make sure she understood that because of 2 mortgages, her car paid off and her insurance covered its up to her to put money aside. If she is not willing to this, then she can pay for her car insurance. She should be paying what she can of the second mortgage. Paying for personal items and any special foods she likes, you don't. I believe parents should pay their way. When they can't then we step in. No way was I going to foot the bill just so my brothers could have an inheritance. I love my brothers, but they never went out of their way for Mom. Never understood why, she was a good mother.

I would also tell her if u pay for it, it will be cremation. No funeral service, no viewing, no graveside service.
Helpful Answer (12)
Good points, JoAnn
See 3 more replies
Has she ever spoken about her burial before? That’s just odd. She must have some idea of what she wants. Where was your father in law buried? Do you have a family plot? Was he cremated?

What about your husband? Has he spoken to her about this? Have the other children spoken to her about it?

Why is she living rent free? I did that too. It puts a dent in your wallet. Finally mom started paying for some expenses.

Why is your husband paying her car her car insurance and maintenance?

Why does she feel that you should pay for her burial expenses?

Tell her that you have your own expenses and you will not be paying for it. Is she leaving money in a will for you to cover her expenses?

Does she want cremation or casket? You can’t plan anything if you don’t know. That’s stressful.

Donating a body to science is available. My uncle did that.

Cremation is the least expensive. So if money is tight. I wouldn’t hesitate to have her cremated. I would not count on your in-laws to help.

Does she have a bank account with surplus money? What does she do with her money. You all have provided everything that she could possibly need, right? Am I missing something? Please fill me in if I am.

Best wishes for you and hubby. I would be flabbergasted too.
Helpful Answer (11)
MAYDAY Oct 2019
ARmstrong Cremations in Los Angeles... They are good and hlepful.
See 1 more reply
We just planned in-laws funerals. $11000 for casket, vault, grave opening, gravesite service only, transport of body, cost of obit. And embalming since relatives are on west coast. Does not include flowers or gravestone. She had the plot. For FIL who wants to be cremated, $2900. VA will pay for service and placement of ashes in grave. He wants to be with other war veterans with white grave marker
we made arrangements two weeks before leaving for a trip for west coast family wedding. Good thing. MIL died day of wedding.

funeral costs are really so high. In your case, you need to get your husband on board to get her to contribute. Or you will beggar yourselves. Her income will stop when she dies and you won’t benefit from that. So get her contribution now to pay off your second mortgage.
Helpful Answer (11)
Not your monkey, not your dance. You are setting yourself up to be triangulated between your mother in law and her son. You don't want to go there. Best to back up, have a heart to heart talk with your husband and have your husband deal with his mom. If he can't or will not, then that's another problem which will call for further action because that will likely mean that he is a co-dependent, enmeshed "mommy's boy."
Helpful Answer (10)
Some moms look at their sons differently than daughters. Thanks for bringing up this point. My mom always treated me, her only daughter as the ‘servant.’ She waited on my brothers hand and foot. My brothers expected their wives to treat them like kings.

Thank God, my wonderful MIL did not raise her sons like that. My husband respects me.
See 1 more reply
Mention its time for her to pay rent as no one lives for free anywhere and save the money for her funeral.
Helpful Answer (9)

Hi, I hope you immediately begin charging her a nice hefty rent every month, (& thereby accrue funds you need to contribute to her burial). Possibly consult a lawyer also. Good luck, but don't put up with any crap!
Helpful Answer (9)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter