My mom is 88, and refuses to do a will or Trust. This is a type of emotional blackmail. What do I do?


I have been the chosen child out of 3 children helping my mom for the last 15 yrs since my dad died (and trust me, I have done chores etc., that I would only do for my mom). I have gotten her to move into the house (with the mortgage) so she can be close to me, my sister (who is always busy), and her teenage granddaughter (who is also busy). I now live a mile from my mom and my sister lives 9 miles away. My sister and I have a less than authentic relationship but we are cordial and all of us do things at time for my mom and my niece (the grand - daughter). Several years ago my mom said that she wanted to leave me the most because I do the most for her. I never asked her for this. When she bought the house she is now living in - she started dangling this over my head saying she wanted to leave it to me and my husband to live in and then to give to her granddaughter. So we would pay the mortgage and preserve the house for her granddaughter and she BELIEVES this is leaving me something. I’ve tried
explaining this to her but it is hopeless. We don’t plan to move into her house, unless there was some unforeseen unfortunate event, and I have taken the stance if it makes her happy that she thinks she is doing something for me - fine. Problem is she continually puts off doing her will or Trust - because she is constantly scrutinizing anything I do or don't do and then tells me she doesn't want to go to a lawyer because she is evaluating her wishes. I have told her that SHE IS NOT giving me anything, that she can give whatever to whomever. She is also paralyzed by the decision of what to do in reference to this in regards to my brother who is on his third not speaking to her since my dad’s death..this time he has not spoken to her since Sept., and his wife has not spoken to my mom in 2 years. My sister has a cordial dinner relationship with my mom and is content with this as my mom has told her she is giving me her house with the mortgage. Since they just do short visits and dinner – my mom praises what a nice relationship they have compared to ours at this point, as it is strained, because it is not EASY helping my mom. My mom is really concerned about what goes to my brother as he has disappointed her so and has been so disrespectful. All of this is dysfunctional. At this point she cannot stand the thought of anything going to his wife. All this aside, my mom has been a good steward of her finances and I cannot seem to convince her she should protect them by going to an attorney - and that she can still change her mind in regards to the Trust at any time. She says if she changes her mind it will cost her again. She is resentful when I bring up going to a lawyer and says this is all I care about. I only bring it up like every 4 months. For her to say this to me – with all the caring I have tried to help provide her – this is incredulous to me. She also says that since all of us are the ones benefitting from what she leaves behind (especially me???) that I should pay the attorney for her Trust. Can anyone advise me what to do?
Do I just give up on it? How do I handle her thinking I am the one who benefits?? All of this, I have let, be crazy-making for me.

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yes i would defintely find out about the mortgage
Helpful Answer (1)

The 5 yr. lookback period means when applying for medicaide they can took back the past 5 years and if you have given away large am'ts of money or made a trust agreement within 5 years of applying for medicaide that money will have to be paid back . If the person needs a NH placement they will be self pay until that money is paid back/ 4hope it sounds she is being crafty getting you to do all her work and she knows damn well what she is doing -detach yourself and do not feel you have to do anything for her that you do not want to do -let her hire someone to do her bills and yard work-you should read the discussion bt cmagnum on dysfunctional families to get more imformation on this narcissic women-she is playing you for a fool- take away her power to verbally abuse you-take your power back.
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The 5-year look-back is for figuring if someone qualifies or "deserves" help from the State.
If they look back, and see assets were given away or sold, that could have been used to pay for the client's needs instead of the State, they will challenge why that person needs their help.
IF assets were got-rid-of within the 5 year look-back, it is up to the person or the family to prove why the person should still get help by the State--otherwise, the State can refuse to help.
On applications to Welfare, they DO ask if there are any kinds of life insurance policies, retirement funds, Living Trusts, etc. --they ask about ALL of the possibles. IF someone has investments taht could be tapped, Welfare will usually tell people to use those up first--that is what they call "Spend-Down".
Welfare recipients are only allowed to accumulate about $1000 or $2000 in savings or in their checking account--anything over their maximum limit, they will start cutting off welfare services, all or part.
Some folks have tried to hide assets from the system, but they have your numbers; everything comes up on the computer when they go looking; hiding assets is highly inadvisable.
SOMEtimes, an elder who has been irresponsible with their assets, as long as there is supportive evidence explaining that, can still get help. My Mom disappeared $240K within about 2 years. Gave it to my siblings, handed it to beggars, bought hoards of junk, literally hiding money in batches of $10K in odd places. Bottom line, she was unreliable historian of her situation, and iresponsible handling her money. But because IF she would have allowed being assessed by a Psych Doc, to make it official that she was how she is, The State would them help her out.
But because my siblings refused to work together to get Mom the help she really needed [for a lifetime], that will not work. So she is currently living with one of them, and they can keep paying for her needs out of their pockets, since that seems to be what they want.
Getting family members to work together to get the needs met for someone who is elderly and/or disabled, can be a tough process. It was a terribly broken one in our family.
4Hope, I hope it is better in yours!
You have been going above and beyond the call of duty for a long time.
If her old will does not reflect her current wishes, the only way she can get her current wishes honored upon her death, is if she re-words her will.
She COULD make a--I think it is called a "Numismatic Will", without a lawyer.
Look up online about "Handwritten Will".
I believe those MUST be written in the person's handwriting, contain date, signature, and contain the wording that the person wants, to describe what goes to whom. A Handwritten Will canNOT be Notarized, , as that invalidates the Handwritten Will.
But those cost nothing to do.
The others can contest a handwritten will; they can contest the lawyer's will.
Both can be taken to court--the crux will be, proving your Mom is of "Sound Mind" when she handwrote the new one, and not being "coerced" by you or anyone else. She can use wording and similar layout to the existing lawyer-done will, just changing what she wants.
NO-it cannot be typed nor word-processed,
only completely hand-written in the handwriting of the person who's assets are being described.
Keep it in a safe place until it is needed.
This should work fine, IF your Mom is really talking about changing her will.
She may not be talking about that, but simply complaining and worrying over the pitfalls her kids have gotten into.
You can also look for your Local Area Agency on Aging [not the sound-alike advertized on this website], your local agency usually has volunteer lawyers come in once a week or so, for Seniors to get help from--for free--usually answering questions.
Say--Are you getting paid in any way, for taking care of your Mom?
You should be!
Any agencies know you are taking care of her long-term?
Your rebutting her statements about how much she is giving you, or that you will inherit, dol not work--verbal statements "never happened".
Further, her statements to that effect appear more like early signs that she is NOT thinking clearly. That is further supported by her complaining about your care, while praising the others who do not help her out regularly.

Please DO explore elder care facilities. You may rapidly be approaching time to move her into one. It is past-time to get Social Workers to assess her situation, and yours.
YOU can also ask for help from your local Area Agency on Aging or equivalent--for legal, regarding the house you have been living in to care for Mom, and about a more assisted living or nursing home facility for your Mom--and how that might affect where you are living.
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Tell her the truth. Of boy just what I want is a house with a mortgage to pay for someone else. Your right on the emotional blackmail but you don't have to put up with it. Just do less and see her response then.
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I think everyone has pretty much covered all the issues....I would make darn sure you don't get the house with the mortgage if it is due and payable at the time of death. My mom came to live with me and it took 4 years to sell. Why it was on the market i was paying the mortgage. All beause of something she signed. Don't get stuck paying that mortgage.
I would try to get yourself paid as siblings do appear to like a caregiver type wanting too collect after the fact. if you pay her bills, pay yourself. A medi cal caregiver here in CA gets $11 to $12 dollars an hour.
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Gee-- this crap happens to a lot of us. I think the older we get-- some feel a profound loss of control over many things-some cope better then others--
She needs to stop talking to you about this-it does seem abusive--a bit of splitting--by not doing anything --the assets will get divided---many who get money are in no way worthy of it.. Trust me I know I am dealing with my mothers very large estate-- she was very abusive-- made many changes-- and left some things alone-- it is a mess.

I am very sorry you are dealing with this--
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Wise people on this site. I've had a hard week. I 'hope' I can be of help also ot others - I seem to just be absorbing info at the moment. Thanks for all the sharing.
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"When people say there is a 5 year lookback - does that mean that if her assetts are in a will or a Trust before the 5 year period that the Government or Medicaid can not touch it?"

Here's a link to a great site that explains the situation quite clearly:
Helpful Answer (2)

Hire an elder care attorney that works for YOU. Get your own will, POA, living will, medical proxy, health care proxy (some states require 4 separate documents some will let you do it all in one document). Show them to her and tell her you have done it and what they say.

Before you see the lawyer:
1. write out your-her situation in bullet form (this will save you money explaining the situation multiple times and keep the discussion focused.
2. Word of mouth is best recommendation but if you can't get a personal recomendation interview at least 3. Many will give you a free first (short) interview.
3. find out what elder services are available in your community. Are there senior centers, meals on wheels, community transportation?
4. have a family meeting to lay out (in writing) what tasks each is willing to do and how much money each is willing to contribute
5. if she won't pay someone to do yardwork etc, ask sibllings to contribut so much a month to a pot and you hire someone to do those things (it's easier to do that for outside tasks than cleaning & cooking inside her house)
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Jeanne said it well! So have others.
As she ages, and loses a sense of autonomy for herself, she tries to manipulate however she can think of doing it, to maintain a certain feeling that she still controls her life.
Gotta work hard to avoid letting her dangle the carrots in front of your nose, then yank them. Not in any form.
Mindgames like that can drive a person crazy, not knowing what will hit next.
When an Elder is successful using this tactic, they usually try other renditions of same.
Playing the "you're my favorite" game is nasty.
Same thing with any game contining words like "you are getting everything anyway!" [yeah, right!][when they say things like that, they mean others will get everything, not you!]

Good you are doing your homework.
Good she has at least the old Will.
But that does not cover the house in discussion.

Mom started purchase of that house,
--and you have been making the mortgage payments?
How long? Keep documents that you are making payments?
You also paying the taxes on it? For how long?
You pay for it but not own it.
...kinda like renting a place you are not living in, for a relative
--everyone knows about this, as witness, yes? Would they put this in writing for court evidence?

Unless the mortgage holder agrees to transfer it to you, without any papers stating it was your Mom's wishes, you could find yourself entirely re-purchasing it at market rates, if you choose to keep it.
OTherwise, you have paid out plenty money from your pockets, for other's benefits--
--as long as that is OK with you, fine.
At some point, it starts appearing more like you have been suckered.

The more likley is, Mom will need higher-levels of care in a nursing home, and the equity in that house will help pay for that nursing homje care.
Used to be, some folks simply signed the deed or documents to their homes, over to the SNF they went to live in, up front.
A couple hard-line financial recovery measures might be:
[Option 1]: You could, with your documented payments for services rendered, put a lien on her property's equity, so that when it is sold, you get paid back.
[Option 2]: Ask your County offices for a copy of the local rules governing "Adverse Posession". IF you have been paying the property taxes annually for long enough, and otherwise complying with the number and type of other rules to qualify, it is possible,
IF you wanted to pursue it,
to file a Squatter's Rights case: an Adverse Possession.
You have been providing care, Gratis, for an amount of time, and possibly also
paying taxes and mortgage payments on it, plus
whatever else out of pocket expenses for Mom.
IF that property is in your interests to obtain, those might be ways to do it, right out from under her nose, IF you qualify.
That would make sure that you got it,
and you could then will it or give it to your Niece, as Mom had discussed...

IF you gave it to your Niece,
the mortgage payments are then hers, right?
Otherwise, that is a BIG gift to her;
----sounds like it is mostly a gift from you, NOT your Mom, really?

It is perhaps time to forget about what your Mom says.
She is, from your descriptions, unable to be rational, nor take care of her business appropriately.
It is possible [?] that she needs evalauted to have the County or Social Worker assign you, or someone else, as POA / Executor of her estate, making that person who decides issues for her estate, in all it's complexities, pays her bills, etc.
The longer you keep paying into that house, the larger the hole in your pocket, and the greater the vested interest in it you might have, to keep it.
Shucks, by stringing you along, long enough, YOU will have BOUGHT that place for your siblings.
Only you can determine if that is OK with you!

Mom is not who she used to be. Don't allow her behaviors to so beat you down, that you lose sight of the good things she used to do. The way things are going, it is kinda sounding like that might be happening. Her kind of behaviors can litterally drive the caregiver over the edge into insanity, even for a short time, until the caregiver can get quit of that situation,
or find ways to cope to protect their interior mind/emotions-landscape.
Please take care!
Most folks here have gone through something like you are in.
There is some very good advice o these lists!
Take heart!
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