My mother (89) needs to update her will since her husband, our dad passed and a daughter, sibling passed in Jan.2018. Any advice?

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I am the oldest of 7 and 4 daughters remain alive, + 14 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren. Post the above 2 funerals, my mother is aware she needs to make changes, & take out the recently deceased above (both died suddenly). My parents were/ are financially secure, & choose to live their lives conservatively, and were not open to share any funds, financial resources, etc. Money seemed to be often the main focus of our parents goals, & so be it. My mother is alone now, & at odds & in a quandry, about how to re do her will, which she mentions to me daily, & appears to be in much stress about. Post my fathers funeral, and my sisters passing, my mother has judged who has not been there for her, & appears angry, disappointed, & frequently speaks that it is disgusting, that no one calls, visits etc. At present only 2 siblings, by choice are involved, but the topic continually is of how all the others are not. I am saddened by that, & also am aware that one cannot make or insist people come & visit etc.


Prior to my dads passing he would call, & say to others that they had a duty to visit my mother etc.The guilt trip was often not welcomed, but my fathers emotional well being towards my mother was paramount. He was her spokesperson often, although she is independent, or so she believes, & in very good health at 88. I am becoming weary with a broken spirit, hearing about a will, almost daily. I have asked for years, & still request to not be in it, as i have sensed and still do, a major upheaval, and why all the lifelong focus on the future when the present matters more! All my mom talks of is what she needs to do, as if she dies tomorrow the state will come in & take it. She has seen at length 2 elder law attorneys who both have written extensive drafts, but she disagrees with both. I have suggested that she give input to these attorneys & share that she has currently strained relationships and needs guidance etc. Often she says as did my father, that no one is deserving,and thus it should go to charity. I also have supported that verbally, and then my mother says, why give to strangers who will never appreciate it. The main caveat is, I see as I always have, was that my parents #1 goal was always to be financially independent, pay off their home, own properties, etc, and that has been acheived as a goal multiple times, and in doing so, it has been their choice to keep accumulating etc.


I guess I am stumped in assisting my mother advice wise,which is a daily topic of who is not there for her, and as a result should not get $$ items, assests etc......Money is a tool and a neccessity, and it has I believe added to the fragmentation of our family. I am aware my father was raised in the depression era, etc. but it equally saddens me, that money has become over the years the Main Focus of their lives. My mothers dilemmna to not feel anyone deserves it, and to cut out this one and that one, is consuming her, and talking of it, to me , is exhausting me also. Over the years the-focus of money, and their choice to not share any excess, was and is their choice. I would like to see my mom do whatever she wants, however she feels there is no one or two deserving. I am & will continue to be there as she is alone, and lonely, although she denies it. I also must share, as my dad was getting sicker and sicker with his serious heart ailment, my mother was annoyed at his condition, and as one nurse told us, she is just not a caretaker.


I was one of the last to see my dad, in the hospital, and he never looked or felt better. He was looking forward to coming home (he never did) but his one request was & was the first time I heard this and that was he did not want to be anywhere near my mother, and I knew why. (they lived in the same home, diff rooms) He sensed, knew, and had experienced her intolerance, and her reluctance to help care for him, and to get help (as she did not want anyone in her home, etc, it was becoming a nightmare!) My mother also the day before my father died, was annoyed when he, my Dad called her from the hospital nearby, as she had not called or visited in 3 days, and asked why? And her reply was,” well I am talking to you now” My father wanted to be loved, and I believe he never felt that, he craved her love, and was there for her always. Money,money,money, I have seen what it can do, if it becomes the focus of ones life, everyday, and how unhealthy that can be. My mother was also never denied what she wanted, & having enough money to be comfortable, gave her the independence. Both parents were also I feel very judgemental and critical of their children and most individuals. So I write all this as I feel I married my parents years ago, and have spent my entire life, serving them, as did my siblings. I am aware that self love must come first, so here I am, still trying to be present, but at the same time feeling alone and overwhelmed. I am a party of one, lost, depressed, and left my educational position years ago. My mother was an only child, loved her father, and hated her mother, our nana who the 7 of us adored.Thank you.

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I agree, she may not really have to change her will. Our wills read that what is his is mine and what is mine is his. Upon the death of both of us it will go to my girls. There r 8 yrs between my daughters so as each became adults revisions were made. As said, probate can use the last will. I agree that something has been set up if there is a death. I think its standard.

Has this "will" thing been an on going thing or worse lately. If worse, I would consider this an anxiety thing and Mom might need some meds. Next time she talks about the Will, tell her that since she is not doing anything about it, just leave things as they are. That until she is ready to see a lawyer you no longer want to hear about it. If she gets mad, she gets mad. From what u have written, she has no idea how to nurture or love. I bet her father was like that so she tried desperately to get his love and attention. Or Daddy spoiled her rotten and ur Dad followed. She was never taught others have feelings. Whatever, at 89 you are not going to change her so u set boundries. What ur willing and not willing to do. You are an adult, not a child.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Depending on how your mother's original will reads, she may not NEED to make any revisions based on your father's and sister's passing. Most wills have a provision for what should happen to the share that was left to any beneficiary who pre-deceases the will maker. (In my parents' living trust, the % that is bequeathed to both my sister and me is left "per stirpes" which means that if either of us dies before both our parents, that sister's share in the estate passes to her children.) Your mom's will may have a similar provision, which means she doesn't HAVE to make changes due to these deaths in your family. (My condolences for your losses.)

Considering that she is re-thinking her will beneficiaries based on how she feels relatives have been caring or uncaring towards her, and she's not a fan of donating to charities, you might encourage her to spend some of her assets on "bucket list" items for herself, so that she's not leaving huge pile of assets behind. There is nothing wrong or selfish about spending one's hard-earned retirement $$$ on oneself, rather than leaving behind a big "legacy" to those who can't find the time to call or visit to ease loneliness. (Yes, of course, she is lonely -- that's why it hurts her that these people don't appear to care.) Perhaps some senior-oriented travel, if she is physically able. Would you be able to travel with her to help?

Or maybe she would be interested in establishing a scholarship fund at a favorite college or university -- something that would carry your family name and ensure there is fiscal oversight and be beneficial to many others over time. She could stipulate the qualifications for receiving scholarship funds. (My grandparents did this with a portion of their estate, and 2 of my cousins received some funds from the scholarship.)

Though she may not technically NEED to revise her will, she probably should, just so you can get some peace from her constant complaints about your family members. I would encourage her to pick the attorney whose draft came closest to her wishes and work with that professional to refine the amendments. You need to get this thing finalized so your mother (and you!) can move on to living life. Good luck. :-)
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Reply to funnymomof3
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Don't worry over her money/will decisions - they are hers and really you cannot accomplish anything - I suspect that money equals power and control in her mind.  And as she ages, she realizes that power/control is compromised by illness and finally death. Her problems are spiritual - assuming she is not demented, I'd suggest that she put her spiritual affairs in order, that trying to control others through money is destructive to all, and time and energy could be better spent in self-reflection and setting healthy goals.  I know she will protest, etc., but it is possible that some of what you say will stay with her.
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Reply to rovana
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I agree with C. Seems you just needed our forum to vent. That’s perfectly fine. Mother seems to be dedicating the remainder of her life putting beans in jars to count up whom she happens to approve of that day and whom she does not. To try to help her figure this out is self-defeating as you have already discovered.

Go live your own life. It’s time. Don’t worry about who gets what. When Mother passes, let the probate court figure out the whole thing. As long as you remain Mother’s sounding Board, things will not change.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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I gather you are just venting. If your mother can live on her own, I suggest getting out of there and get on with your own life. It's past time to divorce your parents. It is not healthy or right to be emotionally married to one's parents. You have been abused and need counseling instead of more of your mother's issues over money.
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Reply to cmagnum
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Gavianna Jul 29, 2018
Thank you for your thoughts and words.My mother lives on her own,in the house she and mother have lived in for 50 years.Taking care of her home,apoears to be of the utmost importance.My fathers room,and office den,were cleared out,1 month later.I agree that i need counseling and need support,and a support system,which i do not have.I have turned to isolating and am not sure how to detach,humanistically,as i am the only one she opens up to,and i do feel a sense of parental obligation,since i am the only adult child she feels somewhat safe talking to,and does.Why i feel obligated,is part of who i am,but it also saddens me,as i now am seeing a pattern,of behavior I often forgave,over many years and now feel empathy for.In truth my mother was spoiled by my father as all he ever wanted was to be loved,by her,and lacked self love himself.I also see what my being thete,for both parents affected my life.I need to detach and am unsure exactly how to.My mother is healthy,and cognitivly adept.All i keep thinking is that how we live is how we die,meaning if one is generous,kind,selfless,giving etc.throughout their life,then death of a partner or death,does not change their inate soul and being.My mother has no faith anymore,of any kind,and feels life has been unfair,and how others treat her now,is astounding to her,as her questions are,” what did i ever do to them? And besides i am their mother and i am 88 years old”? I am grateful i am sharing and writing as i desperatly need direction,input,and support.I know ,no other way and am open to being enlightened.Money,assests and things etc mean nothing to me,nor ever have,and i think it is sad,to have such things and be torn as to hear,daily,”well your father and i amassed all this ,and we feel no one is quite deserving.”Such repeated words daily,i find sad,and i just listen and respond with its your choice,and whatever you decide,is your choice.How to detach is my challenge.There is no other sibling,nor anyone she feels she can talk to.I believe my way,is her choice as i am by nature a good listener,and non judgemental,and an open minded by nature.I also have flashbacks,every now and then of unpleasant words and actions by both parents and i tell myself,that was then and this is now.I was aware of the unhealhly behavior often towards me( & my siblings) and am not up to revisiting all of it now,for what is the point? My family is dysfunctional and has been for some time.As children we were property,in a way.Money is a control issue and has such weak power,no power really.I agree with the words above of counting beans in a jar as to who is on the approval list for that day.I thank all for caring and sharing,and feel like my journey has just begun.I did need to open up and vent,and welcome any other additional steps ,input,and words of wisdom.Thank you again.,.... and i am glad i found this site.
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