What to do when a parent refuses to make a will? - AgingCare.com

What to do when a parent refuses to make a will?

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My mom is 86 yrs old. Lives w/ my brothers- one is undiagnosed Schizophrenia. My mom owns 7 homes- worth around 3 million dollars. She refused to make a Will or anything else.
I've tried to tell her that the state will take 40%. She has continued working into her 80's to pay off the last house.
She tells me, She does not care what happens when she dies. That noone cares about her so why should she care? As she gets older, she is getting harder and harder to deal with. She either gives excuses, or says she doesn't feel well.
One of my brothers is on the title of 2 of her homes. I don't know if it is 'Joint tenancy' or what.
I tried to tell her to have a 'contingency' plan, just in case, but to at least have something legally written down. To write down whatever her wishes are (besides doing nothing) and that the remainder to be equally divided among her 4 children + 1 grown child out of the country, so 5 of us. I've tried to be fair and have her include the child she abandoned many years ago.
I took her 2+ yrs ago to a paralegal, he drew up the papers, she never went back to finalize them and now refuses to go. He won't do anything. He is happy that he's paid but doesn't have to do any of the work. At the paralegals she had me as Executor (I'm my dad's too, they are divorced) and had set up a Conservatorship for my brother as she is concerned he will 'blow' thru her money and become homeless.
Any suggestions? Thank you in advance! I truly appreciate it.

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Just another example of how 'you can't take it with you' I guess. Sad.
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You two ladies are amazing! Handling this tough question w/ love and humor- simple words from me- Thank you!
I should have said the biggest crime is that she missed out on the lives of her 5 children and her grandchildren!
My sister said to me, When God closes a door, he opens a window. Because of my mother's lack of mothering- I've had AMAZING relationships with other, older women- now that is something to be thankful for!!! Reminds me to count the blessings I have- you wonderful women included!
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Frustratedkid, just as your mother could decide to leave her estate to the Society for the Preservation of Tree Frogs, she can decide to give a big chunk of it to the government. Hey, the government can always use some money, right?

I don't know what the difference is in the tax bite with and without a will -- I'm never going to be on either the receiving end or the giving end, so I haven't been motivated to find out. But if Mother just plain doesn't care, be glad it will at least go to our government and not some foreign nation!

Just as she has made choices about the nature of her relationship with her children all her life, she can now make choices about what happens to her wealth when she dies. Her money. Her choice. Maybe not choices you and I approve of, but that doesn't change the outcome.
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jeannegibbs,
Thank you for your perspective. A new thought for me to mull over. It helps, hurts, but helps. My mom has not been there my whole life so now when she can do something for me, and the others, she won't. I've been a single mom w/ no support for 11 yrs. It has not been easy but I've managed to survive.
One difference you did not mention, is that the state will take nearly 1.5 million of her estate- that is the crime in all this. As another person mentioned in a similar post- I will be the one to clean up, always me, the responsible one. I spoke to an attorney once. He said, your mother is a dream come true for our profession. I will drop this subject. I suppose I should look at it IF I receive anything after she passes, whatever amount, large or small-that will be the gift. To expect nothing more from her than I've already received.
Thank you for your gentle way with words!
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Maybe your mother is simply telling the truth. Maybe her passion was acquiring the wealth, with no other purpose in mind. She did not do it to support some worthy cause and she did not do it to leave a legacy for her children. And she flat out doesn't care what happens to it after she dies. If that is the case, I don't think any appeal to her sense of responsibility or fairness will have much impact.

So what will happen when she dies without a will? The two properties with your brother's name on them MAY pass directly to him, depending how the ownership is set up. That may not be "fair" but it doesn't sound like your mother is particularly concerned about being fair. Then the value of the remaining property will be divided equally among the five of you. Is that really so different than what you would want her to set up in a will?

It is her money. She can leave it all to a home for homeless tomcats. She can divide it among her children. She can leave it all to one child. Or she can refuse to take an interest in what happens to it after she is dead.

Do I think she is doing the right thing? Oh my goodness, No. Do I think there is much you can do to influence her? That answer is a big No also.

I suggest that you just drop the entire subject. What will be will be. And continue to try to establish a relationship with her -- though I don't hold out a lot of hope for that, either.

Sorry. :(
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My mom has no close friends. Her whole life she has devoted to accumulating wealth. Sad for me is that she has worked, worked, worked and has no appreciation for family. Basically has no close relationship w/ any of her children. Refuses to even correspond w/ the child she left many years ago... I've always tried to be a 'good daughter' even if she has not been a mother to me. Not having a relationship w/ her is my biggest regret of my life - not for trying though! As I've told her- it doesn't matter what it costs to go out and eat lunch, what is important is that I spend time w/ you and my child to spend time with grandma! I think it is all about CONTROL, and she will not relinquish any of it until she has to- when she is dead! Thank you for answering, I'm trying to stay positive and that she will want to do what is her responsibility and what is right.
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Does your mother have a friend who is a lawyer? Maybe the friend could come over and sit with her alone so she could do her advanced directives and draw up a will. She can't be made to do a will, of course. From what you wrote, I realize you already know that the state will make decisions if she dies atestate. It is all up to your mother, and from what she said, she just doesn't want to deal with it. Maybe it reminds her that death is getting closer, and that writing a will may be tempting fate. Many people do have superstitious thoughts, so put off wills and funeral plans, often dying atestate and without a prepaid funeral.
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