I would like some opinions on a question I have. My mother passed away two weeks ago and my husband and myself were her caregivers she lived alone and we did everything for her so she could stay in her own home all appts grocery shopping ect. My sisters (I have three) came two to three times a year. One of those sisters called every day and talked to her, the other called her on Sunday night. Both of those sisters were nice to her and treated her well. The last sister hadn’t seen her for three years and actually had told her last summer she was a horrible mother after learning I had received the house. The question is, my mother had me on a bank account as co-owner, would you share this money with both of the nice sisters or all three even the mean one? Oh also the mean sister tried to get my mom to send her a big check after she told her off which she didn’t. They are already sharing in a life insurance settlement and a small account. What would you do? Thanks much.

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I looked after my mother for six years with very little assistance from one brother and next to no assistance from the other.

As DPOA, my name was on one checking account with my mother - I took care of all of her bills, all her finances actually - and it was also on a hefty savings account for ease of beefing up that checking account - along with her “fun money” checking account for when they ran low.

I was also the executor of my mothers estate when she passed away. My mothers will stated there was to be an equal three way split of her estate. One of the first things I did was to close the savings account and obtain three equal cashiers checks for my brothers and myself - as this account was now “mine” and it was not necessary to probate.

The checking account was the absolute last thing I liquidated. I paid all the estate/probate costs from this account. This was an accidental stroke of genius as since the money in the checking account was “mine” I did not have to keep any of the tediously detailed records needed by the probate court regarding the estate expenses i.e. attorney fees, accountant fees, taxes etc. However, I did keep notes regarding the spending from this checking account as of course - the money was actually my mothers and upon her death 2/3’s belonged to my brothers. After everything was completed with the probate court and the estate - I closed out the remaining balance in this checking account again by way of three equal cashiers checks.

During the the last few years of my mothers life she continually threatened to cut the do-nothing brother out of her will - she had gone as far as actually making an appointment with her attorney a couple of times. I was the one - every single time - who would talk her out of it. After a while her significant dementia made the whole issue a mute point.

So - in the end, I could have NOT
included the one brother in the division of the bank account monies. For that matter - I could have let mom eliminated him from the will altogether, turning my own inheritance from 1/3 into 1/2 of what was a very decent sized chunk of change.

So, why didn’t I? The first reason was our father. My father had passed away four years before our mother - leaving everything to her. However, this was done with the understanding that upon her passing everything would be left to their three children equally. This was very important to my dad. Daddy was fully aware that my brother held some ill will towards them. It made my dad sad but even more determined that any inheritance was to be shared equally by his children. I knew it, my mom knew it - and mom knew I knew it and that I would make sure my fathers intentions were honored. One way or another.

The other reason. One day, about a year before my mothers death, much to my surprise I ran into my brother and his family visiting my mom in rehab. He and I had gone out into the hall to talk about our moms condition. He started stammering around trying to both explain and apologize for his lack of participation in our mothers care. His lack in helping me, more the point - but his reasons why - why his distancing from our parents. He didn’t need to explain - I knew why. We had a crap childhood. Very difficult - and dealing with our mother would remain difficult our entire lives. So when my brother started talking about his being aware there was a good chance he’d be disinherited - I cut him off by saying “We all grew up in that house”. My brother knew this meant I’d make sure he would receive his equal share.

This is a long way to say - personally, for me - it’s not about a portion of time but about the relationship as a whole. And, I do not think that wills should be used as a tool to reward or punish what amounts to a small fraction of time in a entire life’s relationship.

But that’s just me. Your decision must be your own - but remember, you’ll have to live with this choice and any possible repercussions - between all of the sisters.
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Reply to Rainmom
JoAnn29 Jun 26, 2019
You did good. Even though we r raised in the same house we all have different personalities and temperaments. There were 4 of us. My Dad was intimidating and knew which children he could intimidate the most. Me and my brother. My sister and youngest brother ignored or came back at him. Loved him, but he would never have lived with me. Even as an adult he knew what buttons to push and when. As he aged, he crossed that line between kidding to being cruel at times. So, I can see where brother was coming from. Self centered/narcissistic people target the children that are the more sensitive.
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This is totally your call. That account is yours.

if your Mom wanted that money to be shared, she would have made that wish known.

first, I would make sure that all of Moms accounts are settled, funeral services paid and done. Then reassess the don’t need to make decisions now.

My Mom had made it clear that she wanted my brother to have nothing. That made me very uncomfortable...but after his performance before and after her funeral....He proved her judgement right. Wait, this isn’t over yet.
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Reply to Katiekate
Shane1124 Jul 1, 2019
Agree with Katiekate. I wouldn’t share the money in that specific acct with your sibs. They have been provided for. If your mother wanted it shared, she would have left instructions for you to do so. Your mom knew who was there for her physically & emotionally every day. Don’t be afraid to compensate yourself for being her CG.
The bank account is actually yours as Co-owner. But if you feel you want to split it then I would split it among all 4 of you. Then the "bad" sister can not come back at you. The house was a thank you from Mom for all u did for her, a gift. This is yours. You deserve it.
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Reply to JoAnn29
Leelab74 Jun 27, 2019
Thank you for your reply. It helped me with my decision.
We had this situation, almost exactly. We were determined to split it evenly, but not at our own expense.
First of all the money is yours now. If you want to share it you cannot go over a certain amount per person without paying a gift tax ($15k I believe).
We waited until the estate, funeral, and other expenses were settled. It is much simpler if you do not take expenses from the estate. I have done parent's estates with and without a joint account, it is much easier with a bank account to use.
Settling an estate can cost a lot in lost work, travel, notaries, even special deliveries and other miscellaneous expenses.
Pay yourself from this account. An executor can take from the estate, but it is a whole lot easier to write a check than front the money and ask for reimbursement later. Also you are a lot less likely to forget any cash outlays you make.
If you are selling her home that task will have expenses also.
When the dust settles and the estate is complete (we used an elder attorney), then whatever is left can be split.
We gifted the money to the remaining children and grandchildren. It took us three years to split the money because of the gift tax.
We feel good about how we handled this, and it went pretty smoothly. We explained what we were doing to everyone, but did not share the balance until the estate was settled. A lot of people do not seem to understand that being an executor is more of a job than an honor.
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Reply to enderby
disgustedtoo Jul 1, 2019
The gift tax for money "given" over that amount is true, but to clarify, the recipient would be responsible for the tax, not the giver. I would recommend, if there is a large amount of money, to either give it out partially each year, to stay under the cap, OR give a share to sister AND spouse (aka you can give EACH of them the 15k without incurring the tax, so long as you make the checks payable to them individually, not jointly.)
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Whatever you do, do not disperse the money right away. I followed my banker's advice and kept Mom's bank account open for a year. After 6 months there were still bills occasionally coming through. That also gives you some time to ease your grief and think more clearly.
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Reply to MaryKathleen
worriedinCali Jul 1, 2019
Our banker gave the opposite advice. And froze my FILs account so that no more bills would go through. The money in the account was paid out to the “payable on death beneficiary”.
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Did your mother have a will, living trust, or make any comments about how she wanted her assets to be split? If yes, then follow her final wishes. You'll feel better if you follow her wishes.

If no, then as a co-owner (actually now the owner) it's yours. Do what your conscience tells you. (Others on this fabulous forum may have other ideas.)

I'm sorry for your loss, Leelab74.
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Reply to MountainMoose

You were already given the house. Everyone shared the insurance because your mother had everyone listed as beneficiaries - meaning she wanted all of her children to share. Print the most current bank statement balance and divide it equally with everyone. Include a copy of the balance so they all know they were treated equally.

I am the ONLY caregiver for my mother out of 5 kids. It is like pulling teeth to get any help. When I ask, one will call the others to find out what they plan to do to help. It's like it's ok for me to do it 100% of the time, but if I say I want a week off for a vacation or want to go to my own house once or twice a year it becomes an 'everyone needs to help'. When they visit, it's common to hear about visits to their weekend properties, weekends at the lake with friends, all the help they are providing to their in-laws. My mother is 100% mentally sharp. She catches on to what they say and so do I.

I say all this because I could easily justify snatching up everything and just calling them all the mean siblings. They are politically opposite and with the current atmosphere of politics I see such nasty comments made because it has become acceptable to just vomit out things that have absolutely no truth (but they read it on Facebook, so it must be true). They usually bring up something knowing I would not agree or that I do not want certain words said. I can be around them at times and realize we are connected by blood - raised with same values, yet I doubt if I had just met them on the street we would have ever become life long friends.

Yet, in the end, when all the material details of my mother's life have to be sorted out, I know that I will make sure that each of them get an equal share of whatever is left. I do that because, my mother loves each one of us even though the relationships were not the same with each of us. Do the right thing.
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Reply to my2cents

Personally, I would deduct any expenses due to me from the account and then split it equally, even with the nasty sister. Then you never need worry about her bad mouthing you (and if she does, you'll know it is unjustified), or about any kind of guilt later on in life. Money can never buy peace of mind like that.

Your mom gave you her house and did not include her other children. That, it seems, showed how much she appreciated you.

But it's such a personal choice... do what you feel is right in your heart.
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Reply to TekkieChikk

Let's say the money in that checking account had run out while your Mom was still living. Would your sisters have started helping you pay for the expenses at that point?
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Reply to mikejrexec
lucyinthesky Jul 1, 2019
good point!
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I am in the same situation as mom has very end-stages of Alzheimer's and I have been caring for her many years. The bank told me once mom dies, the account will automatically be mine being co-owner, and siblings will not have access to it. Considering mom requires intense 24-hour care, it would be impossible to hire anybody $10 an hour even just to sit and do nothing; over a course of a mere three years the expense of a SITTER ALONE would come out over a quarter of a million dollars. I have been doing all the lifting, bathing, hand feeding, struggling to keep her teeth brushed including water pic, spending most of my day hydrating her, administering and titrating her medications and insulin... and the tasks are often filthy such as inducing bowel movements (she forgot how to bear down), disimpactions and not to forget all the vaginal yeast infections and suppositories. Imagine giving enemas and suppositories to your own mother and cleaning her poop. Somebody has to do it and there is nobody else around and mom can't anything herself. If she does not poop, she gets severely impacted and keep that up long enough they can start vomiting up their own feces. So I make sure she poops on schedule. These tasks sitters cannot legally perform; administering medications alone would require home-health nursing and that costs a lot. Caregiving at this stage is the most demeaning job ever since her bowels are a major source of stress..and try doing all of this being PROFOUNDLY WEAK. She gives me no help and I often get hurt taking care of her. I only pray I never live that long (mom had Alzheimer's for 10 years and she will be 90 next month). I get NO HELP from anybody and I am by myself.

Mom is extremely hard work, very very stressful, and I sacrificed my LIFE for her as I am her sole life support. Every step she takes she is nearly falling even with a walker. My life is a living nightmare. I dread falling asleep knowing it will start over again so I often lack sleep; waking up in the morning fills me with dread and horror knowing I have another day of gut-wrenching stress to deal with. Anxiety and depression are my closest companions; I know them well.

My brothers are not getting anything. If they want to take me to court then let them because I will turn around and sue them and BILL them for all those years of rendered service and I got NO HELP from them.

If you want to split the money, that's your decision. Bottom line the account is now yours and if you received no help from your siblings I would not give them a cent.
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