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I’m the daughter; have 3 older brothers. My parents built their dream home on a lake. My fam of 6 has lived just down the street in a subdivision.


Our lives meshed a lot—same church, shared friends, we helped them occasionally. We even purchased “lake toys”and brought them over for everyone to use while there—grandkids thrived and everyone benefitted.


As my Dad’s health failed, my mom would mention that her house was going to be too much for her. She would then ALSO talk about how great it would be for her to move into the town’s brand new senior living facility and get to “enjoy cruise ship living” one day. I got mixed messages for several years.


We had invested in a 50 acre farm, and inherited acreage—and both are places we have considered building our own final home. We aren’t “cashflow rich,” but had plans to build. Within weeks of my Dad’s death, my mom practically begged me to move my family in with her. “Take over the house! Do what you want! I don’t want to do this alone!” My husband and I began to seriously discuss our future and decided that of our choices, we felt most at home on the lake property. We began envisioning the ways we could accommodate my mom’s wishes and yet still forge our own “dream home” plans. (My husband loved my parents as much as his own—we have been together since our teens.) Other days, though, she would almost seem angry with me and even my husband. And I would think that she was regretting her “invitation.” She would even discuss HER OWN remodeling plans, and proceeded to spend several thousand dollars on new kitchen granite. I begged her to attend grief groups or get counseling to help her sort out her feelings, but she would not.


Soon, family dynamics got weird. The first odd thing my brothers did was to NOT SIGN OVER their property rights to our mom. In Louisiana, bc of forced heir laws, “good kids” sign over their rights to the surviving parent. My brothers wouldn’t do it. When she asked, they came up with lame excuses.


Then, my mom shared with them her plans to let me move in and take over all property costs/care of it and her and she was going to sell other properties and give them the money. I had planned to sell land in addition to our home, so I could pay them enough to make our gains equal. They told her how awful it would be if my family moved in with her...that the best plan was for my single brother to retire early and leave his established life and move in with her. They thought my family would crowd the house and prevent their future visits! Brother #3 even suggested she leave her lake house and move with me into my subdivision—which told me he wasn’t against us living together, he just minded MY upgrade! He wouldn’t mind at all if she “downgraded.” (Mind you, some of my neighbors live in mansions; but I don’t.)


Everything has been on hold since then. Nothing was resolved. No one talks about it. My brothers visit when they want. They don’t include me. My kids or myself take care of her yard in between their visits. They socialize there. When I’m with her, I hear of her woes, esp her fatigue in maintaining it all. I don’t believe she complains to them; or if she does, they don’t care.


I must add that each of my brothers has taken care of their own in-laws, to a great extent! Two brothers have their mother-in-laws as live-ins.


It has been 2 years since my Dad’s passing and I’m ready to move on. My mom has mentioned if I build on the farm that she is coming with me. So what then? She sells the home we would have loved to remodel? I’m in a catch 22.....either way, I take care of my mom. My brothers seem fine that she’s been alone for 2 years; I’m bothered by it daily!


I’m ticked & embarrassed by my family for the first time.


Can you all help me see around corners...I need truth and wisdom.


First world problems are still problems.

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Are there other homes on a lake you can afford? I think any deal involving your mom's house is going to cause you trouble.

It sounds like your brothers think that they should be able to visit the house anytime they want after you buy it and that your family-who live there and owns it- will crowd them out. You would end up owning a free bed and breakfast and hosting resentful guests.

Don't let the emotions of your attachment to your mother's house confuse the issue. Let the house go. Buy or build a new home and enjoy it free of any family entanglement.

Your mom might really enjoy a continuing care community. If you have the money, that's the way to go.
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pamzimmrrt Jan 14, 2020
I agree Alice, perhaps if they sell the farm land, and thier current home, they could buy a home near mom on the lake. My hubs family has a river house.. we are hoping to get that as half of our 50/50 split my FIL imagines will happen when he passes ( yeah right). We also do all the maintence.. etc like Blue does..the BIL does nothing and lives in FILs giant house. We have already discussed that if we don't get it, we will use our "cut" ( if there is anything left) to just try to buy another home there.
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If either you were to buy the home or your brother were to move in with your mom, the wish is to continue enjoying a family home environment that everyone has fond memories of. No one seems to be considering that mom will change and may need care for herself, not just the property. And she may resent anything that anyone does to her home to make it theirs. She could make any decisions that you come up with into a disaster. Perhaps memories of the lake house are better than having your dreams ruined by mom's attitude after converting it into your home.
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blueday5042 Jan 15, 2020
My mom certainly considered it because she wanted what my Dad had...care in her home. My husband and I did a lot for him/them that year (meals, the yard, daily care as he became bedridden).

And yes, in my original post I shared that she seemed angry with me...& updated her kitchen a bit. It was like she was pushing me away and marking her territory. But was that real stress for her or grief? Or was it that I didn’t move in swiftly, and she was frustrated with my hesitation?
I am making sense of my own thoughts here...will be asking her.

Thank you for taking your time to ponder and share. I needed this.
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I read your post again after I read all the replies.

IF your family moved into the lake house, what happens to it after your mother dies? Would it be shared equally amongst you and your three brothers? Or is she going to give it to you alone? What do you expect?

This concerns me: " She nursed my Dad so perfectly that he lived longer than he should have by a decade." Your mother is in good health NOW, but what happens when she starts failing? Are YOU expected to be her caregiver? Many times we read on this board that the elder refuses to allow anyone other than family take care of them. They don't want "strangers" in their house. Let's assume your (irritated/angry) brothers aren't going to participate in caregiving, right? So then what?

If your mother is amenable to living in a facility, jump on that!

What would happen to the lake house if she did move? Would it sit empty, unless the family was using it?

Is your mother financially equipped to pay for facility living without selling the lake house?

I see so many red flags here...but, most of all, I would think long and hard before moving your mother in with you. It's expected of YOU (the only daughter). You might end up becoming her 24/7 caregiver slave, and in the end you will have to share any inheritance equally with your brothers. How is that fair?

P.S. I wouldn't be sharing these posts with your brothers...
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blueday5042 Jan 15, 2020
She originally told me (and my brothers...just not when we were together) that she would give me the house and she would “make it right” with them by giving them cash from the sale of her rental property and other things.

And yes, she would expect to be cared for at home.  And I would want that.  My husband is actually active in our social issues and is “pro” keeping elders in their homes as long as possible.  So he would not begrudge her having caregivers, etc, come in.  We both did a lot with my elderly aunts who moved near us in their 80s.  My brothers didn’t bear those “burdens” (blessings?)  
bc of their distance.  I would certainly figure that out for my mom! As I would be anyway, even if I didn’t live with her. I’m kind of doing it now, just limited to yard maintenance, so far. 

And yes, if she moved to AL she would have to sell the lake house.  We would ALL lose it!  We would all be paying for somewhere to rent out to all get together again....or sadly, we wouldn’t really get together again.  Who know a home held so much power...
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I suggest you and your siblings jointly purchase the lake house from your mother and enter into a property management agreement. Allow your mother to move into the AL where she will have more socialization opportunities and assistance will be readily available when she needs it as age related declines happen. And she can still visit her lake house and know it will stay in the family, at least in her lifetime.

The property management agreement needs to be similar to an HOA agreement and state basic maintenance needs that will be jointly covered, damages that will be repaired by the damaging party, who authorizes and oversees repairs and maintenance, penalties for non-payment of property maintenance share (this should include taxes), options for selling share to other family members and/or agreement for a complete sale if a owner needs funds and other family cannot buy them out, the manner a calendar for using the house will be maintained, what guests will be allowed, exclusion of criminal acts (including guests with drugs).

In my extended family there was a similar family property where some siblings wanted the property to remain a "family" resource but didn't really want any responsibility for maintaining the property. The joint purchase and maintenance agreement was able to quickly eliminate siblings who didn't want to put their money where their mouth was. Three siblings jointly purchased the property and shared it without any issues for decades. It was still a "family" property with the non-owner siblings and their families using the property for some time almost every year and even some weddings, but with a requirement for non-owners to _ask_. The only issue I remember ever coming up was the non-owner families not cleaning the house before they left, so they were asked to pay a cleaning fee. When one sibling died a few years back, her widower and daughter per the agreement offered the share at fair market value to the surviving siblings and their adult children; when no one took the offer the other co-owners jointly purchased the share so now there's only the two of them owning the property.
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Shell38314 Jan 15, 2020
TNtechie, That is a really good idea!
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Just want to say, plan with Medicaid being considered. Mom may need it one day and it depends on how you handle things now to how it effects her receiving Medicaid in the future.

The problem I see is your family considers this a vacation home. If you move in, are you going to want people around during the Summer? They say never make decisions the first year after a spouses death. Just because Mom is lonely, doesn't mean you should change your lives. And it would be a shame to give up something the whole family enjoys. I think if the brother is willing to move in with her, thats the best choice. He can do the upkeep. You can help when needed. And, you can have your dream. You all get to enjoy the lake.
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blueday5042 Jan 14, 2020
Thank you for replying bc my “wishes” are becoming clearer to me when I read your thoughts!
I would LOVE the guests—we spent $40k in lake toys in the past 2 decades to make sure our kids and their cousins could play! And we all have great memories from that. (My parents didn’t buy any of those things...they just loved the view!)
ALL the other grandkids have had other more elite vacations (exclusive summer camps; Montana ranch; Outward Bound excursions; NM hunting; river camps....my parents home was MY KIDS’ vacation destination for many summers. Their cousins were “coming to the country” when they came here. They loved it, yes...but it wasn’t their world like it has been ours.

I’d like to keep it and care for it. My husband helped build the sea wall. He helped put a beach in a few times. My kids have mowed/raked/power-washed in the hundreds of hours.

I would keep it a home. My brother would love it, too, but he has been a teacher in a quaint college-town for 30 years. He is a fixture there...he is active and busy and knows everyone. He could still build a his own cottage on the lake—or have the guest room anytime. I don’t think he enjoys lake-property home maintenance bc he doesn’t ever come over to spruce it up...& it needs that weekly!

I want to revive it and bring happy family life there again...we shall see...
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Blue.

I realize that you want to respect your mom’s privacy but this does involve your family. You need to know what is going on in order to help prepare for your mom’s future care. Have a talk with her about specific details. Get all legal issues in order. POA, wills, living will for mom or POLST, etc. This will give everyone peace of mind. You are not prying into her affairs. You are preparing for the future.
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Blue,

Do you remember when you were pregnant and realized that your life would NEVER be the same again after the baby was born? That is how it is when a parent moves into your home. Things will NEVER be the same again. Trust me. I know.

Even in the best of circumstances with no major rifts, things will happen that is going to rub someone, somewhere, somehow the wrong way! It isn’t like The Walton’s television show. In fact, it can end up being either a horror show or a drama!

Seriously, start looking at this from a realistic point of view, rather than a dream of living on a lake.

I get the memories. My parents bought their home when I was a baby. I grew up there. Hurricane Katrina destroyed it. New Orleans looked like a war zone, like a freakin bomb exploded. It was heartbreaking to see. Nine feet of water! It killed me to see that. It was extremely emotional. The only thing left hanging on the wall was my graduation picture! My nephew told me that he felt that was a symbol of me being a survivor. For the survivors that decided to stay it was a struggle but we made it.

The refrigerator was knocked down on it’s side, the china cabinet and buffet too. Everything was destroyed by ravaging winds and water. I have no baby pictures, no christening gown, nothing left from my youth. But you know what, I am here. My family survived. So many people died in that storm. I am blessed. I evacuated to Houston and we survived. A house is just a material possession. Your memories are in your heart. Hey, I occasionally drive by where my parents house used to be, it was demolished. My mom was too old to rebuild. Another home is there now. There is one thing that did survive, a huge live oak tree. I must have climbed up in that tree a million times. So, yeah I am sentimental too but there comes a time we have to let go.

Your dad worked hard to attain that home and would want it first and foremost to be used for your mom’s care? Don’t you think? Whatever the value of that home is should go towards a lovely place for her to live out her senior years, such as an assisted living facility.

I am not trying to be rude. I am looking at this from a realistic point of view. Rent it out or sell it. If you can afford market value and want to buy it and mom agrees, go for it! It’s her decision. She should still go into assisted living. Then you can still be her daughter who visits just like you do now. You will not be her primary full time caregiver, her landlord or anything else!

You keep your life. She has hers. You can be as involved as you want but if you choose to travel or whatever you are not tied down with the extreme responsibility of caregiving.

It costs lots of money to hire private sitters at home. It’s less expensive at a facility. Just think about it some more.

Best wishes to you and your family.

Let me just say that I speak from experience. I went the other route and allowed mom to move into my home after Hurricane Katrina destroyed hers and it did not work out, not with mom or siblings. Trust me, it’s a long and winding road with bumps, detours and potholes!
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blueday5042 Jan 17, 2020
I also remember Katrina. I felt useless in my few volunteer efforts with the Red Cross...everyone was so overwhelmed. Unsettling times.
I’m sorry for all you lost. What a sweet nephew you had to lift you up with his words. Your words have certainly helped me cut a few cords tonight. Might have made me shed a tear for us both.

I will always drive by and love that place—and savor some sweet times. Maybe it is just all tangled up in trying to hang onto my Dad. We were just so normal as a family with him around! And yet, he wasn’t perfect...but our life didn’t have the jagged edges that it has now.

I sincerely hope our paths cross sometime in this eclectic state of ours. I feel I have found some caring people on this site.
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Blueday,

Thanks for your response. All of you have some decisions to make. There are quite a few issues all of you have to discuss and agree on. I am glad to see that you are willing to discuss this with your family. It’s difficult when there are different viewpoints. Say your point of view, hear them out as well. Don’t try to talk your mom into anything if she disagrees. It’s her home and her money that should be spent on her future living expenses.

Of course, there are memories attached to your family lake home. Ultimately, unless your mom is incompetent, the decision is hers to make regarding her home.

She doesn’t sound overly attached to her home. She has lived out her years there with your dad. She seems ready to move on. I feel that she would do well in an assisted living facility. If she needs the income from turning her home into a duplex, she should have it. If she chooses to sell her home to financially be able to live in a nice assisted living facility, she should be able to without interference from her children.

I live in Louisiana too. I am in New Orleans. Forget about your outdated information of forced heirship too. That law was amended many years ago. If you are the youngest at 50, then none of you qualify because anyone over the age of 23 is not included. So, there is no forced heirship regarding your family.

Your mom and dad maintained this home and your mom should benefit from whatever value it has to support her in her senior years. Your mom doesn’t owe you this home because it is sentimental to you. Please consider your mom’s future.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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blueday5042 Jan 15, 2020
I appreciate your input!
But, it was my Mom who brought this up staying in her home with BOTH my brother and myself! She talked to both of us about moving in with her—I guess to see if either was interested. Basically, I guess we both were!

If you’re in NoLa, you must still be celebrating the LSU championship?! (I love that NoLa is always celebrating something!) My whole neighborhood erupted in fireworks and shouts, all the way up here in the NW corner of the state!
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Blueday there are professionals who specialise in helping sort these things out, known here as succession planning specialists. They are used to help (usually wealthy) families negotiate the difficult problems of who takes the family farm or business, how are the other children compensated, where do the retired parent/s fit in, how do the tax implications work best, how to structure it all in ownership/trusts etc. In particular, they manage negotiation meetings that don’t go off the rails and result in damaged family relationships. They brief themselves and then run the meetings, making sure that everyone has a fair go.

I think that your mother and your family could really benefit from this. How about checking it out?
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blueday5042 Jan 15, 2020
I believe I will look into that. That’s the thing, none of us are “wealthy” by any means. Just have properties that have been paid off. My mom’s income is now meager. They were self employed, so their retirement is in property. On paper it looks easy to say “Sell the lake house to give her choices.” But I know that she loves that place. I think she needs to move into AL for a month; then go back to the house discussion again. She will either love it or know that she wants to stay on the lake, and live secluded or with one of her kids there.
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You've gotten so much thoughtful advice here.

Something to consider. It sounds as though you know very little about mom's wishes, or her cognitive and emotional state. The way you describe her, she sounds like she is all over the place. And maybe, just maybe, there is some cognitive decline going on. It doesn't sound like you've had a direct conversation with her; she's just hinting around the edges.

How much do you know about your mom's finances? Can she afford a nice facility without selling the lake house?

Does mom often make these sweeping statements like "if you build on the farm, I'm moving in"? She sounds a bit....dictatorial. Are you willing to live like that in your retirement years?

I'm not a big believer in parents moving in with their adult children; I've seen it go really, really wrong too many times to think that it's going to turn out like the Waltons.

Has mom looked at that nice facility recently?
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NeedHelpWithMom Jan 16, 2020
Yes! Your voice along with others helped me so much. If I can persuade one person to avoid the pitfall I will. Barb, I know you will too. You did the opposite of me, placing your mom and I learned so much from your experience. I had preconceived notions and you helped clarify my thinking. I will be forever grateful.

Blue is a Louisiana lady! She’s in the northern part of the state, nowhere near me but I have invited her to Jazz fest! I am a native to New Orleans and I make a wonderful tour guide! 😊
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