How to tell my sister that I should be paid or get more than 1/2 of the inheritance for taking care of mom?

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I had been taking care of both of my parents for over 2 years. Since my father passed away last year, I have been taking care of my mom. She lives 30 to 1 1/2 hour away from me and for a long time, I have been going to her form 3 to 5 times a week. My mother has dementia and she has many health issues. She used to smoke 1 1/2 packs to 2 packs a day and now with the help of 3 to four aides, she smoke 1 to 3 cigarettes a day. She was in hospital many times in one year! Since she fractured her hip a month after my dad passed away, she cannot walk around and needed to be reminded to use her walker. To make long story short, I am taking in a way taking care of her 24/7. including taking care of her bills. My husband has been unemployed for 2 years and I have some health issues and I am in a sense working full time taking care of mom. I am not getting paid to do this and my family and I are financially strapped! I don't know what to do about this! My sister lives out of country and the original agreement was that we get equal share when mom pass away. I don't think its fair. Also I need to make some money in order to take care of mom! I told my sister that if things heading this way, my family and I can lose our home. She did not say anything nor did say anything to support me. I am so lost and scared and don't know what to do anymore. Any suggestions?

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Top Answer
I beg to differ. There are no martyr's around here that I know of, nor should there be. Who in the world, no matter how much they may love their parent, wants to be in a situation that forces them into virtual isolation and makes them housebound around the clock? Not to mention that the care giving role can generate so much stress and anxiety that it can literally make the care giver sick as a dog, and even kill them before the parent dies! That damn sure wasn't my plan for my life. Care giving, especially 24/7, is something that most people are forced into a lot of times because there are no other options, as in my case, with a parent that needed care, but refused to consider assisted living, in home care, and God forbid, a nursing home. At the very beginning I, being an only child, didn't know what the hell to do with her and moved in here out of some dumb idea of a moral obligation. Caring for her cost me more than I ever realized it would. My job. My friends. Any hope of a relationship. My freedom. My peace. My hobbies. My sanity. My health. Not to mention the fact that a lot of times siblings dump the entire load one of their own without a backward glance, then split without a bit of remorse because they don't want to deal. The last 3-4 years I cared for my mom and she declined so badly, I was pulling 80-100 hour work weeks, and that's no joke. Sleep was a thing of the past. It took such a toll on me it affected my heart. What the hell does love got to do with it? This is WORK, with no time off most of the time, no weekend get aways, no vacation, no nothing, just work, work, work and endless drudgery.

You're damn right, lk, you deserve the lion's share of your mom's money if you take this on. You're already paying the woman's bills for God's sake. You deserve every single dime of that back. I've said it before and I'll say it another 1000 times....you do the work, you get the money. You DON'T do the work, you don't get squat. Simple as that in my opinion. Talk to your mom. Tell her to change that will, or else you can't AFFORD to do for her anymore, that you've got to look out for yourself. There is no, let me repeat, NO shame in getting paid for doing the ungodly demanding JOB that you're doing, and it'll just keep on getting harder. Get paid, or tell your mom to go to assisted living or a NH, but make it clear that without compensation for a JOB well done, your services are no longer available. Period. No parent, imo, has any right whatsoever to ask so much of any child without doing what's right by that child. I mean, really?
As the local 'kid', I have been providing care giving support to both parents approx 60+ hours / month for a couple years. The amount of time it takes to support the parents continues to grow and last year it started affecting my FT employment. At this point, I am on intermittent FMLA with my FT employment due to their health related emergencies.

I also sat down with my parents and sister (lives 1000 miles away) to discuss the situation. We agreed that I should be paid for the time because the needed support / services had grown from approx 10 hours / month to 60+ hours / month.

My parents' attorney recommended payment at a rate comparable to the rate a local home care provider would be paid. At this time, I am receiving payment from the family Trust (inheritance) for services rendered - on going documentation of those services is critical. What ever is left after my parents pass will be split according to their will.

In the meantime, my parents are receiving the support they need. I am paid an equitable amount for those services and not feeling 'dumped on'. My sister is OK with using the Trust to pay (me or a home care provider) for services our parents need.
Yes here is a suggestion, it is not your choice to decide that you should receive more, it is your mother's regardless whether you think you should receive more, taking of the role of caregiving is not done so that you can get more of her money, it is because you love her and wanted to take care of her, also you may want to look into a skilled nursing facility for your mother and if she has no money, apply for medicaid for her, will keep you in my prayers
Because you are the caregiver, I think you should get more of the inheritance. Caring for an elderly mother is a lot of work and stress. Keeping your mother out of the nursing home or ALF is saving the inheritance for the future when she may need care in a facility. After taking my mother into my home and taking care of her for the majority of two years, I was able to keep her out of facilities, save her money, pay for her funeral, and preserve her finances. The sibling that is not the caregiver believe it is only fair to share 50/50, but they only have a slight idea of what it takes to be emotionally and physically drained 24/7. Of course you love your Mom and Have given up a part of your life to care for her, but don't ever feel guilty that you want more of the inheritance, because you deserve it!
Snap: I have no income, no savings, no pension and I'm caring for my mother 24/7. I'm 50 years old, on my own, and scared witless when I look ahead. My three siblings love my mother but they're miles away and do zip. And, yes, when it comes to any estate it's going to be equal shares all round. Of course that doesn't feel fair, but actually it is fair because mothers love their children equally and that's what inheritance is about.

Here's how you need to look at it. For as long as she lives, your mum's money is her money to be spent on her welfare; it's not yours; ignore it. Literally, pretend it doesn't exist. Plan your own family's finances as well as you can without taking her money into account. And if that means you have to take a job, then more of her money is going to need to be spent on her care because there is only one of you, and you cannot do everything and be everywhere.

By the way, has your mother actually made a legal will? I'm not clear if the agreement you mention is with your mother, or between you and your sister. If your mother's dementia is not too advanced it may be possible for her to amend her will or make one IF SHE WANTS TO. But you yourself could not be involved in making or changing her will because it would be legally and morally indefensible; you would need to find her an independent advisor to help her with this.

Her money, her money, her money. Not yours. Don't forget that bit. I promise, it makes it easier to bear.

Your sister may feel bad about not helping with your mother; or she may not. She's far away from the situation: that could mean it's out of sight and out of mind, or it could be that she worries even more because she doesn't know what's going on. If you normally get on well with her, maybe you could talk to her about how she feels? Give her some sympathy before you expect any back from her. If you've never got on, that's sad but really not a problem you can sort out in the current situation. Be polite. Don't say anything you can't take back. Don't expect more of her than she's realistically going to offer.

There aren't going to be any easy answers. This is a really, really hard situation. Find out if there are any sources of free legal and financial advice in your area; and get professional help to draw up a plan. Try to take care of yourself, decide your priorities and don't beat yourself up for not being an angelic superwoman!

And give yourself credit for being a good, loving daughter. I wish you all the best.
I took care of my mom for 2 years 24/7. No money in the world can give me those 2 years back. I tried holding on to that so called inheritance money for all of the family members and myself. It is so not worth it. It's not our money it's our parents money for their care that they need full time. I hear everyone bickering about how much work they do but that's what it's all about when it comes to their care and that's why they need a facility for that. I placed my mom in a very nice facility and oh my god I hear on this forum how I used to be. It's not worth all the work you guys are doing to hold onto this money. Freedom is priceless..... I also have siblings that never helped out with anything. Focus on your life cause it goes by quick when your caring for an elder person. I can visit my mom now and do her wash for her. It took her a while to adjust to the new place but now she likes it there. Start living and let that money go...
No, mover, that money won't go far in heaven, but it'll damn sure make a big, fat difference here on earth, you know, where it COSTS to live. Maybe God himself is good enough to sacrifice all for the sake of everyone, but I'm not, not by a long shot. And I refuse to believe that MY God would expect me, or anyone else, to beggar themselves with a big, fat smile on their face as they face the threat of the streets if it comes to that...and it surely can. Yes indeed. Losing everything because of a parent's never ending needs and constant demands and ending up at the end of that journey with nothing, doesn't seem worth it just so that I can pat myself on the back, telling myself how 'selfless' and 'wonderful' I was, and how I did the 'right' thing, as I look for a homeless shelter because I refused payment out of some misguided idea of doing 'the right thing'. The right thing for WHO? Please. These elderly parents are no more important than YOU are and have no right to these endless demands I read about around here.

I love it when people come on here and go on and on about moral obligation. Sure, most of us are driven by moral obligations. But to those who think we should ask for nothing, when the sick one dies and the caregiver has no money, no place to live, no future means of survival, no relationships because EVERYTHING was sacrificed, maybe YOU can come in and support these folks. Quite obviously, these people don't have these worries. It's a cold world out there, and it's all about the dollars and cents and SENSE.
Yes, you deserve more money. Are you going to get it that is a different thing. If you need to change a will or something better get cooking. I am in the legal field and see often, heirs have their reason that they need more or something and it just does not make a squat what you think. It needs to be in pen and paper and FILED FOR RECORD. And another big factor is how much are you talking about??? Ten of thousands, hundreds, or millions?? Sometimes people will fight over 10 grand, end up with 8 in attorney fees. Pick your battles wisely, I am grateful to be here from my mom. Yes I go through times of dis pare but I have something that my step-sis will never have and I can take to my grave. Your money will not go far in Heaven. So, think about it? Is it life changing money, or is just some extra funds to take a trip. With that said I would go ahead and make it know that it would be nice to be compensated to your sister. Test the waters.
Wow, A lot of conflicting opinions here and unfortunately, I have to agree with.....all of them! How can that be? Because everyone's situation is different. Spaulding, you sound like your situation is the most reasonable one I've ever read on this site. So great that you can have family support and agreement with how things are handled. Refreshing to know not all of us are getting screwed in the caregiving world.

As far as who should get more, I have to agree with ejbunicorn. It's not your decision how the money is divided, it's your mother's, whether it seems fair or not. Now, lkledner, if you feel it is possible, ASK your sister if you can take a small allowance from your mother's money each month to help ease the financial strain. She may say fine and document everything. Then you won't feel so put upon.

Whether we like it not, whether we want to believe it or not, we chose to be in this role. We can all change it tomorrow by saying, no I can't do this anymore and find the resources to care for our loved ones or place them in a home. I know a lot of you aren't going to agree with that, but it's true.

I have been caring for both parents, by myself, no support from two siblings, one trying to steal their money, accessing bank accounts I've had to freeze, accuses ME of stealing their money, and the other sibling just disengaged. I had no idea how much this was going to turn my world, my life and body, upside down. No idea. But here I am, so now I have to deal with it. My husband is not not working right now and I run a small company that helps pay the bills. Two kids in college etc... I don't get paid a penny from my parents money, and the inheritance has already been split three ways straight. They got their money.There are days I'm VERY resentful, exhausted, desperate, and days where I know I will be able to look back and say I did the right thing, I know my parents love me and I have no regrets. We all have our own set of circumstances. So lkledner, if you think you can discuss this with your sister, do so now.

xo
-SS

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