Mother in law is financially very comfortable, and would have to pay if she lived elsewhere. Much money spent on travel and lavish life with other family is paid for by her! Your advice is appreciated! We love her but are feeling used and my spouse and I are stressed! We gave up so much... But are shocked by her lavish spending!

8 years rent free is a long time. FF is right. However, as FF also states, things change. Cost of living increases. I’m not a big fan of pussyfooting around and hoping someone “gets the hint”, especially where money is concerned. Sure, it would have been easier when MIL first moved in, but that’s water over the dam.

Living with her son and DIL is a privilege and not a right. I understand how annoying it is that she throws her money at the other kids and won’t even pay for a pizza for you. Get your monthly expenses together and sit down with her. Not just you, either. Dear hubby has to be there as well. “This is what we need from you, Mom.” Figure out “about” how much for the extra person. You could go so far as asking her for a third of the household expenses, but that probably won’t work. Mention you need to start saving for your own retirement. If she refuses, well, then you may have to have another talk with her, this time about her own apartment.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

Have you had *any* conversations with your MIL about "beastly money, darling"?

I just get the impression from your post that you and your husband have been bottling this up, MIL has blithely assumed that everything's fine, and the whole thing is about to blow up under pressure?
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Reply to Countrymouse

yes, it is. and she should be contributing to utilities and grocery bills
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Reply to Kimber166

If mil is financially comfortable, I take it there is a considerable estate that will be inherited by someone after she dies? How is that divided up? I'm wondering if mil thinks your dh is the wealthy child (after all, he paid for her suite), and if she will be leaving her estate to other family members?

Better check that out. I think she owes you quite a bit for what you've done and paid for.
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Reply to CTTN55

Agree with all the previous post. After you and your husband have discussed current situation may want to also discuss with her the fact that should she at some point in the future need additional help you need some sort of agreement in place. You should also speak with an elder care lawyer to make sure all necessary paper work in order.
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Reply to kymkne

Absolutely, yes! Check into comparable apartment rents in your area. This is a good starting point. Factor in all utilities including TV and telephone. My Mom, age 84, living 12 years in her specially built, 800 sq ft senior apartment with full kitchen, ADA bathroom, and separate laundry, was happy to "chip in" as she did not want to feel like she was burdening us with expenses that she would be responsible for if she was living alone. She has no more bills, bank loans, home repairs. My Mom happily gives us $1000 every month to provide her with an easy, safe, and secure life. This is almost 1/3 of her income. It cover all her utilities and groceries (I do most of her cooking now), my cleaning services and assisting her in bathing, and chauffeuring her anywhere her heart desires. She loves that our family lives together and that the grandkids and great grandkids come for visits often. Keep your approach light and happy. Just explain that you would be "grateful for her generosity" if she would help by "contributing into the family budget."
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Reply to IMBabci2

Crankygirl, yes, given the financial and family circumstances, MIL should absolutely be paying rent and I think it also wouldn't be unreasonable to at least discuss with her some retroactive in-lieu-of-rent payment, as well, perhaps in the form of a gift to you to avoid income tax consequences.  At the very least, discussing a retroactive payment might at least gain you some leverage in collecting rent going forward.

I fully realize such rent discussions are often much easier said than accomplished. I tried to do something similar with my dad as part of implementing a Medicaid spend down plan for him (except the plan was to hold his rent in an account to be used later to enhance his stay during an anticipated Medicaid-assisted nursing home stay.) To shorten a long story, after a few months of implementing the rent plan, I refunded the entire amount to him due to sibling outrage. Those siblings (4 of 7) really liked the free 24-hour care my wife and I provided him in the separate rent-free house nextdoor to ours, but they didn't like my dad paying utilities for that house and thought I should at least help pay those since his care required that I stay with him all of the time. It's hard to understand the thinking of some family members. Good luck with yours.
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Reply to bicycler

Before my mom moved in with us (81 years old, dementia, and cancer), we checked out assisted living facilities. The going rate was between $4,500 and $5,000 a month just for basic needs (anything else---such as keeping her small dog---was extra). She said she "refused" to go to assisted living. I might mention that I have 2 siblings, one with a 2,500 sq. ft. home for 2 people and the other with a 3,600 sq. ft. home. Neither of these siblings made the offer for Mom to live with them. Our house is 1,200 sq. ft. and 5 people live here---me, my husband, our 2 grandchildren, and my mom. I am a retired teacher but substitute taught for extra income. I gave up this job when she moved in, so I only thought it was fair that she make up my income. This was less than half of what she would have had to pay in assisted living. So, she pays us $2,000 a month and then we pay all utilities and food costs. I thought this was only fair since I gave up my extra income. She is able to pay this out of what she receives on a monthly basis without digging into her savings. Some people have told me that I should be charging her whatever the assisted living would have charged. I hope this helps. The thought of charging my mom, who was the best mom to us growing up, was at first reprehensible to me; but after we considered what we gave up financially (and also gave up our time and privacy), it only seemed fair.
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Reply to LoneStarTeacher

I can see how you're feeling used. It would have been better to start out differently but you and your husband should renegotiate. She could assume that you two don't need anything and leave her estate to the rest of the family. And what if there is no god to set things straight? Your mother in law could live a long, long time--many people are living past 100 these days.
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Reply to Davina

I can't imagine why you never asked her to contribute in the first place. I can only think that your husband wanted his mother to think he was the benevolent son. Having spent so much money on providing for her and living for the past eight years in only half of your own home which presumably you contributed towards, you are right to at least expect her to pay her own utility bills (are they separately calculated for her suite?) or a share of the total household bills. I would personally not pussy-foot around dropping hints about increasing grocery prices but have an open and frank discussion about how expenses have escalated since your original agreement eight years ago and how you need her contribution. You will soon see how much your MIL values what you have done for her. I also agree that if she is spending frivolously you need to check on what happens to whatever estate she has because you deserve some recompense for sharing your property with her, and for having her in your orbit for a big part of your married life. My mum has lived with me for 12 years now and although she is almost bed-ridden she pays her share of all household bills that are for her benefit and she still pays for her own food as her diet is completely from ours (her decision).
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Reply to DaughteronDuty

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