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Background:
First of all, we are a family that DOESN’T discuss money, in general. My husband and I both make a decent living, but we are still paying for college loans as our son is ready to go to college himself. (College loans whole separate mess.)
My brother makes a GREAT living, with no debt, and nothing but disposable income. I only know this because he dotes on our son tremendously, for which I am grateful. (He pays thousands of dollars for him to go on trips around the world, or buys him the latest ___ gadget...) So my son isn’t impacted by our financial state. But we could never ask my brother for money. Our family just doesn’t do that. He also lives about 6-7 hours away and isn’t part of Mom’s care.
I have had to leave my job in order to care for Mom. She has lived with us in an in-law apartment we built for the last 13 years. She had to move into our part of the house 6 months ago when she could no longer climb stairs or be left unsupervised at all. So we have had to use money from an estate account that was left by my grandmother. This was done with the permission of my aunt, my mother’s only sister, who jointly inherited this estate, which includes their childhood home, stocks, etc.
So here’s he rub.
I feel like every penny I spend is scrutinized by my family. We are not spending money willy-nilly. My aunt urges me to get extra help, but I feel like she thinks I am wasting the money when I have to hire people to stay with Mom because I need to go away for a few days for an event for my son. Or if I just plain NEED A BREAK and do a 12 hour getaway with my husband. (It’s my only chance not to be on watch overnight, and eat a meal with my husband one-on-one!) I have a caregiver that comes in 3 days a week for 4 hours each day so I can run errands, or take a nap so I can be awake to watch her all night.
So is it that I feel guilty for spending money on myself this way? Technically it isn’t necessary for her care. I feel like I am being judged by people that are not in my position. They have NO IDEA what being home all day and caregiving is like. From the outside, it looks like I sit at home all day watching tv and napping! My brother and my aunt swing in for a visit, then leave again to go back to their carefree lives. I know they ‘feel’ bad because they can’t be here to help, but they have their lives to lead. What about me?
Here’s the biggest question I have.
So when my mother does pass, my brother and I will inherit my mother’s portion of the estate from my grandmother. My aunt and brother won’t want to sell the house or liquidate any of the other assets. They don’t need the money. My husband and I want to move, pay off our loans (FINALLY) and start our lives as truly empty-nesters. We plan on having a house with 3 bedrooms so the family is ALWAYS WELCOME in our home, but the day to day burdens that we have shouldered for many years now would be gone. We need the money from the estate in order to do this.
Any money we had saved went to my mother’s care even before the tougher effects of dementia set in. We bore this burden without asking for financial help because that’s what our family does. But at the end of the day, we have no savings left, have student debt and no equity left in our home all because we took on the care of my mom when she moved in with us 13 years ago.
I wouldn’t trade the time I have had with my Mom, nor the help she gave us in caring for my son. Our financial support of her all those years felt like the right thing to do.
So is it wrong to feel like we should be able to access the money we need in order to move on to the next stage in our lives? But they may not be able to buy us out of the house and stocks without having to sell. Plus, by the time my mother passes, we will have used almost all of the estate account’s savings. Should the money spent on Mom’s care be her part of the estate? My thinking is yes. In that case, we would stand to have a very small portion of what is left. But my husband thinks not, since my aunt said to use the money for her care.
I am so frustrated because I can’t make any plans for our future because of the unknowns of finances! The future dream is the only thing that keeps me going on really bad days. We need this fresh start. But how do I even begin the conversation with the family when we don’t discuss money? The conversation about money for mom’s care was painful and awkward. We also want to sell the things that she accumulated over the years. (Think restrained hoarding of truly valuable items) my aunt and brother don’t ever let go of anything. How do we address this? They would just want to keep everything, even if it just went into storage. But they don’t need the money and don’t let go of anything, ever. My husband and I are ready to reduce and de clutter our lives.
They will not understand this mentality and will think we are ungrateful for not holding on to every last momento and personal treasure.
HELP!

I read some of your agony about spending money to have your own life - you are feeling guilty without anyone pointing a finger so STOP WITH THE GUILT BECAUSE IT IS NOT YOURS - you have quit your job to help her & I'll bet you are an unpaid caregiver too -

Your mom actually owes you quite a bit for the time, effort, personal sacrifice & stress she has given you - if your family had to pay outside help the cost would be huge - STOP UNDER EVALUATING YOURSELF - you are worth quite a bit to your mom that has no price tag because you do it from love but you are not a slave so you can have a life of your own - someone is making you feel guilty for having your own life .... either yourself because you don't evaluate your effort enough or another family member [or a combination thereof] - STOP THIS NOW - just because you ponied up to help your mom doesn't mean you withdraw your rights to your own life

I'll bet that you are loosing much financial security for your own future to do this for your mom - the rest of your family should be contributing to your pension plan because otherwise you'll be working at Walmart into your 70's while they take their retirement cruises in their 50's & 60's - you have done this from the goodness of your heart but look to your own future soon without any guilt because the guilt should be theirs not yours
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Reply to moecam
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If your parent is still able to understand and cares about you, please have a sit-down talk about this at a good time when your parent is in a good mood and coherent. Then get it in writing. Don't tell your family until it's signed and a fait accompli.
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Reply to Maltesemom
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Yes, Myownlife, Long Term Care Insurance is generally a use-it-or-lose-it policy. My mom bought a three year plan at age 62 (two years younger than I am now, and I have not yet been able to afford to purchase such a policy) and it has been invaluable for the last 2 yrs. But in another year it will be dried up. She has friends here in her AL community who purchased policies that do not expire -- they last forever. I'm going to have to retire early and move 11 hours to take care of Mom in another year. I frequently wonder what my sibs would do if it weren't for the care and expenses I provide, even tho' I'm the only one who is not local. I should really be paying for an LTC policy for myself or more properly investing money in some way. I was recently told by someone who is fairly knowledgeable that it's getting more difficult to purchase an LTC policy, because people are living so much longer that insurance companies are losing money on them. We know how insurance companies hate to lose money! :) I would definitely consult with your financial planner, if you have one, before purchasing an LTC policy. I don't think just putting money into savings is likely to be the answer, but I bet that an expert would have other alternatives to suggest. I do NOT suggest Banker's Life for LTC, should you go that direction. They out-and-out lied to me, with my brother as a witness..... And then took forever to process anything....
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Reply to Teri4077
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Is a Long Term Care Insurance policy a use-it-or-lose-it type of policy? I have also thought about purchasing one. I am only in my 60's and not sure I would want to spend a lot on something that I may be better off putting that money into savings, etc.
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Betsysue2002,
I am so happy that my parents bought long term care insurance when they were age 70. My dad didn't need to use his as he died at home suddenly at age 78. My mom and I lived together for 9 years after Dad died and last year, May 2017, my Mom suffered a "mental breakdown of sorts" and was hospitalized and then went to the nursing home. Mom has rental properties so she is Private Pay and between her long term care insurance and her Social Security and Retirement benefits from work, the entire cost of the nursing home is covered and the income from the rental property can be used elsewhere. Thank the Lord for Long Term Care Insurance!!
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Reply to DeeAnna
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1 Timothy 6:10 King James Version (KJV)

10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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You have a complicated ‘estate account’ that is ‘jointly inherited’ by your mother and aunt. This isn’t very clear legally (I have a law degree), and you and your husband don’t know or even agree what it means or ought to mean to you or your mother. It seems as though you share your family’s difficulties about being clear about finances, as well as talking about it! No wonder the ‘unknowns of finances’ are stressing you out – you are dependent on a totally confusing situation.

The first step is to find out what this does all mean legally. You need to take the paperwork about your grandmother’s bequest and get legal advice about it. Is it a trust fund, and who are the trustees? Or has your grandmother’s estate not yet been fully wound up, and who are the executors? This doesn’t mean starting legal proceedings, and there are often systems to give you advice for free.

You need to know your mother’s rights to get support from the estate account, both as a prepayment of her own share but also if there is a ‘need’ provision from the whole amount. You probably need to know what to ask from your aunt to clarify and record the permissions she has given, and you need to know your own rights. You also need to ask about the options when it comes time to wind up the ‘estate account’.

Once you really understand the situation, you can then start to think about how to deal with the family. Until you understand, you stand a risk of making things worse, both legally and on a personal level. All this is bound to come out eventually, when it may be even more difficult to face. For example, if your aunt has died, it is too late to ask her for confirmation of what she has told you already. Please clarify things now, for everyone's sake.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Ps ... we're on a wait list at three of the better assisted living facilities in the area. They are licensed to allow residents to die in their beds without moving to skilled facilities.

We dont have to move when theres an opening. We stay where we are on the list and they pick people under us till we're ready to move.

I admit tho that i do hope this works out as smoothly as ive tried to make it.
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Reply to Betsysue2002
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Im a married only child and years ago found the joys of long term insurance and am determined not to have the things mentioned here happen to me so my daughters will have to face what i read here.

Yes its expensive ... about $650 and increasing a month for both my husband and me ... and puts me about $ 300 + a month over my social security ... but i am determined to keep it. (My husband pays for food etc)

Fortunately ive been able to find a job again and keep busy ... my younger husband just retired after 45 years at a heavy job ... and i am able to put money into savings again to draw on.

Now all i hope is that i dont become a bitter complaining old woman and someday when necessary we can move into a lovely home with people to feed us and clean our room and have entertainment for us.
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MomsLifeline:

As others have already noted, mom's assets should be used to pay for her care. Hiring care-givers is part of that "care." Not only should you not be spending your own assets for her care, but your loss of income is going to seriously impact everything, including your own retirement! You have done a wonderful thing for your mother for MANY years and there should be NO GUILT on your part. If they try making you feel guilty, think about how little they provide and realize any guilt should be on their shoulders (even though your brother dotes on your son, that is a separate issue and might have been done regardless of your mother's situation - NOT part of the equation!) If they think it is so easy and inexpensive, suggest THEY take over the care-giving role! Throw the guilt back onto them - you should have NO guilt!

Does anyone have DPOA? Why has the estate not been "settled", as in split the assets between the two and sell the home/other assets. What good is it in keeping that home? She won't ever live in it, the others won't live in it, so why hang on to it? If they are so worried about money drain, point out the costs of keeping this home (taxes, repairs, maintenance, utilities, etc.) If you have DPOA, keep records and provide that to anyone who complains about any of the estate assets (AND yours, past and present!) being used for mom's care. If they still complain, ask if they'd like to take over - I'm betting they would not be receptive. So then ask what they think is better - use the assets to provide the best care with mom at your home, or spend even more if she is moved to AL. Find the average cost of AL in your area (if mom has dementia, this would mean MC), and clue them in! Our mom's MC is over 90k/year! Some people have NO clue how expensive it is to provide 24/7 care, even in their own home (I did the calculations - having 24/7 care in their own home is WAY more expensive than going with a facility!) After visiting the first place, my brothers were astounded at the cost and implied for that amount they would take her in! Sure boys... do you understand what you would be committing to? Nope. I did not object, just pointed out they need to educate themselves about what this would entail. In the end we went with MC (younger brother still working, at least 10 years to go and no room in current residence, older brother could not even tolerate visits during his last time coming up this way!)

Use her assets for her care. DO NOT let any of them guilt trip you. You've provided in-home care for 13 years - what have THEY provided? They don't want to spend money on someone to come in and give you a break or time to take care of NORMAL activities? Ask them to fill in. Even if they agreed, it likely won't last. Once some people get a good taste of care-giving, they will back away!!

If there is no DPOA, then what others suggested is the best route to take (especially if no one wants to discuss the finances) - keep track of ALL costs and find an elder estate planning attorney (mom's assets pay for this too - if they b*tch about it, then point out it needs to be done and no one else wants to deal with it!) Once you have a plan and some accounting, you *could* include them in the discussion, but if they choose to ignore or complain, then it might mean applying for guardianship/stewardship (especially if no one has DPOA OR they continue to complain about what is being spent.) If mom is too far down the dementia path, she will not be able to "assign" someone to this role of DPOA. This will ALSO cost time and money (from HER assets, not yours), but then you only report to the court system and the others be damned!
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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I'm not sure how the inheritance has been set up for your mom and aunt but having them share an estate seems odd to me, generally the money would have been divided equally with each of them free to use their share as they chose/needed. I can understand your aunt not wanting to deprive your mother while at the same time feeling anxiety about the rate the funds are being spent - she has probably included her share in planning for her own future.

The agreement for your mother to live with you changed the moment you needed to give up employment, it's too bad you didn't sit down as a family at that time and come up with a formal plan and contract. As already noted it's not too late to redress that oversight, sit with pen and paper and make up a balance sheet of the costs to you vs the amount your mother might have had to spend without you. Make it clear you are not looking to recoup past expenses (or are you?) but are looking to the future. As TNtechie mentioned - a professional can help with this. It sounds like everyone is making assumptions independently and no one is talking to each other, it's way past time to get everyone on the same page.
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Reply to cwillie
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... because people not helping feel they must hold you accountable for expenditures.

Keep All receipts and records. And ignore the slugs that are demanding to be "kept in the loop" - if they really cared, they'd be doing some of the grunt work.
When others just as capable choose not to assist, holding you responsible RE: finances, makes them feel like they are helping. Really?
Mentally throw them through the wall and keep on keeping on.
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Reply to RayLinStephens
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First try talking with your brother and aunt. Maybe mom should go into a home and that would really eat up the money everyone stands to inherit. You should not be paying anything out of your pocket for her care if she has the money to pay for herself.
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Reply to whyme327
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First, my compliments on your commitment to caring for your mother over so many years. I'm sure she has been much happier with your family and having close contact with her grandson than she would have been anywhere else. And extra kudos for your husband!

The battle lines over spending on care giving are basically two points of view: (1) assets should be used to provide needed care or (2) assets should be "preserved", often for an inheritance. Unfortunately, I have seen this diversion of thinking play out over two generations of my family - first with my grandparents and now with my parents.

People who have never been full time caregivers (this includes most men (dads help a lot but mothers still have 24/7 responsibility for most children) have difficulty understanding the impact just having to account for another person all the time has on basic living. The actual care-giving activities are time and energy consuming and often have a tremendous emotional cost as well. People without full time care-giving experience will seldom understand the full impact.

Care-giving has two very important aspects. Everyone understands taking care of the person needing help, but please remember you MUST take care of the care-giver too. If your financial resources, energy and/or health (emotional as well as physical) fails, then the quality of care you can provide fails too. Outside help is a MUST. Value yourself and do not feel guilty about bringing in outside care givers to provide temporary respites!

To older people, particularly those impacted by the great depression, things like houses and furniture represent security and emotional ties to memories of people and times that have past. I understand your aunt and uncle not wanting to sell the estate (maybe the only thing remaining that has been around her entire life?); however, they need to understand that your mother's assets, including that estate, are resources needed to provide for her needs.

I suggest you create an accounting of your current and past expenses taking care of Mom, along with as much documentation as you have, and use it as a conversation opener. This is not just your responsibility! Start with your brother and give him the opportunity to understand that if he wants to preserve the estate home he will need to help identify other assets to sacrifice or provide alternative funding. Then repeat with your Aunt and Uncle.

Consider consulting a financial planner or an estate planning attorney. You may be able to get a loan against the estate that would allow funds to be withdrawn while maintaining ownership/control - at least during your aunt's lifetime.

God Bless and Good Luck!
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Reply to TNtechie
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Your situation is quite complex. You need an attorney to look it over so that you can have some peace of mind.
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Just want to add, I am all for loving and caring for family members and making sacrifices, like the vast majority of members of this forum. But it seems like this impulse to care is often used against caregivers. Women's time isn't seen as valuable, just to cut to the chase. I think we need to start challenging this assumption.
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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I think you should sit down and calculate how much money you've been saving the family since you started caring for your mom. Then I think you should consult an estate or family law attorney about how you might go about being reimbursed both now and after your mom passes.

I can't claim to be knowledgeable about all the in's and out's of estate planning and inheritance and all of that, but it seems like on paper you and your family have been the losers (I wanted to type "royally screwed" but didn't want to be indecorous) in this whole arrangement.

You say your family likes martyrdom, but how about you?
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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Thank you!
My family is more about guilt and martyrdom. The family would never use a mediator or go to court. They would simply give us the money, then silently judge us and use guilt by playing the martyr.
I don’t know which is worse.
My brother isn’t trying to buy my son’s love. He simply realizes that we wouldn’t be able to afford him these opportunities on our own. He feels guilty that he has and we don’t, so he gives to my son (& to us for holidays and birthdays). My son is eternally grateful and appreciates how lucky he is that he is given these opportunities. My brother she’s away from the attention, playing the martyr in his own way.
I really think my brother would be open to giving me any part of the estate that we needed. He may even buy our house when we move to have it as a second home/investment property.
Honestly, he probably would pay my son’s tuition if he needed it. He is very giving.
It’s my aunt that I worry about most. She and my uncle worked hard for their money over the years. They were the doting aunt and uncle, but as they retired, their views on money changed. And they DEFINITELY don’t discuss finances except in very BROAD terms.
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Reply to anonymous814887
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Because it is MONEY and to quote Joel Gray in the movie "Cabaret": "Money makes the world go around, the world go around, the world go around."

Is your Brother going to pay for your Son's college tuition? Or does your Brother spend money on your Son is the form of "GIFTS" such as trips around the world, or the latest gadget? Is your Brother trying to "BUY" your Son's love?

You state: "I have a caregiver that comes in 3 days a week for 4 hours each day so I can run errands, or take a nap so I can be awake to watch her all night. So is it that I feel guilty for spending money on myself this way? Technically it isn’t necessary for her care. " YES, the hiring of a SECOND caregiver IS FOR YOUR MOM'S CARE so that her PRIMARY CAREGIVER (YOU) can be physically and emotionally and mentally able to take care of your Mother.

Staff members at a nursing home or assisted living don't work 24 hours a day--7 days a week. Neither should you. BUT since you are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, others expect you to be "On Duty" at all times.

"My brother and I will inherit my mother’s portion of the estate from my grandmother...by the time my mother passes, we will have used almost all of the estate account’s savings. Should the money spent on Mom’s care be her part of the estate? My thinking is yes."
YES, the money from your Mom's part of the estate should be used for your Mom's care. If that money isn't used, where is the money going to come from to pay for your Mom's care--from your Brother or your Aunt or from your own checking account?

"My aunt and brother won’t want to sell the house or liquidate any of the other assets...But they may not be able to buy us out of the house and stocks without having to sell." This is a common problem that is occurring throughout the US and the world. I understand your dilemma. My Mom bought her family's farm from her siblings when their Father died. I have several friends who had to sell their family farms because some of the siblings wanted money and the other siblings wanted to keep the farms.

I think that it is time for a mediator to come up with a solution for your family's problem. Google "Mediator" for your state and choose a mediator that is sponsored by the State Department of Health & Human Services or the State Judicial Department.

You have a right to your dream. God Bless.
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