Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

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pmdonca
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Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by pmdonca » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:31 am

I am posting regarding this hypothetical situation. Here is the breakdown of the situation:

Single widowed Mother and two sons (Son #1 and Son #2)
Mother currently lives in California with son#1 with plans to go into a retirement center in the same town as son#1. In the past the mother lived about an hour away from son #1 while son #2 lives out of the state and has lived out of the state for the past 20 years and comes to visit the mother yearly for approximately 3 weeks to visit. It was a vacation as the mother always for paid for his plane ticket and all the meals, etc. However last year son #2 insisted on “watching” the mother in California at her home which he did for 7 months. During this time son#2 managed to strong arm/ guilt trip the mother into changing the original will/trust. Additionally, the mother was Milked out of $5k per month for dinners and his own personal use. Son #2 did some work at the mothers house and feels he saved the world as he did painting at the house to prepare the house to sell. The mother has mild dementia and is 85+ years old with stage 4 cancer. Son #2 from out of the state is very abrasive and requires son #1 to talk to him for any decision to be made. Son #2 is very difficult to deal with as he is looking after himself primarily since there is money/inheritance involved. While, son #1 is primarily looking after the mother. The mother currently lives with Son #1 in California. Son #2 is abrasive and wants his way and impedes on all action done by son #1. It is nearly impossible to deal with son #2. Mother tells each of the two sons what they want to hear. So creates a major conflict between the two sons. What can be done to protect the inheritance between the two sons? Especially when son #2 is not trust worthy and will strong arm the mother as he already got the will structure changed durIng the 7 month visit as he was “taking care of the mother”. Any advice would be greatly appreciated thank you

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celia
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by celia » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:02 am

There's no need to "protect" the inheritance. It should be spent on good care for the mother. When she dies and if there is money left over, only THEN will there be an inheritance for her kids.

earlyout
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by earlyout » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:08 am

If you want to sever the relationship with your brother you will need to see an elder law attorney and ask about obtaining guardianship of your mother. It can be a messy process.

PlayingLife
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by PlayingLife » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:21 am

I am sorry you are going through this with your mother and sibling...sorry about your mom. In this hypothetical story, I will refer to the key person as "you / your / etc".

In the spirit of being open minded, one must consider there is your side of the story, and your sibling's side of the story. In the end, both of your minds should be focused on ensuring enough assets are left to protect your mother as long as possible. Anything left over sounds like it will be left for family - a gain in sad circumstances. Additionally, what does your mom want? Regardless of your commitment, does she want the inheritance split equally amongst the two of you? While I see your point, I can see that it may be impossible for a parent to give less to one child vs another, no matter what. Also it seems like the $5K a month was more of a pay check than anything else, so while I totally take your side on this I think it has to be excluded from the conversation - but you are right, this is bogus.

Now considering the remaining assets and in taking your side on this ---> It sounds like you have taken very good care of your mom simply based on your love rather than looking for a gain. It also sounds like you are more concerned in keeping assets away from the sibling than getting them yourself, as is emotions are not genuine. I just saw an elder law attorney with my parents and could not believe the amount of reputable knowledge that came out of our $550 1.5 hour conversation. I highly recommend that you call an elder law attorney, talk to them for 2 minutes, and agree to a fixed fee in which you can visit them and ask some questions about the current situation. You will need to come prepared with any existing wills or POA's available, and with the specific questions you want answered, or pieces of advice you need. If you book an appointment today you can have all your questions answered likely in the next couple of weeks.

Bogleheads ---> The author says the will was changed by sibling #2. If sibling #1 had POA, and was the only one with POA, wouldn't this prevent these sort of things from happening, and would it guarantee things could only be adjusted legally by sibling #1? Or am I off track here? How can POA be used to Sibling #1's advantage?

mouses
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by mouses » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:24 am

celia wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:02 am
There's no need to "protect" the inheritance. It should be spent on good care for the mother. When she dies and if there is money left over, only THEN will there be an inheritance for her kids.
It's not at all clear to me that the money will be spent for the mother's benefit while son #2 is involved in the situation. I can easily see him draining her savings and leaving her destitute, without even the house to live in. For that reason, I think the OP needs to see a good elder law attorney pronto to safeguard his mother.

The inheritance is a lesser issue. But how did the will change? From 1 to split? From split to 2?
Last edited by mouses on Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:27 am

Put all the money in trust with the Humane Society being the beneficiary.

Nobody "deserves" inheritance.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

smackboy1
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by smackboy1 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:11 am

This hypothetical is just a potentially huge family disaster, but it's not uncommon. There's at least 3 sides to this story and it's certain son #2 and the mother's versions would sound very different. There are issues of the mother's mental competency and if son #2 obtained the will changes using undue influence. It sounds like it's time to get a lawyer and maybe the courts involved. Act soon. It will be much better to determine the mother's mental competency and intentions, and thus the validity of recent will changes, close to the time that the alleged undue influence took place while she is still alive. The mother may need a 3rd party adult guardian/conservator who will represent her best interests.
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

investordoc
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by investordoc » Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:47 am

Just finished reading "Beyond the Grave" by Jeffrey Condon. The book will answer many of your questions and it will provide a base of knowledge for when you see an attorney. As stated above don't waste time. Find a good/great elder care attorney in your area and see what they recommend concerning your mom and your brother.
It is what it is until it isn't anymore

carolinaman
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by carolinaman » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:46 pm

You need to consult with an elder law attorney. The fact your mother already has dementia may mean she is no longer competent to make her own decisions. The elder law attorney can guide you the that process as well as a structure for oversight and care of your mother. First priority is to care for your mother, inheritance should be secondary.

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Pajamas
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by Pajamas » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:52 pm

carolinaman wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:46 pm
You need to consult with an elder law attorney. The fact your mother already has dementia may mean she is no longer competent to make her own decisions. The elder law attorney can guide you the that process as well as a structure for oversight and care of your mother. First priority is to care for your mother, inheritance should be secondary.
This is pretty much my thoughts, too.

It may be necessary to get a determination of competence for the mother so the sooner the better.

pmdonca
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by pmdonca » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:14 am

mouses wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:24 am
celia wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:02 am
There's no need to "protect" the inheritance. It should be spent on good care for the mother. When she dies and if there is money left over, only THEN will there be an inheritance for her kids.
It's not at all clear to me that the money will be spent for the mother's benefit while son #2 is involved in the situation. I can easily see him draining her savings and leaving her destitute, without even the house to live in. For that reason, I think the OP needs to see a good elder law attorney pronto to safeguard his mother.

The inheritance is a lesser issue. But how did the will change? From 1 to split? From split to 2?
Son#1 is married (first and only marriage) and has a 2 adult children (which are the only blood line grandchildren). Son #2 recently got married later in life (first and only marriage) about 5-10 years ago with no blood line grandchildren. The wife of son #2 has 3 adult children from a previous marriage (not blood line and mother of the two sons only met them once or twice since they live out of the state). Given the family dynamic the will was originally set up that if son #1 dies before the mother then upon the mothers death the two blood line grandchildren would get 25% each which totals the 50% that son #1 would have gotten. Also the will was set up that if son #2 does before the mother then 100% of the proceeds will go to son #1 upon death of the mother. It got changed to benefit son #2 in the sense that if son#2 dies before the mother then the 50% of the proceed would go to the wife of the son#2 upon the mothers death. The mother was essentially coerced to changing the will and said I guess because son #2 is very overbearing and difficult to deal with. It was easier for the mother to just go along with it... Currently, the will has not been changed in the situation that if son#1 does that 100% will go to son #2 even if son #1 has blood line grandchildren. We are concerned that if son #1 dies, then son#2 will be over bearing and coerce the mother to changing it again so that he would get 100% of the proceeds. Is there something to protect this from happening? Also could the mother change the will back to the original without son #2 knowing about it so that if son # dies then 100% would go to son #1 since son #1 has grandchildren? Mother wants to keep it the way it was originally set up but is scared of son #2 because he is verbally abusive to her if he doesn’t get his way... any ideas? Thank you for your time.

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celia
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by celia » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:27 am

Sure, the mother can change the will any way she wants. The main problem there, though, is her competency. Someone may have to take her to a lawyer and wait in the waiting room while she talks to the lawyer. If her competency is challenged, then her competency for the recent will change is also in question. But the lawyer can figure out what to do.

It seems to me that the brothers are arguing over something that is not likely to happen, unless one of them has sinister "plans".

letsgobobby
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by letsgobobby » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:03 am

You can report to APS if you believe Son #2 is verbally and potentially financially abusive to his 84 yo mom.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:29 am

Books on Wills, Trusts, and Estates
Beyond the Grave: The Right Way and the Wrong Way of Leaving Money to Your Children (And Others)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/08873 ... UTF8&psc=1

Seek legal counsel ASAP.

j :D

Carefreeap
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by Carefreeap » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:21 pm

This situation already sounds like a convoluted mess.

Very blunt question, what is Mom's Net Worth today?

If Mom's already got dementia and is headed for memory care skilled nursing I'm wondering if there's really something to fight over in the distant future. ETA: In my area of CA, memory care is going to be north of $120k/yr. and rising significantly faster than the rate of inflation.

Dottie57
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:28 pm

Carefreeap wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:21 pm
This situation already sounds like a convoluted mess.

Very blunt question, what is Mom's Net Worth today?

If Mom's already got dementia and is headed for memory care skilled nursing I'm wondering if there's really something to fight over in the distant future. ETA: In my area of CA, memory care is going to be north of $120k/yr. and rising significantly faster than the rate of inflation.

Mom may not make it to memory care, she has stage 4 cancer

NextMil
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by NextMil » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:30 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:29 am
Books on Wills, Trusts, and Estates
Beyond the Grave: The Right Way and the Wrong Way of Leaving Money to Your Children (And Others)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/08873 ... UTF8&psc=1

Seek legal counsel ASAP.

j :D
Timely, as I am in the process of developing a will etc. Two chapters in and can already tell this is going to be a fantastic read. Thanks.

pmdonca
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by pmdonca » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:24 pm

celia wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:02 am
There's no need to "protect" the inheritance. It should be spent on good care for the mother. When she dies and if there is money left over, only THEN will there be an inheritance for her kids.
I agree however son #2 primary intention is to maximize inheritance, while son #1 primary intention is to make sure the mother is happy and taken care of. So what can son #1 and the mother do to protect the well being of the mother so that the mother does not feel coerced by son #2. Son #1 feels threatened by son #2 as he is verbally abusive,etc.

TTBG
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by TTBG » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:21 pm

If I understand correctly, the will changed from:
Old will:
50/50 between Son #1 and Son #2.
If Son #1 dies before Mom, then Son #1's children get his share.
If Son #2 dies before Mom, then Son #1 gets 100%.
New will:
50/50 between Son #1 and Son #2.
If Son #1 dies before Mom, then Son #1's children get his share.
If Son #2 dies before Mom, then Son #2's wife gets his share.

Family dynamics aside, that doesn't seem like a really outrageous change. In fact nothing changes unless one of the sons dies before Mom, who is 84 with stage 4 cancer.

I can totally understand Son #1 feeling angry and frustrated over Son #2's actions. Son #1 is also probably under a lot of stress since he is taking care of Mom. So I agree with others that a short, focused conversation with an elder attorney is a good idea. But unless Son #2 is threatening actions that could harm Mom, such as trying to block her move to the retirement center, I would hope that Son #1 thinks long and hard about dragging Mom into a competency hearing at this stage of her life. He says she tells each son what they want to hear -- maybe because she knows she doesn't have much time left and wants to feel that she is at peace with her family.

spammagnet
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by spammagnet » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:23 pm

TTBG wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:21 pm
If I understand correctly, the will changed from:
Old will:
50/50 between Son #1 and Son #2.
If Son #1 dies before Mom, then Son #1's children get his share.
If Son #2 dies before Mom, then Son #1 gets 100%.
New will:
50/50 between Son #1 and Son #2.
If Son #1 dies before Mom, then Son #1's children get his share.
If Son #2 dies before Mom, then Son #2's wife gets his share.

Family dynamics aside, that doesn't seem like a really outrageous change. In fact nothing changes unless one of the sons dies before Mom, who is 84 with stage 4 cancer.

I can totally understand Son #1 feeling angry and frustrated over Son #2's actions. Son #1 is also probably under a lot of stress since he is taking care of Mom. So I agree with others that a short, focused conversation with an elder attorney is a good idea. But unless Son #2 is threatening actions that could harm Mom, such as trying to block her move to the retirement center, I would hope that Son #1 thinks long and hard about dragging Mom into a competency hearing at this stage of her life. He says she tells each son what they want to hear -- maybe because she knows she doesn't have much time left and wants to feel that she is at peace with her family.
pmdonca wrote:... We are concerned that if son #1 dies, then son#2 will be over bearing and coerce the mother to changing it again so that he would get 100% of the proceeds. ...
A concern seems to be the potential for future changes at the behest of son#2, to the disadvantage of son#1's kids.

pmdonca
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by pmdonca » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:36 am

TTBG wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:21 pm
If I understand correctly, the will changed from:
Old will:
50/50 between Son #1 and Son #2.
If Son #1 dies before Mom, then Son #1's children get his share.
If Son #2 dies before Mom, then Son #1 gets 100%.
New will:
50/50 between Son #1 and Son #2.
If Son #1 dies before Mom, then Son #1's children get his share.
If Son #2 dies before Mom, then Son #2's wife gets his share.

Family dynamics aside, that doesn't seem like a really outrageous change. In fact nothing changes unless one of the sons dies before Mom, who is 84 with stage 4 cancer.

I can totally understand Son #1 feeling angry and frustrated over Son #2's actions. Son #1 is also probably under a lot of stress since he is taking care of Mom. So I agree with others that a short, focused conversation with an elder attorney is a good idea. But unless Son #2 is threatening actions that could harm Mom, such as trying to block her move to the retirement center, I would hope that Son #1 thinks long and hard about dragging Mom into a competency hearing at this stage of her life. He says she tells each son what they want to hear -- maybe because she knows she doesn't have much time left and wants to feel that she is at peace with her family.
Given the coercive nature of son #2, another concern for son #1 is if son #1 dies then while the mother is alive then son #2 will coerce mother to change the will to completely to son #2 as the only remaining “son” alive. Then the wife of son #1 and the blood line 2 grandkids of the mother would be screwed out. Son #2 does not have any bloodline children (he has 3 step children from the wife’s previous marriage). Any ideas to this dilemma?

pmdonca
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by pmdonca » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:37 am

NextMil wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:30 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:29 am
Books on Wills, Trusts, and Estates
Beyond the Grave: The Right Way and the Wrong Way of Leaving Money to Your Children (And Others)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/08873 ... UTF8&psc=1

Seek legal counsel ASAP.

j :D
Timely, as I am in the process of developing a will etc. Two chapters in and can already tell this is going to be a fantastic read. Thanks.
Thank you for the suggestion to read this book!

letsgobobby
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:44 am

why do you keep talking in hypotheticals and third persons?

pmdonca
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by pmdonca » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:47 am

Dottie57 wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:28 pm
Carefreeap wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:21 pm
This situation already sounds like a convoluted mess.

Very blunt question, what is Mom's Net Worth today?

If Mom's already got dementia and is headed for memory care skilled nursing I'm wondering if there's really something to fight over in the distant future. ETA: In my area of CA, memory care is going to be north of $120k/yr. and rising significantly faster than the rate of inflation.

Mom may not make it to memory care, she has stage 4 cancer
Net worth is approximately 1.2 million (900k house + 300k retirement). Not too big but it is enough to create tensions. While the mother does have stage 4 cancer, she does not have any pain or symptoms. However her memory is bad especially short term (diagnosed dementia). However, it is not quite to the point where she is lost or doesn’t know peoples names or anything like that. She is aware of her surroundings but wants to tell everyone what they hear and this create conflicts between the two sons. It magnifies especially when son #2 has to be “right” and be number 1 (self centered) and when son #1 has the best interests of the mother even if it costs money to move her into a senior center...

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Family dilemma involving wills/trusts

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:57 am

Mother currently lives in California with son#1 with plans to go into a retirement center in the same town as son#1
Net worth is approximately 1.2 million (900k house + 300k retirement).
Just curious - does Mother live in her own house and son#1 in his, or has Mother moved in with son#1, or has son#1 moved in with Mother?

In any case, I feel sorry for Mother because both sons are fighting over her money, which is still hers because she is not dead and may live many years. They both need to cut it out, and focus on making sure she is comfortable and well cared for.

Does either son have POA or medical POA? Someone needs to be able to make decisions about where to move her and how aggressively to treat her cancer and other future conditions. Has this been taken care of? If not, maybe the sons can stop arguing about the inheritance long enough to put together a compassionate care plan.

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