How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance

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dave66
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How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance

Post by dave66 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:42 pm

This is a tough subject for me, but I’m completely at a loss as to how to handle this. A close family member of mine is getting pretty old. She already had one stroke not long ago. I fear she will probably not be around much longer. Though we are closely related, we have never gotten along well at all. I have a lot of painful memories involving her. We still talk, but just barely. She decided to move away quite a while ago. I told her it was a bad idea, as she is getting older and will need to think about the future. But as usual, she ignored me, because it’s always about her. She has distant relatives near her, but they are pretty far removed. I am by far her closest relative. Technically, the responsibility falls to me.

The problem starts with the fact that she is 2800 miles away. She owns a home that is paid for, but I believe she took out some kind of loan on it. I have a business where I live, that cannot be left alone. There's nobody else that can run things for me. I more than have my hands full, just dealing with my own life. Leaving to deal with her, would basically mean shutting down my business, which would create a great financial hardship for me. Every day I was gone, I would be losing money, while at the same time, most likely having to spend significant amounts of money to deal with her estate. I also have animals that need to be taken care of. The dread of how I’ll be able to do this, has led to great stress over the last few years.

I’ve had people tell me… "Just let people there deal with it, whatever happens, happens." I would have a hard time doing that. I worry that it would be on my conscience for the rest of my life. I also know that the people there who know her, would think I was an absolute monster. She has also made this as difficult as possible. I had to pester her for years, just to get any pertinent info from her at all.

So I’m open to any suggestions on this. Maybe someone has had a similar situation. I feel sorry for you if you have.

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prudent
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Re: How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance

Post by prudent » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:53 pm

I don't understand "Technically, the responsibility falls to me." Has she indicated that you are her executor? You need not accept the position.

In any event, to put an end to feelings of dread it might be useful to make it clear to her that you cannot and will not be able to tend to her affairs in the event of her passing.

Teague
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Re: How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance

Post by Teague » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:58 pm

I read the title, "How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance" and wondered if there might be a seance involved.

But to the issue - You will feel guilty, and suffer from that, if you do not take care of her. And you will feel guilty and suffer if you do take care of her, because you will not be taking care of yourself and your business.

Quite a dilemma indeed.

I really believe this is a type of problem a qualified good therapist could probably help out with. Certainly much better that I would be able to do.

Best wishes, and good luck with this.
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mouses
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Re: How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance

Post by mouses » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:03 pm

Are you worried about care she might need as her life ends, or financial after end of life stuff?

From the Subject, it sounds like the latter. You have no responsibility for this. I think I read somewhere that if a person dies with no executor, etc. the state appoints someone, probably a lawyer. In this case, you can walk away.

It would be different if she wanted your help, but she obviously doesn't. Even if she names you as executor, you could just refuse to accept, or delegate stuff to a local attorney, real estate agent, etc. If the estate does not have funds for this, then do not accept being executor.

I really do not think you should damage your life or your animals for someone who does not care for you, and the opinion of others does not matter. If they get worked up let them do it.

delamer
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Re: How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance

Post by delamer » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:12 pm

mouses wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:03 pm
Are you worried about care she might need as her life ends, or financial after end of life stuff?

From the Subject, it sounds like the latter. You have no responsibility for this. I think I read somewhere that if a person dies with no executor, etc. the state appoints someone, probably a lawyer. In this case, you can walk away.

It would be different if she wanted your help, but she obviously doesn't. Even if she names you as executor, you could just refuse to accept, or delegate stuff to a local attorney, real estate agent, etc. If the estate does not have funds for this, then do not accept being executor.

I really do not think you should damage your life or your animals for someone who does not care for you, and the opinion of others does not matter. If they get worked up let them do it.
Good advice.

Being prone to this myself, I'll add that you "shouldn't meet trouble half way." She could die tomorrow and then you find out the she has named a local executor or has an excellent estate attorney who can take care of things for you long distance.

Worrying about this won't solve the problem; it will just make you crazy.

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celia
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Re: How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance

Post by celia » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:18 pm

OK, let's get to the point.

"Mom (or whoever, she is), I am setting up my estate plan. I have a couple of decisions to make, like who I want to be the executor of my will. I am thinking of choosing <so-and-so> but if she can't do it, then <another person> would hopefully be able to do it. How did you choose someone to close out your estate and who did you choose?"

Either she has made arrangements or she hasn't. If she has, I expect she would share it with you if you are a close relative. If she hasn't made arrangements, she needs to think about it and do something about it.

Also let her know that if you are expected to do it, it would be a hardship on you, but you would do if you have to (or just wouldn't). Tell her you are not offended if she chooses someone else.

Just clear the air and you will know. No use worrying about something you can easily find out.

After you have talked to her, please let us know if this helped. (That is don't wait another week or month. Just do it.)

Regardless, you should worry about your own estate instead and put things in writing (unless you have already done this.).

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dm200
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Re: How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance

Post by dm200 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:28 pm

It sounds to me that the big challenges for you are while she is alive, and not when she dies.

Upon her death (assuming - big assumption - you are executor), you could have someone else take care of almost all of the details (for fees of course).

Unless I am missing something, there is no need for you to spend significant amounts of YOUR money to settle her estate. Perhaps you might have to buy a round trip airline ticket, rental car and lodging for a few days.

You may net even need to travel there.

If she is as "difficult" as you say, then folks who know her may not label you a monster.

She might even have cut you out of any role in settling her estate.

livesoft
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Re: How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance

Post by livesoft » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:31 pm

There was a similar thread in the past where I think a brother died. After the death, his stuff was ransacked since no one was around.

Here you go: viewtopic.php?t=178724
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staythecourse
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Re: How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance

Post by staythecourse » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:31 pm

prudent wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:53 pm
I don't understand "Technically, the responsibility falls to me." Has she indicated that you are her executor? You need not accept the position.

In any event, to put an end to feelings of dread it might be useful to make it clear to her that you cannot and will not be able to tend to her affairs in the event of her passing.
Sounds harsh, but COMPLETELY true. Be direct with her and make sure she has someone else in place to handle her affairs. It is NOT fair to take advantage of ANYONE just because you can especially if you DON'T have the preexisting relationship.

Let her know now so there are no expectations after death. If you don't then it is your fault and not hers.

Good luck.
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quantAndHold
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Re: How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance

Post by quantAndHold » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:57 pm

mouses wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:03 pm

From the Subject, it sounds like the latter. You have no responsibility for this. I think I read somewhere that if a person dies with no executor, etc. the state appoints someone, probably a lawyer. In this case, you can walk away.
This is sort of true. If someone dies without a will, the state will name an administrator, but they will give priority to the family members who stand to inherit the estate, and only name a non-family member if nobody who is in the line of inheritance is willing to do it. My brother was executor for a friend's estate that way. The friend died without a will and with an upside down estate, and the parents didn't want to have anything to do with it. So my brother and his friends took over, got the parents to sign away their right to administer the estate, and paid what bills they could with what money they in the accounts. They did it mostly because they wanted their friend to have a decent funeral, and taking over estate administration was the way to get it done.

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FIREchief
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Re: How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance

Post by FIREchief » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:03 pm

I may be in the minority on this topic. If an elderly person (or a person of any age for that matter), desires to nominate a person as personal representative they should:

a) ask the person if they would be willing to consider and discuss such a role
b) answer any questions the nominee may have regarding assets (nature, not amounts), terms of a will, etc.
c) discuss who the other beneficiaries of the estate are
d) give the nominee an opportunity to say "yes" or "no"

If yes, then the person should:
a) provide access to the will (or provide a copy)
b) establish a summary listing of all accounts and real assets and let the nominee know where it will be at time of death
c) make arrangements to leave sufficient financial assets to the estate to allow the personal representative to settle all debts, and pay all expenses, without having to claw back assets from accounts that pay directly to named beneficiaries (as well as providing reasonable compensation to the personal representative).

This is the only scenario in which I would ever agree to serve as personal representative for any friend or relative not part of my immediate household (i.e. spouse or children). Unfortunately, I come from a culture where such things are never discussed, and a person approaching death feels they've bestowed some type of honor on their nominated personal representative, nothing is currently "any of their business" and it will be entirely up to that person to find everything and figure it all out (and it will be a labor of love). I would never touch such a nomination with a ten foot pole. :oops:
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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Re: How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance

Post by Carefreeap » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:42 am

dave66 wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:42 pm
This is a tough subject for me, but I’m completely at a loss as to how to handle this. A close family member of mine is getting pretty old. She already had one stroke not long ago. I fear she will probably not be around much longer. Though we are closely related, we have never gotten along well at all. I have a lot of painful memories involving her. We still talk, but just barely. She decided to move away quite a while ago. I told her it was a bad idea, as she is getting older and will need to think about the future. But as usual, she ignored me, because it’s always about her. She has distant relatives near her, but they are pretty far removed. I am by far her closest relative. Technically, the responsibility falls to me.

The problem starts with the fact that she is 2800 miles away. She owns a home that is paid for, but I believe she took out some kind of loan on it. I have a business where I live, that cannot be left alone. There's nobody else that can run things for me. I more than have my hands full, just dealing with my own life. Leaving to deal with her, would basically mean shutting down my business, which would create a great financial hardship for me. Every day I was gone, I would be losing money, while at the same time, most likely having to spend significant amounts of money to deal with her estate. I also have animals that need to be taken care of. The dread of how I’ll be able to do this, has led to great stress over the last few years.

I’ve had people tell me… "Just let people there deal with it, whatever happens, happens." I would have a hard time doing that. I worry that it would be on my conscience for the rest of my life. I also know that the people there who know her, would think I was an absolute monster. She has also made this as difficult as possible. I had to pester her for years, just to get any pertinent info from her at all.

So I’m open to any suggestions on this. Maybe someone has had a similar situation. I feel sorry for you if you have.
I feel your pain.

We are in a similar situation with MIL. She is 83 and 600 miles away. DH is her only child.

Her younger sister, a former licensed social worker, believes she is bi-polar. If you look up narcissistic personality disorder she fits the description.

I have posted the current situation in detail on another board but suffice it to say that her current plan is to buy a 3,500 sq.ft house in order to move her caretaker and her extended family in with her. The caregiver is an illegal alien. There is no way this plan will work and she's angry that we won't support this idea.

I've resigned myself to the fact and advised her that it's her money and her decision and she gets to live with the results of that decision.

You can't make someone do something they don't want to do even if it's in their best interest. Your friends are right about whatever happens, happens.

Don't worry about people thinking you're a monster. If they know her well they know the truth. You've done your best in an impossible situation not of your making. I agree with the prior post about seeing a therapist in order to learn how to forgive yourself.

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Re: How to deal with a deceased relative from long distance

Post by dbr » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:57 am

Your post is vague and seems filled with dread rather than considerations of realistic issues.

By your language I guess we are to assume that the concern is for winding up the affairs of someone after they have died. Is that true because caring for someone living who becomes incompetent or has major life issues is an entirely different thing.

I suggest you make a specific list of what it is you are going to have to "deal" with when that person dies. Off hand it would seem that there wouldn't have to be anything. Are you positioned to inherit something from this person?

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