Mom feels pres­sured to share inheritance

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Society - Amy Dickinson

Dear Amy: Re­cently, my el­derly mother sold her home. She and my dis­abled sis­ter moved in with me and my fam­ily to care for them.

My older brother, “Randy,” has been call­ing and ask­ing for “his inheritance,” cit­ing mount­ing bills, and be­ing a pos­si­ble ca­su­alty to the gov­ern­ment shut­down.

Randy owns three houses and two cars. He rents one of his houses and re­fuses to sell his late wife’s car.

Amy, my mom has health prob­lems, in­clud­ing pro­gress­ing de­men­tia. Medi­care won’t cover ev­ery­thing she may need, but while she still has some of her fac­ul­ties, she in­sists that she pay for things like room ad­di­tions to our house that we’ve made to ac­com­mo­date her and my sis­ter.

Now Randy wants “his inheritance,” and Mom in­sists that if he gets his, all of her chil­dren should have theirs, as well.

The way I see it, my mother needs this money for any of her fu­ture med­i­cal needs, and that the money is HERS un­til she passes.

Am I wrong to want her to keep her money and not dis­trib­ute it? Should she, with my help, give Randy his “share”? — Try­ing to Do the Right Thing

Dear Try­ing: In this cir­cum­stance, if the bulk of your mother’s sav­ings comes from the sale of her home, I don’t know how you can ac­cu­rately de­ter­mine any in­di­vid­ual’s inheritance when her ex­penses are chang­ing and hope­fully she will be with you for a long (but in­de­ter­mi­nate) time. I agree with you that it is risky for her to dis­trib­ute her money now.

If there is a way for her to safely dis­trib­ute a mod­est por­tion of her sav­ings to each of you (with­out putting too much stress on the to­tal), that might mol­lify all par­ties.

You also might wish to be com­pen­sated for your in-home care (and al­low for your dis­abled sis­ter’s ex­penses); you should con­sult with a pro­fes­sional es­tate plan­ner to de­ter­mine what is le­gal, fair, al­low­able and tax­able.

Read­ers can send email to [email protected] amy­dick­in­son.com or let­ters to “Ask Amy” P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY, 13068.

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