Mom feels pressured to share inheritance
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.
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