General Question

Aster's avatar

How can I escape my fate ? What would you do?

Asked by Aster (19949points) October 1st, 2014

Someday not too long from now I will be alone. I am in great health, a few aches and pains but great vision, mind intact, finances ok, no debt. My great fear is being left at the hands of two vultures : my two daughters and son in law. My younger daughter and I are not close and she is very controlling and admitted she wants me “to be passive.” That’s impossible; it’s not my nature nor hers. Her husband has been to our house three times in twenty six years. No holiday dinner will get him over here and I still buy him presents. I’ve never gotten a phone call from him. He dislikes us because we have spent money attempting to help her older sister and son have a decent life but it didn’t work. They, my older daughter and her son, both smoke weed and she has encouraged him to drop out of school because he kept getting suspended. She has also done harder drugs on and off for years and they’re always broke. We live fifteen miles from the younger daughter who yelled at me for twenty minutes to “make out a will” and three hours from the older daughter and her son. I feel so trapped and fearful thinking of my daughter and her husband lecturing me and trying to control my life. I have so many friends back east but they’re old too. I also have nieces back east. Honestly, it feels like I need to just run away and join a convent. Where should I go when the time comes?
I may have to marry again just to have a buffer of sorts, a protector, but I didn’t wish to do that again and it’s not fair to the guy whomever it would be. I actually feel vultures circling…

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23 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

You don’t need a buffer, you need someone to be your advocate.

You need to talk to someone at a local agency for seniors for setting up some guardianship so that your money is protected for your use, and to keep decisions about you away from being made by relatives who will not do what you want.

They will help you set up documents that give your power of attorney to someone who will have your best interests in mind, and will have authority to cut your daughters out of any decision making. And it is best to do it as soon as you can, and then tell them, so you are present and healthy and they can’t go to court and say you were not well.

And you do not have to leave your daughters a single penny. Not one. Choose an heir that will make you happy to know they will get what ever you have to leave. It can be a person, a charity, a community group, a school, or a library. But someone who will make you happy, and then tell your daughter you have made a will, but it is confidential until you die.

Aster's avatar

^^^^^ thank you. I’m not really concerned about money. My younger daughter is doing very well financially and she is quite ethical. What concerns me is the feeling of being bossed around as to where to live, how to live and having to face my cold and resentful son in law who can’t stand to be around us. He is the dominant type; the type I don’t like.
I have no problem leaving assets to both daughters at this point. I have a big problem just being around them and having them in my face so to speak.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, find an advocate or get an attorney to handle your estate and well being.
More importantly spend your money while you are still alive! lol
Be bold and stand up to your bullying SIL.
Tell him that what you do is none of his business and that you will no longer listen to or out up with unsolicited advice. If he starts in, leave, hang up, and just keep reinforcing that behavior until he gets the message and gives up.

rojo's avatar

@Aster, First, go ahead and make a will. You can get legal help if you want, and I would suggest getting with a specialist because you probably have assets you don’t even think of as such or have not considered; otherwise, there are several sites online where you can get the necessary paperwork and fill it in yourself. Please check into this.
Second, neither of your daughters needs to know the contents of your will unless you so choose. It is yours; they will find out in good time. But if you do not make the decisions yourself someone else will make it for you after you have gone. No one will probably be happy with however you decide to apportion things out but that is not your problem and while they are unhappy, at least there will be less for them to argue over.
Third, while you are doing this, consider who you want as executor. It doesn’t have to be a family member, it can be a friend or lawyer, it is entirely up to you.
More later, gotta get back to work.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m not big on trusts, but your case might be best handled that way. You put your assets into the trust and someone manages it for your benefit. Maybe even use a bank that has a trust department. They’re used to dealing with kids like yours. I would talk to an attorney and a bank. Another option might be to move into a retirement community, maybe one with some assisted living help. That gives you a bit of a buffer. Hope it works out for you.

canidmajor's avatar

Would you be willing to go No Contact with your daughters for a while? A friend of mine in Nebraska did that for a year and it was very effective. She put it in place by sending her children a well-written letter (composed with the help of a few fairly objective friends and cc-ed to her attorney). She explained why, succinctly, and then suspended her phones temporarily, got a new cell and number for contacts she wanted to keep, and left town for a month to avoid the initial backlash.
Her attorney and her physician both endorsed this action in case the children tried to have her declared incompetent.
After the initial hysteria, they backed off, and waited out the year. When contact was restored, the kids were a whole lot nicer to her, they had an understanding that she could take all sorts of actions on her own that they might not like, including just cutting them off completely.

It was much more difficult than this brief summary makes it sound, but my friend is much happier with her life now.

gailcalled's avatar

Find an attorney you like and trust. Have him explain the terms of lawyer-client privilege to you.

Write your will, health care proxy, medical power of attorney for starters. You can change the terms at any time. Pick neutral people as trustees and executors.

There are beautiful staged care communities all over the country for you to research. Independent living (lots of fun, like summer camp for seniors), assisted living, long-term care and Alzheimer’s units.

(Stop giving your evil son-in-law gifts.)

You can remove yourself from any family member who tries to lecture you, control you or even raise his or her voice for a second.

You do not need an aged husgband to plan your safe and comfortable old-age. Use your brains and distance yourself from the kids until they change their tune.

(What state are you in?)

janbb's avatar

You need to do some advance planning just as all of us have to do. A will is crucial but even more important is setting up an advance care directive and establishing a health care proxy- someone who is authorized to make decisions about your health should you not be able to do so. If you are of sound mind, nobody should be able to make decisions for you. Scope out nursing homes or assisted living places and consider moving to a continuing care place while you are still healthy.

Find good professionals that you trust and use them as resources. I told my GP yesterday that my son was my health care proxy but that he lived far away. He said, “In the meantime, you have me.” I could have kissed him. This was in the context of a short but important “death talk.” I had brought my advance care directive to the doctor so they could have it on record.

I keep organizing my papers and files so that my sons can have access to them if they need them.

Be an advocate for yourself; not a victim.

rojo's avatar

Well, @janbb, and @gailcalled covered the medical aspects I was thinking about. Important that you do these things now so that no one can question whether you were of sound mind or under someone elses influence.

Have you considered travel? Maybe extended vacations such as long cruises or a guided tour? We have several agencies in our town that specialize in these kinds of things.

Do you have friends who might be interested in joining together for a group outing? Have you ever considered a group such as the Red Hat Society or something similar?

My thought being that if you are gone for a while your kids will get used to the idea that you are an able adult fully capable of making your own decisions. And even if they don’t like it, it is a lot harder for them to control your life over the phone.

Finally, be aware that S-I-L has already clouded your relationship with your youngest daughter. It sounds like he is not happy that you have wasted or are wasting his future inheritance on your eldest daughter and grandson.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

You will have to move far from them. That in itself will make them keep a distance and it will be too much trouble for them to order you around if you are too far to reach. “Back east” is where you should be planning to move in the near future.

Aster's avatar

@rojo the money spent on my older daughter on homes is back. They were sold. So my SIL is just disgusted that we ever helped her to that extent. And we never have spent anywhere near that on his wife because he earns six figures. They have everything. But both of them want a level playing field which we can’t afford.
I could go back east, yes, but as I said before I haven’t seen my nieces for fifty years and my friends, who are numerous, are my age so it would be a brief excursion if you know what I mean.
Another major problem my younger daughter, the angry one, has is her father, my ex, lives twenty miles from her and his girlfriend with whom he has been living since 1989 is in bad health. So my daughter is in a panic thinking of having both parents to look after. I want to rid her of any worry or responsibility in regards to caring for me. I am so tired of hearing about how her parents may destroy her future even if we are in assisted living. I feel sick at the idea of her thinking I’ll be a burden on her. She evidently doesn’t care all that much about me and I do want to move away from her. I don’t care if I never lay eyes on my SIL ever again. He is the kind of person who dumps family members and over the years he has gradually instilled this attitude on her. I have never been that type of person but she is so devastated about the prospect of both parents becoming dependent I really want to escape this whole nightmare. I’ve thought about living near my step children but that makes me feel like a burden also. My favorite one, my s/o’s son , lives in Kansas City with his sweet wife and two adorable sons.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ How does Mr. Aster factor into your retirement plans? No matter where you end up, the community will be aging and then ultimately saying “Sayonara.” Why not share that with old friends rather than new ones?

When my mother moved to her staged care community, she was in her late-seventies and had a terrific time until she hit 93 or so. She made lots of new friends, traveled often, and stayed in independent living until her death. For the last two years of her life, we had a care-giver drop by several mornings a week for showers, pill supervision and just generally keeping an eye on things.

KNOWITALL's avatar

YOu come live with me honey. My mom’s planning on that in a few years & I have another guest room. Hugs.

JLeslie's avatar

People above covered getting a will. Also, I would recommend looking into buying insurance that covers you for long term care. This is different from health insurance. I believe my grandmother had much better care by aides who helped her at home, because she had money to pay for them (through the insurance) rather than relying on the state in some way. If you have plenty of money anyway, it might not be necessary for you to look into that type of insurance.

If you have a relative besides one of your children who you would like to legally make your healthcare decision maker if you are unable to do it for yourself, then talk to them about it. Ask them if they are ok with and that you want to name them officially in legal documents. It will open up a conversation where you can maybe get an idea of how much they are able and willing to do. In 5 years the situation might be different, wills usually should get revised every 10 years or so. My sister and I take care of many of my aunt’s needs now that she is disabled.

I have no children and I have a fear of being taken care of by medical professionals with no one to advocate for me. I understand your analogy of the vultures circling, it makes perfect sense you feel that way. Mine isn’t vultures, but I have fear associated with growing older and losing my health and being at the mercy of the system that I don’t trust much at all.

Aster's avatar

I’ve been thinking of moving near my s/o’s son , wife and 2 boys but my s/o won’t discuss it. He thinks neither of us has the stamina to move. And his son hasn’t asked us to move. No wonder. He thinks they’d be stuck with me ten years later.

Aster's avatar

@Coloma “Be bold and stand up to your bullying SIL.
Tell him that what you do is none of his business and that you will no longer listen to or out up with unsolicited advice. If he starts in, leave, hang up, and just keep reinforcing that behavior until he gets the message and gives up.”
He is not a bully. He ignores us; we don’t exist. He hates us and has Nothing to do with us even during holidays. It’s scary and depressing.

susanc's avatar

Why is being ignored by someone you don’t like such a bad thing? I don’t get this. There’s no relationship. Game over.

Aster's avatar

@susanc of course I agree. It’s simply unpleasant. But with no husband around, eventually, I can see him turning into a dictator and it scares me. But , then, I honestly believe I’ll outlive him. He is 5’9” tall and 300 pounds.

janbb's avatar

@Aster I get confused. You do talk about an SO – are you married now or not?

Aster's avatar

Yes. The post above was about my SIL , the cold fish of the south.

janbb's avatar

@Aster I knew that but just wonder why you are so worried about living alone if you are married.

Aster's avatar

That question will be answered in a future post.

canidmajor's avatar

This crossed my sightline again…

What happened? Have you set resolutions in motion? Your last post left us hanging!

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