I left my “climbing the corporate ladder” career in Chicago, sold my house at a loss, and moved here to live with Mom and help care for her. I’m her Power of Attorney and I manage her finances. She doesn’t need my financial support so I don’t pay rent, maintenance or food costs, but I never use her money for my needs. I’ve been here seven months and the only time any of my four siblings has contacted me is to announce they expect me to deduct rent and the cost of my food while I care for Mom from my portion of our inheritance. I gave up everything because Mom needs help and now my good-for-nothing brothers and sisters want me to pay them for the time I spent here caring for her. Can they do this?
- Pauline, Stuart
It’s not unusual to receive communications from long-lost relatives when an estate settlement is due. It also pretty standard for siblings’ long-term relationship problems to intensify when contesting the amount of an inheritance. We look at your situation another way: if you moved out and Mom hired a live-in caregiver, Mom would be obligated to pay the caregiver for her services and also provide room and board. Retain an elder law attorney immediately to help protect your assets and Mom’s, now and in the future. To better understand your relationships with your siblings and learn how to cope with them—log onto www.caregiver.org (The Family Caregiver Alliance) and join a caregivers’ support group at the organization relating to Mom’s illness (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, American Heart Association, etc) or Martin Memorial Hospital.
Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services
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