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Family messes

March 21st, 2016 at 02:33 pm

My partner talked to his granny this weekend. There are some concerning things going on and he/we are unsure how we can help-if we can help at all.

Granny's husband, Uncle C (after her first husband passed away, she married his brother) is not doing great health-wise. He is at home and in hospice care and pretty steady but we all know there is not much time left. Because he's in pain and because of everything that's wrong with him, he has become mean. When he was in the hospital, N's mom (MIL from here out even though she technically isn't but it's easier to keep somewhat private) moved right on in to Granny's house. Now, MIL has made a lifetime of one bad financial decision after the other, and most of the time Granny was there to bail her out. MIL has never really had a "real" job and has lived off of Granny/husbands/child support and more Granny. She is in an unhappy marriage and took Uncle C's trip to the hospital as her chance to improve her station.

So, MIL and uncle C are not getting along and Granny, who is NINETY YEARS OLD, has to referee and tell her daughter to knock it off.

Granny told N that she is worried about paying for the house once Uncle C dies. His pensions stop when he passes and she doesn't know if what they have left will be enough to live on. She also said that she knows she can't count on MIL to help any. N wants to suggest that I take a look at the books because I am really good with money and either help find a solution she can live with or just ease her mind.

I would be fine with this but I wouldn't want it to cause any family problems-mainly MIL who is living off Granny and Uncle C's dime.

We would absolutely bring Granny to live with us NO PROBLEM if she needed us to. The only problem is the MIL would invite herself to come too, and once she's here we wouldn't be able to get her to leave without having to cut her out of our lives completely.

It breaks my heart because Granny shouldn't have to worry about these things at her age. I guess part of it is her own fault-she never exercised tough love with MIL but... Also, I think MIL made a serious error in living with Granny so soon. We know she thinks that there's going to be an inheritance for her but after this conversation it doesn't seem like there will be much. MIL has no plan to support herself.

We told N's sister that she can take MIL, and we would take her kids Wink

Family...what a mess :/

6 Responses to “Family messes”

  1. PatientSaver Says:

    Clearly, poor Granny could use your help, and it's not a package deal. Meaning, you should take Granny but not MIL who should be able to fend for herself. You probably don't have room for both but Granny would be the priority, right? Granny might not be able to ask you to move in becus she may be unaware you would do so willingly, so I would make the offer if you really can do it. Let N's sister take her if she must. I mean, really, since when do healthy-bodied, healthy minded adults need to be taken in by anyone?

  2. snafu Says:

    This is a difficult family issue for all. I hope you use your planning skills but keep your distance in actual negotiations. Does Granny’s community have a municipal tax program for seniors? Does granny get all benefits that she and DH might be entitled? Did Granny refinance the mortgage at some point as 90 y/o typically only pay utilities and house maintenance.

    N & sister need to make their mom understand granny has difficulty financing herself so it would be helpful if MIL went to work to began to pay granny back! MIL needs to believe there will be no inheritance. One obvious solution is that N, sis and MIL under Granny's direction begin to de-clutter and sell anything and everything no longer used or needed for whatever can be realized for GRANNY. Gran is likely emotionally attached to stuff, take loads of pictures if that helps. MIL will need to be monitored to keep her paws off any funds and reminded to contribute. I suspect that will cause big [temporary?] rifts with MIL but N & sis will need to stay polite but firm to their agreed plan. It’s helpful if you, N and sis can assess the house to determine what needs to be done to make it saleable. I suggest creating lists to figure out what is DIY and what will need to be hired out.

    Really a tough scenario when the wolf is already sniffing at the door.

  3. Jenn Says:

    Moving in with you may be Granny's only 'out' in getting rid of MIL's dependence. At her age, she's not going to learn how to exercise tough love at this point. Once she moves in and sells her house, you may determine that she does have an option of having her own place if she wanted that.

    But the situation should be plenty of incentive for YOU to exercise tough love with MIL. Look what happens when you don't.

  4. Frank Facts Says:

    So sad! Is reverse mortgage an option? I know a grandmother of a friend who did that once grandfather passed. That said, it also involved a bankruptcy. So, maybe not the best model, but she seems financially stable and in her own home now!

  5. jokeabee Says:

    Thanks for all the advice, friends! It's hard because I still feel like an "outsider". I want to help but I don't want to overstep, and I am still navigating family relations. For one, MIL is a barrier to GET to Granny. But also, is what Granny telling us really accurate? There's no way to know unless she lets us help, but it is up to N and his sister to make the tough decisions...and I don't know if they will. I am just here for support and to voice opinions, but in the end it's up to them. Does that make sense?

    In the past few years (less than 5 I want to say) Granny and Uncle C sold their big, family home and moved into a smaller, two bedroom, one story home. I would think that there was enough from the sale of the house to put a dent in the new house's mortgage, but that is just an assumption. Granny has ALWAYS been financially responsible and smart, but I guess she gave control of the checking book to Uncle C and he has squandered quite a bit.

  6. PatientSaver Says:

    I do understand your situation, that perhaps it is not your decision to make. We all just want the best for granny! All you can do is support and possibly try to guide your husband toward making a responsible decision. Sometimes men have a harder time with this than women, so he may welcome your clear-headed input.

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