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Old September 5th, 2008, 02:12 PM
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Encouraging Parents to Put Final Wishes in Writing

Some of my concern here has to do with my Step Dads adult kids so this might belong in the step family section. But it also has to do with my concerns for my mom so either way...

How have others dealt with parents not putting their wishes in writing?


Long story (feel free to skip it, I am just needing to put it out of my head)

I mention every time they bring it up, that I would really appreciate mom and step dad making a list of significant things and saying clearly where they want each thing to go. I have offered to help them do this on video and transcribe it even (and make copies to give everyone involved). It is always a welcome suggestion but never acted on.

Neither my step Dad nor mom is in awful health but they both have a few health issues that they are managing and the reality is that no one lasts here for ever. I want them to have what they want for themselves. I want them to decide and put it down so I have guidelines for when they are not as able. I am the only one who lives near them so it will likely fall to me to do a lot of daily things if they decline.

The small items that are significant to them...My mom knows the stories that go with each item (which I believe is the only thing that makes 'stuff' valuable really, at least for me.) Not just for her own stuff but for stuff that came from step dads step father and mother. And mom is now the gaurdian of this family history. I feel like it will be up to me to get this stuff to step dads kids and grandkids.

Moms memory is getting...some stories are changing, things that were once from K to L and passed down to H are now iffy or she is certain they were from Y to Z, kwim? She is only in her early fifties.

The volume of stuff is an issue also. She keeps saying she'd like to get rid of it, give it to those they want to have things now instead of waiting. I think that is a great idea but I don't think they have done much towards that end so I still want them to put it in writing. I only mention it when they bring it up but it does weigh on me sometimes.

My mom gave some of the things to some cousins of mine a few months ago and I was releived and grateful but it was only a tiny fraction of the volume that they have.

Here is the other issue...My mom told me yesterday that when one of step dads kids was visiting (first time in 3 years)...step sister and step dad talked about his out of state land and 'agreed' thay don't want to sell it.

I think this might have been a romantic notion moment, neither of his kids who want to be benificaries would live there or even be able to pay the taxes on it IMO. Just the idea of having it is attractive-like a retreat.

The problem here is that he and mom had already discussed (and apparently agreed) that if he goes first that land will be all mom has.

She will not be able to afford the home they are in and the property would be her 'nest egg'. There is no home on it but she would live in their camping trailer until the land could be sold. That will not be fesible if they land is not supposed to be sold. There is no practical way for her to use the land, no jobs within driving distance of it to help support herself with. (Do I seem at all frustrated that he dropped his life insurance policy? I am.)

She thought he was going to tell his daughter that but no. He didn't. And yet, he is thinking of selling the property himself to buy something else over here where they actually live. So why tell his daughter he doesn't want to sell it?

Mom doesn't want to cause any problems but is affraid. She feels like this is how fueds are started.

He had life insurance that she would've been the benefciary on but he cancelled it. If she goes first, he is well taken care of. He will have his own pension still and is the beneficiary from her life insurance policy.

If he goes first she has nothing if she can't sell the land.

Everything she has made over the 15 + years they have been together has gone into their daily living, the home they have together and the stuff they have together...He was divorced a dozen years before they met so she is not 'the other woman or anything'. They both still work. He was retired but is only semi-retired now.

She is only now realizing that step sister doesn't see anything wrong with jumping to benefit from her dads death whether my mom is alive still or not.

It scared mom that during that same conversation while visiting step sister said that the first thing she will do when he dies is break in to the safe. She was not really joking apparently. I suggested maybe step sister was joking or just wasn't thinking. Mom disagrees. And I have heard her wanting the property sold or his things. I think she is seeing it as a way to get ahead but I don't think inheriting is the cure all she hopes it will be.

The irony is mom was planning on giving her the combination to the safe before she said that but after that comment did not.

If he goes first and then mom does each of his kids are equal beneficiaries with me of her policy. I have no illusions of getting rich, frankly I do not believe it will really cover moms finally expenses. I don't say this to mom or step dad. I am just grateful she has planned as far ahead as having life insurance and that her job helps provide health care coverage for her.

I was a little taken aback when she jumped to put his kids on her policy as soon as she and step dad were together. "They are my kids now too." They were adults and if she had spent more than a couple hours with any of them at that point I'd be surprised. His oldest didn't want to be involved with either him or her as a beneficiary so is not now. Mom is just that way though. I don't think anyone but me plans on paying moms expenses out of it the policy proceeds. Or even considers that there will be bills/matters to take care of.

Neither mom nor step dad have decided what arrangements they want for themselves finally either. It would be nice if it were all something that could just come together neatly but realistically there is a great deal of work/decision making to do at that point and I am concerned that neither mom or step dad would be able to make decisions easily under the stress of losing each other. I feel like planning now will help protect either of them from being taken advantage of financially by the funeral industry or anyone else.

I know it is all hard to bring up. How has everyone else handled these issues?

Here is another point of frustration for me...mom has been mulling this over for 6-8 weeks...That he didn't tell his daughter (mom) would be allowed to sell the land because it is all mom will have. Mom is waiting 'for a good time to bring it up with him'.

He was injured at work two weeks ago and so I can see her not wanting to add to that stress. (He hurt his hand badly and has weeks of recovery to go but it is looking better. We were scared it was much worse initially. It was a blessing it is something he can recover from with time.)

Mom did have weeks before that she could've mentioned her concerns in. Including their two week vacation. It is not my business but I would stress less if she would get it out in the open with him, kwim?
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