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#107386 - 09/30/07 07:42 AM A diffrent type of survival situation
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2826
Loc: La-USA
I have parents who are no longer healthy enough to keep living (by themselves) in the Ark. mountains. We (the kids) have had to transition my step-Dad to a nursing home and my Mom into an apt, in town, assist them with getting available social support services, taking reponsibilty of paying certain bills (electricty, cable, cell phone, etc), and in selling their home.

I have found, to my horror, that 1 sister and 2 step-sisters have become like vultures fighting for scraps. My parents have told each of us, in the past, that certain belongings would be passed to certain persons, but they never bothered to write these items down or to mark the items in some way. The different sisters claim that almost everything was promised to each of the them. My brother, 1 sister, & myself have stepped aside/away, while 1 step-sister is silent.

The step-sisters want to relocate their father to Louisiana while leaving my Mom in Ark. To me, this is a complete lack of respect for their 32 years of marriage.

I bring this up because none of us are getting younger & wills aren't brought up until one is dead. I plan to document what I & my wife have and what is to be sold and what is to be passed on to who, with copies to all concerned parties. This should prevent problems when/IF my wife & I have to transition to nursing homes in the future.

What are yall's thought?????
The best luck is what you make yourself!

#107388 - 09/30/07 11:14 AM Re: A diffrent type of survival situation [Re: wildman800]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas

I'm sorry to hear that. I's amazing how a family can turn to ghouls when something like this happens! Writing stuff down (and signed by witnesses!) is definately the way to go. I'm lucky. My parents don't have anything worth fighting over and DW's parent passed when she was a child. frown

However, as part of the adoption process for our DD's we had to make wills and write up specific instructions to the executor of the estate for how everything would be split.

DD1 will get the Mosin-Nagant, and DD2 gets the SKS. I'm not sure how the DW is spliting everything else up between them. grin Most of the rest of my gear is duplicated so that won't be a problem...

Survival means preventing "every day" problems, not just making it through a hurricane. Thanks for the reminder Wildman!

Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

#107393 - 09/30/07 02:51 PM Re: A diffrent type of survival situation [Re: wildman800]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
Forget a will, go with a living trust, those bypass probate courts, making everything much easier for survivors when the time comes. List in the trust who gets what, and pick a couple of very trustworthy folks to oversee everything. We have talked everything over with the two (our two youngest) who will be in charge, so that there will be no confusion, and added a clause that anyone who fights any part of the trust will only get a quarter, for putting their two bits in...

#107394 - 09/30/07 03:59 PM Re: A diffrent type of survival situation [Re: OldBaldGuy]
bws48 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 831
Loc: Anne Arundel County, Maryland

The trust is a good idea. The real value is not avoiding probate, but that a well drawn trust is much much harder to challenge in court than a will. You situation sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen, so anything you can do now to avoid long drawn out litigation is a good idea.

But they still need a will. If the property is not "in" the trust, and there is no will, the state's "intestate" (without a will) inheritance law will decide who get what. You want to have as much as possible "in" the trust, but there always is something left out. They just need a simple will that, in layman's terms, says "everything goes to the trust." People will often forget to re-title their real estate as being owned by the trust. Same with registering stocks, bank accounts and so on. If it is not "legally" owned by the trust and there is no will, the state could end up deciding who gets what.

Having been there, I strongly urge the advice a knowledgeable attorney to set up everything. States have some strange rules about who can be trustees, executors and so on. Sometimes if you don't live in state, they don't let you serve. Don't want to mess that up. Sometimes there are also rules about what must be established first, the trust or the will. There are also income tax advantages that can be had, but you have to know what you are doing to satisfy the IRS's ever changing rules. Here in Maryland, if you take maximum advantage of the IRS rules, you get taxed more by the State. Go figure.

And while you are doing all this, think about setting up durable powers of attorney for health care and "advance directives"/"living wills. Even worse then fighting over property is fighting over termination of life support. . .

Not cheery topics to have to consider, but ignoring them doesn't help either...

Hope this helps.
"Better is the enemy of good enough."

#107403 - 09/30/07 06:24 PM Re: A diffrent type of survival situation [Re: bws48]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"... durable powers of attorney for health care..."

We have that, as did my parents before they died. One thing that we learned, a "DNR" is not always what you wanted it to be. With one of my parents, the hospital would not accept anything along those lines that was not prepared on THEIR forms. The fact that we had DNR's that were prepared by an attorney, and witnessed by several people, one hospital would not accept it at all...

#107407 - 09/30/07 08:47 PM Re: A diffrent type of survival situation [Re: OldBaldGuy]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I'm sorry to hear things are going like that, Wildman. It happens too often to think that it won't happen in your family.

Splitting up a couple after 32 years into different living quarters is bad enough (but sometimes it has to happen), but moving them hundreds of miles apart so they'll probably never see each other again is appalling. May I assume that the ones who want the properties and the ones who want to separate them are the same people? I would bet a nickel that their plan is a property-control issue, not a desire to have their father near to take care of him.

An example of the vultures in my family: my father's sister was visiting my parents when my father died in the hospital. My mother got the call, and within fifteen minutes Auntie Dearest was suggesting going through his stuff so she could get anything of value.

Another situation that you shouldn't think won't happen to you.


#107422 - 09/30/07 10:37 PM Re: A diffrent type of survival situation [Re: Susan]
Kris Offline

Registered: 04/13/07
Posts: 623
Loc: A Canadian in the UK

Sorry to hear whats going on. Sad to say, but i have family members like this in my family. Some more cold then what you described.

I am a believer that in cases like that, i'd rather pay lawyers then family members - even if its the same amount or even more. I can't tell you how many of 'those' family members (if they do crap like that, they aren't family) are out of my life; legally and socially.

My only recourse are legal channels as i refuse to deal with them. To me, its not worth the pain to my family and myself.

I hope it doesn't come down to that for you, but I do hope that everything works out. To be together for over 30 years, then forcefully separated by your own kids... damn, thats cold.


"One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything"
William of Ockham (1285-1349)

#107425 - 09/30/07 10:52 PM Re: A diffrent type of survival situation [Re: Kris]
benjammin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
Two rules of thought from the Price camp...

Live your life like nothing your parents have of any extrinsic value (actually worth money) is worth fighting over with someone else. When Grandad died, I asked for his pipes and some pictures, and I got what I asked for. When dad died, I let my brothers have most all of what he left behind, and asked for only the things they didn't want, and I got all I asked for. You should never expect anything more of your parents than what they gave you to make your own way in this world with, even if that wasn't much. There is no equity in such situations, and if the parents weren't concerned enough to do the right thing before the time came, then that's their perogative. Greedy siblings to me are just an oppportunity to move on.

Second, forget wills and trusts. These things have limitations, both in terms and time. If you really want to bind up everything just the way you want it in perpetuity, set up an LLC and make all of the family members, with you maintaining the managing or controlling interest. Set up the by-laws so that control is maintained the way you want it, and membership is based on rules you set up, forever. Make it so that each descendant is required to put something into the LLC before they can take anything out, more going in than coming out. This way, you build a real legacy that in time will really be worth something. Think about how such an instrument will gain value until, 5 or 6 generations down the road, it is worth literally billions.

LLCs setup like this never die, they have no term, they go on as long as the law does, and if the law changes, you can include rules in the by-laws that allow the instrument to change with the law. I like the idea of making my great-great grandchildren owners of one of the wealthiest entities in existence.
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

#107433 - 10/01/07 03:48 AM Re: A diffrent type of survival situation [Re: wildman800]
xbanker Offline

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 484
Loc: Anthem, AZ USA
Wildman -

These situations too often bring out the absolute worst in people. It's disheartening, to put it mildly. I'll share what worked in my family my mother passed away six months ago, and my mother-in-law a couple of years before that.

My mother was survived by six children and a dozen grandchildren. Plenty of people, if left to their own devices, to start a brawl over "who gets what."

My mother-in-law was on her second marriage (having been widowed after a 35 year first-marriage) which, of course, complicates things: her four children and his three children; expectedly, she and her husband both had assets acquired in their respective first marriages, plus assets acquired during their marriage to one another etc. Potentially, a situation ripe for strife.

I'm happy to say, things went reasonably well in both cases thanks to a little advance "preparedness."

My mother-in-law and husband had a living trust, Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will, DNR the whole enchilada. They moved all significant assets into the living trust and after-acquired assets were covered by a pour-over will, as mentioned by bws48: They just need a simple will that, in layman's terms, says "everything goes to the trust." The cost for an attorney to prep all of this for both of them was, if I recall, around $3500 (Springfield, MO).

Perhaps more importantly, she made a detailed list of all assets owned prior to the marriage, and designated exactly who was to receive each and every item (kids/grandchildren got to make "requests" but her wishes prevailed). Disposition of jointly-owned assets was spelled out too. The list, along with a "these are my wishes" letter, was incorporated into the attorney-prepared documents. Then, prior to her death, a family meeting was held (her, my father-in-law, and their respective children ... spouses were excluded). Everyone got a copy of the documents, they were discussed, she reviewed the list of who got what, answered questions, then issued a warning that there had better be no fighting among the kids. smile

My mother did pretty much the same thing the trust, will, medical-related documents etc. AND the all-important sit-down meeting with all of us to hash things over while she was still alive.

(I should mention, in both cases, the attending physician, hospital and hospice were asked to review all documents pertaining to medical care and decisions to ensure they would be honored.)

Some folks here will say this is a bad idea certainly it's not for everyone but my mother used the Quicken Willmaker Plus package to prepare everything (well, my sister did it for her). And all went without a hitch. I will say this I compared my mother-in-law's attorney-prepared documents with my mother's, and the differences are hardly worth mentioning. But again, self-prep isn't everyone's cup of tea. I certainly wouldn't advise in complex situations.

"Things that have never happened before happen all the time." Scott Sagan, The Limits of Safety

#107446 - 10/01/07 01:05 PM Re: A diffrent type of survival situation [Re: wildman800]
Frank2135 Offline

Registered: 04/26/07
Posts: 266
Loc: Ohio, USA
Wildman, so sorry to hear of your trouble. It probably doesn't help to tell you that many, many people have gone through and are going through this.

How are your parents mentally? It seems to me they still should have a say in who gets what when. Or is it a situation where some of the siblings are brow-beating one or both of them?

If they are still able to do so, its not too late to do a living trust and put all this in the hands of a trustee with specific instructions. The siblings will need to agree to back way, way off of the process, and let the lawyer handle it directly with the parents. The lawyer should either be someone the parents have used before or someone no one has any past connection with - probably the latter is better. He or she will represent the parent's interests, and not anyone else's.

Good luck, friend.

All we can do is all we can do.

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