Feb 01, 2015 - 01:20 AM
Mar 10, 2015 - 07:23 PM
Money is such an emotional issue, isn’t it? Maybe for your brother, it represents all the sacrifices your family made to save money when he was growing up, or a connection to past generations who left a little bit of money to help the kids and grandkids get a start in life. Maybe it even represents dreams and plans for himself or his kids, that he won’t be able to realize without that help.
But as hard as it can be to accept, he does need to accept that this is not his money, or your money. It ‘s your mother’s money, and she may need all of it and then some. Imagine the heartbreak of being alone and confused, without help, when you had the money to get the help you needed but weren't able to use it.
I’m afraid I couldn’t disagree more with the person who advised you not to get a lawyer because it would cost money and potentially cause your brother to “disown” the family. It seems that the problem is more about him not wanting to be disowned, than the other way around. It doesn’t really matter if he doesn’t want to sit down with the lawyer. The lawyer isn’t for him, to counsel him or punish him. The lawyer would be hired to protect your mother by putting together the documents that she needs to make sure that she is being looked after by someone who is committed to acting in her best interest. Your Mom needs someone responsible to have power of attorney; she needs a will, healthcare proxy, etc. If she’s able to express her wishes about the quality of the rest of her life, she needs to do that now. As for the cost, I think you need to get her this legal help while she can still afford it. It’s expensive, but if you choose a good lawyer and use the lawyer’s time judiciously, it will be a good investment. You could try starting at the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.
I also don’t agree that somehow Medicare or insurance will cover all your Mom’s care. Medicare is really not designed for that. If she is already in need of memory care, it is too late to buy long term care insurance. If your father is not still around, your mother may have to spend substantially all of her assets to qualify for Medicaid, which is an overburdened program and burdensome to stay enrolled in. Enrolling in Medicaid and finding a Medicaid bed may be difficult without the help of an experienced elder care lawyer, though I’m sure it can be done.
Don’t feel guilty for looking after your mother’s best interests. In the end, there may not be a penny left for either you or your brother, and you will have done all the work… but at least you will know that you’ve shown your family how you would like to be treated when it’s your turn.