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How do I convince mom to keep her money for her own care?

My father passed away a few months ago and my mother's memory has gotten very bad. I was told that is part of the symptoms of grief. However, I am very concerned that she is not understanding the money issues. With losing one social income, she is going to have to watch her finances. She has received a $25,000 life insurance payment from my dad and wants to split the entire thing between my sister and I. I want her to bank it and keep it for her future needs. However, when I brought the subject up she got very angry and told me not to tell her what to do with her money. Since her house is paid for, I felt that should she need care in the future, the funds could be used (with her long-term care policy) for in-home care. She also has her annual taxes that always causes her concern. How can I get her to understand that she has to think of herself for these funds? Unfortunately, my sister is always crying that she needs money so she is no help at all. My sister also does not live locally so is not providing any assistance in her care.
Status: Open    Sep 07, 2015 - 09:44 AM

Relationships, Finance

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5 answers

Expert Answers

Sep 16, 2015 - 09:58 AM

There are a number of issues which you are confronting:

1. Financial
2. Your emotions and frustration with having conversations with your mother. Lack of support from sibiling

Dealing with these issues is a process and this is what I recommend:

a. www.theconversationproject.org
b. Consult with dementia organizations and ask them to help you with care consultants to help you and your mother.
There will be a fee for their time but it will be of value.
c. If you mother is still competent, if she does not have a medical directive and legal power of attorney -- consult with an attorney
promptly. Do not go to search engines to find on-line forms. Have a competent attorney who has knowledge in elder care and
estate planning to help you and your mother.

Sep 16, 2015 - 09:59 AM

You are wise to consider these issues. Although your mother has LTC insurance, it often doesn't pay the full freight each month and the family must subsidize the cost of care from personal funds. Too, some LTC policies don't cover ALF expenses and then your mother's money would need to go to that expense. You might consider looking at getting her qualified for a widow's pension from the VA if your dad was a veteran. That would provide up to $1,149 per month to help her make ends meet. The real issue with her gifting her assets is the Medicaid penalty it creates if she needs to apply for Medicaid within the next 60 months. Each state is different though, so I really urge you to sit down with an Elder Law attorney in your state to discuss all the issues including the VA pension.

Sep 16, 2015 - 02:00 PM

You are in a difficult situation. Many people that I see are in a similar situation. I suggest taking her to see an Estate Planning or Elder Law attorney. That person can review her financial situation and explain the situation about gifting money at this point in her life. It could be that with her other assets and LTC insurance that it is OK to give the money away. Probably not but possible.
If this does not work you could consider guardianship and conservatorship. Try to speak to her doctor. The doctor may not tell you anything but you can tell him/her about your mother's behaviour. If the doctor beleives your mother cannot effectively and intelligently manage her affiars and writes a letter to explaining that you would be on your way to being conservator.
I hope you are able to help her.

Sep 17, 2015 - 10:17 AM

I agree that your mother does need to save her money to care for herself. You could bring her to a meeting with an elder law or her estate planning attorney who can give her some disadvantages of gifting. You could also suggest that she open an account and add both of your names as beneficiaries so she feels ‘comforted’ that she has ‘provided’ or shared the funds with her children.

Source: Sophia Lopez, Esq.

APFM Staff Answers

Apr 02, 2016 - 04:54 PM

You mentioned keeping mom in her own home since it it paid off. This sounds like a good idea until you research the cost of in home care versus that of assisted living. Be careful about planting ideas that may not be feasible for her and do some research on costs before leading her to believe she can remain in her house. Not only would she be isolated and you would be responsible for supervising caregivers but you will be looking at costs over $10,000 per month for round the clock help in addition to paying property taxes, lawn maintanence, utlities, groceries etc. Your mom would spend significantly less money and get the benefit of socializing with others if she were to move to a community.

Reach out to experts- A Place for Mom, a local elder law attorney, your county office on aging. Good luck!

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