Wow. Glad to know I'm not the only one with a trainwreck on my hands, and so many similarities! My parents are challenging folks to say the least, over the years, threats to take us out of the will for not following their rules was fairly common, and they also had lots of problems dealing with their families, starting raging wars over the slightest of grievances. It got so bad that as a teen, I was working at a retail store, and I walked up to a customer and asked if she needed help. Something in her voice triggered a memory, and while she browsed, I mentioned this to my co-workers, who were well versed in my family's craziness. Long story short, it was my aunt. Family dis-owning drama yielded an aunt and a niece who didn't even know they were speaking to family.
Oh, and my Mom, her name actually IS Grace, and she almost got kicked out of a nursing home for dislocating a fellow resident's finger. See? Lots of similarities!
So Dad passed away weeks after I got married, and shortly thereafter we began to notice that he was hiding a secret from us, Mom was suffering from dementia. Still is actually, nearly 15 years later. My parents were fairly frugal, and they managed to amass an estate worth roughly 1 million at my Dad's passing. Some of that wealth disappeared as a result of the housing bubble, some as my Mom decided to enjoy life after his death with a shopping habit. Whatever, her money. What neither of them bothered to do was prepare for their eventual demise, so other than a basic will, nothing else was done.
My sibling shares many of the same negative traits my mother possesses, and has never fully grown up. To this day, she still lives in the illegal apartment my dad created in the basement of their home. My Mom has been living in a nursing home near me for the past 5 years, halfway across the country from this home. We had moved away 6 months earlier, and during that time, my sibling neglected my mom so badly that adult protective services was called in. She was thrilled to pieces when we agreed to bring her closer to us, so much so that she neglected to visit for the next three years. She also didn't care to handle my Mom's finances, so I took care of it all, through a joint checking account which we all had access to. Unfortunately, what I was not aware of at that time was that the sibling found a shady lawyer, and used $15K of my parents money to pay for said lawyer. The lawyer placed my Mom's cash into a trust. A revocable trust, in my siblings name. I was shocked when a few years ago, she ran low on cash and revoked the trust, profiting to the tune of 130K. My Mom's care was being covered by renting out the main portion of her home, and my sibling decided to leave Mom high and dry, and began taking that income as well. Oh, and the icing on that shitty cake was when the sibling befriended a crappy lawyer, who proceeded to call me at work and forbid me from contacting my sibling. I laughed and warned him that my sibling would neither sleep with him, nor pay him for his legal services, which he quickly figured out on his own. He sent a FedEx to my home a few weeks later, demanding an accounting of my Mom's finances for the past few years (hello, your client has access to the bank acct, it's all there!), which he didn't even send signature required, so there is no proof I ever received this demand, and nothing further came of it once he figured out my sibling is a professional mooch.
I took what little cash was left in the overflow savings account and pre-paid my Mom's final expenses, and handed the rest over to the nursing home administrator, as a cushion should my sibling continue to steal my Mom's rental income. These were not fun times, made worse when the funeral director called me, b/c my sibling was hounding him, demanding a refund of the money I sent him, b/c she was crying poverty. I was at a mental breaking point, so hubby stepped in and set the funeral director straight. He was welcome to refund the money to me, since I signed the contract and the check, and we would take the money to another funeral home. That solved that problem. Then the nursing home administrator (more like a small group home) contacted my sibling and explained that she would be returning my mother to her rightful home in her RV, unless the payments continue. Of course we were never going to make good on that threat, but we knew my sibling didn't want any responsibility of my Mom, so she has been covering the cost out of my Mom's rental income. What she has done with the trust money, don't know and don't care.
Of course, this is far from being a done deal. My sibling is an entitled anti-mustachian, who has never been responsible for herself, and enjoys consumerism. We haven't spoken in years, and the only asset left is the family home, which is owned jointly by the both of us, but with survivorship rights for my Mom. So the asset can not be touched until she passes. Every so often I check the title and tax records on the home, to make sure she is at least covering the taxes, and that the title hasn't somehow changed hands without my signature. I have no doubt that if she could find a way to do that, she would in a heartbeat.
I can only imagine how my mom's final services will be, and the fight that will occur over the home at her passing. My goal is to simply ignore her during the wake and funeral, and hire a lawyer to handle the sale of the house, which I have no doubt she will fight. Hubby thinks he can talk some sense into her, and advise her that it is best to complete this transaction as amicably as possible and go our separate ways, but I'm sure it won't be that simple.
It's a very sad way to terminate a family, as neither of us have procreated, and a rather ironic one at that. We continued the same cycle of drama that my parents taught us w/regards to family our entire lives. At the end of the day, if I get anything, great, it will speed up my FIRE date by about a year. And I will have the satisfaction of knowing that a part of my parents sacrifices will not go to waste. If I don't get anything, it won't impact my life much, but I know that my sibling will blow it all and be back to nothing in minimal time. I hope it was worth it - seems like a really small amount of money to burn the bridge of the only family member who always looked the other way and helped her out when she was in trouble. In the end though, my parents are ultimately responsible. They were well aware of the evil and irresponsibility lurking in my sibling, and they chose not to do anything to protect themselves, or us, from dealing with this inevitable drama. Hubby & I have already taken care of our final wishes, even down to the care of our pets, because we do not want to leave this type of mess behind to anyone else!