Author Topic: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat  (Read 1889 times)

themicrobe

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In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« on: April 17, 2019, 11:41:20 AM »
I just posted regarding my father in law, this one is a related but more complex issue.

My brother in law (47) has never held a steady job.  From what I know, he was a misfit Goth kid back in the day.  He was badly bullied in school (in the 80s, people were perhaps less tolerant of kids who were different), dropped out of school but eventually got a GED.  He is a fairly talented photographer and makeup artist and from time to time would pick up a few photo gigs or seasonal work at a haunted house, etc.  When I met him 14 years ago, he was living with a girlfriend who was a good influence on him.  Unfortunately, he fucked that up by cheating.  After that, he had a very short train-wreck of a marriage with a girl much younger than him, which ended when she came to her senses and left.

His parents, my in-laws, have being supporting him since forever, and basically fully footing the bill now that he has no wife or girlfriend to mooch off.   For a while, he was living in an apartment on their dime.  He ended up trashing the place (my husband hauled off 25 bags of soda cans, cigarette butts, and other disgusting trash when he had to vacate).    He also has had problems with substance abuse (prescription narcotics) and with suicidal impulses and has been in and out of some treatment programs.  As far as I know, he is sober now, although he smokes a lot. 

A few years ago, he moved in with his parents and he has been living there ever since.  Initially, I thought this could be a better situation since  he would have his parents as company and would be less likely to hurt himself.  He has shown no interest in trying to find work of any kind, and does nothing to contribute to the household.  He used to have a group of friends, who were all kind of oddballs as well, but now he seems to be a total hermit who spends much of the time sleeping.  He has been living in their basement, and continued his hoarding/trash accumulating ways.  His health is not good, he looks 10 years older than my husband, his older brother.  His parents do not seem capable of any type of meaningful intervention, and after so many years of declining to intervene, it is probably too late.   My husband has made attempts to help and reach out to him, including trying to support him financially to pursue his photography, but nothing ever seems to take.

He is clearly mentally ill in some way, and it is unfortunate that there was no intervention years ago.  My concern is that my husband and I will eventually have to take responsibility for him, as the parents are getting older and will not be able to deal with him forever.  I am worried that we will have to step in.  There is no way I would allow him to live with us, but the prospect of paying his rent and bills, particularly medical bills, is daunting.  But it would not be right to abandon him to homelessness or worse.  I don't think he has worked enough to qualify for any sort of Social Security benefit. 

His parents are secure financially and will probably leave some inheritance, in addition to their house.  Is there a way to set up a trust to support my brother in laws basic needs when they are gone? 

I'd appreciate any advice on how to manage this sad situation in a way that minimizes our financial risk.  We are in pretty good shape and have worked to get there, and I am afraid to put that at risk.  Thank you!



Cassie

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2019, 11:53:47 AM »
Your inlaws should consult a lawyer on how to set up a special needs trust for a child.  A person can be hired to administer it or you guy could. I would definitely want to get this established so he doesn't become your problem. 

legalstache

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2019, 12:02:07 PM »
His parents are secure financially and will probably leave some inheritance, in addition to their house.  Is there a way to set up a trust to support my brother in laws basic needs when they are gone? 

Yes, absolutely. Your in-laws should talk to a lawyer to set up a trust for your brother-in-law if they haven't done so already. 

FINate

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2019, 12:13:22 PM »
Are you sure he's mentally ill - has he been clinically diagnosed? Or has he been conditioned over decades to expect someone to bail him out? I think it's worth getting clarity on this.

If he is indeed mentally ill then you guys aren't equipped to deal with it, and as Cassie mentioned, your in-laws need to some estate planning ASAP. And your BIL needs to get treatment and get stabilized sooner rather than latter. This is a crisis in the making. In other words, you need to have an intervention with his parents.

If not mental illness then he needs to learn how to stand on his own w/o help from his parents. Again, you need to intervene with his parents first as they are the ones enabling his current situation.

Either way, some tough love is on the horizon, starting with his parents. It sounds very much like there's a good deal of codependent behavior involved. It's tough, no easy solutions.

GizmoTX

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2019, 01:23:14 PM »
Do the IL's have a current will and POAs in place? This will be critical the older they get.

A trust for BIL can be established in the IL's wills to handle his inheritance; otherwise, he's likely to fritter it all away in no time & then depend on the OP. The initial trustee could be the OP's wife, then an estate company used to such things if she is unwilling or unable.


marble_faun

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2019, 01:50:51 PM »
A trust that doles out a small amount for him to live on every month could be a good option.  Even if your parents end up willing more to the brother than to you and your husband, it could be worth it just so that he can maintain himself in perpetuity.

Also, not sure about how disability benefits work for mental health, but that could be something to look into as well.

Cassie

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2019, 01:54:48 PM »
SSDI is for people that have worked 40 quarters.  SSI is for poor disabled people but its difficult to get and you need medical documentation.

lhamo

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2019, 02:09:41 PM »
Whenever someone posts about a situation like this it makes me so grateful my immediate family members (both natal and marital) mostly have it together -- I do have one SIL/niece by marriage who are a bit messed up, but both are at least trying to function.

I would encourage your DH to have a frank talk with his parents and let them know that his primary concern is that his brother does not become a burden to the two of you.  If that means them leaving more of their estate to the brother in the form of a trust, then so be it.  He should make it clear to everyone that you are not willing or able to be a fallback, so the trust should be lock tight in terms of only providing enough for basic expenses so that BIL cannot squander it.  And better to have someone else be the trustee.  That way it is all out of his hands.

themicrobe

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2019, 04:16:30 PM »
Thanks for all the replies. 

lhamo, you are absolutely right that our main concern is that he does not become a burden to us.  We are in good financial shape and on a good track and while I don't mind providing some help, I don't want him to be dependent on us.  I've helped out other family members with debt repayment, etc., the difference there is that they are reasonably productive people who just fell on hard times and needed a little boost.  This is not the case with BIL. 

Regarding the question of mental illness, I think that is definitely part of the issue and he has been diagnosed with anxiety disorder.  I think it is difficult to get SSI disability but perhaps worth a try.

To all of you that proposed a trust - thank you!  I have been doing some research and that sounds like something we definitely need to set up, with DH or someone else as trustee.   His parents have mentioned that they have arrangements for after they are gone, but I am not sure I trust that given my FILs tendency to procrastinate (see my other thread).  But I am happy to take the lead if necessary and I'll make it a point to have the conversation soon.  Also a good idea to check on wills and POAs. 

Thanks again!

GizmoTX

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2019, 04:49:41 PM »
Name more than 1 trustee, in series, in case the previous one cannot serve, with the last being a trust company that will outlive all the trustees. This should be done for will executors & POAs as well. Any trust residual can be directed by the IL's trust document; if this is not specified, then the beneficiary's will (or lack of one) determines final disposal.

It is very difficult to get SSI or SSDI disability.

gooki

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2019, 01:50:40 AM »
Unless your husband, husbands brother, or husbands parent in laws are asking for help, Id be inclined to keep my nose out of it.

Quote
lhamo, you are absolutely right that our main concern is that he does not become a burden to us.

A simple no takes care of that. Hes an adult, its not and never will be your duty to care for him.

PS, I know you have good intentions, this is just the way I see it.

ender

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2019, 06:19:46 AM »
A simple no takes care of that. Hes an adult, its not and never will be your duty to care for him.

PS, I know you have good intentions, this is just the way I see it.

Citation needed?

There are a lot of states which have varying levels of filial responsibility that is applicable even in this situation. Before stating things like this it's probably worth knowing where the OP lives as what I have bolded could in fact be wrong. Generally these laws apply purely to children/parents, but some states include relatives.

If you want to be pretty demoralized check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filial_responsibility_laws

wenchsenior

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2019, 07:36:22 AM »
A simple no takes care of that. Hes an adult, its not and never will be your duty to care for him.

PS, I know you have good intentions, this is just the way I see it.

Citation needed?

There are a lot of states which have varying levels of filial responsibility that is applicable even in this situation. Before stating things like this it's probably worth knowing where the OP lives as what I have bolded could in fact be wrong. Generally these laws apply purely to children/parents, but some states include relatives.

If you want to be pretty demoralized check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filial_responsibility_laws

Absolutely.  I stuck my head in the sand about my mother's situation for 10 years longer than I should have.  It's best to start planning for these things decades in advance.

Freedomin5

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2019, 08:50:39 AM »
Parents could also consider purchasing an annuity for their son. That way, there is a steady income stream for the rest of his life, and its difficult for him to somehow get his hands on the lump sum since its already been spent on the annuity.

Catbert

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2019, 11:18:04 AM »
A trust of some sort for BIL is the way to go.  I suggest that your husband NOT be the trustee.   Okay for him to be the trustee/executor for the initial estate work.  But don't let him be responsible for doling out money to his brother every month and having to say yes/no to requests.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: In-law issues: brother in law is a 47 year old deadbeat
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2019, 11:44:46 AM »
I read your other thread as well.  Darn...I don't envy you.  This is tough.

Some resources that have helped me think through such things: the chapter on Economic Outpatient Care here, or this about When Helping Hurts

In short, you're dealing with a complex issue, and your BIL's needs include finding a way to be independent/support himself, and to get his emotional needs met.  Not just financial.

I strongly recommend against financially supporting him, given what you've told us: it's more likely to do more damage than to actually help.  (And it's expensive!)  Of course, people may feel guilty when not financially assisting someone who's in a hole like that, but assisting - without dealing with the underlying issues well - often makes things worse and ends up just enabling the problems to get worse. 

A few other thoughts:

1.  Also, DH will transform himself from brother into banker/guy to beg/guy who's not giving enough money/guy who's holding BIL's life back once he becomes the trustee.  I would strongly consider whether there isn't someone better/more objective/less likely to be harassed to take on that role.  Given what you've said, I don't envy whoever's in that position.  And it may destroy (and would definitely transform) the relationship your DH has with him.  It needs to be someone with very strong boundaries.  (See book I mentioned in the other thread.)  This is one of those situations where you decide what to do up front, but you don't pay the cost until later on - and I wouldn't want to pay that particular cost. 

2.  As others said, trust may be the best option.  An annuity/interest in it can be sold for a quick hit, which would like happen here (I need a car so let's sell all these future payments!), and would likely waste all the assets once he hits the first speed bump. 

3.  As an aside, I would research filial responsibility laws where you are and where he is to see what, if any, responsibility you might have.  Or how you might avoid assuming his responsibilities personally.  See what, if any, steps you can take to protect yourself.  If your state imposes crazy penalties on you if he becomes a ward of the state, basically, but another state doesn't, I might think about that in terms of future choices.