Author Topic: Advice on helping in-laws  (Read 2048 times)

Heinz

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Advice on helping in-laws
« on: July 20, 2018, 03:23:46 PM »
I am writing this post to ask for advice on how to approach a situation with my in-laws.  My FIL is 83, my MIL is 82.  My FIL has suffered a series of small strokes over the past year and they now want to move to a condo from a town-house (they are worried about stairs, snow, trash). However, they are worried that they will not be able to afford the expenses associated with the condo, which will cost around $750k, plus taxes and insurance of $1500/month.  We live in the DC area, so it is expensive.  Additionally, they do not want to leave where they live now as they have a church, activities and friends.  My wife and I are meeting with them tomorrow to discuss their situation; one underlying concern is my MIL believes my FIL will most likely die first and is concerned about her income after that.   

Assets/Income
1). No idea for investible assets - will find that out tomorrow
2). They should clear $550k on the sale of their current townhouse, leaving a gap of $200k plus the monthly expenses.
3). FIL has a pension indexed for inflation of about $60k annually; 50% right of survivorship.
4). MIL has a small Social Security payments, guessing around $450/month.  FIL does not as he was a professor.

Other:
1). A Brother in Law that is extremely introverted and I doubt he will be helpful. 
2). They have retiree medical, so healthcare expenses are minimal. 

My thoughts are that renting for a short period of time is best - a 2-3 BR is around $2-3k/month and that does not tie them down as a condo does.  If my FIL dies quickly, then a smaller place could be moved to shortly plus it keeps options open for assisted living, etc.  No purchase/sales costs associated with homeownership.  We have the financial flexiblity to help, but my main goal is to help my wife.  Thoughts?



G-dog

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Re: Advice on helping in-laws
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2018, 04:06:22 PM »
Hire help for the maintenance stuff (snow, trash, mowing?, cleaning?)

Could they get one of those chair lifts installed to deal with the stairs?

why move?  If they do move, renting makes sense.

My spouse is a professor - and he has SS benefits. Are you sure FIL has no SS benefits?

terran

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Re: Advice on helping in-laws
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2018, 04:47:03 PM »
My spouse is a professor - and he has SS benefits. Are you sure FIL has no SS benefits?

Right. Find out if he's not receiving social security because he didn't pay into it (possible if he worked for a state school) or if it's being reduced to $0 because of the pension. If the latter then his wife may be able to get more if he dies and is no longer collecting a pension. For that matter, find out if the pension has any survivor benefit if he dies.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Advice on helping in-laws
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2018, 06:08:17 AM »
There's really not enough information provided for us to give you concrete, solid advice.

Generically though, whatever they do should enable either (most likely the wife) to be financially comfortable when the other passes.  The focus should not be on luxury or square footage.  Also, a plan that involves moving twice or more is very stressful on the survivor and they might not follow it (my mother passed recently and there's no way you could ever get her to move). 
« Last Edit: July 21, 2018, 06:10:34 AM by frugaliknowit »

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Advice on helping in-laws
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2018, 09:36:22 AM »
My mother, 84, and her live-in friend, 87  I think, got on a list to get an apartment at an over 55 place.  (I am not sure apartment is the right word. Every building has 2 units, but is separated from another. I have no apartment experience so not sure what it is called.)
There are no stairs to get into the 2 bedroom, one bath unit, none when inside, a small deck on the back with no stairs, mowing and snow removal are included. It has an attached 1 car garage.
My mother is very happy to be rid of the responsibilities of home ownership. They have been there a little over a year. (My Dad died in '99). She says she has enough to cover the rent which I suspect is at the root of her happiness.

Dave1442397

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Re: Advice on helping in-laws
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2018, 11:06:42 AM »
Also, think about an apartment building instead of a condo/townhouse. My MIL just turned 89, and couldn't live somewhere with a lot of stairs. She's on the 4th floor of a building with elevators. The building management takes cares of all the amenities and grounds, and they have a handyman available for repairs in case of emergency. The security staff are very helpful in looking out for the (mostly elderly) owners.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Advice on helping in-laws
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2018, 11:23:08 AM »
I would suggest you call the local Senior Center where they live. They will know of housing options.

I do like the idea of the chair lift and hiring people to do the outside work. I have even seen a small elevator that can be installed in homes. There are plenty of grocery stores or Amazon that can deliver groceries. Walmart delivers stuff. Even if they can't do it, they can make a list of needs and a family member can do it or you can hire a helper person to come in one day a week for odd ball chores. If they need higher toilets, grab bars or a replacement tub that is more senior friendly it might be cheaper to install some stuff rather than move.

Maybe they could pay for meals on wheels to deliver. Or a few days a week they could have take out delivered. Someone would need to make sure they eat regular meals. Some meals could be prepared in advance and frozen, then microwaved.

lbmustache

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Re: Advice on helping in-laws
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2018, 05:11:22 PM »
I agree with an apartment. It is also hard to find loans at 80 years old - I cannot see anyone approving them for a 30yr mortgage, so they would have a 10 or 15 year (maybe) which is obviously much more costly monthly.

How much do they pull in post-tax? It must be around $4k (?) including SS , which sounds like a solid amount of money given that health expenses seem minimal? Can they save a portion of this for the MIL?

Heinz

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Re: Advice on helping in-laws
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2018, 06:02:19 PM »
Thank you to everyone who read and commented.  As I have gotten older, I have learned that it is more important to listen first.  So, my in-laws have $100k/year in income and over $1M in assets.  They will be fine; the concern was more about moving and having to make a quick decision.  I do think they will be renting for a bit.  Thank you.