Author Topic: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting  (Read 4225 times)

Ecky

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Hi all, here's the situation:

* I haven't had a relationship with my mother in nearly a decade. She has been a lifelong alcoholic and her faculties seem to have deteriorated over the years. Recently, she has become a widow (second husband, no relation). I've been appointed executor of the estate and am trying to help/advise her on what to do next. I'm open to moving her nearby where I can keep an eye on her and assist her.

* She lives in Florida in a ~600k home on the beach, with around $400,000 in equity. She will not have the means to maintain this home for more than a year, tops, before she's completely broke. She's not old enough to collect SS and has very little other retirement income. It's clear she needs to sell the house pronto.

* I live in Vermont. My wife and I plan to move to Michigan to be closer to her family, but we don't have a firm date yet, nor do we know exactly where in Michigan. It may be as soon as a year, and likely no longer than 3 years. However, it's hard to know what the future will bring right now.

* After some back and forth, my mother and I agree that it's a decent idea for her to move north, where I can keep an eye on her and assist her. Following her husband passing she was near suicidal, but that seems to have leveled out, in part due to her son being back in her life, that there is something to live for.

* What seems most rational to me is for her to move to Vermont and rent (for perhaps a year?) until my wife and I are ready to move to Michigan, and then for her to follow shortly after we move. Then, and only then, would I advise she start looking to buy a house. This would serve at least two purposes: 1) I don't know for certain she can hack the winters, or that she will be happy up north. 2) Vermont is experiencing a housing bubble. Homes, for rent or sale, are scarce and inflated. 3) We're not certain exactly where we'd move in Michigan, and 4) renting would give her more flexibility to make decisions down the road.

* I don't think she can get a mortgage, so wherever she buys, she will need to pay cash. She perceives renting is going to deplete that and is highly averse to renting. I'm skeptical she has much ability to earn any income, and needs to get by on what's left for at least another 4-6 years.

* She's suggesting she buy a house here (cash), and then if we move in 8 months or a year or whenever, she sell it and buy another house elsewhere. Or maybe that she just buy a house in Michigan, approximately wherever my wife and I will be going.

* She's also certain the government is going to lock is all down and come door to door to give us mind control vaccines, so chances are good nobody is going anywhere. The globalists have declared war, God has ordered his children to flee to the mountains, and wormwood is coming. This is the end of days. All CEOs have left their companies and there are fireballs in the skies. She swings back and forth (depending on the time of day) between lucidity and wild conspiracy and I have a hard time getting her to hold to something.

* To complicate things further, she's a smoker with a severe allergy to dogs, and can't live anywhere there have been dogs previously. The area around me already has a severe housing shortage, and I'm having trouble finding anywhere that might accept a smoker (even one who smokes outside) but does not allow pets, nevermind one that's affordable.

I'm having a hard time reconciling these items. To recap, I'm going to have difficulty finding an affordable place for her to rent near where I live, and she doesn't want to rent anyway. To buy a house in Vermont right now would be to buy in a bubble, and she might end up wanting or needing to sell within a year or two. She needs to move from where she's at soon. My wife and I expect to move to Michigan in the next year or two, and don't know for certain where exactly we'll land in Michigan. The only point of my mother moving to Vermont is to be near me. Housing is cheap in Michigan.

I'm certain there are points I've missed which will be relevant to this, but what advice can you give me?

Do I try to convince her to rent in Vermont? Do I look for a place she can pay cash for in Michigan? (I can't even look at the houses there in-person).

slappy

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2020, 10:17:07 AM »
Why doesn't she just downsize in FL? I mean, I read the post, I see the reasons, but it seems like she should stay in FL. If you haven't been close to her in over a decade, it doesn't make sense that she needs to be near you. I get the issue of her being suicidal, but you can't solve that. You can still be involved her long distance. Maybe she can stay there until you guys move to Michigan? It seems like you have enough on your plate without adding this.

ixtap

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2020, 10:20:22 AM »
If she has any social network at all in FL, she should stay there, albeit downsizing. For your sake, as much as her own.

Ecky

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2020, 10:31:42 AM »
No social network in Florida. I may be the only thing she has up north, but there's even less where she's at.

Before reaching out to her, she had planned to put everything in my name, take one of the sailboats to spread her husband's ashes somewhere in the South Atlantic, then sink the boat at sea.

Maybe I can talk her into buying a house in Florida and reassessing in a couple of years. One issue is that she can't get a driver's license there. I'm certainly not going to Florida while the pandemic is still going on.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2020, 10:34:03 AM by Ecky »

Runrooster

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2020, 10:33:40 AM »
Ouch.
Would either you or she consider having her moving in with you for the 8-12 months?

Ecky

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2020, 10:34:27 AM »
Ouch.
Would either you or she consider having her moving in with you for the 8-12 months?

I have dogs.

yachi

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2020, 10:41:11 AM »
Are you saying she has no sources of income, nothing coming from life insurance, and she needs the 400k in equity to live on for the next 4 to 6 years?  Does she have other assets?  You mentioned sailboats, are they owned, and can they be sold?  If she can't work, she might be able to qualify for social security survivor benefits from the ex.
What do her expenses look like?  It seems if she dropped 200k on a house in Florida, she could spend 40k for the next 5 years before drawing social security.  Will social security alone cover her expenses?

Ecky

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2020, 11:05:52 AM »
Are you saying she has no sources of income, nothing coming from life insurance, and she needs the 400k in equity to live on for the next 4 to 6 years?  Does she have other assets?  You mentioned sailboats, are they owned, and can they be sold?  If she can't work, she might be able to qualify for social security survivor benefits from the ex.
What do her expenses look like?  It seems if she dropped 200k on a house in Florida, she could spend 40k for the next 5 years before drawing social security.  Will social security alone cover her expenses?

She could pick up a minimum wage job somewhere, probably. She's in rough shape but surely someone would hire her.

Right now she's liquidating most everything, instead of taking the boats out to sea. I'm guessing there might be a few tens of thousands she can get from furnishings (antiques) and the boats. She has a 2015 Tacoma that's approximately half paid down, but no ability to tag or register it since she doesn't have a driver's license and can't ever get one again in the state of Florida. I think her plan was to just drive it until she gets stopped one day.

Her expenses will include housing, health insurance, food, transportation, and cigarettes and alcohol. I doubt she has the ability to total and sum all of these up, much less project them out.

Just a an example, but it appears that in a place like Grand Haven MI, she could get a reasonably nice house within walking distance of a nice beach for as little as $125,000. I don't think she can get a trailer in a swamp in central Florida for that. I believe she can also get a driver's license there.

I'm 31 and I honestly don't know anything about social security or whatever else people do at retirement age, and I'm unsure where I would go for complete information. Regardless, I'm not trying to plan out her finances for the next years.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2020, 11:08:59 AM by Ecky »

slappy

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2020, 11:06:24 AM »
It sounds like you think your mom has a lot of issues...no license, unemployable, etc. None of those are your issues and I'm still not sure why you are wanting to take them all on. It's admirable that you want to help. You can do that from afar.

Ecky

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2020, 11:19:23 AM »
It sounds like you think your mom has a lot of issues...no license, unemployable, etc. None of those are your issues and I'm still not sure why you are wanting to take them all on. It's admirable that you want to help. You can do that from afar.

That about sums it up. I was tempted to just let her be, and to work things out herself, however they ended.

My hope was to move her up and see at least that she had access to food (drop in once a week - right now she hasn't been shopping in 2 months and has lost 20% of her body weight), and try and minimize or eliminate her need to drive an untagged or unregistered vehicle. Maybe get her out of a toxic environment that has been helping to perpetuate her self destruction. I certainly was not planning to let her move in with me (deathly allergic to my dogs) or to become a crutch, just to see that she didn't die.

erutio

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2020, 11:22:49 AM »
I'm sorry you're going through all this.  Your mom is going through a tough time, but it also sounds like she's still grieving.  It may not be a good idea to suggest large, life-changing decisions right now, and allow some time for her to grieve and process.  I think trying to make decisions such as selling/buying a home or moving across the country may be a bit much right now. 
Did you suggest the move up north to her? Or did she come up with that idea?  Putting that on her plate right now may be just adding another stressor to her life.  Vermont might as well be a different country from her life in Florida.

Ecky

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2020, 11:27:40 AM »
I'm sorry you're going through all this.  Your mom is going through a tough time, but it also sounds like she's still grieving.  It may not be a good idea to suggest large, life-changing decisions right now, and allow some time for her to grieve and process.  I think trying to make decisions such as selling/buying a home or moving across the country may be a bit much right now. 
Did you suggest the move up north to her? Or did she come up with that idea?  Putting that on her plate right now may be just adding another stressor to her life.  Vermont might as well be a different country from her life in Florida.

She will not be able to make her mortgage within a few months, and may need to sell the house within the month to satisfy the debts of the estate anyway, given the costs of her husband's death and the lack of much in the way of liquid assets (still sorting that out). As I recall, she suggested the move and after sleeping on it for a few days, I was cautiously receptive.

former player

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2020, 11:41:11 AM »
Have you tried getting in contact with Florida Adult Protective Services to see if they can help?

https://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/adult-protective-services/


Other than that, I would suggest:

1).  Moving your mother to Vermont just for a year or two is dislocating to someone with limited abilities to cope and whose life is already upended, and also impractical and expensive due to the housing situation.  I think you should give up on it.  And moving her to Michigan when you don't know when you will be therej or where in the State you will be is a non-starter at the moment.

2)   It doesn't sound as though your mother is in a position to deal with the sale of her house, or even maintain and clean it (having it smell of smoke will not help a sale).  How are you going to manage the sale from a distance and during a pandemic?  If you are not going to sell immediately, how are you going to manage the maintenance?  (Also, given she's a smoker, I hope it's insured and the insurance has been notified about the smoking.)

3)  I'm presuming that she can't get a licence because of the drinking.  If she can't live in her current house without driving then that is good reason to sell both house and car immediately and move her into a rental where she doesn't have to drive- if such a thing exists?  Could the Florida services help with that?   You could perhaps present it as a temporary move while she regroups, has a winter in Florida rather than up north and then looks to move north in the spring.

4) You do at some point need to get to grips with what her social security entitlement will be and when she can take it.


slappy

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2020, 11:42:48 AM »
It sounds like you think your mom has a lot of issues...no license, unemployable, etc. None of those are your issues and I'm still not sure why you are wanting to take them all on. It's admirable that you want to help. You can do that from afar.

That about sums it up. I was tempted to just let her be, and to work things out herself, however they ended.

My hope was to move her up and see at least that she had access to food (drop in once a week - right now she hasn't been shopping in 2 months and has lost 20% of her body weight), and try and minimize or eliminate her need to drive an untagged or unregistered vehicle. Maybe get her out of a toxic environment that has been helping to perpetuate her self destruction. I certainly was not planning to let her move in with me (deathly allergic to my dogs) or to become a crutch, just to see that she didn't die.

Wow, that's a lot. Is she depressed or medicated for depression? Losing 20% of her body weight is certainly a big deal. While you figure out this whole move, could you have groceries delivered to her? Is it a matter or no food or just no desire to eat? If someone is depressed, they could have all the food in the world and still not eat.

I promise I won't keep saying this...but moving her up north will not solve these issues. Even if you bring her food, check on her, etc, you can't force her to eat. :(

oldladystache

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2020, 12:07:50 PM »
How old is she? A widow can collect on her late husband's account as early as 60 I understand.

Runrooster

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2020, 12:09:52 PM »
Are you the son whose involvement in her life is giving her a will to live?  Or is there someone else who she needs to stay close to?

iluvzbeach

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2020, 01:58:30 PM »
Going through a very challenging situation myself with my dad, I really empathize with what you’re dealing with.

It is not my intent to sound ruthless or uncaring, but I am wondering why you’ve not had a relationship with your mom in a decade. Was it your decision or hers? Additionally, do you really want to step in and assist or do you feel obligated? Is it the threat of suicide that makes you feel you should be more available to her? What are you hoping will happen by having her move closer to you, aside from the obvious desire to keep her from becoming homeless? Is there any hope of her getting her alcoholism under control or will moving her near you simply result in you having to deal with her chaos on a more regular basis?

Sorry for all the questions. These are things I ask myself as I work through my own family challenges.

Best wishes for a safe & successful outcome.

researcher1

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2020, 02:24:55 PM »
I haven't had a relationship with my mother in nearly a decade.
She has been a lifelong alcoholic.
She lives in Florida in a ~600k home on the beach with around $400,000 in equity.
She will not have the means to maintain this home for more than a year, tops, before she's completely broke.
She's not old enough to collect SS and has very little other retirement income.

I agree that it's a decent idea for her to move north, where I can keep an eye on her and assist her.
What seems most rational to me is for her to move to Vermont and rent.
Then, and only then, would I advise she start looking to buy a house.
I don't think she can get a mortgage, so wherever she buys, she will need to pay cash.
I think you need to slow down and think very carefully about several things...

First off, have the circumstances that led to your 10 year estrangement changed?
You haven't had a relationship for a decade, she is an alcoholic, with no way to support herself.
So moving her halfway across the country near you, and essentially becoming her caretaker, would seem to be fraught with all sorts of danger.

Second, she is currently living on the beach in Florida, and you want her to relocate to Vermont???
I think there is a high likelihood that she would be absolutely miserable.

Third, it sounds like she is broke, with no way to provide for herself financially.
The only money she has is $400K in equity, that will be reduced by ~$45K when she eventually sells.
Will $350K be enough for her to survive on until SS kicks in?  Will SS even cover her monthly expenses?
I don't see any way that she can buy a house with cash AND be able to subsist on the remaining balance.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2020, 05:08:06 PM »
Recap I see from your responses...
  • You have had no relationship with her for over a decade.
  • Her husband that is not any relation to you died, and for some reason YOU were named HIS executor?
  • She does not currently work and likely has not in some time, and may not be able to hold down any sort of job and lost her driving license permanently and is driving without insurance/license?
  • She has at best ~$400k to last her until she can draw off her dead spouse's SS? Also unclear on assets - you say she has a house to sell but then mention "ONE of the sailboats" what the hell does she actually HAVE? No idea if it's gotta last a few years or a few decades since you did not provide her age, or any other details.
  • She is a drama queen and/or severe mental issues in addition to alcoholic, and has threatened suicide.

Why are you even thinking of stepping in here? What's in it for you? Did she call you up out of the blue, threatening to off herself unless you fly to her rescue? If so, you need to take a GIANT step back into reality. Please don't rush in to be her white knight. She's not your responsibility and this is not your problem to figure out. You can offer to do X or even X+ Y and Z, but you should not be swooping in and saving her from actual hard work and reality.

She doesn't want to rent? Tough shit. She can't take care of or afford to buy a house. Tell her you'll act as the executor, handle the paperwork and get the sale of the current property (and the boats and other crap) taken care of, and you can tell her at that point - you have X money. I would suggest renting a nice little one bedroom in a middle class area of Florida that has all the maintenance handled for you and if you get a part time job, you likely can afford a reasonable nice life until retirement age when you can maybe add some fun stuff if the former spouse earned enough to cover the expenses at that point. Don't like that idea? Cool, but I'm not available to bail you out 3 years from now when the money runs out and the house you insisted you had to buy needs the roof replaced or you're being kicked out of because you can't afford the payments. There is always welfare and section 8, and I'll be happy to help you apply for those, but your running out of the money because you insisted on living a lifestyle you can't afford and the using me to supplement isn't an option.

Any threats of killing herself or doing harm to herself tell her that if she persists in saying those things, you need to prioritize first. Tell her no matter what else is happening, she needs to stop this kind of talk and you can help her find counseling or get her into an inpatient clinic if she feels like she's unable to deal at all, but this is not something you're going to let pass. There are mental health services available in most populated areas - non-profit/charity/church/sliding scale if she has no insurance, but most insurance also covers.

DO NOT MOVE HER INTO YOUR AREA. DO NOT DO THIS. YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR HER EVERYTHING IF YOU DO THIS. LEAVE HER TO SORT HER LIFE OUT HERSELF IN FLORIDA. Seriously. If she has few friends and lack of a support system - no work, church, social ANYTHING... how on earth do you think she's going to handle moving to a new city and state where her *dear* son and DIL are just ready-made to wait in attendance? Do not do this to yourself, your wife or your marriage. Protect it and the wife if you value them and keep the alcoholic, mentally ill parent at a very long arm's length.

I am horrified that she's driving without insurance and a license as an alcoholic by the way. I am not sure I would be able to restrain myself from reporting her/vehicle to the local cops. She may kill someone or do major damage to some innocent person(s) because she is so selfish. This is... seriously something I'd not let continue. And yet you're talking about her moving to your state/neighborhood as if it's NBD that this known alcoholic that was so bad she is permanently barred from legally driving a motor vehicle and unlikely to even get insurance coverage? Your mom is too selfish to stop endangering others and reckless enough to do so without any way of paying them back for her assholerly.

Honestly, I advise you strongly to not take on the costs or headaches of "managing" your mother's life. Don't make any real suggestions about her moving to where you are, or anything. You can lend her an ear to listen to her woes, but tell her "wow, that sounds really hard. What are you going to do about that?" and leave it in her hands. She has bigger issues at play and she apparently didn't care about your relationship enough before to work at it, and the only reason she appears to be tapping you in now is because her spouse died and she needs someone else to step in to be her caretaker. You don't have to do this at all, but if you feel it absolutely necessary to do the minimums, protect your heart and use your head here and don't be manipulated or guilted into doing things that are hurtful or harmful for your own self or family. Lay out best case, minimum involvement scenarios and then let her figure things out for herself if your suggestions are not good enough for her.

« Last Edit: November 13, 2020, 05:15:56 PM by Frankies Girl »

Ecky

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2020, 05:49:05 PM »
Have you tried getting in contact with Florida Adult Protective Services to see if they can help?

https://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/adult-protective-services/


Other than that, I would suggest:

1).  Moving your mother to Vermont just for a year or two is dislocating to someone with limited abilities to cope and whose life is already upended, and also impractical and expensive due to the housing situation.  I think you should give up on it.  And moving her to Michigan when you don't know when you will be therej or where in the State you will be is a non-starter at the moment.

2)   It doesn't sound as though your mother is in a position to deal with the sale of her house, or even maintain and clean it (having it smell of smoke will not help a sale).  How are you going to manage the sale from a distance and during a pandemic?  If you are not going to sell immediately, how are you going to manage the maintenance?  (Also, given she's a smoker, I hope it's insured and the insurance has been notified about the smoking.)

3)  I'm presuming that she can't get a licence because of the drinking.  If she can't live in her current house without driving then that is good reason to sell both house and car immediately and move her into a rental where she doesn't have to drive- if such a thing exists?  Could the Florida services help with that?   You could perhaps present it as a temporary move while she regroups, has a winter in Florida rather than up north and then looks to move north in the spring.

4) You do at some point need to get to grips with what her social security entitlement will be and when she can take it.

I had no idea there was such a thing as adult protective services. I'll try reaching out to them.

1) I'm largely in agreement. Florida is no less expensive than Vermont however, and she can't continue to stay in her house.

2) My thought was to do some research and hire a realtor. Frankly, even though the house is nice, it's likely to be bulldozed and a mansion built in its place. The condition of the house is going to be irrelevant to most prospective buyers.

3) That's correct - a DUI some 20+ years ago. In Florida, the first offense is (or was) a felony charge, and I believe she had two. I have no ability to sell the car, as it's exempt from probate and the estate. I've advised her to get rid of it, but don't want to undermine her at least until I'm finished as executor of the estate. I'm skeptical of any effective Florida services, but finding a rental to winter there might be the right move regardless.

4) I have no idea who to contact about this, or where to gather this information. Vermont has advisors who (for free) guide people through understanding what services they have access to, but I'm unaware of any such thing in Florida.


Wow, that's a lot. Is she depressed or medicated for depression? Losing 20% of her body weight is certainly a big deal. While you figure out this whole move, could you have groceries delivered to her? Is it a matter or no food or just no desire to eat? If someone is depressed, they could have all the food in the world and still not eat.

I promise I won't keep saying this...but moving her up north will not solve these issues. Even if you bring her food, check on her, etc, you can't force her to eat. :(

No medication that I'm aware of. Her husband's death was a very messy suicide - he apparently had a very aggressive brain cancer with no hope of recovery, and rather than lengthy and expensive medical procedures that would have just eaten everything left to them, he hid it from her until his cognitive abilities took a sharp decline, and then took his life. Needless to say, she was a mess in the weeks following. I don't have a great sense of how well she was before this.

As for groceries, she's getting some items delivered now and eating again, but I don't have the time nor mind to micromanage from 2,000 miles away and I don't think she's eating well.

Some years back I went through something similar with my father, major difference being that I had a good relationship with him as an adult. He had an OTJ injury in Florida and eventually ran out of means to take care of himself, and he wasn't old enough for social security either. Once up here, Vermont provided him with comprehensive free healthcare and services, and he was able to bring in a very limited income to make up the rest. I dropped by frequently to feed him healthy meals, and helped him get to medical appointments. He told me early on he loved it here and wanted to stay right where he was until he passed - which he did. I was a wreck afterward, but I don't regret it. It was also freeing, however, when he passed.


How old is she? A widow can collect on her late husband's account as early as 60 I understand.

55, nearly 56. I believe she will be able to collect on both my father's and her late second husband's accounts.


Are you the son whose involvement in her life is giving her a will to live?  Or is there someone else who she needs to stay close to?


I am the son. I realize I referred to myself in third person and that may have been confusing. No other children.


Going through a very challenging situation myself with my dad, I really empathize with what you’re dealing with.

It is not my intent to sound ruthless or uncaring, but I am wondering why you’ve not had a relationship with your mom in a decade. Was it your decision or hers? Additionally, do you really want to step in and assist or do you feel obligated? Is it the threat of suicide that makes you feel you should be more available to her? What are you hoping will happen by having her move closer to you, aside from the obvious desire to keep her from becoming homeless? Is there any hope of her getting her alcoholism under control or will moving her near you simply result in you having to deal with her chaos on a more regular basis?

Sorry for all the questions. These are things I ask myself as I work through my own family challenges.

Best wishes for a safe & successful outcome.

Thank you for your kind words, and you bring up some extremely valid points.

It was originally my decision not to have a relationship. My family had a lot of tragedy, and while my mother was an amazingly single parent for many years, she eventually descended into alcoholism, and my teenage years were rough from collateral damage. Some of it I'm still unpacking. I think it's only recently that I've gotten over most of my negative feelings toward her, having processed that she wasn't intentionally being a villain and an abuser. Hurt people hurt people.

I think my therapist would point out that I have a tendency to step in and take responsibility where I don't always need to.

It isn't an obligation. Had you asked me a year ago, I might have said I'd just as soon Beetlejuice disappeared from the world, but she has become a person to me again, I'm no longer the traumatized child, and she's no longer the despairing and self destructive parent to a dependent. I believe (perhaps naively) that I can effectively set boundaries and let her chaos be her chaos. I don't have a good sense of the alcoholism, especially since I've only started talking to her again since her husband's passing. It wasn't something that ever got better with my father, but as he got older, it changed (or he did (or I did)) and I was able to have a healthy relationship with him.


I think you need to slow down and think very carefully about several things...

First off, have the circumstances that led to your 10 year estrangement changed?
You haven't had a relationship for a decade, she is an alcoholic, with no way to support herself.
So moving her halfway across the country near you, and essentially becoming her caretaker, would seem to be fraught with all sorts of danger.

Second, she is currently living on the beach in Florida, and you want her to relocate to Vermont???
I think there is a high likelihood that she would be absolutely miserable.

Third, it sounds like she is broke, with no way to provide for herself financially.
The only money she has is $400K in equity, that will be reduced by ~$45K when she eventually sells.
Will $350K be enough for her to survive on until SS kicks in?  Will SS even cover her monthly expenses?
I don't see any way that she can buy a house with cash AND be able to subsist on the remaining balance.

I agree with most of your points. The ones I'd likely dispute are:
-My father lived in the South his entire life, and had salt water for blood, but ended up falling in love with Vermont, just as I did, and it was a joy to share it with him. That's not direct evidence about my mother, but most people who have spent significant time here seem to think it's one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the US.
-If she's broke, I've been destitute my entire life. I'm only just now approaching net zero with student loans, putting around 70% of my take-home toward them. I could live on 350k for 15-20 years, not taking into account inflation and the rising cost of things. Without a mortgage or any student debt, it could last me longer. Just how does a person spend $350,000 in 4 years?

All else being equal, I've seriously considered pointing her toward an area such as Grand Haven in Michigan. The cost of living is low. Crime rate is low, unlike most of Florida. She can get a nice, clean house for $135,000 within walking distance of groceries and a gorgeous beach. Michigan is one of the few states likely to give her a driver's license again, which would give her a good shot at staying on the right side of the law. That would leave her with around $50,000 per year to make it the next 4 years, with no debts and no mortgage. I'd be shocked if she couldn't make it last. Not counting the winters, I don't think she can have the same quality of life in Florida as she could in a place like that. Financially, it makes sense and is a place I'd strongly consider if I were retired.

Recap I see from your responses...
  • You have had no relationship with her for over a decade.
  • Her husband that is not any relation to you died, and for some reason YOU were named HIS executor?
  • She does not currently work and likely has not in some time, and may not be able to hold down any sort of job and lost her driving license permanently and is driving without insurance/license?
  • She has at best ~$400k to last her until she can draw off her dead spouse's SS? Also unclear on assets - you say she has a house to sell but then mention "ONE of the sailboats" what the hell does she actually HAVE? No idea if it's gotta last a few years or a few decades since you did not provide her age, or any other details.
  • She is a drama queen and/or severe mental issues in addition to alcoholic, and has threatened suicide.

Why are you even thinking of stepping in here? What's in it for you? Did she call you up out of the blue, threatening to off herself unless you fly to her rescue? If so, you need to take a GIANT step back into reality. Please don't rush in to be her white knight. She's not your responsibility and this is not your problem to figure out. You can offer to do X or even X+ Y and Z, but you should not be swooping in and saving her from actual hard work and reality.

She doesn't want to rent? Tough shit. She can't take care of or afford to buy a house. Tell her you'll act as the executor, handle the paperwork and get the sale of the current property (and the boats and other crap) taken care of, and you can tell her at that point - you have X money. I would suggest renting a nice little one bedroom in a middle class area of Florida that has all the maintenance handled for you and if you get a part time job, you likely can afford a reasonable nice life until retirement age when you can maybe add some fun stuff if the former spouse earned enough to cover the expenses at that point. Don't like that idea? Cool, but I'm not available to bail you out 3 years from now when the money runs out and the house you insisted you had to buy needs the roof replaced or you're being kicked out of because you can't afford the payments. There is always welfare and section 8, and I'll be happy to help you apply for those, but your running out of the money because you insisted on living a lifestyle you can't afford and the using me to supplement isn't an option.

Any threats of killing herself or doing harm to herself tell her that if she persists in saying those things, you need to prioritize first. Tell her no matter what else is happening, she needs to stop this kind of talk and you can help her find counseling or get her into an inpatient clinic if she feels like she's unable to deal at all, but this is not something you're going to let pass. There are mental health services available in most populated areas - non-profit/charity/church/sliding scale if she has no insurance, but most insurance also covers.

DO NOT MOVE HER INTO YOUR AREA. DO NOT DO THIS. YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR HER EVERYTHING IF YOU DO THIS. LEAVE HER TO SORT HER LIFE OUT HERSELF IN FLORIDA. Seriously. If she has few friends and lack of a support system - no work, church, social ANYTHING... how on earth do you think she's going to handle moving to a new city and state where her *dear* son and DIL are just ready-made to wait in attendance? Do not do this to yourself, your wife or your marriage. Protect it and the wife if you value them and keep the alcoholic, mentally ill parent at a very long arm's length.

I am horrified that she's driving without insurance and a license as an alcoholic by the way. I am not sure I would be able to restrain myself from reporting her/vehicle to the local cops. She may kill someone or do major damage to some innocent person(s) because she is so selfish. This is... seriously something I'd not let continue. And yet you're talking about her moving to your state/neighborhood as if it's NBD that this known alcoholic that was so bad she is permanently barred from legally driving a motor vehicle and unlikely to even get insurance coverage? Your mom is too selfish to stop endangering others and reckless enough to do so without any way of paying them back for her assholerly.

Honestly, I advise you strongly to not take on the costs or headaches of "managing" your mother's life. Don't make any real suggestions about her moving to where you are, or anything. You can lend her an ear to listen to her woes, but tell her "wow, that sounds really hard. What are you going to do about that?" and leave it in her hands. She has bigger issues at play and she apparently didn't care about your relationship enough before to work at it, and the only reason she appears to be tapping you in now is because her spouse died and she needs someone else to step in to be her caretaker. You don't have to do this at all, but if you feel it absolutely necessary to do the minimums, protect your heart and use your head here and don't be manipulated or guilted into doing things that are hurtful or harmful for your own self or family. Lay out best case, minimum involvement scenarios and then let her figure things out for herself if your suggestions are not good enough for her.

Great points, thank you.

Looking at it like a cold hearted economist, when she passes (which could be tomorrow, from a heart attack), I'm the sole inheritor of whatever is left, and I'll have to deal with it then, if not now. Her second husband was a man I knew and respected. He had no children and no living relatives. I'm rather glad to be sorting out the estate while she's still alive, if nothing else.

In addition to the house, there are maybe $50,000 worth of sailboats, another $10,000 in equity in vehicles, and an unknown amount in the antiques, paintings and furnishings of the house. Very conservatively, let's call this another $15 grand. There is a retirement account with another $15,000 in it, and another $15,000 or so in cash. She has some expenses to deal with as a result of her husband's death. I'd say she's likely to walk away from that property with very roughly 400k liquid, with everything settled.

I really don't want any of her stuff. Historically, she hasn't been a drama queen and I'm fairly certain she was close to dying after her husband passed. Historically she has been quietly self-destructive, and it was very damaging to be a dependent under her roof while that happened.

I made sure to exempt the vehicles before I took executorship of the estate, for liability reasons.

~

I'm feeling a bit "tough shit" about renting as well, and I appreciate your directness. I'm also horrified at the idea of her driving - this is part of my motivation to move her somewhere that I can drop off groceries and keep her off the roads, but you've made great points about why this ill-advised. Suggesting just what you have is likely a wise course of action, and this is exactly the kind of advice I need. Whether I take it to the letter is another matter, but it's important to hear it regardless.

She's not going to go to a mental health clinic. She does not trust doctors or authorities. She will literally die first. And that wouldn't be my problem or my fault.

I'll definitely be keeping up with this thread and will report back with what actually happens.

Letj

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2020, 07:47:36 PM »
Contrary to a lot of the cold hearted advice you’ve received here I would say help your mom any which way you can. She is your mom and no parent is perfect. She is in fact a very sick woman who could die with no intervention and no one caring. Many people die alone and desperate for help in America be because they’re lonely and disconnected from family and community. Legally she is not your problem but I’d argue that morally you have an obligation to help your mom. She may have hurt you by her drinking but she sounds like she had a lot of sad things happen to her and quite frankly this was how she medicated. As far as her moving to Vermont, why not? Social services there is much better. Sell all her property in Florida, move her to a tiny apartment that’s convenient and affordable and put her on a strict budget (yes sounds like she needs that level of control) and put the rest of her money in a safe investment and help her apply for survivor’s social security. You do need to establish some clear boundaries. Once she is set up, live your life and check in on her periodically and see what happens in the future. She may or may not want to move to Michigan.

SpecialSnowflake

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2020, 10:20:38 AM »
What a sad situation.

That said, sometimes things are just sad and you can’t do much about them because you can’t make people change to suit you.

She is 56 and you are setting yourself up to be her primary caregiver for maybe the next 30 years?  You are going to be in charge of her food, her money, her budget and where she lives? So many red flags here.  If she has been self destructive since you were a child she will bring that with her wherever she goes. You cannot move her away from that behavior by changing where she lives.

You have suggested a direct move from FL to MI but you don’t know that you will actually ever move there, anything can happen in the next 1-3 years that changes your life situation.  Why do you think they will give her a driver’s license if she can’t get one elsewhere, and how long do you think she will keep it if she is an alcoholic driving herself around.  Where in Grand Haven do you see a nice clean house within walking distance to both stores and the lovely beach for $135,000? I suspect she will need to spend more to get a place that will not need a bunch of upkeep that she may not be capable of.  Sounds as if a condo wouldn’t even work due to the likelihood of other owners having dogs.

Temporarily moving her to a Vermont home sounds expensive (moving her furniture etc to VT then on to MI at some point & closing costs for two homes) and what if she blows through her money? She will be looking to you for financial support.

You mentioned she will be eligible for both your fathers SS and her second husbands. She can only collect on one though, correct? If she takes one at 60, how much is she going to have per month? Is it enough to live on the rest of her life?

For now it really seems as if she should stay in FL while you two slowly build a relationship back up. There are mobile home parks or maybe a park model in a RV park that she should be able to afford.


« Last Edit: November 17, 2020, 01:20:55 PM by SpecialSnowflake »

Zamboni

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2020, 09:10:09 PM »
Wow, you are a good son.

Sounds like she had a really rough time and that translated into you having a really rough time. I agree with the most recent poster who supports you helping her.

Your Mom reminds me of my Mom in her conspiracy theories and refusal to see doctors. My Mom is now 80 . . . and she still refuses to see doctors. Last year she had painful shingles so bad on her face and eye that it nearly blinded her before my brother was able to insist that he take her to urgent care. For health and support reasons, I think sending her to Michigan, where she doesn't know anyone, could be a terrible, terrible idea right now. Does she have other supportive family there in Michigan? If not, then forget this idea.

That leaves the two options of:
1. stay in Florida but find another place to live
or
2. move to Vermont.

Be mindful of the fact that her move to Vermont, if it goes that way, very well could put some strain on your marriage. How introverted is your Mom? If she is really introverted, then moving her to Vermont will be easier on everyone. If she needs people to talk to and interact with every single day, then you will become those people for her, and that will get old pretty fast in your young couple life together. So you'd need to hook her up with the local senior center and hope she can make friends there. That's what my brother did when our Mom moved to his town . . . because she was driving him nuts wanting him to do things for her every single day. Now she has some senior center friends she plays cards with (or did, before COVID), and that has really helped his sanity.

In your capacity as executor, can you do some calculations to show your Mom?
Even if she buys a home, she still will be "throwing money away" every month on property taxes, homeowners insurance, and maintenance. It sounds like her late husband took care of everything and she has no idea how much it "costs" every month to own a home. Perhaps if you show her that, then she will see that owning a home, every outright, isn't a "free" place to live. Probably taxes alone on her current house are around $500 per month (depending upon the tax rate) and insurance for a waterfront house is probably $200 more, give or take, so that is $700 that flies out the door every month BEFORE paying for the mortgage or maintenance. Buying a cheaper house will not eliminate the money flying out the door for taxes and insurance. She probably is just clueless about this.

Show her the actual numbers. Then ask her to tour some of her local "luxury" apartment complexes . . . the sales ladies at those places are really nice and will make her feel special, and many apartments are quite nice. Tell her to look for one with a nice pool and clubhouse if she's into that. Suggest she go to 2-3 places per day for a couple of days . . . she could find one that is really nice and probably affordable.

Finally, and I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you might have to go down there. On the bright side, hotels along 95 are dirt cheap right now, and cleaner and more vacant than they have ever been. Just drive down.

Don't say it's too far: I drove from Dartmouth to NC in one day this summer. You can easily get to Florida in three, especially if your wife joins you to help drive. Think of it as a vacation adventure! Just pack a cooler and book suite style hotels with kitchens if you are concerned about COVID and eating out (understandable right now.) I've stayed in hotels recently and you will be surprised how isolated you are . . . it's feels much safer than I would have thought. The very ritzy hotel near me right on a lake that is normally $200+ a night is now down to $75 a night because of low demand. Don't discount this idea. It would be the easiest way to get her into an apartment. Popping by a few apartment complexes with her would make her feel special. Be sure to pick really nice complexes . . . newer ones, less than 3-5 years old, perhaps even gated, even if you think they are out of budget. They might be cheaper than you are expecting as many have "move in specials." She needs to see that apartments can be nice! See if there is one right next to a fancy grocery store. Ultimately my mom moved right across the street from the post office, library, and a bakery, so look for some sort of set up like this.

Can you take a couple of weeks off of work for bereavement to take care of this? Tell them you are executor of an estate. Most employers will understand.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2020, 04:12:18 PM »
As an older woman living on her own, I love apartment living.  After decades of being a responsible home owner, I am off the hook.  Just be sure that if she does move to an apartment that they are good for maintence, etc.

Cranky

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2020, 07:28:32 PM »
I have to say that a 56yo is not a senior. LOL

It does sound like your mom is grieving, and it’s very difficult to make big decisions at a time like that.

There are cheap houses in Florida, too, if she really wants to stay there.

BlueHouse

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2020, 08:02:03 AM »
I would advise you take your mother to a 55+ community near where she already lives.  See if she likes it.  Have her rent there for a few years while you decide about your move, then if she loves it, she can buy there, retain her friends, etc. 

You may just want to go there and have lunch with her before telling her it's an option.  The more I see these places, the more I realize that they are just a godsend for many people. 

https://www.55places.com/blog/25-most-popular-active-adult-communities-in-florida

Sibley

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2020, 12:36:57 PM »
I have to say that a 56yo is not a senior. LOL

It does sound like your mom is grieving, and it’s very difficult to make big decisions at a time like that.

There are cheap houses in Florida, too, if she really wants to stay there.

No, not a senior, but some people for whatever reason are really aged beyond their years. You'd think my mother was 10 years older than she actually is.

mm1970

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2020, 12:50:46 PM »
I have to say that a 56yo is not a senior. LOL

It does sound like your mom is grieving, and it’s very difficult to make big decisions at a time like that.

There are cheap houses in Florida, too, if she really wants to stay there.

No, not a senior, but some people for whatever reason are really aged beyond their years. You'd think my mother was 10 years older than she actually is.
I was going to say this.  I mean, I'm 50 and nowhere near a senior! (I have an 8 year old, for crying out loud!) But alcohol and hard living can really age you like nobody's business.

Cranky

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2020, 04:10:58 PM »
Yes, but a poorly functioning middle aged person is still not eligible for senior services, as many people seem to be recommending.

Ecky

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2020, 04:23:23 PM »
I appreciate the additional responses.

A couple of points:
-She's pretty highly introverted. It runs in the family. I don't see her social needs as being very high.

-I can't exactly just go and have lunch with her - I'm nearly 2,000 miles away, during a pandemic.

-I'm thinking a senior community wouldn't work. She tends to blast music at all hours of the night while she strums along on her guitar. This might be negotiable in the short term, but I really think she's going to need a bit of space. But, I'll definitely look into this idea.

-I don't foresee being a caregiver, but maybe I have a different idea in mind as to what that is. I also don't see her lasting another 30 years, with how hard she's been on her herself. She's already having some "close calls" with health, from what she tells me. Major autoimmune attacks, and something she thought might have been a heart attack a few weeks back.

-I'm definitely not going to give any more than I'm willing. If the money runs out, it runs out. She'll just have to figure something out. I'll run some numbers with her though.

Zamboni

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #30 on: November 17, 2020, 07:38:45 PM »
Oh, hmmm, this is useful additional information.

Definitely go through some numbers with her, especially about how much money actually flies out the window when one owns a home. It's not quite the "free and clear" that many people imagine.

Regarding the music: my family is all musicians. You are right that neighbors will complain in an apt situation. A very small house or end unit townhome would be better, now that we have this new information. Plenty of houses for rent, though.

Ecky

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2020, 05:52:51 AM »
Here's the rental situation in my area. Going farther south there are more apartments, but homes don't really start appearing until $2100 per month and up. I find that outrageous, considering my mortgage (before taxes) is only $850 per month for a 4 bedroom.

researcher1

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2020, 06:59:51 AM »
I agree with most of your points. The ones I'd likely dispute are:
-but most people who have spent significant time here seem to think it's one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the US.
-Just how does a person spend $350,000 in 4 years?

All else being equal, I've seriously considered pointing her toward an area such as Grand Haven in Michigan. The cost of living is low.
She can get a nice, clean house for $135,000 within walking distance of groceries and a gorgeous beach.
That would leave her with around $50,000 per year to make it the next 4 years, with no debts and no mortgage.
Not counting the winters, I don't think she can have the same quality of life in Florida as she could in a place like that.
You said your mom is 55 years old, but that she only needs her money to last for 4 years, when she will be 59.
Are you assuming she will be able to live solely off whatever SS survivor benefit she'll be eligible for?

You also mention that "She will not be able to make her mortgage within a few months", yet she has $15K in cash and tens of thousands in boats/vehicles she is liquidating.  So it sounds like she's living quite the extravagant lifestyle now.

And I'm sure that Vermont/Michigan are "beautiful and peaceful places", I'm just wondering how well your mom is going to acclimate to such a dramatically different climate, where it is considerably colder/dreary a considerable portion of the year.  You can find some really cheap housing in central Florida.

Zamboni

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #33 on: November 18, 2020, 10:31:52 AM »
Lol, you should totally put her up in that garage at 78 Old Road in Westford.

Seriously, though, those rents are crazy.

It looks like she should stay in Florida. What do rents look like in her area but a 20 min drive from the coast? Can she buy a house or end unit townhome that is not beachfront for under $200K?

Freedom2016

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #34 on: November 19, 2020, 07:20:19 AM »
I'm so sorry for the situation you're facing. The only point I would like to emphasize here is this: please do not do anything that would facilitate her driving or getting a driver's license again. The alcoholism sounds like it is untreated.

My best friend's BIL was killed by a drunk driver on a Sunday morning in broad daylight. It has devastated the entire family. He is gone forever, and his brother (best friend's husband) is now an only child. It's horrible.

I beg of you: please don't facilitate her getting behind the wheel in any way, shape, or form. That includes not even entertaining living new situations that are too far from basic services & amenities to walk to.

Ecky

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #35 on: November 19, 2020, 08:36:01 AM »
Lol, you should totally put her up in that garage at 78 Old Road in Westford.

Seriously, though, those rents are crazy.

It looks like she should stay in Florida. What do rents look like in her area but a 20 min drive from the coast? Can she buy a house or end unit townhome that is not beachfront for under $200K?

A 20 minute drive might as well be an hour. There's no public transit. Under 200k is a stretch, even in the really rundown areas.


I'm so sorry for the situation you're facing. The only point I would like to emphasize here is this: please do not do anything that would facilitate her driving or getting a driver's license again. The alcoholism sounds like it is untreated.

My best friend's BIL was killed by a drunk driver on a Sunday morning in broad daylight. It has devastated the entire family. He is gone forever, and his brother (best friend's husband) is now an only child. It's horrible.

I beg of you: please don't facilitate her getting behind the wheel in any way, shape, or form. That includes not even entertaining living new situations that are too far from basic services & amenities to walk to.

Understood. This is an important reminder for me.

Probably the thing to do will be an apartment downtown near Burlington or Winooski, where everything is within walking distance. If I put her near college students, perhaps nobody will care about loud music.

former player

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #36 on: November 19, 2020, 09:18:25 AM »
Would she wear a good pair of wireless headphones?  It would solve the music issue if she would.

mozar

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #37 on: November 19, 2020, 10:23:39 AM »
You should stop talking to your mother about where she is going to live, and drop the idea of her leaving Florida. All you are doing is enabling her to avoid the natural consequences of her actions.

If she plays music too loud and she gets kicked out of her apartment that's too bad. If she doesn't want to rent, too bad. I think if you stop trying to help her she will suddenly be able to sell her house and her other assets and find another place to live.

If you want to re-establish a relationship with her that's fine. A weekly conversation on the phone will suffice.

Queen Frugal

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #38 on: November 19, 2020, 12:18:12 PM »
I'm sorry you are going through this. It sounds like you are in a fairly good headspace about this, but I thought I would mention Al-Anon to you. I knew nothing about it until my mother went to rehab. I attended regularly for about a year. I am sure there are virtual meetings going on in your area.  I found it very helpful in drawing the line between helping vs enabling. It's a hard line to see.

While you are the executor of her husband's estate, you have no obligation to take care of her finances. She is a grown woman and she has the right to make her own decisions - even if they are bad ones.

If she wants your help - which it sounds like she does - you need help in drawing the line between helping vs enabling. And I think that line is especially hard to spot in your mom's situation. She's not just an addict. She's exhibiting signs of mental illness and she is obviously devastated by the loss of her husband. Perhaps her mental illness is alcohol induced but you don't really know whether that is the case or not.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #39 on: November 20, 2020, 01:52:15 AM »
You should stop talking to your mother about where she is going to live, and drop the idea of her leaving Florida. All you are doing is enabling her to avoid the natural consequences of her actions.

If she plays music too loud and she gets kicked out of her apartment that's too bad. If she doesn't want to rent, too bad. I think if you stop trying to help her she will suddenly be able to sell her house and her other assets and find another place to live.

If you want to re-establish a relationship with her that's fine. A weekly conversation on the phone will suffice.

+ 1

OP, you write things like " If I put her near students...". I think you do not have the power of attorney over her and you are not to put her anywhere. She is responsible for herself. You can only advice her, like showing her the numbers of owning a house. But be careful to dictate anything. If she resents what you choose, you will have done it.

I personally think my mother should move from her big empty house and move to a 55+ apartment where a friend of her lives. But she doesn't want to and I don't interfere as it is not my life.

slappy

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #40 on: November 20, 2020, 07:44:09 AM »
You should stop talking to your mother about where she is going to live, and drop the idea of her leaving Florida. All you are doing is enabling her to avoid the natural consequences of her actions.

If she plays music too loud and she gets kicked out of her apartment that's too bad. If she doesn't want to rent, too bad. I think if you stop trying to help her she will suddenly be able to sell her house and her other assets and find another place to live.

If you want to re-establish a relationship with her that's fine. A weekly conversation on the phone will suffice.

This. There are plenty of comments here advising you against entangling yourself here, more than what is necessary. I

+ 1

OP, you write things like " If I put her near students...". I think you do not have the power of attorney over her and you are not to put her anywhere. She is responsible for herself. You can only advice her, like showing her the numbers of owning a house. But be careful to dictate anything. If she resents what you choose, you will have done it.

I personally think my mother should move from her big empty house and move to a 55+ apartment where a friend of her lives. But she doesn't want to and I don't interfere as it is not my life.

Goldielocks

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #41 on: November 21, 2020, 10:04:28 PM »
What power do you have as executor?  Can the estate sell the current home and buy an apartment in the location you choose, that she can move into, but with the estate as the owner?  e.g. can you have the power to invest the estate funds as you see fit and not close it off for a few years?

Then you can set up the remainder of the $$ to pay the taxes and hoa fees as needed and disburse a monthly amount to her.   I am assuming here that you are concerned she would blow through the money?

If she starts to do well and you get a relationship back that seems to be improving / working, you can talk about moving her closer to you after you get to Michigan (sell the apartment, give her the inheritance and help her set up in Michigan in a home.)

Definitely buying a small apartment in FL near transit is the way to go.  Get a concrete building due to noise, one that allows pets and get it small and cheap. It should work out fine, barring excessive police orders to turn down the music, anyway. 

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #42 on: November 25, 2020, 05:25:53 AM »
So, a few thoughts:

I'm sharing here because it's commendable @Ecky that you want to do this and to care for someone who has hurt you, abandoned you, and so on.  Your heart's in a good place, which compelled me to reply here.  Know that before reading the rest.

I have, like @Frankies Girl , had to deal with bad situations that involve tough boundaries.  You have to be extraordinarily careful about how involved you get with a situation where there's an addict/codependent/etc. on the other side.  There's a good book specifically on boundaries that you may want to consult.

Your situation raises so many immediate red flags that my #1 tip to you is one that nobody has mentioned yet: go see the probate attorney tomorrow

Your mother asked you to be executor, but your mother is about to default on her mortgage and then her options shrink.  Your mother also put you in the uncomfortable position of: (1) forcing/pushing her to do something she absolutely does not want to do and do it immediately (making it your problem), before foreclosure/default, or (2) evicting your own mother in order to sell the house and preserve at least something for the estate (i.e. for her). 

You are then going to have to justify what you did to your mother's creditors.  You're also now aware that she's routinely violating criminal law with regard to driving.  It's not hard to see how her getting arrested is bad for her creditors, too.  What's your response going to be when she calls asking you to pull cash from somewhere in her estate to pay her defense lawyer, while the estate really needs whatever it has to liquidate the house? 

I can't give you any legal advice, but I can tell you what's obvious at least to me here: This situation screams "run away!"

Given that, I would talk to a probate attorney (in FL) immediately about whether/how you can walk away, and whether it's at all advisable to remain in place as an executor over such a disaster of a situation. 

Even if you mean well, you have been asked to take on a situation with zero good outcomes and one that can have blowback for you, your family, and their lives. 

There's a reason she called you out of the blue after so long to take on her problems...they're awful, and she's looking for a bailout.  But you can't bail her out of all of this.  It's especially troubling that she refuses to rent and accept some of this hard reality: that guarantees that there are no good outcomes here. 

Like the others, I propose getting APS or others involved and not importing your mother's problems to where you currently live. 

And, to reiterate: get a lawyer's advice here.  Consider exiting as executor (depending upon what the lawyer says).  You've already bought yourself trouble, but maybe you can cut your losses and get out before there's more trouble--but those are all questions for your attorney (not hers, though the estate's attorney is a possibility), not for an internet forum. 

Ecky

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #43 on: November 26, 2020, 08:02:33 PM »
I really appreciate the advice, thank you.

I have a few updates. Nothing set in stone:

-My mother has it in her head that she's coming to Vermont, period. She believes she's done with Florida.

-She's willing to consider renting now.

-I believe I've convinced her to sell her vehicles. I'm going to push strongly for her to move somewhere she can walk to whatever she needs. Once the vehicles are out of her possession, that's one problem solved. I feel I have responsibility to see this happen, even if she stays in Florida.

-She's getting the house ready for sale.

-She's in the process of liquidating the vast majority of the furnishings. The house needs to be sold as she doesn't have the means to keep it, but she could stay for the better part of a year with what she has so far from liquidating possessions.

~

I will absolutely pick up a copy of "Boundaries". I'll also have a heart to heart with the estate attorney.

As executor, I could in theory sell her house against her will - though it doesn't look like she and I are at odds about this. I also have control of around $30,000 liquid after dissolving various accounts and consolidating them in an estate account. I'm working with the attorney to determine the total debts that need to be settled. The things exempt from probate are the vehicles, and any furnishings.

Fomerly known as something

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #44 on: November 29, 2020, 01:12:42 PM »
Being a person from near Grand Haven Mi, I would not move your mom here during the winter for several reasons, 1. Snow, GH gets lake effect, is she willing to shovel every day.  2. The Grey season, in addition to snow we typically only get 23% sunlight in November and it only gets worse until at least March or the lakes freeze over (which only happens once every 5 years or so and means a very cold winter.). Also GH is an “interesting” town she won’t be from around there and so finding community will be though during a normal year, and most things that she could try to become involved with are shut down right now due to Covid.

Anon in Alaska

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #45 on: November 30, 2020, 08:26:34 AM »
How would your mother feel about taking a room mate or two (without dogs) if and when she moves to Vermont or if she stays in Florida? That income could help pay her other expenses.

cchrissyy

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #46 on: November 30, 2020, 09:48:53 AM »
I'm sorry you're in this tough situation and Im glad you're getting counseling support and the boundaries book.

I know she's your mom but given your history - by that I mean many years not in contact - there is just no way you have enough information and insight about her to recommend anything about her next steps.  Also, as an adult it is completely her job to design her own life. It is not appropriate to make it your responsibility.  Please don't take it on and don't let it be pushed on you. Again, counseling.

On another note, even if everything about your relationship and her as an individual was healthy and happy, I would be very wary about moving states. A recently widowed person should not be making major life decisions such as leaving a familiar town to live somewhere they've never been. They need to grieve and take time.

Good luck!

Ecky

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #47 on: December 02, 2020, 01:19:46 PM »
Being a person from near Grand Haven Mi, I would not move your mom here during the winter for several reasons, 1. Snow, GH gets lake effect, is she willing to shovel every day.  2. The Grey season, in addition to snow we typically only get 23% sunlight in November and it only gets worse until at least March or the lakes freeze over (which only happens once every 5 years or so and means a very cold winter.). Also GH is an “interesting” town she won’t be from around there and so finding community will be though during a normal year, and most things that she could try to become involved with are shut down right now due to Covid.

I appreciate this! I may have other questions about Grand Haven out of personal interest, if you'd be interested in describing it.


How would your mother feel about taking a room mate or two (without dogs) if and when she moves to Vermont or if she stays in Florida? That income could help pay her other expenses.

Tough to say. I'll present the idea and see what she says.


I'm sorry you're in this tough situation and Im glad you're getting counseling support and the boundaries book.

I know she's your mom but given your history - by that I mean many years not in contact - there is just no way you have enough information and insight about her to recommend anything about her next steps.  Also, as an adult it is completely her job to design her own life. It is not appropriate to make it your responsibility.  Please don't take it on and don't let it be pushed on you. Again, counseling.

On another note, even if everything about your relationship and her as an individual was healthy and happy, I would be very wary about moving states. A recently widowed person should not be making major life decisions such as leaving a familiar town to live somewhere they've never been. They need to grieve and take time.

Good luck!

Thanks for this as well.

I know she has, at different times, lived briefly in Appalachia and spent some time in Montana. Maybe I'll bring those times up with her.

Given that she will likely be moving out of her house within the next 3 months (unsustainable) and I don't think she can afford to live in that area, I'll see what other ideas she might have.

Seahorse

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #48 on: December 04, 2020, 04:55:24 PM »
You are good son, compassionate too. And you are doing the right thing by taking care of her - with boundaries..

I came here to suggest wherever you end up buying a house for her, maybe buy a duplex or triplex so she can be set up for rental income throughout. Hire a property manager if need be... but you wouldn't have to worry about income after that.

Good luck to you, your family and your mom!

Fomerly known as something

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Re: Help me advise my mother, a recent widow who is averse to renting
« Reply #49 on: December 04, 2020, 05:41:05 PM »
Being a person from near Grand Haven Mi, I would not move your mom here during the winter for several reasons, 1. Snow, GH gets lake effect, is she willing to shovel every day.  2. The Grey season, in addition to snow we typically only get 23% sunlight in November and it only gets worse until at least March or the lakes freeze over (which only happens once every 5 years or so and means a very cold winter.). Also GH is an “interesting” town she won’t be from around there and so finding community will be though during a normal year, and most things that she could try to become involved with are shut down right now due to Covid.

I appreciate this! I may have other questions about Grand Haven out of personal interest, if you'd be interested in describing it.


I think in ways Grand Haven in general is a typical old school tourist town.  I’m from the city (Grand Rapids 40 minutes away) Grand Haven is the beach town where we go in the summer to beach and by we I mean thousands at the state park which is basically free for Mi residents (MI state park “passport” is an $11 add on to your car registration) They also get an influx of summer people from Chicago so it has the whole town vs tourist fell.  My parents have friends who moved there 20 years ago, are involved in the community but are still “new people.”