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My parents live far from their children, and we learned this week that dads passing is eminent.  My mom is disabled but independent.  My brother, 34, lives with them.  He works part-time, but finding well-paying work in a rural area for a deaf guy with an English degree isn't easy.  The home that my parents share is a death-trap and I want to get mom out when dad is gone.  But mom would NEVER accept a living arrangement that included surrendering her 6 dogs and 2 cats, so I don't believe that a rental is going to be readily available for her. (But she is interested in living nearer her children and having a nice home for the first time in her life too.  So I'm not doing this against her will.)
With all of that said, I hope that you can give some good advice.  I can come up with money for a down payment on a modest home for her.  And I have good enough credit to get a loan for the balance.  But I cannot keep up with 2 mortgage payments.  (I have 10 years left on my own mortgage.)
In Missouri, HUD offers rental subsidies for low income people, so I could conceivably purchase a house, then sign a lease with my mom that would allow her to accept the subsidy to cover the payments.  But I'm confused as to 1) the legality of that arrangement.   2) how exactly to coordinate that effort so that I could come up with the property, sign the lease, and get the subsidy payment flowing in time to prevent a financial hemorrhage.  My siblings cannot help financially, so it's critical that I get this right for mom's sake as much as my own. 
Are there any fatwalleters out there who have collected subsidized rents who can fill me in?  I can find some information from Missouri HUD for the renter side, but not from the landlord side.  I will need to act in the next few weeks most likely, while also dealing with my dad's final arrangements.  So any advice I can get is most appreciated.
 

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You have probably been there, done that!
Helped my Mom for 20+ years. She left everything, including lies about me, to my... (more)

CouponClippen (Dec. 27, 2016 @ 11:37a) |

This is what I am dreading... relatives standing in the background for the last 8 or 10 years, waiting for something to ... (more)

Technologist (Dec. 31, 2016 @ 12:06a) |

Good luck!!!! I really mean it.

CouponClippen (Dec. 31, 2016 @ 11:36a) |

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rated:
Sorry about your father and nice of you to be trying to help mama! If you cannot easily afford an extra payment, do not sign for your mother as it likely will not end well. The possibility of getting both of you in a financial bind won't help much. As a landlord Section 8 generally prohibits me from renting to family. Section 8 can often have a waiting period of several years. 6 Dogs and 2 cats will be a problem. Possibly contact a social worker in your area and maybe they can offer solutions. There are various programs that could assist your mother with expenses involved in buying her own home such as down payment assistance and keeping payments affordable. I wish you luck.

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You are a good kid.

Some disorganized thoughts...

Most low-incoming rentals I'm aware of are apartments. The pets wouldn't work at all. One or two cat may work. You may want to raise that issue with her, slowly, over time. it will become an issue sooner or later. My personal experience is that they listen but need time to process it.

I'm also assuming the housing are cheap there, how much will she get from pension/SS/survial benefit, etc? Can it cover living cost and mortgage?

Does moving closer to you means a more populated area? Can your brother find a better paying job with the move?

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IIRC, HUD-1 vouchers cannot be used to pay persons/landlords who are related to the renter. Your area may be different, the waiting list in my area for HUD-1 vouchers is over five years long (other areas do have more realistic wait times for vouchers, it's locality based).

How old is your mother? Is she in good health? Does she have any income? Does she have any savings? Will she net anything from the sale of the current home?

If your plan is to foot the down payment and get someone else paying the monthly, good luck, I don't think that will work out.

In my area, the most realistic option for low income seniors is senior subsidized housing where rent and utilities are fixed at 33% of income. It's a great deal and there is usually around a year waiting list to get in. It's a smaller apartment setup though. I don't know what the pet rules are, I doubt they would allow that many. Not sure if there is something similar in your area.

Not sure if her disability might open up some options for payments or rent subsidies?

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I am sorry to hear that your dad is so ill, and that your parents are so far away from most of their kids at this difficult time.

The situation that you describe is complicated.

I don't have any knowledge of the Missouri HUD scheme, but here are some of my immediate thoughts:

I am not sure why something has to be done so quickly, in the next few weeks, regarding moving your mom to a different place to live.

The home that she and your father own might be unacceptably dangerous (based on your description of it) for her to live in, in the long term, but surely in the short and medium term it is passable to live in, as they have been doing for many years already.

With so much upheaval in her life, and emotional distress, adding a jarring move to another area of the country is a lot to ask anyone to undergo, especially an elderly person who is disabled. I would think that it would be good to give her some time to grieve, in a place that she feels safe and comfortable, where she knows people like the neighbors, her doctors and nurses, the cashiers at the local bank, etc.

It doesn't sound like she has asked you if this can happen, and you may not want to impose something on her that she isn't ready for (even if you say "I'm not doing this against her will").

If you give yourself 6-12 months to figure out the situation in Missouri regarding rental subsidies, what the housing market is like, how you could help your mom yet not pay 2 mortgages, etc., you'll be able to make better, informed, calm decisions.

If she is disabled, she may have specialist doctors and medical care routines that aren't easily replicable in a new area. It might take advance coordination to make sure she can be taken on as a new patient at all the providers she needs.

What is your deaf brother supposed to do when you move your mom and all her animals to a nicer house near you? He may have been more of a caregiver to her than you realize, and your mom may have intended to keep living with him, as they surely help each other a lot in daily life. If he intends to keep living with her, are you okay with having him live in the house you want to buy your mom? Does he want to move from where they live to another state? Even if it's hard to find full-time work where he lives now, he might have a lifestyle there that he doesn't want to leave (perhaps athletics, church, work, friends, girlfriend, etc.)

Could you take the money that you want to spend on your mom and make repairs to her "death-trap" house, to see her safely through the next few years, and to make it more saleable for when the time comes?

Buying a nice new house and then adding 8 animals to it won't keep it that nice for long.

If you start an arrangement where you have a long-term mortgage on a 2nd property and you are dependent on your mom's state/federal benefits to pay the mortgage, upkeep, and utilities for it, what happens if she loses those benefits, or they are reduced, for some reason (especially with the new administration, which is seriously thinking about changing Medicare and so forth)? You probably wouldn't be able to move her, your brother, and the animals in with you.

Instead of buying a second house for your mom (and her animals and possibly your brother) to live in, maybe you could sell the house you live in and buy a bigger property for yourself that has separate living quarters that you mom could live semi-independently in (like a granny or a nanny apartment, or a barn on the property that has been coverted to a little house, etc.), and that way you'd have just one mortgage and you'd know she was safe and wouldn't lack company.

I won't suggest that she goes into a modern assisted-living type of arrangement (where she'd have her own little "apartment" in a managed facility which could offer her medical care if she came to need it) because you said that getting rid of the pets is a no-go for your family.

If getting your mom out of her current tumbledown house and bringing her to live in Missouri nearer to her other children are your main two aims, maybe your brother could continue living in the old house and could take care of all or most of the animals there, so your mom would know that they (and your brother) were in a safe place and were being looked after.

And/or, if she could whittle it down to having just one or two animals, maybe it would be a lot simpler to find her a place in your location that she could rent for a year, if that's what she wants to do, to see if it's an area of the country where she wants to live permanently.

Good luck and keep us updated on how things are going.

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Sorry about your father. I hope he goes painlessly. And I hope your mother will be alright.

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Hello all! Thank you for all of your input. In answer to some concerns: I believe that it would be best to bring my brother with mom, but he's a grown man and can and should make that decision for himself. I would encourage and welcome it, and his current income, as a part-time worker, would not undermine their qualifying for HUD. (Though finding those numbers has been tricky.)
Mom is 59. Too young for Social Security and for most "senior" oriented services, but has a small disability pension now.
It is certainly true that moving her out right away may be too jarring, but she and I have talked about getting subsidized housing before, as a household of 3, but dad has been the one to resist.
Dad's Social Security is mostly what they live on, and losing that will also lower their household income, which may improve what they do qualify for. He will have V/A benefits and a Social Security death benefit to help with final arrangements, but nothing residual that mom will get. They have no savings. The current house has no cash value. It's that bad. So the net financial effect of dad's passing is that mom will be left with less income and no new resources. That's where my sense of emergency comes from. She won't have the income to sustain long on her own after dad's Social Security ceases. We haven't talked head-on about this in the last few days, but will have to soon. So hoped to have some good information before having a hard conversation.

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Widows benefits for SS are the same as their spouse's were IIRC, although I don't know about getting them when younger.  I think there was a way to get them earlier if you're disabled.  

https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou2.html

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vegas4x4 said:   IIRC, HUD-1 vouchers cannot be used to pay persons/landlords who are related to the renter. Your area may be different, the waiting list in my area for HUD-1 vouchers is over five years long (other areas do have more realistic wait times for vouchers, it's locality based).

...
 

  

Sorry OP but this is correct.  Unless OP is thinking of some other subsidy besides HUD vouchers (section 8) its unlikely that you'd be able to get rental assistance to pay for a rental owned by a relative.  I suspect other government rental subsidy programs won't allow renting from relatives.


Sorry to hear about your father.
 

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Taking care of 8 pets is probably a big job and expensive. Mom has to be realistic , maybe keep 1 cat and 1 small dog if that? That alone would go along way to making your mother's life easier. With a small apartment and people to check on her and help with the basics she may be more independent and in turn happier. Her pets though do make things much more complicated.
Isn't it hard to keep a home sanitary with 6 dogs and 2 cats?

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disabled sec 8 applicants can rent from relatives using Reasonable Accommodation

http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/pubs/541801.pdf 

i am in CA but RA is federal law your local HA (Housing Authority) office must comply with,  how easy it's approved depends on the local office,,,,.one possible rationale is your mom is disabled and being widowed needs the emotional companionship of her pets and no other landlord would rent to her....

also, after your dad passes, if your mom's household consists just herself, she will only qualify for one bedroom voucher, but because of  her disability, your brother may be able to apply as live-in-aid and if approved she will then qualify for a 2 bedroom voucher, then your brother can stay in the same house legally and also you get a bigger check

following example is how a HA can be strict regarding RA which stipulates the disabled person needs a special modified unit and such unit is only available from the relative,  but I don't know if they strictly enforce it, the two HA jurisdictions I have experience with are very understanding.....inquire at your local HA office which has jurisdiction of the prospective house

https://www.hacosantacruz.org/pdf/Special%20Needs%20Forms/Req%20to%20Rent%20from%20Relative.pdf

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Not sure of your area, and what a modest home is to you, but even a modular home ( trailer ) seems an upgrade for mom.
You wouldn't have any worries except lot rent and too many pets.

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a friend took one dog with him into Section 8 housing because the dog qualified as an emotional support dog. That option might work for your mom.
 

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Wow. These cats and dogs are like kids to your Mom. I don't think she will concede that but it does complicate (or maybe simplify?) your options.

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Yes the pets are absolutely the most significant complicating factor, and she WILL NOT leave them behind. She will stay and let the house fall down around her until they have all passed before she would let them go. We built a run and added a dog door, and that's gone a long way toward keeping things cleaner. Would do the same to the new property. (and choose or install pet-friendly floors) I can buy a simple 2 bedroom home in safe, quiet towns nearby for 45-55K. By comparison, her house needs a roof, floors (not floor coverings mind you, floors--an opossum visits periodically through a hole under the sink) windows (nearly all broken), structural repairs from leaking roof, better heat than a wood stove, new plumbing, etc.. Even a used trailer would be a step up. It's not worth the investment to repair her house in a community with no growth. Even if a new property was depreciated by her pets, it would be less financially damaging than investing in her current place.

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What about looking into grants to fix up your parents' home?  This may eliminate some of the death trap conditions of their current home.  Missouri HeRO program 

Many cities offer some type of home repair grant for low income families.  Maybe have your mom and brother stay there a few more years while you plan for their future years.  There are minimum age requirements and income requirements for some of these programs.  I found another one for Missouri but the minimum age requirement is 62:  Missouri USDA program 

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Wouldn't your mom continue to get your dad's social security benefits? Particularity if she is disabled, she should qualify to receive most of what he currently gets, I believe.

You may consider a trailer. You could probably buy one for what your down payment would be on a house. Then you are just looking at lot rent. Or maybe even buy a little piece of land for it.

I can't believe that the current property is worth $0. How much land does it sit on?

I don't believe section 8 will get you anywhere.

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fattie123 said:   disabled sec 8 applicants can rent from relatives using Reasonable Accommodation

http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/pubs/541801.pdf 

i am in CA but RA is federal law your local HA (Housing Authority) office must comply with,  how easy it's approved depends on the local office,,,,.one possible rationale is your mom is disabled and being widowed needs the emotional companionship of her pets and no other landlord would rent to her....





Good point. That could work.

But there is often a 3-5 year long wait for the voucher program to deal with first.

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I'm interested in the grant to fix up a home. My mom has advanced dementia and has a live in caregiver. When she is gone my disabled (autism) brother wants to remain in the home but is very low income but not yet 62. Does anyone know of a grant for a home in California? Her yard and kitchen need a lot of work.

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Try GoFundMe or something similar. Explain her story, spread it on social media. I've seen people raise thousands of money that way.

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I am not at all sure it would be smart or even reasonable, but if providing support is something you're going to come up with, what kind of equity or cash flow improvement would be available with a refinance on your home? You mention only having 10 years left - even if that only means you're 5 years into a 15 year term, refinancing to a 30 could significantly improve cash flow. Or if you've been overpaying or are 20 years into a 30 year term, you may have a lot of equity and could get a cash-out refinance. A heloc doesn't seem like a great fit in this case, you have a long term need and that wouldn't be a lot different than a full mortgage on a new home for your mother.

There's a lot more to this than finding more funding at any cost - can & should siblings help more, can & should your mother compromise more on keeping so many pets (maybe she'll feel less dependent on them when closer to more children). I'm also a regular "don't pay off your mortgage" advocate here, so seeing money & cashflow trapped there is my usual point of view. But it probably would give you some more options to consider if you were minimally locked in to equity and mortgage payments.

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Apply to be on an episode of Animal Hoarders? Disregard if the home and pets are well cared for.

I'm probably a good candidate for it myself. 5 cats and 1 dog

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Hello, This is what I do for a living. Help adult children with options for parents. Here is what I would tell a client.
Sorry to hear about your dad. Some of my advice will sound heartless but, you are starting a journey of elder care and trying to give you some tips to help with things that will become a reality.
Denial is your biggest enemy. Conserve every penny. Don't weaken your own financial situation.
OK, the animals will need to go, at minimum downsize to ONE small animal. Yes, I know mother says over my dead body but, here is what happens. The houses will degrade around her and then the state will step in. She will have to decide if she wants to be part of the plan or have the state dictate her plan.
If you are living in an assisted living--you can have a pet (with a weight limit) You have to be able to care for the pet. You will pay more money, lose other types of living conditions because of the pets, many times a pet is the reason a person falls down, PLUS the money being wasted by taking care of so many animals
Was dad a veteran during wartime? If he was a Veteran there is a program that pays for care.
Going to assume that that dad is a veteran and you should consider taking advantage of the VA cemetery for dad and one day mother.
Don't be in a hurry to tell the banks about dads passing. They will find out soon enough. You need to make sure you have a Power of Attorney for Finances and Health ASAP.
Documents drafted for mother by a qualified professional is best but, at minimum download something from the internet in case your mother has a health issue that prevents her from taking care of decisions. You might as well check to see if your brother has something in place while you are checking on what legal docs you have in place. make a financial inventory ASAP.
Is brother doing caregiving?
Ask what brothers longer term plan is
The sooner mother relocates near you for the long haul the better.
You will burn money and energy trying to be a long distance caregiver.
What state is mother in?
What state do you live?
Confused on the MO reference.
What is mothers disability? While you are checking, include research to see if brother and mother are getting the max on potential resources.

Don't buy a trailer. It is so hard to unload a trailer later on
I have some parks that even rent a mobile home on a yearly contract. This could be an option as you look around for longer term options
Surely, siblings can come up with "something" for mom. Even if they are dead broke they can help with research and looking for options.
The rising cost of care for the elder has created a market for senior room mates
See what you have in regard to senior living in your town. Some senior centers have social workers who can educate you on resources. Call both senior centers (where you live, where mom lives) to get a pulse on programs that might help. A business friend of mine wrote a book on dealing with siblings. I have her permission to share some chapters if you like
Good luck on your journey !

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Your mom might be resisting a change in living space because she knows the blind brother will be left to fend for himself. Find out what his plan is, if he has a post-mom plan that will make relocating mom easier.

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If your mom is just 59, you might need to figure in her health insurance situation, even if she has Medicaid insurance, especially if she doesn't qualify for a special exemption due to her disability, because each state has its own policies, and the whole health insurance market in our country is apparently poised to undergo some unravelling and instability starting in late January.

[In the last 2 days I have read articles in several top, mainstream newspapers about how the new administration might immediately cancel the low-income financial assistance on premiums, co-pays, and deductibles for Obamacare plans.  I saved the links and would be glad to share them if anyone wants to know more.
If they immediately cancel that part of the "marketplace" plans, which they would like to do in January, I don't know how quickly it could come into effect, but apparently the repeal is something that could be done by them unilaterally without much wrangling in Congress, and apparently it is something which many members of the new administration are keen to do.
Obviously, not having the govt make up that funding shortfall would hit the insurance companies hard, and there exist "outs" for them to drop their Obamacare insurance programs sooner than the end of the year, if the legal/fiscal terms drastically change mid-stream.  Low-income citizens would not be able to afford the entire, un-subsidized premium, co-pay, deductible costs of the silver plans that they have signed up for, and it would throw the lives of many into chaos, and would begin to unravel the economics of the current health insurance environment, even though a full replacement/re-working of the industry structure would be years away.
The same goes for the Medicaid expansion in certain states that has happened in the last 2 years - they apparently want to drastically roll that back.]

Even if America's health insurance picture would be staying constant (which it won't), depending on what coverage she has and what coverage she can get, moving her to a different state, or even to a different county in the same state, might cause her insurance situation to become much better, or much worse, so you might need to research her specific situation. (Same goes for your brother, of course.)

--
If her house is not repairable, if they own their house and the land it's on, could you tear down the house, and put a modular or mobile home on the same lot?

--
If your dad was ever in the military, you might check to see if your mom would get any benefits from his service. I say this because an elderly relative of mine recently discovered that she qualified for a surprisingly large benefit from her recently-departed husband's military service (which occurred in the 50s or 60s) that neither of them had been aware of when he was alive.

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Unless your mom is mentally disabled, I would suggest that you leave much of this to her. It's HER life, after all, and it's not your place to dictate how she lives. You can give suggestions, but she'd rather live in a run-down home with her animals, then leave her to it. What is a 'death trap' to you may be a comfy and familiar home to her. To each his own. Remember that she won't live forever, and the risk of her getting hurt by the condition of the house may be one she is willing to take.

I would suggest offering options ONLY if she actually wants to hear them.
If she can't make ends meet, then maybe she will ask you for advice.

Once the animals are gone, more options will open up. Give it a few years.
Just make sure that she understands that she shouldn't get replacement animals without having a solid plan for giving them away to a good home. That advice should be easy to get across. Just ask her" What should be done with the animals if you get sick and need to be in the hospital"? I doubt she would want them euthanized in that case, so she'll be motivated to have a plan.

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Hard conversations need to happen long before a crisis like this happens.

You should NOT buy any property for her.

She will get most of his SS instead of hers.

When a parent won'the make sacrifices (less/no pets), if they are not a danger to themselves or others then she made her bed. Harsh, but you cannot force her to do anything unless she is not competent.

rated:
This sounds amazingly like my situation was 5 years ago, even to the ages although my dad had already passed away. My stepmother was disabled and in a similar bind. I ended up buying a house and making the payments using a "life estate" to allow her to live there without the state being able to take it if she goes into care. As I recall the spousal benefit and disability were LESS than what she makes now that she turned 65 and went on normal benefits.

I had a 70K house built, with 14K down and payments are about $440/mo - Insurance is $400 a year, and taxes are $1400. If you take my path don't expect any financial help from them, SS is literally just enough to keep the lights on and food on the table.

Soon after she moved in she started collecting pets, it wasn't so bad until the tamed feral cats started dropping litters -- they were getting pregnant again before the previous litter was even fully weaned. The house is still in good shape though it will definitely need a good airing.

In a way the house is a part of my retirement fund, it doesn't gain any value but it does hold it. When she passes, assuming it will be well before me, then I will make a sizable donation to a local no-kill shelter (pets and money) and sell the house. She had just gotten to the top of the Sec8 list for a voucher and the options in the area were poor -- and as others mentioned you cannot lease to a relative. (RA might work in your case, but I am fairly sure it would not in mine after talking to the regional housing office)

My parents house (while my dad was still alive) literally collapsed under the wait for their hoarding and was condemned -- not the way that I would have wanted them to downsize but it did simplify some things. So yeah, I have an idea what the old family house is like after years of deferred maint.

Renting is not going to be an option, I have three cats and it is VERY hard to find a place to lease without lying about the third. 6....forget about it.

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On renting to a relative on section 8, we were not able to do so- until we got a letter on doctor letter head stating that the person had to live next to family- so the family member could administer medications and help with functioning. The Dr charged us $25 for said letter.

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PS- why do I get the feeling, that no matter what happens, in the end you will be "the bad guy"?

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sunsetcliff said:   PS- why do I get the feeling, that no matter what happens, in the end you will be "the bad guy"?
You have probably been there, done that!
Helped my Mom for 20+ years. She left everything, including lies about me, to my siblings who never lifted a finger till I refused to do it anymore after my Mom went off on me one day.
 

rated:
CouponClippen said:   
 
Helped my Mom for 20+ years. She left everything, including lies about me, to my siblings who never lifted a finger till I refused to do it anymore after my Mom went off on me one day.

  This is what I am dreading... relatives standing in the background for the last 8 or 10 years, waiting for something to happen... then saying how my wife did such a horrible job taking care of her mother...

I hope there isn't anything left for the vultures... or they get tired of NOT doing anything, and actually help out!

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Technologist said:   
CouponClippen said:   
 
Helped my Mom for 20+ years. She left everything, including lies about me, to my siblings who never lifted a finger till I refused to do it anymore after my Mom went off on me one day.

  This is what I am dreading... relatives standing in the background for the last 8 or 10 years, waiting for something to happen... then saying how my wife did such a horrible job taking care of her mother...

I hope there isn't anything left for the vultures... or they get tired of NOT doing anything, and actually help out!

  Good luck!!!! I really mean it.

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