Can I keep my Mom from giving away her money?

2 answers | Last updated: Nov 09, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My Mom is sending money to every contribution letter received. We are going to have her will changed soon, and now she insists on leaving this person and that person $2,000. She does not have it to give. How do I convince her that the money my dad left her was to take care of her, not other members of his distant family? and what do I do if she puts this in her will; any money left when she passes will have to pay funeral expenses. I will have durable power of attorney, but what good will this be if she puts these gifts in her will?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

It probably won’t make your life seem that much easier, but the truth is that many people do what your mom is doing—especially older people who want to establish or remake their generosity in their legacies by leaving bequests to a number of people, and often changing their minds about it. And as you mentioned, those “gifts” often fly in the face of reality, as there simply won’t be enough property to go around to fulfill them.

Another truth is that this concern will mostly take care of itself: When your mother dies, there will be a hierarchy of debts to be paid from the estate first—and the other bequests of money will simply be reduced or lapse. You or an attorney might make the effort to explain this to your mom one more time. But know that she may persist in changing her mind and changing her will.

And despite your well-intentioned urgings that she spend the money on herself now, she may also take some solace in scrimping when she feels that the effort is going to the good of others. You may be able to help her get over this roadblock in some small ways—for example, by taking her to the hairdresser and encouraging her to spring for the best perm, or to have an occasional manicure, or to get fresh flowers around the house. But don’t expect a sea change in her behavior.

That written, if you believe the matter is more serious and immediate than that—that your mom is being taken advantage by folks who have bad intentions—then do step in to stop the abuse. You can get help with that and references to local resources by contacting the local Area on Aging.

Community Answers

Debwalk answered...

No this did not help at all. Its not that he wants to give money away in her will. He thinks this woman is in love with him. He has demencia. What can we do