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Author Topic: Triggered my sister unintentionally, Lawyer threat again  (Read 273 times)
Mommydoc
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« on: September 15, 2021, 10:55:03 AM »

Things had been quiet after my sisters visit in July, with a few texts.  I sent her checks from the trust, reimbursing her for all the receipts she sent.  The end of last week, she texted me and asked me if I had changed my email because I had not responded to an email from her and she said there was an insurance thing that needed to taken care of.  I told her I would look at over the weekend.  I couldn’t find the email and asked when she sent it, she said 9/4.  Still couldn’t find it.  Yesterday, I sent her an update on mom, and told her I would take care of the business license for trust real estate , thank you for alerting me to it, but that the last email I had received was 7/16.  That was followed by two text “ storms” ( total of  15 texts) in the last 12 hours.  After reading all of them and my husband searching my email account, I found the email ( it had gotten collapsed into a string) on 9/4.  She had emailed about the business license but mentioned that her husband was coming to my city on 10/8 and maybe she could come and we could meet regarding mom.  I missed it, didn’t respond, and I am pretty sure that is what triggered her.  

Her texts are all over the place.  The first  ones include, “let’s make plans for mom”  “let’s have a business meeting” , heart emoji’s and looking forward to working together, Love, but also you are making decisions without me, I am 50% of this family.  The information you sent me ( recall she asked for a ton of stuff, all of which I complied with ) was not sufficient to support the decisions you made.

I responded after the first ones with: Happy to meet,  let me know when. She didn’t respond.  Then I went to bed.  I woke up to more texts “ you need to take time off from work, I want to meet in person, We need to include a lawyer, that is agreeable to both of us.  Otherwise, I will have my own representation”, she rants about the HC POA  and it not being mom’s intent, she wants to create a budget, and me to pay the difference and wants it in writing, then goes on to bring up that I didnt want to go to counseling with her and since that is not an option, she needs to protect herself, her family and taking a greater role in assuring my mothers best interests.

I responded with, “I found the email about you wanting to come in October, it would be good to make future plans for mom.” She texts constantly at me, then when I respond, radio silence.  She finally just sent a response “ I am not available then anymore, we need to look at November.” Clearly the failure to initially respond on 9/4 to her interest in meeting with me was the trigger.  You might recall when she did come out recently, she changed and canceled the plans we had to meet and I barely saw her ( other than the bday party) even though she stayed with me for the first couple days.  

She is clearly dysregulated. My therapist has encouraged me not to respond to her texts immediately or individually,  particularly when they come in bunches like this and are all over the place.  

The attorney  threat has come up many times before, but I fear that she is in a worse place and may pursue, if she is unable to self soothe or get the resolution she wants. My mother doesn’t have unlimited resources, and her care is expensive, so the idea of spending thousands of dollars on attorneys makes no sense.  I wish I knew what I can do to get her to a better place.  The last time she threatened me, the trust attorney advised me to give her all the information she requested, and to avoid getting lawyers involved as that would not be in my moms best interest.  She also reassured me that if this became a legal issue, that the courts would always rule in favor of keeping my mother in her current situation as long as she is getting good care.  ( she is getting great care, but it is expensive).  By my estimates my mother has enough money to remain in current situation for 8-10 years, which is way beyond her life expectancy.  I have agreed to pay the difference, when my mothers assets are exhausted, but I think my sister want to establish my mothers “budget” as her income, so her assets, including a condo that she wants, aren’t touched.   It is not aligned with what my father wanted for my mom, and why they moved out to live close to me.  At the end of the day, their decision to give me HC POA, and move to be close to me, not her, is equivalent to them choosing me over her in her mind.  I think she will go to her grave with this resentment towards me.

I am under a lot of other stress with work and a personal real estate transaction my husband and I are working on.  I feel like I have good coping skills, but I am not sure this is something I can manage effectively at this moment.  I am trying so hard not to invalidate her, but when I limit contact, it seems to trigger her, and when I engage, if I set boundaries around my mom’s care, it triggers her.  I am not sure I can handle this right now.  Guidance appreciated.
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Notwendy
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2021, 06:06:22 PM »

I think you can stand firm. You have POA to carry out your father's wishes for your mother. It seems that your sister wants some of the assets to be remaining for her but these are your mother's assets and not your sister's. I think staying non reactive is good. I hope she doesn't get a lawyer involved but I also don't think she has a case or is willing to pay her lawyer herself.
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2021, 06:34:48 PM »

If it wasn't this email that got missed and lost in the thread, it would have been something else.  When my mom needs to blow off steam, she finds any little excuse to blow a gasket.  It could be an ant crawling across the floor - especially if it came in on the side of my shoe.

So don't feel bad about missing the email.  Sometimes they just need something to be mad about.

The lawyer threat makes her feel stronger, and more powerful.  That's probably because deep inside she feels small.

Hopefully she's bluffing, or just needing to blow off steam from something else in her life, and you are just the scapegoat.

I would echo NotWendy's thoughts.  They are great suggestions.  Just be your normal self in your communications with her, and respond in a way you would as if she was any other healthy person - i.e. normal, simple, matter of fact, genuine.  In the real adult world, an email getting lost in a thread isn't a big deal, and doesn't cause a boat load of drama and conflict.  Don't give her the reaction she's looking for. 
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missing NC
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2021, 07:43:17 PM »

Mommydoc,

I am sorry though not surprised that things continue to be intermittently stormy.  A few caveats for others to keep in mind – There are two types of power of attorney – health care, which Mommydoc holds and financial, which she and her sister hold jointly if I am recalling correctly.  So one of the challenges is that the sister is attempting to leverage her position as joint financial POA to exercise control over decisions regarding mom’s health care. One of the downsides of the set-up is that as a financial POA, if sister brought a legal challenge, her (and Mommydoc’s) attorneys’ fees would come out of the estate, not her own pocket. 

Yes, sister is definitely looking for control and most likely some payback for not being the golden child. But she is also looking for reassurance that she matters.  So this is where you, Mommydoc do have some options.  This may sound odd as a response to being threatened , but if I had things to do again with my own BPD/NPD sister when my mom was in hospice I would have sent her periodic thinking-of-you gifts interspersed with brief notes about her importance in my life.  Yes, boundaries are important, but I think validation is equally and perhaps more important while you and your sister are still solidly yoked through your mom and through the estate.  One-way communication through snail mail may reassure her a bit and allow the focus to be on something other than your mom and the estate. 

A couple of other thoughts to may be worth bearing in mind:  Hopefully she won’t go the nuclear legal route but if she does, you can petition the court to have her removed as a trustee based on the acrimony between you and whatever she does to jeopardize the estate, which means her (no doubt continuing) subsequent legal fees would not be covered by the estate.  Obviously, I am not advocating pointing that out to her.  Second, as HC POA, you are entitled to expenses including for your time. So if your sister is hoping to have you pay out of pocket for a portion of your mom’s medical care, it is worth bearing in mind that if you charged for your time, the estate would probably already owe you a small fortune. Again, I’m not advocating pointing that out to her or using that option. These are just some points to bear in mind should things unravel. 

One more point of information that again I’m not advocating you use: I know of a father-son communications/estate mediation team.  In my mind, that would be pretty close to a last resort but far cheaper than hiring attorneys and probably more productive than a joint meeting with a therapist. 

I really sympathize with you.  I’m glad you have solid family support. 
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Oh Brother

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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2021, 08:28:43 PM »

Thank you Mommydoc for posting about your situation.  I'm following with interest, as I too have a uBPDs, and will soon be in a similar situation (dealing with parents' estate plans).

In fact, it was our mother's removal from her plans of my sister as co-HCPOA that caused my sister's biggest rage of all time, which she's brought up in all subsequent rages.  Our mother's reasoning was based in part on my sister's inability to remain calm and rational in an emotionally stressful situation (like, incapacitation).

Both you and Missing NC mentioned validating the pwBPD.  I sense that would be effective in relating to my sister, but I'm not there yet.  I haven't regained compassion yet after all the abusive behavior she's exhibited towards me and my family in the last year or three.  Is there some source you've found helpful regarding how to relate to a pwBPD?  Perhaps one that mentioned validation as a tactic?
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missing NC
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2021, 10:38:43 PM »

Hi Oh Brother,

I have found three sources for learning and practicing validation, two of which are specifically targeted towards dealing with individuals with BPD.  The first one, which I did not take but have heard from a married couple with a BPD sibling/in-law was quite helpful, is Family Connections by NEABPD.  It is 12 weeks and available free via Zoom. However, there is usually a many month waitlist.  You can sign up at https://www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.org/family-connections/ and they will email you when a spot becomes available. The second, which I did take (much too late) and found substantive is Survival Skills through BPD Family. It is a Friday evening through Sunday afternoon for $300 and I think is usually offered about quarterly.  I don't see the current date listed but the basic information is at https://www.bpdglobal.com/programs/bpd-survival-skills-2/.  Those who have completed Survival Skills are invited to participate in a weekly support/information Zoom, which is free.  The third resource may or may not be too general for your needs, but I have found Oren Sofer's book Say What you Mean and his classes on mindful communication quite helpful.  He is very good at walking participants through roll plays of difficult conversations with challenging family members. 

Your second point of concern regarding how to validate after having been so mistreated is a valid question.  Sandy Boone, the primary coordinator at BPD Global offered two suggestions in that regard. The first is to think of your pwBPD as being in wheelchair given that he/she does in fact have a disability. The second is to picture them with a tiara surrounding their head naming all the issues with which they struggle such as shame and emptiness.  Oren Softer (who addresses compassionate communication more broadly than just with individuals with BPD) suggests dealing with triggering conversations by  placing part of your attention on high touch points such as your hands.  He also shares a number of "meditations" he has put together, some of which emphasize visualizing being with a safe beloved, which makes sense as a strategy to mitigate tension. 

I so admire you and Mommydoc for being proactive in finding solutions before things spiral with your respective siblings.  I wish you the best of luck moving forward. 
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2021, 10:55:29 PM »

Thank you very much, missing NC, for taking the time to write out these very helpful suggestions.  I will definitely follow up on them when I'm ready.  Cheers.
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2021, 11:21:06 PM »

 The truth is I didn’t take a shower or my vitamins,  I didn’t get out of my PJs and  decided to work from home all day.  It was really hard to get my mojo this morning. But once I got into it, my day was busy, and I successfully compartmentalized. My therapist kindly added me on tonight at the end of his long day, and thanks to his, my family, and  all of your support, I feel much better. 

Thank you all.  Thank you for being here, thank you for listening and thank you for your support.  Thank you NotWendy and Methuen for the reminder to stay the course and stay non reactive.  I think you have both pegged her quite well.  I have learned that any time of calm, is only the calm before the storm with her, and it not a matter of if, but when she blows again.  I agree, it is ridiculous and am not beating myself for missing the email. 

I am intrigued by your suggestion, missing NC, to provide reassurance that she matters through a series of acts of kindness expressing how much she means to me.  I have tried that before effectively.  It is a bit counter intuitive, and not sure I am in the right mental place to do it authentically at the moment, but perhaps that is a goal.  My mothers financial advisor also suggested I the charge the estate for my time, but I just can’t do it.  I agree if we end up in an attorney’s office, perhaps it is a good leverage point. 

Oh brother, our sisters sound so much alike. I love that you are able to learn and apply these tools earlier in the game. It doesn’t necessarily change your sister but it makes it easier for you to deal with her rages.   Missing NC, I am blown away by the amazing resources you shared.  Thank you.  I will probably look at them too. 

Thank you my friends.  I feel so much better! 


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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2021, 11:52:29 PM »

Mommydoc I'm glad you were able to move through the day and feel better.

That's the reason I decided I had to take action to protect myself from my sister's abuse.  Most of the time I was able to let it roll off.  But every once in a while, an instance of her abuse would really get to me.  It would distract me for days and cause be to be depressed and fatigued, and affect my productivity.

Perhaps our sisters are a lot alike.  That has really been the value of this forum for me, to be able to ask other people about the behavior they see in their pwBPD, and note some similarities.  Since my sister is undiagnosed, the answers I received helped me conclude she must have it.

And, interestingly, my mother has been seeing her therapist again recently, who is a very experienced psychiatrist, to seek advice on relating to my sister.  My mother described to her therapist all the events of the last year or three involving my sister, without ever mentioning BPD, and at the end the therapist said "it sounds like she has BPD."

If you're interested to compare notes further, here are some of the threads I started here, and replies I've made, since joining in late July after reading Stop Walking on Eggshells, about my sister and situation:

Cheers.
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2021, 01:05:15 PM »

Hi Mommydoc:
Sorry you are still having problems with your sister.  I replied to a couple of your threads in the past.  I was co-trustee with my sister on our parent's estate.  My big problems started, when a chain of health situations happened with both our parents, and they died within 4 months of each other. Neither my sister nor I were aware of the provisions in the trust, until we had a need to use both the financial and medical POA's

So, we have the difference of your mom being alive & my parents both being deceased.  Some issues are similar, in regard to trust finances & transactions.

Just a couple of suggestions to consider, in regard to the trust matters:

FINANCES:
REPORT ON MONTHLY/ANNUAL EXPENDITURES: Whether you get help from an accountant, immediate family, friend or do it yourself, suggest that you have a monthly spreadsheet of expenditures(that feeds into an annual one).  One simple way to present a spreadsheet is on Google Doc's & give your sister read permission and a link. If you don't want to share via some online option, you could always email a monthly/annual copy (or even mail an official hard copy)

There are multiple ways to do this, but just making a monthly accounting and an annual report formally available to both of you, could make your sister feel like she is better informed.  Even though she could likely look at the banking account monthly and track things herself. a formal means of doing this might be helpful.

YOUR STRATEGY:  Quit saying that you will cover expenses, once the money runs out. This could promote your sister's desire towards excess spending now.  It's okay to want to do this and to even end up doing it, but reinforcing this idea with your sister is to your disadvantage.

YOUR TIME: Keep an official accounting of your time spent on trust matters (Record tasks, day, time spent, etc.)  It's okay that you don't intend to bill the time against the trust.  It will be a valuable negotiation point down the road, if you end up in court or just need to negotiate with your sister.  Just a casual mention that you have spent a lot of time & haven't charged the trust, won't matter.  You need the documentation.

BUDGET:
Before having another in-person visit, from you sister, consider making your best effort to handle things without an in-person meeting. I suspect she decided against the upcoming visit date, because her husband's travel plans changed.  You might be seeing a pattern, that she will continually want to come down with her husband, every time he has a business need to come to your area, and charge things to the trust.

Before agreeing to another visit from your sister (that she will charge to the trust), consider the following actions:

1.  Send her a recap of monthly & annual recurring expenditures (i.e. care facility, condo monthly fees, property taxes, Medicare, supplemental insurance, etc.). Even though your sister should be able to list these things on her own, perhaps a spreadsheet to look at together could be beneficial. Perhaps you might want to send her an email that you intend to provide her with a spreadsheet by a certain date.

2.  Open for discussion?  Other than money your sister wants to use for air fare, lodging, etc. for her visits, what else needs to be budgeted?  I'm sure you mom will always need some personal items each month (occasional new articles of clothing, sundries, medical services, prescriptions, etc.).  Perhaps probing for details can uncover what your sister's agenda is.  

I suspect your sister already has access to the banking accounts, and can log in and look over transactions, but just hasn't done it.  If I remember correctly, either of you can authorize an expenditure from your mother's banking account (s)?

My sister and I could both log into the banking account, but we set it up so that we both had to sign checks.  Thankfully, I had the check book and we had already established dual signatures, before things turned for the worse.  Neither of us tried to establish any electronic pay transactions, so that was to our benefit.
 
Once my sister retained a lawyer & I started getting demand letters, I made it a point to present anything I sent directly to my sister in a formal manner.  No mixing anything personal in any email or formal correspondence.

You might consider dealing with trust matters as if you were interacting with an heir that you barely know.  i.e., if you send your sister a monthly/annual expenditure report, don't mix in any casual discussions.  Present it as if you had to use the records in a court hearing. Think of it as something official you would send from work.  You can send an informal email or text to address anything that isn't trust business.

It might seem awkward, but you will be glad, if you have to go to court. If you end up in court, the more professional and business like your trust correspondence is, the better off you will be.  At some point, you might have to explain to your sister that you want to keep trust correspondence separate.  Initially, I'd just make it a point to do it on your part.  She might send you an email with both trust and casual things, but respond to the estate issues separate from any general family or sister issues.

Consider sending you sister an email to ask for specific information:

1.  Start out with offering up a spreadsheet of the current monthly/annual recurring expenditures.

2.  Ask her to review the expenditures and then respond back in writing about what she thinks needs to be budgeted on a monthly basis.

3.  Regarding meeting jointly with a lawyer, have her list the questions and/or issues she wants to discuss. Lawyers tend to charge by the second and you definitely want to have your act together when paying for their time.

4.  Regarding meeting jointly with a therapist.  I'd boycott that idea and perhaps avoid discussing as long as possible.  If forced to discuss it, perhaps ask her what would be her goals for therapy.  I suspect her goals would be to change you in some way.  

I've read some accounts here about joint therapy not going well.  My therapist didn't advise it. She doesn't do joint therapy, but another therapist in her office does.  She said that usually, one person gets upset and won't continue with therapy.  I think you have to consider that if your sister isn't able to own up to any of her issues, therapy could make things worse.

If she won't be forthcoming with specific therapy goals, I suspect that could give you a clue.  If she can share some plausible goals, then you might want to share what your goals would be.  Then, perhaps have a follow-up discussion with your therapist and get their opinion (while telling your sister that you need to think it over & not that you are running it by your therapist)

Anyway, just throwing out some ideas for your consideration (a bit of a brain storm session).  Hopefully something I mentioned can be of help for you.  Hang in there!  I have an idea of what you are dealing with & it's a tough situation.


« Last Edit: September 16, 2021, 01:15:22 PM by Naughty Nibbler » Logged
Oh Brother

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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2021, 01:09:14 PM »

Wow thank you Naughty Nibbler!  This is very valuable advice, and I will be referring to it when the time comes in my parents' lives.

Did your sister have BPD?  If so, how did that affect your interaction as co-trustees?
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2021, 02:50:55 PM »

Wow thank you Naughty Nibbler!  This is very valuable advice, and I will be referring to it when the time comes in my parents' lives.

Did your sister have BPD?  If so, how did that affect your interaction as co-trustees?
My sister is undiagnosed and likely has some strong BPD traits that were exasperated by stressful events that started with the rapid deterioration of our parent's health.  Like many people here, I was the one to seek therapy to try and understand what was going on. I was led to the book "Stop Walking of Eggshells" and from there, I joined this forum.

Things started to really go downhill with my sister, just before our mom was hospitalized.  It became apparent that she resented me, even though she was the one who was always going to our parent for money.  I had a good job & the situation didn't bother me.  My sister began painting me black and it kept escalating.

Things went south with our mother's hospitalization.  My sister would argue with me about every little thing & would hang up the phone in mid conversation.  She hated the hospital our mom was initially in, but then she got angry with me and hung up the phone when I told her I called the desired hospital and inquired about a transfer.  Nothing made sense.

On one day, she was giving me the silent treatment.  I was at our parent's home and had to spend the night to watch over our father.  That evening, our father fell, while using his walker, and broke his neck.  So, of course, my sister later blamed me and suggested that I must have hit our father, because he ended up with bruising on is face.

Anyway, the series of health events and death of both our parents, over a 4-month period, was stressful.  The sister relationship stayed bad from that point on and continued through dissolving and distributing the trust.  Things ended with a NC situation.

When it came to trust issues:
1.  We did jointly use an attorney early on to address a Petition to bring some assets into the trust.  Our parent's retitled their home in the name of their trust, but neglected to put their bank accounts, stock and savings bond in the name of the trust.  So, based on a California case, we were able to successfully petition to have those assets officially added to the trust, to avoid probate.

2.  After we sold our parent home, my sister wanted 50% of the bank account funds immediately.  She refused to comply with some some typical paperwork and accounting & acquired a personal lawyer instead.

3.  I acted on my own behalf and correspondence and demand letters were exchanged between myself and my sister's lawyer.  Crazy, because things could have concluded in a couple of months, if my sister had followed through with presenting some receipts and an accounting of some things she wanted money for.

4. Eventually, I acquired my own lawyer.  My therapist prompted me to do so.  That was a mistake and an unfortunate experience for me.  Guess, I learned the hard way.  Thousands of dollars disappeared fast.  I ended up with the young/new person at the law firm & things didn't go well for me.  I suspect my lawyer may have been smitten with my sister's handsome lawyer. 

Things really got screwed up.  Discovered that my lawyer sent correspondence to my sister's lawyer that wasn't true.  I wasn't consulted/copied on some of the correspondence/interactions.  I fired the law firm.  A more senior member of the law firm later called me and said I'd better settle with them soon or they will take me to court.

5.  I did get a court summons.  I acted on my own behalf and filed my own counter motion with the court.  I found some internet examples of motions that proved helpful.

I appeared at the hearing, served my counter motion to my sister's attorney & then a court date was set.  In the meantime, my sister's lawyer contacted me to attempt a mediation (a court requirement).  I held to my position and refused to make any concession or any of my sister's lawyer fees.  Then we ended up concluding trust business, without a court trial or a change to the co-trustee status.

6.  In the end, we both were stuck with our own lawyer fees. My sister gained nothing by getting a lawyer.  It took a year longer to dissolve the trust and the co-trustee status remained.  Sadly, my sister really could have used the lawyer money she wasted. 

I suspect that once I fired my lawyer and represented myself in court, I became a real threat to my sister's pocketbook.  I think the lawyer fees for the side with a lawyer start adding up more quickly, when one party is representing their self.

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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2021, 11:51:26 PM »

Wow Naughty Nibbler, I'm sorry.  It's so sad that things had to play out that way.

I can see by your number of posts that you've been involved in this forum for a while.  I'm a relative newbie.

My sister can't afford legal representation.  And I wouldn't want for us to have to lawyer up for the settlement of our parents' estates.  I would hope that would be unnecessary.

But time will tell.  At present we're named as co-executors of both our parents' wills.  And my sister has already made a couple of statements that have raised my eyebrows, e.g. claiming "dibs" on certain material items of sentimental value in our parents' estates.  I'm not confident it will all go smoothly, because she is emotionally intense and irrational AF.

Once again thank you for sharing your story, and I'm so sorry you had to go through all that.
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2021, 08:57:15 AM »

Thank you so much Naughty Nibbler for the very specific advice and actions. You truly speak from experience, and I very much appreciate your sharing the story in the depth that you did. It is a cautionary tale for both me and Oh Brother.  Oh Brother, I am going to go back and read your posts, once I get caught up with the rest of my life! 

There are many opportunities on my end to create more structure and documentation.  I have already outlined the expenditures and sent her a spread sheet of both the trust income as well as expenditures...it’s actually when I did this, that she went off the deep end. My mothers care expenses are high, but the trust income is decent.  It was only 2 years ago, that my mothers expenses started to exceed the income.  Prior to that the trust assets were increasing in value.  Currently the income covers about 60% of the expenses. My sisters logic is because income < expenses she can’t afford it, but of course that is faulty logic as the trust assets will cover the shortfall for over a decade and it is unlikely my 91 year old mother with end stage Parkinsons will live that long. My sister wants the “ monthly budget” to equal her income so there is no erosion of assets.  It is simply unrealistic.  Her motives are clear.

As HC POA, I have the responsibility to assure my mothers medical needs are appropriately addressed.  My sister claims I have excluded her from those decisions. I have consistently included her in the medical decisions.  I have actually made some bad medical decisions in the past, because she was not in agreement.  But about 10 months ago, when mother could no longer feed herself, the care team documented significant weight loss and declining nutrition and  they advised interventions. My sister participated in multiple family meetings with the care team on the topic and essentially refused to agree to any of the reccomendations.  Ultimately the care team, told me they were done with her and as HC POA, I needed to make the decision, which I did.  I moved her to the higher level of care about 5 months ago, and my sister has been furious since then.  Could my mom go to a different facility that is less expensive, possibly.  But she has been there 6 and a half years and they know her, it is her home, and she loves it there.  She is now thriving, and is able to self feed with assistance.  So the issue of the “budget” is really a veiled way to try to make the “ medical decision” a financial one.  I feel fairly certain that given my mothers condition that most if not all of the places my sister thinks are reasonable Financial options, would not be willing and/or able to care for my mom.  In her defense, she really doesn’t understand my mothers condition very well, but my attempts to try to explain to her rationally, are marginalizing and unsuccessful. The care team gets yelled at when they try and told that it is an emotional/ spiritual situation, not a medical one. She literally told them it was none of their business. 

I am definitely going to start tracking my time and sending her monthly statements.  She gets the trust statements and has checks but has never used and probably doesn’t remember getting them.  She emails me to send checks for $7 expenses and to reimburse her for all sorts of things instead. 

One of the things, I suggested to  my husband and sister in law which they did for my mother in law, was to hire an independent financial planner to evaluate her finances.  They were able to help my sister in law and husband objectively understand their mothers situation and made very valuable recommendations.  I am considering suggesting that to my sister.  I believe if we find someone credible, they will take into consideration the care expenses and appropriate need to dip into the trust assets to cover the difference between income and expenses, and perhaps have some good suggestions for increasing income or reducing expenses, that don’t impact her care.   The problem is if I suggest it, she will automatically think it is a bad idea.   She will try to manipulate the person, so it has to be someone truly objective and not some finance friend of hers, which is also the risk.... “ I will only do it if we agree and the only person I will agree to will be...”

I would also love to hand the finances over to someone else.  My sister used to claim I had “ cut her off” from my communicating from my mother, because my mother could no longer answer her phone or call.  I would try to call her when I was there, but she never picks up when I call.  When she did, it usually ruined my visits, so I stopped.  So, now I have my housekeeper to go over there several times a week and FaceTime my sister on her phone.  All of sudden problem solved and I am no longer involved.  If anyone has had experiences (good or bad) in getting a third party involved in managing trust finances I would like to consider it.  I understand there is some risk. 


 
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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2021, 09:54:14 AM »

I am not sure if that is a good idea to hire a third party to handle the finances. It is often hard to know who is who until you have worked with them for awhile. It also can make things more complicated as you essentially have a third party involved and a triangle, and this person might take your sister's side on some issues. What you might choose to do is have someone else convey to your sister your messages and have your sister contact that person only and not you. It could be a lawyer or someone else that you respect, possibly a case manager. I feel sad for you, for all the frustration and never ending drama from your sister.
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« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2021, 09:43:37 PM »

Quote from: Mommydoc
If anyone has had experiences (good or bad) in getting a third party involved in managing trust finances I would like to consider it.  I understand there is some risk.
I think that using a financial advisor is a great idea for your situation, since your mother is still living.  I think some people confuse a financial advisor (who you pay to advise you on financial strategy), with investment brokers who have something to personally gain from you investing in what they are promoting.

You may want to interview a couple of financial planners and decide on one that's a good fit for you and your situation.  Perhaps, after an initial meeting, you might want a 2nd meeting to include your sister (via Zoom or some other meeting software).

One source to check out is "Edelman Financial Engines".  If you go to their website, you can see if they have a location close to you.  They have 150 locations.  Even if they don't have a location close to you, it's still possible to use their services and have audio/video meetings.

Edelman Financial Engines is a financial planning organization.  They give financial planning advice for a fee and they do manage investment portfolio's for clients.

Actually, I chatted with a prior co-worker yesterday.  Her husband is a retired accountant.  They have their retirement portfolios with Elelman Financial Engines.  They pay an annual management fee, based on the dollar amount of their portfolio.

My friend told me yesterday that a relative of her husband recently passed.  One of the heirs is irresponsible with money, so the deceased wanted that heir to have their inheritance in a trust and receive an annual amount of money.  My friend's husband will be the trustee and the account is being held with Edelman Financial Engines.  It's set up so that the son will receive an annual amount. 

I don't want to sound like a commercial for this financial advisor. They are merely an example.  I think it's a good idea to consult an independent financial advisor (who won't have any conflict of interest & isn't tied to any particular investment, by commissions or fees).

Meeting with a financial advisor annually, about trust business, is a good thing to do.  A given financial advisor may offer the services required to manage your mom's trust, or be able to refer you to a source you can trust.  Perhaps you might want to use an accountant, in addition to a financial advisor.  Just thinking that an accountant could handle the monthly paperwork/bills. 

In the case of Edelman Financial Engines, my friend and her husband have been very pleased with their services and the growth of their portfolio.  They, also, have a lawyer on board.  My friend mentioned that they would be meeting with the companies lawyer to review the trust for their relative.

Quote from: Mommydoc
It was only 2 years ago, that my mothers expenses started to exceed the income.  Prior to that the trust assets were increasing in value.  Currently the income covers about 60% of the expenses. My sisters logic is because income < expenses she can’t afford it

It sounds like you have a reasonable forecast of what to expect in regard to your mom's longevity and the costs. I'm sorry your sister feels the way she does about your mom's money.  It's  your mom's money and it's being used for your mom's care.  I think it's natural for children to hope there is some money left to distribute, but your sister seems to be taking it to an extreme level. 

Does your sister have financial problems?  Lack retirement savings?  Maybe on the greedy side?

Quote from: Mommydoc
I am definitely going to start tracking my time and sending her monthly statements.  She gets the trust statements and has checks but has never used and probably doesn’t remember getting them.  She emails me to send checks for $7 expenses and to reimburse her for all sorts of things instead.

Guess you have to decide which you prefer - writing checks for her or having her write checks. You could remind her that she has a check book, but then you will likely be spending time to audit what she is spending money on.  At least, if she comes to you for a check, you likely won't have to worry about her spending money you don't know about (until you review a statement or online account activity)

HC POA sounds like a tough situation for you. It was tough to try and get my sister on the same page, when it came to medical treatment for our mom. I think your decision to keep your mom at her current facility is a good choice.  I suspect that if your sister tried to coerce a move to a cheaper facility (via court action), that you would win. I think I'd be embarrassed to go to court to try to force my mom into a cheaper, lower grade facility, just to preserve money for myself.  Hopefully, it won't some to some type of court action.

I suspect that the more people you can put between you and your sister, the more peace of mind you are likely to have.  If a financial planner has some solid advice to help preserve the trust assets (or increase the value), it might win your sister over.  It's worth a try. 



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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2021, 12:36:45 PM »

Thanks naughty nibbler.  I am definitely going to look into it, and appreciate the resources you shared. 

It is hard to know my sisters financial situation, but it is likely not great.  Her husband had a sizable inheritance and it is not clear to me how well he manages it.  Both my sister and brother in law have made many employment changes and had significant periods of time unemployed, so I make up they have had to dip into the inheritance to maintain their mortgage and lifestyle. She told me COVID was her worst financial year ever, so that is definitely coming into play.  She doesn’t share much with me and I don’t ask.  When she rages, she frequently makes statements about my finances, career and marriage, that seem to indicated significant jealousy.  My husband feels her financial strain is a root cause of the worsening conflict. 

Thank you for the sound and actionable advice!
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« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2021, 07:17:37 AM »

 With economic differences between you, and jealousy, I would caution you to not allow your sister access. Victim mentality can lead her to feel  justified in taking something, if she is in need. It will also cause her to see things as unfair to her no matter how fair and transparent you are with the money. I think the sense of fairness is skewed when someone has BPD, because they see things from victim perspective. As much as you are trying to make this as fair and transparent as possible, it's her disordered thinking that is behind this and you can't change how she thinks.

Regardless of what may or may not be left in your mother's estate, I do not think however it's divided will be perceived as fair to her. What you need to do is keep careful accounting, make it fair according to the law, and if she challenges it, that's on her. Lawyers don't take on cases they are likely to lose. This needs to be set up in a way that she pays the legal fees if she does challenge it.

I like the idea of a financial adviser because a third party can also be a deferent to her challenging you. It's the most intimate relationships that are most triggering to the emotions for a pwBPD. If she's jealous of you, then her feelings will override facts. If she has questions about the money, a third party might be able to explain it better to her than you.

Our situation is different in that it's my elderly mother who has BPD and also controls her money. We don't want any of it, but we wanted to help manage it since she tends to mismanage money.  Other people have stolen from her, but yet, she can not trust us. It's very difficult even brining it up as she makes accusations of us and we don't have bad intentions. Of all the people in her circle, we'd be most concerned for her, but she can't see that and we can't change that.




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« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2021, 09:15:36 AM »

First of all...sorry the BPD storm has started swirling around again.  That just sucks the life out of...life (as you well know)

I'm not suggesting that you don't make adjustments to your communications with sister....yet I do suggest you don't take any "ownership" whatsoever of this "storm".

It sounds like her communications are lacking and jumbled...that's on her..not you.


1.  When she starts talking about a budget...respond and hand it back to her.  "Thanks for the idea Sis...please send it to me in excel and I'll respond to your analysis."  It sounds like you have her care and finances down (by and large)...so do you really want to do actual meetings with your sister and actually create budgets and all that (I don't recommend this...so use what you know of BPD and your sister to kick this can down the road...as far as possible)

2.  Start creating a "charging" spreadsheet for your time.  Obviously it will be good going forward but then I think you need to start going back in time to account for your time.  This will be important data for you to have, especially now that the precedent has been set to reimburse expenses "for Mom" (you paying your sisters receipts).  

Get the data first....so we have an idea if we are talking about $1k, $10k, or $100k.  My general advice to you is that under no circumstances should you ever...EVER settle your Mom's estate (split things with sister)...without you being compensated first.

Your "half" is not part of the compensation.  Take out your compensation...pay off Sister's expenses (if any remain) and then split the half.

No rush here...but spend a few hours a month on this.

3.  Last:  Great job following advice on not responding to everything.  I also wonder if it's wise to start sending her unsolicited questions/issues to document her lack of response and involvement.  (In other words, make sure there are obvious questions in almost all your communications)  Yes...this is prep work for a lawsuit you hope never happens.

Best,

FF
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