AIBU to feel cross and frustrated with mum? Money, mortgage, inheritance

(323 Posts)
minifingerz Mon 17-Oct-16 19:51:55

I've posted about this on mumsnet before, but the situation has changed a bit in the past year.

The back story: dad did equity release on parental home a few years before he died. My mum never fully understood what she was signing her name to - she didn't understand the concept of compound interest, still doesn't.

Five years on from dad's death and mum now (now 81) lives in the family home with my older sister, who raised a 150K interest only mortgage on her salary to pay off the equity release, and is servicing this fairly large mortgage while she lives at home with my mum. If she hadn't done that it is likely the bulk of the value of the house would have been consumed in a fairly short period of time, leaving my mum stuck in a detached house with a massive garden, which she would struggle to maintain on her own, but unable to leave as she wouldn't have enough money available after paying the equity release off to buy another cheaper property in the very expensive area where she is determined to see her days out.

Now here's the problem: dsis has psoriasis which has become very very bad recently, to the point that her hands and feet are almost completely raw, and she is struggling to get through every day in her very strenuous and responsible (and physically active) job. She has to sleep with plastic bags on her hands and feet, comes home every with blood leaking out of the dressings, and has to spend half an hour after work every day debriding and soaking her hands and feet before wrapping them in clingfilm. sad This results in her barely managing to keep on top of her work and suffering from quite intense anxiety about it as a knock on. I can't see how she can continue in her job and neither can she, but if she leaves how will she service the mortgage? She is 53 and would struggle to get a job that in any other sector which would be feasible for her with her health problems. She has had this problem for years and has tried many different treatments which until recently kept it under control enough to allow her to function. In the last year however it's got really out of control.

Anyway, a family friend died earlier this year and left my mum 120K and my sister 30K, enough money to pay off the mortgage. As soon as my mum phoned me and told me about the inheritance I said 'brilliant, now you can pay the mortgage off and you can both stop worrying about your future in the house' (ie, can you afford to stay or will you have to sell and downsize if you can't pay the mortgage). DB said exactly the same, and so did my mum's best friend.

All fine. Except not, as mum has decided that she wants to use her part of the inheritance to get the (perfectly decent and functional) kitchen remodelled, go on cruises, and generally live it up, while my sister carries on servicing the mortgage.

My brother put it to my mum that my sister is really struggling with work, to which my mum's response was 'she's lucky to live here in such a lovely house, she's made her choices, now she has to deal with the consequences'.

I feel gutted and angry with my mum. My sister has grafted all her life and never complained. She has never had anyone who's 'got her back'. Her ex partner of 19 years was profoundly selfish and insisted on separate homes/finances until she left him. Then her next partner offered her the security of a home together, but turned out to be a violent abuser. He was a gambler and an alcoholic who ran through all the equity my sister had when she sold her flat to move in with him, and she ended up back in a rented property at 43 with nothing in the bank. She has never asked my parents for anything and is the most honest, sincere, principled person I know. I feel distressed that my mum can't take her needs into account, given that my sister is struggling so badly with her psoriasis. My mum's quality of life is so good for someone of her age. She has a very comfortable income, is active, is still driving, has enough of an income to eat out several times a week, go on holiday with her friends, employ a cleaner and a part-time gardener, and put money in the bank every week. She has a better social life than me and she hasn't worked full time since she was in her 20's. I could understand her wanting to live it up on her inheritance if she didn't already have a really good quality of life, hadn't already travelled the world several times over, been on a cruise, lived in beautiful homes etc. She's said that she wants to give some of the money to my db and me, but we've said firmly that we don't want it, that we want her to pay off the mortgage with it so that this stops being a worry for her and my sister.

It's like she can't compute that not paying off the mortgage means that my sister is trapped on a treadmill of full-time work which she is becoming too ill to cope with. If I try to get this point across to her she gets angry with me and closes down. Tells me to stop upsetting her, that she's old and can't deal with people upsetting her.

I feel oddly distressed about how hard-faced my mum is being. She's a loving person, but she's not behaving like a loving mother to my sister in relation to this issue. I can't see how it's going to pan out right now, and I'm worried about it causing a serious rift between us.

SheldonsSpot Mon 17-Oct-16 19:57:12

So your sister now owns the house?

Dinosaursgoboo Mon 17-Oct-16 19:59:56

Sounds awful. My understanding of these thongs is limited but it sounds like your sister may be forced to default on the mortgage and allow the house to be repossessed. Make this point to your mum - in wryif necessary. Then support your sister if Mum continues to dig her heels in.

Dinosaursgoboo Mon 17-Oct-16 20:00:19

Things, obvs. Not thongs.

topcat2014 Mon 17-Oct-16 20:01:47

Your mother is being selfish - sorry to say.

BackforGood Mon 17-Oct-16 20:03:30

YANBU to be cross and frustrated.
It does sound as if your Mum doesn't really understand money and all the financial things that it sounds as if your Dad did for her.
I think you and your brother need to arrange to go round and explain it all to her step by step - how your sister has saved her house for her by taking out that mortgage, and that your Mum now needs to use the money to help her, now your sister is in need.
Explain to her that - if they were to sell the big house and buy a smaller house or flat, they would have more spending money, but that, at this moment in time, your sister needs to take a break from her work, and that means the mortgage can't be paid and that she will lose her home unless she uses this money to pay off the mortgage.
It sounds like she really needs it all explained to her in basic language, by the two of you that aren't directly affected by the decision.

BombadierFritz Mon 17-Oct-16 20:03:46

so has your mum given the house to your sister? how does that work wrt inheritances etc? maybe your sister should sell up and buy a smaller place and your mum can use her inheritance on rent?

mrschatty Mon 17-Oct-16 20:05:35

Could your sister not use the money she has inherited to put a deposit down on a place of her own and move out? Or am I way far off the mark I'm not excellent with the equity release thing etc and I know you said house prices v expensive in your area so that not an option?

Mymouthgetsmeintrouble Mon 17-Oct-16 20:06:03

I do agree its very mean spirited of your dm but im not surprised money makes people selfish , she could give your dsis half and still have a nice cushion in the bank

ivykaty44 Mon 17-Oct-16 20:06:33

Ask you're mum where is she going to live if you offer your sister a home if she loses her job. As her illness may mean that happening...

You need to get through to your mum that the house will be sold if your sister loses her job through illness

minifingerz Mon 17-Oct-16 20:07:58

My sister owns a share of my mother's house.

But my mother owns most of it.

Msqueen33 Mon 17-Oct-16 20:09:30

Sorry to say your mum is being an utter cow!

ivykaty44 Mon 17-Oct-16 20:09:49

Your sister has been very kind to bail your mum out of this predicerment.

It's not even as if your sister is going to get anything out of this interest only mortgage, glad you and your brother are on her side

mysistersimone Mon 17-Oct-16 20:09:57

I'm sorry i don't understand all the money side of things but I do understand your mum ( regardless of age) is being ignorant and selfish. You and your sister and your brother need to speak to her and explain simply if your sister stops paying the mortgage your mum loses the house. Basically your mum needs to buy her own house back or it's gone. You need to be hard and not give into guilt trips. Your mum sounds like she has a great life and probably thinks your sister is having a grand time rent free. You mum doesn't understand and you need to simplify it as much as possible.

brummiesue Mon 17-Oct-16 20:10:15

Your poor sister, you need to sit down together and spell it put clearly to your mum, if she carries on refusing to help then your sis needs to stop paying the morgage and move out - even if its just a temporary thing to 'shock' your mum it may mean that your mum stops being so selfish and helps her out.

silverduck Mon 17-Oct-16 20:10:30

Sounds tough, but this part of your post stood out: " employ a cleaner and a part-time gardener, and put money in the bank every week" It doesn't actually sound like your mum would struggle to maintain the house at all.

She sounds also sounds quite happy with staying there forever. Whose decision was it to get the mortgage? Is it possible your mum was quite happy to let the house go in return for the equity release and you guys (siblings) felt this was foolish? Hence the made your bed comments.

Were your brother and you planning on gifting any inheritance resulting from the house sale to your sister as she is the one who has made the sacrifice to keep the house in the family?

eddielizzard Mon 17-Oct-16 20:10:51

i agree that you have to sit her down and tell her what the consequences of your sister defaulting, and how likely that is. doesn't sound like your mum has much understanding of the world.

BombadierFritz Mon 17-Oct-16 20:11:54

how sad sad it looks like a talk about having to sell up might be needed. your mum sounds v selfish sad

YelloDraw Mon 17-Oct-16 20:12:07

Your mum sounds both pretty stupid and also like a total fucking cow.

Hopefully you can go and actually explain to her the realities of the situation - your sister is sick, if she doesn't keep up the repayments they will both be out of a house.

Your mum sounds like a complete waste of space though, who on earth wants to see their children suffer like that?

SabineUndine Mon 17-Oct-16 20:12:13

Mrschatty, the sister is far too old to get a mortgage.

OP, your mother's behaving appallingly. I'd say her behaviour is consistent: other people are forced to take responsibility for her actions. I'm assuming her mental capacity is not in doubt?

Afraid I haven't got any suggestions except that maybe your sister could look into finding a housing association flat to rent, then she would at least be secure. I'd take the money your mother wants to give you and your brother, and save it for your sister.

jmh740 Mon 17-Oct-16 20:12:45

I don't fully understand but if your sister hadn't taken out the mortgage mum wouldn't have been able to continue to live in the family home and now your sister owns most of the property? I think you and your brother need to sit mum down and tell her that your sister can not continue to work the way she is now and that if your mum chooses not to put the money towards the house then they will have to downsize and she will not be able to maintain the standard of living she has bow. Can you explain to your mum that she is lucky your sister was in a position to help her out or she could have lost her home. You need to not allow her to shut you down tell her she might not like people upsetting her but it's a serious matter that needs to be dealt with and your sister is obviously not coping her physical symptoms show this. Ask your mum what will happen if your sister has to give up work what solutions does your mum have to this problem.

minifingerz Mon 17-Oct-16 20:12:50

"You need to get through to your mum that the house will be sold if your sister loses her job through illness"

I don't think my mum can accept that. I can't get through to her.

I think she likes the idea of having money of her own and the power it gives her. When my dad was alive he was quite controlling about the family finances. My mum had a small part-time income of her own which my dad was very cross about. He felt that all their money should be 'theirs', with the proviso that he got to say how it was spent. He thoroughly resented her having her own money which he had no say over (though it really was a small income). I think this affects how she thinks about the issue.

stayathomegardener Mon 17-Oct-16 20:13:41

Great idea Mum, that new kitchen is going to be perfect for the new owners when the house is sold!
DSister needs to give her a cut off date for the mortgage and then stop paying.

Soozikinzi Mon 17-Oct-16 20:14:08

I think understanding finances is the first think to go with the elderly .We used to always take my mum out for a meal every time we visited no matter how hard up we were .Then when she fell and now has to pay for care we discovered she had 80k in the bank which now will all go on care as will the value of her flat.I still get annoyed just thinking about it. You and your brother and sister all need to explain the situation clearly to her that your sister can't go on like this .pay off the mortgage.Sell the house and move her to something more manageable for them and hopefully there will then be some money for her to go on a couple of cruises. She will also need to sign for you to have power of attorney now so if she does start to show dementia in the future you don't have to get court of protection for her as we did which costs a fortune.Hope you can all talk some sense into her and good luck xx

BombadierFritz Mon 17-Oct-16 20:14:10

I also agree with silverduck. its quite possible your mum was fine with the equity release plan and staying put. at least the house was safe til her death. this could be a bigger mess.

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