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What is the correct response to this?

(38 Posts)
Volpone Wed 26-Apr-17 14:25:36

I have an aunt who is widowed with no children. She has several nieces and nephews, both from her side, and her late husband's side.

I have always been very close to my aunt, and spent every summer holiday staying with her when I was a child.

I visit my aunt several times a week. She often complains to me that none of her nieces and nephews visit, seemingly forgetting that I am one of the nieces.

Now she has accused me of only visiting her in the hope I will inherit from her. She has expressly said she is leaving me nothing. I always assumed she would leave everything to her youngest niece, who has always been the favourite, so I was never under the impression she would leave me anything. Now it turns out she has never made a will, but wants everything to go to a cat charity. I told her she should make a will leaving everything to the cat charity but she refuses to do so.

I am extremely embarrassed at the notion that everyone is thinking I am cynically visiting my aunt in the hope of inheriting. She is very lonely, and as she has aged she has become very abrupt and tactless and the visits can be hard work.

What would you do? She is impossible to talk to so we will not be able to discuss it. My instinct is to stop visiting, after 40+ years of regular visits. She doesn't show any signs of dementia, so I don't think it's that. She genuinely thinks I am rubbing my hands waiting for her to die sad

bonzo77 Wed 26-Apr-17 14:28:33

I'd contact age uk for advice regarding wills, safeguarding and her health. She does sound a little unhinged, and it can be impossible to know if that's her personality or if it's pathological. Only you can decide if you still want to visit. If it upsets both of you maybe there's not much point.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 26-Apr-17 14:30:07

Well I would stop visiting if that's her thoughts and attitude.
She clearly doesn't appreciate any of it.
Let her get on with it.

Justmadeperfectflapjacks Wed 26-Apr-17 14:33:13

What about asking some cats charities for some literature about wills and leave them with her?
I give to a cat charity and last week received such a leaflet!!
May spur her on to sort out a will.

EssentialHummus Wed 26-Apr-17 14:39:58

I'd explain to her that what she said was hurtful, and separately that if she wants to have control over where her estate goes (cats/people/whatever) she'll need to have a will written. You can steer her in the direction of a will writer or solicitor.

taptonaria27 Wed 26-Apr-17 14:40:13

I think it would be a shame for her if you stop visiting after such a long time but perhaps you could cut them short when she says such things and remind her that you've been visiting her for many years unlike your cousins.
It may well be v early dementia or just getting curmudgeonly in her old age, frankly being old's not looking much fun from where I'm sitting (dad has dementia and mil died of it)

KinkyAfro Wed 26-Apr-17 14:45:48

Maybe one of the other nieces/nephews/family members have said it to her in the hope that they will inherit? If you disappear now she's going to think she was right so keep going, keep telling her you're not interested in her money and get her to write her will one way or another

Misstic Wed 26-Apr-17 14:46:03

Why do you say it's not dementia? It sounds like it. My dad use to regularly accuse us of stealing his money or gossiping about him. None of it made any sense and was based on zero evidence. Early dementia can show itself by very odd attitudes/thinking. Often strange accusations against those closest to them.

It is devastatingly sad.

DancingLedge Wed 26-Apr-17 14:57:55

Sounds like the onset of dementia to me. Try getting info/ using a helpline. We honestly thought DG was just becoming spiteful, until someone gave us some Alzheimer's info. The failing memory and confusion only became clear later. Although, from forgetting who's visiting, sounds like that's arriving too?

One tip that helped was not arguing with them. I had a DF who used to visit her DM, and when told she was trying to steal from her, would calmly agree. Then the DM, instead of getting more upset, would just drop the subject altogether. Counterintuitive, but surprisingly effective. But, this may have been further into Alzheimer's.

If possible, if it's not already too late, encourage her to make a will, and do a LPA. Because once a diagnosis has been made, it may be legally too late for these.

DancingLedge Wed 26-Apr-17 15:04:29

Strongly suggest you talk this through with National Dementia Helpline. 0300 222 11 22

Volpone Wed 26-Apr-17 15:34:53

The reason I don't think it is dementia is that this is her personality. One of the nieces visited 25 years ago and felt unwelcome and has never been back, and the favourite one last visited about 5 years ago, and before that it was once a year. She is like this with everyone, but has never been like this with me until now. The contact with all of these people is limited to a Christmas card and a photo of their children.

I offered to drive her to her solicitor to make a will, but she said she will take the bus which she can only do in summer. This is the same bus she takes every week. It is a family trait to put stupid and illogical obstacles in the way of everything, so this is not a change either.

When she was saying to me that the nieces and nephews never visit her, that wasn't forgetfulness, that seemed to me to be her way of telling me I don't count.

She won't do an LPA as there is nobody she could possibly trust with this as she is so alone. The only people she could appoint would be her siblings who are of a similar age.

She does know about things like LPAs because she was telling me about someone getting one drawn up recently.

RacoonofDoom Wed 26-Apr-17 15:43:01

The money won't go to any cat charity if she doesn't make a will. Surely she knows that?

RacoonofDoom Wed 26-Apr-17 15:43:25

Posted too soon. Unless she gives it to the charity before she dies, of course.

Imi22sleeping Wed 26-Apr-17 15:51:50

I think you need to go to a gp.sounds like old age settig in

Volpone Wed 26-Apr-17 15:52:33

I think her house is her only asset so she can't donate that before she dies. I have explained that the money will not go to cats unless all of the next of kin agree, and the chances of that are very slim. Her mother died intestate and I think she thinks she ought to do the same.

She does know all this, but seems to be determined not to act, which is of course her choice. It affects me not at all. But I am not going to put myself in a position where people think I am deliberately exploiting a little old lady for pecuniary gain.

I have been onto age uk - thank you for that suggestion - and they are sending me some information on wills. I am about to get in touch with the cats protection people and see if they have any bumf they can send me. If I show up with a pile of leaflets about wills it won't help my case really.

I will give the dementia people a call and see what they say.

HazelBite Wed 26-Apr-17 16:07:15

Op i also would suggest that is the early onset of dementia. My best friend in her early 50's started coming out with some really odd notions, opinions, and behaviour. Of course due to her age no one really realised what was going on (even her DH) until her recent memory started to go.

Of course subsequently I can look back and realise that her suddenly odd political views and her idea that one of my adult sons fancied her were early symptons.
I think what one of the PP's said about taking some leaflets around to her from cat charities is a good idea.

Incidentally my friend got quite aggressive towards people she was close to before diagnosis, I think instinctively she knew she was losing some sort of control.

RacoonofDoom Wed 26-Apr-17 16:09:21

It's hard to know what to advise in a situation like this. Especially as her own mother died instestate - she as much as anyone will know how much hassle that can be for the family.
Good luck with it OP.

MrsMozart Wed 26-Apr-17 16:10:19

I'd keep visiting, and get advice from the relevant bodies re dementia.

Volpone Wed 26-Apr-17 16:41:28

Thanks for all the replies. I can see why everyone is suggesting dementia and tbh I would be myself but looking at the way she has behaved towards everyone else in the past it would mean she has had dementia all my life.

I think I will give her the leaflets and leave it at that. Everybody was expecting me to be her carer if she required care eventually but it is not something I can consider given this turn of events. If it is dementia there is nothing I can actually do - I can't get her to the gp, I can't force her to make a will or LPA and if she deteriorates she can't do that anyway.

I feel she is just being unpleasant because she can. This is a woman who used to call me fatso when I was 4, so the things she is saying now are not out of character iyswim.

Moanyoldcow Wed 26-Apr-17 18:27:38

She sounds horrible. I really admire you for your ongoing dedication - I couldn't put up with that treatment.

Give her the info and then wash your hands of it. As you say, you've got no interest in the will (or lack thereof) so you may as well just ignore it and let her leave a mess.

UpYerGansey Wed 26-Apr-17 22:46:08

Volpone, if you're confident it's not a deterioration of her faculties, I do think you're best leaving her at it.
It's a No Win situation for you. You don't have the satisfaction of visiting someone who appreciates you, and are derided for your good nature.

anxiousnow Wed 26-Apr-17 23:10:47

Don't let her wild accusations make you think anyone else thinks it. You say that everybody assumed you would be her carer. So they acknowledge that you have been there for her. Anyone worth anything wouldn't twist this. Don't worry about that side of it.
I know it must be hard as she has turned on you too but old age can bring bitterness, fear, lonliness and regret. Sometimes this manifests in lashing out at those closest to you. You were close before so please try to not let this put you off. Talk of wills are sometimes hard to face as it is facing her death.
Also, I know you say that it isn't dementia as she has always had this streak, but it still could be.

Mo55chop5 Wed 26-Apr-17 23:15:45

It seems everyone else has washed their hands of the old cow. I would do the same

RunRabbitRunRabbit Wed 26-Apr-17 23:22:14

Why on earth have you stuck around someone so horrible?

Add up all the hours of your life wasted. Don't waste any more.

SuiteHarmony Wed 26-Apr-17 23:24:49

At the very least, you should encourage her if you can to see a solictor about enduring power of attorney (if that is the term used in the U.K.). Who is her next of kin if she is seriously ill in hospital or requires to go into a home? If you could couch it 'this is your private business, but you cannot leave it unattended - have your say now about your wishes before you are incapacited'.

I don't envy you; she has put you in a horrible position and is being very dismissive of your care and affection.

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