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This is difficult

(36 Posts)
Thistlelass Fri 10-Jul-20 16:56:30

I am just 63, so quite young really. I had to retire early due to my health. MS is being mooted but I also have issues with my Mental health. I do not have a lot of money as don't yet qualify for state pension. I had 5 children. Am estranged from 1 son. 1 has a learning disability/autism. There are 2 married couples and a gay son living in London. I am struggling at times to keep up with maintenance on my property - both financially and practically. There seems to be needling between both sets of marrieds about helping and I have tried to explain that does not leave me feeling good. Sometimes I feel just like giving up and renting but this is their inheritance from me. Just at the minute the exterior of the house needs painting - has done since last year - and I am having to drag the offers of help out of them. What do people think?

rafichagran Fri 10-Jul-20 17:11:36

I am the same age as you. I really do not think you should expect your adult children to help you, they have their own lives.
I actually did not believe this post was real at first, I find your sense of entitlement astounding. I have 2 adult children and J would not dream of asking them for help.

Namsnanny Fri 10-Jul-20 17:13:29

Thistlelass ... first I'm sorry your dealing with these health problems. Forgive me for saying this, but what is the prognosis?

You clearly cant continue in this piecemeal fashion. But heart warming though it is when family help out, it can and often does put pressure on them.

If I was you I would think hard about either downsizing or renting a smaller place.

You may need the cash in the future (from your original home) to help with any number of things.
You could also share some of the proceeds out between them at the same time (if a) you want to or b) you can) as an inheritance for them.

Dont forget about yourself in all of this. An inheritance is a luxury, and you are not obliged.

Good luck

Namsnanny Fri 10-Jul-20 17:14:50

rafichagran ... do you think your post helped?

rafichagran Fri 10-Jul-20 17:20:56

Nams The poster asked what we thought, that is what I thought. What's my reply got to do with you.

EllanVannin Fri 10-Jul-20 17:30:16

I'd be thinking about selling and finding somewhere to rent. What about a 55 and over type flat/apartment which are usually subsidised by either a local council or a non-profit making housing association ? The rents are usually cheaper and rates reduced as a single person. Less/ no worry about finances and maintenance.

Whatever money you have from the sale you can then do what you like with though above all, tuck some away for your future.

Romola Fri 10-Jul-20 17:32:17

It seems to me, Thistlelass, that you need to put yourself first now. Your health condition must be making it difficult to cope with house maintenance as well as other matters, including finances.
I know most parents see their property as their children's inheritance, but parents need to make sure that they can manage their own old age. Children don't have an absolute right to inherit anything from their parents, specially if they can't or won't help their ageing parents. And you wouldn't want to drive your children away by making demands on them.
I agree with Namsnanny. Look into the possibilities of downsizing or renting. It's your life, and as you say, you are not old!

AGAA4 Fri 10-Jul-20 17:32:19

I think you should look after yourself and not worry about leaving an inheritance.The best thing you can give your children is your own independence.

If the house is getting too much for you and you need help maintaining it then perhaps you should sell and rent or buy something that is easy to manage.


Starblaze Fri 10-Jul-20 17:34:05

Inheritance or not, your children probably can't afford to help with the maintenance, especially the way things are. If I were you I would downsize at least, rent if not.

I've never expected or wanted any sort of inheritance though, life is to be enjoyed, or at least made as comfortable as possible. Make your living situation one you can manage for yourself and I'm sure you will be much happier and then able to enjoy a more positive relationship with your children

Thistlelass Fri 10-Jul-20 17:34:56

rafichagran - we all see things differently. Over the past 6 years I have acted as an unpaid childminder to 4 children now aged from 3 - 6 years. These were long, long days for someone who is not very well. In one instance involving me in travelling 200 miles round trip to do the necessary. So no. I have no sense of 'entitlement' as you put it. I have simply bent over backwards to provide them with free child care and had hoped they could assist me with this one task. That's all. I don't know what the outcome will be.

Madgran77 Fri 10-Jul-20 17:37:35

I think moving is a good idea and as EllenVannin suggests maybe a housing association flat or similar, or even warden assisted in light of possible further health problems?

I also think that your children's inheritance is just that ...and whilst you are here it is YOUR money to do with as you see fit. You say there is needling between your children which presumably means they are arguing about helping you and this is upsetting you? All the more reason to sort yourself out in a way that suits you, solves your worries and means they don't have to discuss/argue because you are sorted for yourself.

Good luck flowers

rafichagran Fri 10-Jul-20 17:43:57

Since lockdown people are finding things very difficult, my adult children would not be able to help me financially or be able to do jobs for me as due to lockdown they have alot on their plate.
I know it's hard to lose your home but as other posters have said, could you downsize and maybe put some money away for yourself.
Also does the house need painting now? could it wait a bit and then maybe they can help you.
If your ask is causing a problem with the 2 married couples, maybe leave it for now as their is no point in causing bad feeling.

Judy54 Fri 10-Jul-20 17:44:47

Thistlelass a lot depends on the relationship you have together. You don't say how far away your children live from you or how often you get together. Do you for example eat out together, cook meals at home for each other. Do the married couples have young children or other older relatives to care for. It is so hard to say what type of help anyone's children should offer because everyone's circumstances are different. I can understand that children might help with small maintenance jobs in the house depending on their DIY skills but painting the exterior of a house is a big job and best left to the experts. Perhaps just talk to the children about your concerns and see what you can work out that is best for all of you.

phoenix Fri 10-Jul-20 17:48:58

I don't feel any obligation to leave anything to my only surviving son. (My youngest son hanged himself aged 19)

My mother left her considerable estate to DS1, a few amounts to charity, and to her nieces (My cousins). Left me a nasty letter, despite all I had done for her until she decided I was persona non grata.

So, why should you feel that your home is their inheritance, Thistlelass? Do they deserve it?

Once you have asked yourself that question, and answered it, then decide what is best for you.

Sending you every good wish.

Grandmafrench Fri 10-Jul-20 17:52:21

Thistlelass Sad that you are feeling like this, especially with health concerns. I do feel that advice given by Namsnanny and Ellan could help to set you on a better route towards dealing with your problems.

Pretend that your 5 children are unwilling or unable to help you. (Maybe that's quite close to the truth!). If you had no children, if they were thousands of miles away etc., you would need to work out where to go from here.

You have some financial worries. You certainly have house maintenance worries, it's costly getting workmen in to do stuff and you are clearly not in a fit state to do the work yourself so, it's possibly time to think about downsizing and buying or renting something manageable and something that is in a very good state with minimum work to do. This, as has been said, will release some funds for you and take away the daily worry of "what to do if". You don't need that if you're unwell.

As far as your children's inheritance is concerned, you are still young, needing home and comfort and security yourself and only you are going to be able to provide that. Think of your own future and don't put pressure on your children or risk problems in your relationship with them. You'll feel better for sorting it out rather than sitting worrying about a resolution of your current difficulties. Whatever you may bequeath or are able to bequeath to them in your Will, well that's for the future. They have no entitlement or automatic right to expect that funds will drop into their laps, nor should you be worrying about any of this now. Take charge, sort out your future for you. Best of luck to you.

Thistlelass Fri 10-Jul-20 18:00:55

Thank you all for your thoughts. I am sitting here debating the options really. I do have money set aside for jobs that need doing/improvements that need to be made but if course I am like everyone else and need to prioritise. I am not asking anyone in the family to make any financial contribution. One son has his own joinery business and he lives close to me. Daughter lives 100 miles away. Both she and hubby pay professionals to do everything for them - which is fine. But the potential for I'll feeling comes in here. Son can turn his hand to anything and is expected to by his sister! But I do have good relationships with my children and do not want that to change. Essentially since I bought this house 5 years ago the whole thing has been upgraded. Just some outside jobs now - which is where I am finding it heaviest going (practically and financially). I may simply have to get the house pressure washed off and leave till next year. We shall see. Thank you everybody.

geekesse Fri 10-Jul-20 18:09:05

Stuff inheritance! Sell, and either downsize or rent (I rent, and it’s brilliant - no maintenance). If they ‘help you out’ you’ll feel obliged to be at their beck and call, and you’ll lose your independence. You brought your children up, your job is done and you don’t owe them anything. Go for it!

phoenix Fri 10-Jul-20 18:16:15

geekesse I agree!

V3ra Fri 10-Jul-20 18:21:14

My in-laws got divorced and mother-in-law kept the big bungalow.
That winter we discovered she was heating it by trundling a Super Ser gas heater from room to room as she said she couldn't afford to put the central heating on.
She said she wouldn't downsize as the property was her three children's inheritance.
We said we all had homes of our own, and did she really think her children were so selfish they'd want her to struggle in her home so they could cash in when she died?
She's still alive now, forty years later!

You should definitely downsize to a suitable property that will meet your needs in the future.
My Dad moved to an extra-care (55+) apartment after Mum died and says he feels really safe there.
He has carers on call if he needs them.
He had wasps coming in through a gap from a nest outside this week: one phone call and the maintenance guy came and sorted it.

Peace of mind.

Toadinthehole Sat 11-Jul-20 15:09:33

I think what belongs to us is only an inheritance if we’ve ‘ finished’ with it if you understand me. If you need to do anything at all to make your life better....then you should. We’re under no obligation to leave our children anything. They have to make their own way. I understand you wanting to though, but it sounds like your health would benefit if you could make some changes. Put yourself first.

lemongrove Sat 11-Jul-20 15:26:23

thistle whilst I think it’s entirely reasonable for a parent getting older to ask adult children to help out with house maintenance, if they won’t help you, then forget the whole ‘their inheritance thing’ and downsize to free up some cash so that you can pay a decorator.Either to a small house or an apartment.

Chewbacca Sat 11-Jul-20 15:38:55

Thistlelass you've obviously worked very hard for what you have now and that includes you having raised 5 children into independent adulthood. As we get older, of course we would like to leave our children "something" in our will but you need that "something" now.
There's a saying about if help isn't given freely and willingly, it's no help at all. So if your children aren't showing much enthusiasm to help you, please consider getting yourself into a position where you don't need to ask. If that means downsizing and releasing equity for comfort in your later years, don't feel guilty for doing it.

sodapop Sat 11-Jul-20 15:53:45

I agree totally with geekesse and chewbacca you have done what you can for your children now it's time to care for yourself. Good luck Thistlelass

FlexibleFriend Sat 11-Jul-20 15:56:34

I too have health issues that prevent me maintaining my property myself but I do want to stay put. I retired at 50 due to my health issues and survived on savings and my private pensions. I'll get my state pension next month. I've actually spent a lot updating my property and keeping everything in good nick. I took out a bank loan to pay for my conservatory roof because I didn't want to use up all my savings and that's nearly paid off. You could of course consider taking equity release to spend on your house and future proof it. That would give you sufficient funds to employ someone to do the work and would partially reduce the amount you can leave your kids but that seems fair as they're not busting their balls to help you out. I understand why, if they pay others to do work on their own properties and have kids they won't have masses of spare time to do work on your property. I recently needed help with my garden and have had to wait quite a while until they were free to help me but there's no point resenting them because they have their own lives. I wouldn't even consider moving at the moment as I simply couldn't cope with the packing etc involved. My condition is similar to MS and isn't going to improve but I'm not going to make life any more difficult than it needs to be.

jenpax Sat 11-Jul-20 16:13:04

I don’t really think that however much you have helped your children you can expect them to reciprocate. The expectations usually work downwards not up, and in my experience very few children expect to be helping their parents out, especially given your relatively young age.
I can see why you might ask, and it’s not an unreasonable ask as such but it surely isn’t worth upsetting family relations for this? I would seriously look at downsizing and as others have rightly pointed out the house is yours and they have no right to an inheritance! Certainly not while you are struggling.
I am similarly placed to you (mid 50’s post cancer) and have around a thousand years before the Government will allow me to draw my pension! But I am downsizing and my 3 children support this as I was struggling to keep up with the constant repairs and renewals required by a large Victorian house.