Does anyone have a cardboard box I can live in...?

I think there’s a good chance I’m going to be homeless before the end of the year.

I come from a very dysfunctional family. There is a possibility that my mother (before she developed Dementia) had a mental health problem. Two doctors have said there was clearly something wrong with her. If it wasn’t a mental health problem then I don’t know what was wrong with her, but I was persona non gratia as far as she was concerned.

I have an older brother who either has the same mental health problem, or took his behaviour from mother’s treatment of me. He started just being rude/nasty to me, over the decades he’s added, swearing, spitting, verbal threats of punching/kicking my head in, threats to kill me, and ultimately attempting to punch me.

For reasons I’m not going to try to explain, I am my mother’s Carer. Said brother visits us twice a year. For whatever reason he thinks that there should be a suite of rooms in the house for his exclusive use. There isn’t. We don’t even have a proper spare room.

This angers him greatly (hence the threat to kill me and effort at punching me), he will not stay in a hotel or B&B because as far as he is concerned there should be a room in his parent[s] house for him to use. I will not stay in a hotel or B&B when he’s here because on the one occasion I was out of the house [during one of his visits] he filled 5 bin bags with “rubbish” and threw them out. The “rubbish” consisted of a large portion of my belongings…

About 18 months ago our dad died. His Will was read out by a solicitor. He had a ‘married couple’ Will which bequeaths everything to the surviving spouse, who then makes out a new Will to distribute the estate. The estate being our house. For some reason the Solicitor read out the second Will, in which dad left the house to me. That Will is void.

Back at the house my brother flew into a rage at me, he’s worked hard all his life and has nothing, I on the other hand have sat on my fat arse, done nothing and was given a house for free.

He later accused me of stealing €40,000 from dad’s bank account (I have no idea where he got that figure from)

Separately he then insisted that I was to be removed from the house, and that he was going to call the Gardaí to have them remove me from the house and stopped from re-entering.

I have been told, by a solicitor, that he cannot under any circumstances have me removed from the house, only my mother [the owner of the house] can.

I’m waiting for a diagnosis of what form of Dementia my mother has (I believe she’s had several small strokes). My brother is due to visit us in the next few days/weeks/months (I’m not sure as I am never kept informed of these things, he tends to just turn up on the doorstep). Mother’s Dementia is making her awkward to deal with, especially her current phase - where she thinks people are staying with us. She wants me to prepare meals for these people, or order takeaway, or take them out to dinner.

I have been told not to argue with her, but I cannot go along with what she’s saying because I cannot feed an hallucination. I have tried to tell her that she’s not well, but she just spat in my face (well she tried to, but she couldn’t muster any spittle). She has been raging at me for the last 3 days about my disgraceful behaviour and has said that she doesn’t want me to live in her house any more. I offered to drive her to the Home that she’ll have to go to live in, and managed to defuse the situation.

However if she repeats that to my brother, then there’s going to be a problem.


I’m sorry.

Well, in the US, the solution would probably be to have power of attorney granted to someone competent in your mother’s stead. It sounds as though she is no longer capable of making decisions on her own. Then it would be the attorney’s decision as to whether or not you stayed (and given that you are the caregiver, that seems like a slam dunk).

Or given that your life doesn’t seem that great, what with you being completely unappreciated by the family, you could start making plans to ditch the caregiver role and go get a life of your own. Tell your brother that Mom is his problem now.

That sounds like a terrible situation, Lobelia Overhill. You have my sympathies. No-one deserves to be treated like you are. I think things can only get better from here on. Even thoug the transiation into a new living situation for you may be rough.

Can you ask some free advice from a social worker? Maybe from someone at the Home your mom will be going to? An pro-deo lawyer a social worker can refer you to?

Any chance of getting your brother committed also? Perhaps a meeting with a justice to ‘settle’ the argument will demonstrate how nuts he is so he can’t get you booted out of the house? Some way to get him to believe that you didn’t take the money away from him by meeting with a bank officer?

I strongly recommend that you start now making plans for what you will do to gain your independence from this situation. You need to be able to build a life for yourself, and the longer you stay, the weaker you’ll get. It will never be easier, it will always get worse.

A social worker should be your first stop. Also, ask about respite care workers in yoru area, most places offer them at low/no cost for a weekend away now and then.

As a resident in the house, I should think you’d have the right to declare you Brother persona non grata. Arrange an outside Senior Center or other area where he can visit with your Mother, and change the locks.

Own your power over your life, and get out while you can. Int he mean time, do everything possible to cut down the level of abuse you are subjected to. When your Mother starts in, tell her the guests have already made dinenr plans. . . that sort of thing.

If the mom is incompetent for mental or physical reasons, you really need to file a petition with the court for someone to take charge of affairs. You can put yourself forth to fill that position or let the court select someone-who will charge your mother’s account if possible. The brother may object in which case he will need to offer reasons. I doubt that he will offer to take the responsibility of care.

Assuming your mother is in reasonable health and will be around some time, the sooner you establish a legal position the better.

Several suggestions.

  1. Are there social agencies where you’re at that can help you deal with these problems?

  2. Work on taking control of your mother’s assets. A power of attorney or whatever the equivalent is there.

  3. Start considering having your mother institutionalized.

  4. Find out what will happen to your mother’s assets when she passes on. If no plans are made, I’m assuming everything will be divided equally among the children and that sounds like it will be a major problem.

  5. You may feel you have a responsibility to your parents but you don’t owe anything to your siblings. You shouldn’t have to take care of your brother. If he’s contributing nothing to the caretaking and is just an unneeded burden, consider cutting him off from your life.

This just struck me as if the solicitor knew of some situation or had some sympathy. Any chancing of instructing him/ her?

I’m sorry you’re dealing with all of this, Lobelia. Wishing you peace and strength.

Since people seem to be offering you advice, I’m going to move this to IMHO.

twickster, MPSIMS moderator

Power of attorney is not a power reserved for attorneys. It can be granted to anyone, and it generally gives power to manage a person’s affairs.

I can’t talk for Finagle, but I think that was what he meant (without saying as much).

Lobelia, looks like everyone has got it covered except one thing–if your brother raises the stolen money issue again, especially if police get involved, do not take issue with the amount. Flat out deny it.

Sneaky people will often increase the amount of some known missing money. It’s a known IRS trick here in the states. It is natural to object “it’s not that much!” when you’re accused. But that leads to the question, how much is it, then? It makes you look like you did take something when you complain about the amount rather than denying it altogether.

Good luck.

Why is the second will void? Are there laws mandating that the house and other assets must be left to the spouse? In the US, the latest signed will is the one which takes precedence, assuming the person was in his right mind when he signed it. But if the laws mandate something, then those provisions which don’t agree can certainly be set aside.

I do agree with the other folks who have said that you need to get some sort of legal guardianship of your mother. Obviously I have no idea how that all works in the UK, but your solicitor should have some ideas on how to proceed. If her doctors are aware of the mental deterioration and can document it, that should help.

Then you can (I assume) take the tack that as your mother’s guardian, you can bar your brother from the house because he’s proven to be a danger to her and you.

Even though the word attorney is normally used to refer to a lawyer (attorney at law), technically it just means someone legally authorized to act on someone else’s behalf.

In the interest of fighting ignorance, I thought I’d make it clear, even though I figured he meant that too. No telling what someone will read and think.

I assume that the second will was preconditioned–that it had a phrase such as “In the event my spouse precedes my death,” and, therefore, since that did not happen, the first will is the effective one.

Oh- and btw there is always space here for you to stay as long as you talk with an irish accent.

:frowning: Ugh - what a horrible situation.

I agree with everyone else who said you need to contact a solicitor to get some help and advice. You shouldn’t have to put up with abuse from your mum, even if she is a bit off her noodle, and you certainly shouldn’t have to put up with crap from your douchy brother.

I have a couple of boxes I was going to throw away. But I think the advice from the others to get legal help is a better idea.