DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My mother used to get really frustrated by the way her mom kept all her business to herself. When Gran died, it was a mess to get things straightened out, and Mom ended up having to hire an estate lawyer to get everything figured out.
My mother is becoming just like Gran. She and my dad divorced when I was still a baby, so everything that Mom has built for herself has nothing to do with him.
My mom is now retired, and her health is not too good. She isn’t in any immediate danger, but that could change quickly. My brother and I have tried to get her to let us know at least where she keeps her important documents, but she doesn’t trust even us.
We aren’t looking to take anything from her, just to be sure we understand both all her wishes and what would need to be done if she’s no longer able to manage her personal affairs.
What can we do to convince her we’re not trying to get away with anything, just to make life easier for everyone, and actually be able to help her out if the time comes when she needs us to do that? --- DAUGHTER OF A SECRETIVE ONE
DEAR DAUGHTER OF A SECRETIVE ONE: I agree it’s important for you and your brother to have at least a sense of your mom’s wishes and financial affairs.
Perhaps you could work towards having her meet with the lawyer she hired for her mom’s estate. At least, you would know who is advising her on her business and personal financial holdings. That knowledge alone could be valuable in the future.