How do I write a will and help my mentally ill son become independent?
December 29, 2013 12:56 PM Subscribe
I am a woman in my early sixties and have a son with pervasive developmental disorder (Aspergers and bipolar) in his early thirties who lives with me. Although I am currently in good health, I am aware that there is an urgency to write a will which I have been putting off due to anxiety about the situation. I am unsure of how to go about doing this. Details inside.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (17 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I have a son in his early thirties who lives with me and suffers from bipolar disorder as well as pervasive developmental disorder. He is on disability. He has made a lot of progress in life and is now stable which is a blessing, considering the fact that he was suicidally depressed just a few short years ago. He now has a part time job, drives and can for the most part care for his basic needs (I do have to help him get out of the house sometimes, and remind him to take his pills, of which there are many).
But he is currently dependent on me in many ways. I cook for him, and if I am not around he often eats out. If I died suddenly, he would not have a clue about running the household (paying bills, etc.) I also help him take care of his medical insurance and disability paperwork. Maybe I am coddling him; he is not stupid in any way shape or form and can carry on intelligent conversation when he feels like it. I would like to teach him these things and do try to, but it is a slow process and overwhelming, so I get anxious. He does not take much initiative to learn, and seems to forget what I tell him right away. Besides his part-time job, he is rather reclusive and stays in my house spending the majority of his time on solitary hobbies. He does not seem to take me seriously, and does not seem to take much interest in improving his lot in life. I feel there is a sense of complacency in his situation since I take care of a lot for him and comfortableness (maybe for me a bit too) since things are going well "now," but he does not seem to realize that someday I will be gone and he will be thrown in the deep end if things continue the way they are. And I do not know where to start in rectifying the situation. He has a case manager and has started the conversation about possible housing for himself, but he goes to these meetings and comes back from them with no progress having been made. I offer to go with him, and he gets angry and accuses me of "babying" him.
How do I go about having a will written with him in mind but without spending tons of money on a lawyer? Or is a lawyer necessary in these kinds of situations? And how do I start preparing him for a life on his own? I feel like things will stay as they are without any initiative from me, and I don't want him to live in poverty in his older years. I don't know where to begin on either of these points due to anxiety. I also have another son who would be executor of the estate but he does not live in town. I don't expect him to take care of his brother, but I know that he worries about this situation as well. I have always put this off because I am overwhelmed thinking about it but I need to at least get started. I realize I could do a will online but want to make sure my disabled son's portion is not just given to him but distributed monthly perhaps. I am worried that he will spend it all right away. There is not a lot of $ being left right now and the house is in very bad shape so would probably be tough to sell if at all.
Assets at this point are around $150,000-I have 2 annuities. Any advice would be very much appreciated. It would be great if my son could stay in the house but there is so much he would have to learn. He has stayed alone while I have gone on vacations but the max was 5 days. I worry most about him paying bills and just caring for the house which is a big job.