Question: Dear Luise: I am a young, seventy-eight year-old, recent widow in excellent health. My only son died two years ago. My only blood relative is my 59 year-old, single daughter, diagnosed borderline personality. To me, she is perhaps more a sociopath, “who could charm the birds out of the trees”, She shunned me for years and tried to alienate me from the rest of the family with scandalous and far-out accusations. Many years ago she was convicted of first-degree murder and was imprisoned a total of four and one half years. I was an only child and an only grandchild. My wonderful, second husband said she was greedy and wanted everything she could inherit. As soon as her brother died she started calling me and saying, “Mom, I love you.” and even more now that my husband is gone. I realize that she could be dangerous, so I try to be pleasant. We meet for lunch every three or four weeks. I do not want to be alone with her. This is my hometown and my long-time family home with a lot of old friends. As long as I am strong physically and mentally I think I am all right. Any suggestions? N.
Answer: Dear N.: I think I would talk with an attorney about the situation. He would need to be very discreet and someone you trust. There has to be a way to deal with your estate right now that will disarm the situation. I have no idea what that would entail but a carefully chosen attorney would know.
He/she might suggest you liquidate your estate and donate the bulk of it to a charity or a group of charities, now. Or he might figure out a way to set up a trust for you for the rest of your life that would go to a charity upon your death, passing the rest on to your daughter immediately…(so she is no longer interested in your demise.) Perhaps neither of those ideas would work but I’m sure there are many other options.
It sounds like you may value your life more than your assets. That’s probably a wise approach. As I have said, I don’t have the legal background to know how you can protect your self but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. So far, it sounds like you are being realistic, cautious and pleasant when you have to interact with her. Good for you. I’m sure there must be a way that you can stack the deck in your favor. Blessings, Luise