How bizarre; my father has assets for the first time in his life – my mother’s money.
I got an email from him today asking for a variety of information so he can put my name (along with those of my sisters) as a beneficiary on a CD he just opened. He’s going out of the country for a week in January, and “if anything happened” nobody could touch the money unless they were listed as beneficiaries.
Words cannot express how angry I am at how my father has acted through these last four years of separation and divorce procedings. But in California, he’s entitled to half of everything from the marriage, and the financial settlement was finally reached a month or so ago. Despite the fact that my mom supported the entire family for the last 15 years of it; despite the fact that my father lost money for the family rather than contributed for the last 10 – he gets half. My mom probably won’t be able to retire until she’s 75, but my dad won’t have to work for at least a couple of years, living off that money. He didn’t say how much of it was in the CD, but I’m willing to bet less than half.
At this point I’d rather my interactions with him be as minimal as possible, but I’d also rather to be able to recover my mom’s money if anything should “happen” to my dad.
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I was having a conversation with a coworker today – her mother is in failing health and in a long-term care facility. This coworker does all of the financial legwork – applying for Medicaid, making sure her mother’s benefits are all in order, and everything else that comes with paying for a facility that costs $8,000 a month. “My mother never saved a dime, but because she had no assets, she qualified for Medicaid,” she told me. “How ironic is that – never have a thought for the future, and live off public benefits at the end.”
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I think about how unfair life can be – how many people benefit from being assholes, or being drains on their families, who take advantage of the system because they didn’t plan ahead. Not that I’m begrudging my coworker’s mother her care being paid for – that’s why it’s there, so people don’t have to suffer when they’re old and sick. But I do begrudge my father for taking advantage of the system, taking that money that would have gone to pay for weddings and trips to visit grandchildren and all those other things my mom was looking forward to being able to spend money on. It’s not like he couldn’t hold down a job or make money – he just didn’t want to put forth the effort, and rather than being too proud to take that money, he fought for every penny. And why not? The law says he can have it.