Family Dynamics

Posted: 12 years ago | By: Christine Somers | In: Family & Relationships | Read Time: 2 minutes, 7 seconds
Betsy married Bill Camden when she was 20 years old. During their 55-year marriage they raised three children, worked hard to be financially independent and continued to be best friends until the day Bill died. Prior to Bill’s death, he managed all the family finances, including setting up a trust for the children and making sure their legal papers and wills were in order. As he aged, Bill talked to each of the children about what would happen in the event Bill and Betsy died and how the estate would be handled. After a three-year struggle with heart disease, Bill died suddenly from a stroke. Two months after Bill’s funeral, Betsy decided to rewrite her will to make her oldest grandson, George, the executor of the estate and remove her children as executor as had been planned by Bill. Additionally she made George her healthcare proxy and granted him Power of Attorney. When her oldest child Barbara tried to talk to her mother about her decision to make these changes, Betsy became angry declaring that she did not have to discuss this with anyone including Barbara. Barbara withdrew and did not mention it again. Seeing their mother’s reaction to Barbara’s attempt to open a dialogue about the legal changes, her two brothers avoided the subject also. When Betsy had her first transient ischemic attack (TIA) while talking to Barbara on the phone, Barbara contacted George about getting help for his grandmother. By the time George called Betsy, the attack had passed and not seeing the symptoms first hand, George dismiss the event as just a misunderstanding between his grandmother and aunt on the phone. Six months later a second attack, lasting several hours, finally convinced George that something was indeed wrong with his grandmother. George came in and independently made decisions and plans in which Barbara and her siblings had no impute. Barbara recognizing that she was powerless to impact her mother’s life avoided any meaningful conversation with mother, keeping all interaction and conversation superficial. By the time her mother died, Barbara and her brothers were merely spectators at their mother’s funeral. While everyone agreed that George had made good decisions during Betsy final years and was an effective Executor after her death, the family dynamics had changed. The once warm relationship between George and his Aunt became guarded and overly polite. And for years after Betsy’s death, her children continued to question why Betsy made the changes, never to find peace or understanding in their mother’s decisions.