A young woman spoke to her parents about the future of her older brother, who’s autistic. Her parents had a plan for her to take care of him once they passed, but she refused.
An Ominous Invitation
OP’s (Original Poster) parents asked her to come down and see them. They said they were going to have a necessary and “important” discussion, and they didn’t want to talk on the phone because they preferred to speak face to face.
Be Right There
OP agreed to meet with them because she wanted to know what was bothering her parents. When she arrived, her parents told OP that they had been putting off doing their wills, but now it was time for them to put their affairs in order.
Not the Only One
The point of speaking to OP ended up being about her older brother. He is autistic and was not high functioning, being about 10 years old mentally while being 26 years old physically.
Her parents told her that the plan was that should one of them die, the remaining parent would continue caring for her brother but would have a care facility he could go to. This way, the remaining parent wouldn’t be overwhelmed and could have a break.
Where You Come In
When the final parent dies, OP’s parents want her to take her brother in and watch over him. They would even set up his inheritance in a trust fund to supply the money he would need for regular food and living expenses, so if he inherited $100,000, he would receive $1,000 a month.
The Work Required
OP said that her brother has the mind of a 10-year-old because he can’t function without help from their parents. They have to dress him, help him clean, get him ready for everything, and help him with regular tasks and activities.
A Family Affair
On the weekends, OP’s extended family helps her parents out by taking care of her brother. This way, her parents can rest and recuperate and continue to provide their son with everything he needs.
OP knows it might be wrong of her, but she isn’t emotional and doesn’t feel sympathy for her brother. She told her parents that she wouldn’t give up her career to look after her brother when her parents were dead, and she wouldn’t be taking him in.
She said she wouldn’t take care of him because they don’t have a sibling relationship at all.
Also, OP didn’t feel equipped to handle all the work and burden that would come from taking him in, and she had to be honest with her parents about that.
Honesty Is the Best Policy
OP thought her parents would understand, so she told them how she felt and that her brother needed a place with trained people to care for him. She lacked the preparation and mindset to sacrifice for him to be happy.
Money Is No Problem
To make the situation easier, OP told her parents she would be more than willing to give up half of the inheritance. That way, he would have even more money to afford an assisted care facility and still have some monthly allowance for himself.
As It Turns Out
While OP thought being honest with her parents was the best way forward, her parents reacted with shock. They were upset and said they were “disappointed” in her.
OP thought she had done the right thing but wondered if she had made a mistake. She wrote, “I feel justified, but now I’m wondering if I’ve been a total b**** and an a**hole when it’s come to this.”
Redditors’ Two Cents
Redditors came to OP’s defense and reassured her that she didn’t have to care for her brother. Some even offered advice about the situation beyond just answering if she was the a**hole.
The top-rated comment was, “Not the a**hole. Your parents have plenty of time to research facilities and programs for your brother’s long-term care. They also have time to set up a trust with trustees or guardians. To make sure no one is abusing the trust and misusing the money designated for your brother’s care, you may want to consider being one of the trustees. It’s unfair to expect you to pick up the pieces, especially since your brother could be transitioning now when your parents are well and able to oversee his care.”
Other Redditors offered advice while reassuring OP, saying, “Not the a**hole. Their planning has no business, including you. You are your person, with your own life. Becoming a full-time caregiver would be exhausting. You thought out your plan of giving up any inheritance well. Your brother would thrive in an assisted living environment. I have seen all of this before.”
Wait a Moment
While most Redditors were reassuring and supportive, a few noticed something strange about how her parents acted.
They said, “Not the a**hole. Your brother is not your child, and you should feel free to live your life. And, strangely, they’re willing to put him in an assisted care facility when one of them is still alive but then send him to you when they’re both gone. It’s mature of you to offer to give up your half of the inheritance to ensure he’s taken care of. That sounds like a good plan. Offer to put it in writing that you won’t contest the will: maybe that will set their mind at ease?”
Is OP doing the right thing? Do you think that her parents had a good plan?
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This post first appeared as She Refuses to Be Her Autistic Brother’s Caregiver Once Her Parents Die, Saying He’d Be a “Massive Burden” She Isn’t Willing to “Sacrifice” Her Career For! Was She Selfish? on Quote Ambition.