The phone call with the estate/will attorney is completed. It's exactly as I thought. It's her money and completely her decision what she wants to do with it, who she wants to leave any of it to. Her step children have zero rights to it. Once my step dad passed away it became her money and they have no rights to it. I brought up her memory and explained she has short term memory loss now. She doesn't remember conversations or she will ask something she just asked, but that she still understands what she is doing. He said there is a basic "testamentary capacity" rule they follow to determine if someone capable of making the decisions: does she know who she is? yes, she does. Does she know what she owns? yes, I asked her this morning if she knows how much money she has. She said well, I don't know the exact amount, but around a million dollars. And does she know what she wants to do with it? Yes, she does. He suggested she just write out a statement that she plans to change her retirement funds beneficiaries and she has been thinking about it for awhile now and sign it and just keep it with her copy of her will. Not to mention he and his witnesses just did a will for her and found her to have the capacity to update her will.
I am very relieved to have this figured out and not be stressing about it anymore. Though I have to say it still galls me that her investment guy would have the nerve to tell us something like this. My boss just keeps saying "I can't believe he would try to tell her "who" she should leave it to. At the maximum, if he had any concerns on if her step children could contest, he should have just said I really recommend you consult an attorney to make sure".
I called the company she has her cable tv and internet through to set up adding a landline telephone. I'm so happy that I don't have to be there (and take time off work) for a service call. The modem she has just required them turning on the service on their end. Now, I just need to get her a phone and plug it into the back of the modem. I ordered a phone online from Walmart. I'm hoping it arrives to my house by Friday and I can take it with me on Saturday, but if not, it can wait until the next visit. It's not an urgent problem. But it will be nice to have a back up phone. I also made sure I didn't order a cordless phone, LOL. That's the last thing we need, a handset she can misplace! The phone service will be an extra $13 a month on her bill. She tried to sell me their cell service (it is cheaper per month) but she would be required to use one of their smart phones, she couldn't bring her own flip phone, so I had to say a big nope to that.