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Since my mom broke her hip and is in assisted living my dad wants to pare down the house since she is an organized hoarder and is very difficult to deal with when getting rid of anything. Their safe is on the floor and hard for them to access so I got them a portable one that can be put in a drawer or storage chest. My dad gave me a bagful of paperwork to be shredded which I took home since it was easier for me. Knowing mom’s history of hiding things I went through everything to make sure I wasn’t throwing away anything important. Bad idea. I came across various paperwork that proved my sister’s and my suspicions. Over time they have given my brother close to 200,000 with instructions not to “ tell the girls.” We never imagined it totaled that large amount of money. We are crushed. In addition, my sister and I have been helping them so they can stay in their home. My brother does NOTHING.....other than to load up his trucks with things that he wants. My parents estate is not huge, but comfortable. However, it will only last a couple years should long term care become necessary. They are 89 and 90. Ironically I have POA.


Question is should we approach them or let it be? Damage has been done but it truly hurts to know one child is so favored. He had a good job and his wife worked, just had a bad habit of living above his means. Yet me and my sister will be the caregivers moving forward. I’m not sure if I will be able to put this aside and pretend as if nothing happened. Has anyone else experienced favoritism and how did you deal with it?

It almost feels to me like the dad gave Abby the papers to shred so that she WOULD find them.

I'm not sure I understand why, if your parents are well off enough to be able to give your brother 6 figure gifts, you are contemplating becoming unpaid hands on caregivers. There is clearly enough money to fund private care. Believe me, you'll be busy enough "managing" their care.

I know there are some folks who will say that this is heartless or mercenary way of looking at things. I would caution you that when you are knee deep in excrement, your resentment of your brother's 200K and your parents' betrayal is going to rankle in a way that is not good for the heart or the soul.
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Isthisrealyreal Mar 18, 2019
Well said Barb.
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I feel your anger and frustration, but like Midkid58 stated this is so very common that one child is favour over the others.

My OB was/is my mothers favorite. When my dad passed away (2014) and I moved in (a few yrs later) with her to help her with the house and I also realize that something was not right with her. I found out that she wasn't paying most of the house bills, plus, she was 2.5 yrs behind on the taxes on the house. If that wasn't bad enough she racked up huge amount in credit cards all for the love of my brother. He doesn't work because he is disabled, but I notice that he was wearing 300.00 dollar shoes that she bought. She was spending money she didn't have and here is the cherry on the cake...he was taking my dads tools among other things and pawning them. My mother almost loss the house and my wonderful brother thinks it is my fault. I finally told my brother he was not welcome at the house anymore.

Here is the thing...You can't win. If you and sis attack parents about what they (your parents) gave your OB they will get defensive and I am afraid that it will cause hard feelings all round. However, if you bring it up as a "matter of fact" about what is their financial plan for long term care you "might" get some answers, but I must warn you--you may not like what you hear.

You have to ask yourself what is your objective in telling your parents that you know about them giving your OB that money? What is your end game? I am not sure if it will help you or them! Your parents will just probably make up excuses or tell you that it is none of your business. And I hate to say it, but it is their money and they can do what they want to with it, on the other hand, you have the right to let them deal with the consequences as well!

It totally sucks to be the responsible and caregiver child and to never be appreciated and it never fails that our parents look to us to save them not the one they favour:(
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 18, 2019
Shell,

I love your answer!
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So Abby, your MOTHER may not view it through that lens, but....

What about YOUR lens? Does YOUR lens matter here? Have you ever told your mom "No, I can't possibly do that."?

It's called setting boundaries. It's healthy for everyone.
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Abby2018 Mar 19, 2019
Thank you for that :)
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Yes, that happened to me. I found a set of trust documents stating that my parents assets would be split 50/50 between my brother and me. Then I turned the page and there was another trust document dated the very next day transferring my share, to my brother. Essentially it was a two-step process to give everything to my brother. I called an attorney and she was going to charge me $300 per hour to review the documents. I simply could not afford it. My dad had Alzheimer's so I asked my mom. She said dad always handled that stuff and she knew nothing about it. I believe her because my dad kept things from her. I know she would have taken him to task over it too.

My story is somewhat complicated. The will stated that my brother was to receive my dad's share of the family business (worth millions) and I got the house. Well the business started going down and the real estate started going up. So they downsized from this house to use the funds to help the business. Eventually my parents moved in with my family and had no house because it went into the business. Then I found out after I had been caring for them for years, that they did indeed give my brother what was left of the business and since there was no house, I got nothing.

Do what do I do now? My brother walked away with a small fortune and I got zero.

I had to weigh things and went through a myriad of feelings of anger, jealousy, hurts and abandonment. But I had to look at my life compared to my brother and that's where I took solace.
I started to count my blessings instead of focusing on the unfairness. That took years, but it eventually was settled in my heart. I am grateful for the life I have.

There's so much back story on what motivated my dad to do this and it eventually unfolded over the years. My brother was threatening him and before my dad died, he showed me the emails. It turns out my brother was unstable due to heavy drug use....someone who threw his dream life away, playing golf every weekend in Carmel, driving luxury cars, living in a sprawling ocean view home, kids in private school....to losing it all to drug addiction (both he and his wife) and doing time for dealing.
He eventually took his own life.

After his death. I got a call from my nephew. He told me that his dad (my brother) said that there was a life insurance policy for $650k on my dad which was to go to my brother and his family. I guess my brother coerced my dad into this. I found out that as dad approached 80, he could not keep up with the payments and let it go, but didn't tell my brother. I told my nephew that I didn't know of any policy and that there was no more money coming from grandpa....sorry.

Its been 10 years since his death and my dad died a year after my brother. I care for my mom now. I have the most amazing husband, children and grandchildren. Money is ebb and flow. We struggle financially, but we are content and I would not trade that for a million dollars.
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Isthisrealyreal Mar 22, 2019
Amen, your sins will find you out.

I am rejoicing that you received true riches in this world.

Thank you for sharing your story, it helps to know that money can lead to total destruction.
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Why would you willingly put yourself in a situation that you know will cause the hurt to fester?

You need to start charging dad (he is as responsible for the gifts as her) and mommy dearest for your expenses on their behalf. Obviously they have some money or they could not have given your brother 200k.

Or did he take their entire retirement?

You will feel less resentful if helping them isn't costing you cold hard cash, just saying.
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Why do you have to put it aside and keep silent about it? I would tell your parents that since things are such a mess and they favor your brother it should land squarely in his lap. They obviously favor him so he should be responsible for their care. Why should the girls do all the caregiving?
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Isthisrealyreal Mar 23, 2019
Because brother is a deadbeat, he would suck their finances dry and drop them at sisters house.

People that do the things he has done, don't care about anyone but themselves and their latest flavor of the month.
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Sadly, this is all too common, one child is favored above all others for reasons we never understand.

Mother adored my OB, although he was a waste of space, if you ask me. He wanted for nothing. He didn't have to help out at the house with housework and yardwork b/c he was "a genius" and needed his study time.

He talked my folks into 2nd mortgaging their home to help him start a business which failed epically and quickly. We didn't realize how much he'd taken until it came time to sell the house and holy moly--they should have walked away with $250K and all they got was about $50K. The rest of us sibs have had to step up and help them out from time to time.

I get your anger. TOTALLY OK to feel that way. For me, the part about "don't tell the girls" is the most hurtful.

We did confront mother and dad...simply b/c there was not the money there to pay for the addition to brother's house to add an apartment. The rest of us sibs had to pitch in all the time to help out. YB almost lost his home.

Only you can decide how to approach this. Are mom and dad mentally OK? IF so, then get together (strength in numbers!) and have a frank talk with the folks. They need to STOP the bleed immediately. And brother needs to know. I hope he isn't their POA...

Was this money a GIFT or a LOAN? What do you hope to achieve by airing this dirty laundry? We all pretty much wrote OB off--he was so crazy along with being a mooch. I hadn't talked to him for 12 years when he died. He was not welcome at family parties and not welcome in our homes (he actually would got through our drawers and such, looking for things he could pawn.)

If this money is needed for mom & dad's care, then you probably should consult with an attorney. Honestly, I imagine mom and dad are going to say it was a gift and nothing can be done.

Your brother sounds like a jerk, put mildly.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 18, 2019
Yep,

Same here. Older brother had serious issues. My mom had a soft spot for him till he died. He hurt all of us yet mom constantly defended him. You are correct in saying the anger is natural. I think my dad would have reacted totally different if my mom would have backed him up, but she wouldn’t. He wanted to please mom even if it went against his wishes. I always wished he would have stood up to mom.
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What a silly question. He is the male child. The one who will carry the family name into the future. The Golden Child and probably the most useless

Anyway. If you have POA does it include financial POA. If not get and if so use it

have cheques books and any withdrawals I two signatures. No ATM. Card

keep everthing to do with any money they gave to him or goods bought for him
make a spreadsheet containing all information like dates. Amounts receipts descriptions and such to produce when the will is read and request part if not all the money be deducted from his share

once the new banking arrangements are in place inform your brother he won’t be getting another dime
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Abby2018 Mar 19, 2019
Great advice ....thank you!
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You have a choice here, Abby.

You do not HAVE to care for your mentally ill mother in her home. You can talk to the discharge planning people and tell them that there is no one but your poor old dad to care for mom at home and THAT clearly is NOT enough care.

You do not have to give up your life to care for your mom in her home. Look, I loved my mom, she wasn't mentally ill and didn't distribute funds unfairly to my siblings. There is still no way on earth that I would have abandoned my life to move in with her and provide hands one care. Because it wouldn't have been good enough care. She needed and deserved professional care.

Think this out carefully.
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Abby2018 Mar 19, 2019
No way, no how moving in. My dad will still bear the brunt of the burden with her and we all know how this will play out. I’m only available half days on Mondays and Fridays and stop in on Tuesday and Thursday to check in after dropping off my granddaughter. My sister picks up the slack in between since she lives minutes from them. This is not the best case scenario by any stretch but clearly this is what they want.
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This is a tough one and probably more of a question for a family councilor. For me, and it is only me, I would let my parents keep their secret. Though both of mine are gone now, I can imagine confronting my parents with this at 90 and 89. I would not do it simply because at that age, they could be gone the next day, and having a calm, though perhaps not fully honest, relationship at the end would be more important to me. For me, protecting them (and their feelings) would be more important. As I say, this is a tough one. You would have to know if your brother is still getting the money, and if so it has to stop...perhaps. I say perhaps, as if your folks are of sound mind, it is still their money, even though all of this is painful to you. It all depends upon the amount he is given. Any five-year look-back by Medicaid could cause huge problems for your folks to get help. So, I would 1) somehow determine if any money is being given away NOW (look for the answers...don’t ask for the answers) and in the past 5-7 years, 2) have a private meeting with the finance department of a nursing home where your folks might end up at and ask how much money can your folks gift to anyone without causing a Medicaid problem and ask them if there is a document where you can see this in writing (do NOT mention that your brother has been given what he has been given), and 3) armed with all this information, map out a plan. Yes, this is all very painful for you and your sister to find out, and I feel bad for you. But, your parents made YOU the POA, because they knew that you, not your brother, would be the adult they could count on. I would do your best to step back from all of this emotionally and go about the process clinically as a POA doing her job. Once you have all of the facts, you will know what to do as a POA (not as a daughter or sibling), which may or may not mean having a matter-of-fact conversation with your brother that any future gifting must stop. From this point, I would emphasize to work only from facts you obtain, including facts gathered from the finance office of the nursing home, and do your best to set the emotional aspects of this secret off to the side. Some family counseling might be required down the road, which may or may not include you parents and brother, but for now, you have a big job to do as the POA. I hope I have been of some help. By the way, I was the brother and the POA. I made certain that my sister was treated fairly. I am sorry your experience has been different.
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Judysai422 Mar 22, 2019
If you have not already shredded the damning evidence, hold on to it in case it is needed for any reason...including requiring your brother to repay it if your parents run out of funds for LTC.
Also, if they gave that sum of money to your brother for his house, they should be part owner of the home. Get where I am going?
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