My husband and I invited my Mother to live with us 17 years ago, when my father unexpectedly died at a young age and left her financially unstable. She took what was available (very little) to live off of and the insurance money to build a small house. My brother, in turn, talked her into mortgaging the home, for a start up business for him, and it was a total loss. She was left with nowhere to live and no equity to draw on for living expenses.

We have housed, cared for and paid most of her bills for all these years, meanwhile my two siblings have gone from mediocre lives to quite successful ones, including much financial security.

My Mother has never stood up for me where they are concerned and this is no different. She makes excuses for their lack of assistance, and makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong for expecting it😊

We built a house soon after she moved in because she didn’t “like living in an apartment, it’s too crowded and noisy”, and we gave her the large master with the largest bathroom and closet. (And she still has the gall to complain to others about ‘living in one room with all of her stuff’) Meanwhile we have filed bankruptcy once already because the house was just too much for us financially.

I am just at my wits end and my husband and I, both, are suffering the mental and physical effects of all of this strain. If my siblings would only do the right thing and compensate or even ‘begin’ to help us now, it would go a long way in our recovery financially and health wise. When I have broached the subject with them, they always make excuses, and one has even accused me of trying to run a scam on her and her husband!

Any ideas or advice would be helpful. Thanks!

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
What I do hear you saying is that your mother has never stood up for you in front of the other siblings. I see that as you are the child she has used all your life. I was that child - mthr trained me to do her bidding. It was very hard to enforce boundaries so she would not be able to take advantage of me. I had to grieve that mthr would take advantage of me and would never love me the way I deserved to be loved. When I rescued mthr from colon cancer, I so hoped this would be the beginning of a great relationship with her. Nope. She is who she is, and I can't allow her to ruin me for my kids and husband.

I'm afraid that your mother has used you up. And you volunteered for it, and probably hoped you could earn mom's love through your service. It did not work that way. You made that choice and it's bitten you badly.

You can ask that your siblings help out with mom's expenses, but they have no obligation. There is no contract that requires a child to pay for a parent's living expenses. You volunteered for this - mom could have gotten a job 17 years ago as a greeter and contributed to the household. You can change the way things are going only if you chose to make changes in the way you react to her demands. She can go on welfare and subsidized housing, but *you* have to be strong to stand up to her. It's not on your siblings at all.
Helpful Answer (13)

You are essentially asking your siblings to bail you out; you are asking for them to be charitable toward you, your husband and your mother. Charity begins at home, right?!

Money is usually at the top of the list of stressors in life. You are judging your siblings' lifestyles based on what you see from the outside; you are not inside their financial houses of cards. How much money are you asking from them? Are you asking for a one time payment or a monthly contribution?

It sounds like you want to sue them for money going back 17 years. That would require lots of money for a lawyer. And it would take years for a lawsuit to work itself through the court system.

What your mother did for your brother is done and it sounds like he has no intention of ever paying her back. Your mother would have to sue him herself and I'm not convinced she would sue her darling son. Where do family relations stand now?

You're angry and money is a huge stressor. Start watching YouTube videos from Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman. Sit down with your husband and review your monthly income and expenses. Are you and your husband employed? I think going after your siblings for money is a dead end and will result in the lawyers getting richer while all of you lose money.
Helpful Answer (12)

Sorry, but I do not see that you have any legal recourse.
attempting to sue them would only cost you money, and you would not win.

when my parents hit the end of their ropes with Grandma and my uncle.....they called a family meeting and announced that they were moving at the end of the month, the house needed to be empty and it would be sold ASAP (it was their house). The rest of the family had just those 3 weeks to figure it out, Since none of them could be bothered to help out would now fall totally into their laps to deal with whatever the fall out would be.

the week before the deadline, they left on a vacation in Vegas.

the family figured out to move grandma to a NH near my uncle. She, her furniture, and a fair number of my Moms stuff was gone. My Mom had to threaten my aunt with arrest to get her items back.

it takes a crisis moment to really see what “family” is made of.
Helpful Answer (11)
Takincare Oct 2019
Isn't nice when family members think that because mom is with you all of your personal household items are up for grabs? Materialistic behavior never changes, hence the reason 2 SIL will not be removing anything from my home when the time comes. I have made lists of and taken photos of "gifts" they have given her so I can make sure they are boxed up and returned to the appropriate party. This has already been requested/demanded by 1 of them, I want all the stuff I bought mom when she passes, I paid for xyz. So be it. Husband asked what was going to happen when he passed, um I'm nailing a 2x12 across the front door and they're never entering my home, they would treat it as a free for all. Not happening.
No legal recourse, you made the decision to give up your well-being and money to house her, they did not.

My mother has always favored my brother, and used me, until I said "Enough". That was 8 years ago, she is now the Golden Boys problem, and he is not liking it much.

If she doesn't get Medicaid, then apply and find a home for her. Take your life back, it is certainly more than over due. You are doing this to yourself, your siblings are not doing this to you.
Helpful Answer (10)

No. There is no legal way.
I'm afraid you're suffering from "No good deed goes unpunished", which is so often true. Your mother bailed out a child who never paid her back. Your Mother has now taken advantage of you in return and you have allowed this to happen. Now you're left with nothing, and worse than that with ruined mental and financial health.
Your siblings made it clear that they feel they owe no one anything. There is no legal way to make them responsible for what has been poor choices.
I am so sorry. I can only think that your story posted here might be a lesson to others. Every day I see folks posting that they are doing unwise things out of "duty", "obligation", "guilt" and "the fear of what others will think" of them. This is the outcome.
I wish you a recovery, but it's unhappily clear that you folks are on your own.
Helpful Answer (9)

I agree with alva & ny. This is definitely a case of “no good deed goes punished”. And I am sorry to say, most of us here have at least one family member who has sponged off our parents and/or taken advantage of them financially and can’t be bothered to repay the favor.

I have to ask, when you took your mom in to your home, was there ever an agreement or a discussion amongst your siblings about helping out financially? Even if there was, the fact is, your mother made some bad decisions and you & your husband made the decision to take her in and that doesn’t make your siblings financially responsible here.

If anyone has any basis for a lawsuit, it is your mother but without anything in writing saying she loaned him money, her lawsuit won’t go anywhere. Best you could hope for that is that being served with a lawsuit will scare your brother in to paying her back. But again if she helped him out all those years ago and there was never a discussion about being paid back, the lawsuit won’t accomplish anything except more debt.

I think it’s beyond past the time to start making other arrangements for your mother. You & your husband are risking IT ALL taking care of her. You are risking you marriage, your financial well being and your own health! You sound beyond burnt out. It is time to seriously consider placing mom in assisted living or a nursing home.
Helpful Answer (9)

Mkama, you have to prove a "cause of action" to initiate and maintain a successful lawsuit.    What would be your cause of action?  
You apparently weren't coerced into taking her, even after your brother abused her generosity.    You didn't have a caregiver contract, and as I understand the situation, you cared for her for good reasons, but not any that give rise to a cause of action against your brother.

I think that any lawsuit would be dismissed as soon as your brother (and other sibling, if involved), retained a lawyer, who would see the lack of evidence or commitment and file a motion to dismiss, which probably would be granted, with you being forced to pay legal fees for your siblings.  

I hate to be blunt, but at this point I think you have to evaluate other options, such as finding a place for your mother to live, on her funds, or on Medicaid as you should not at this point have to expend any more funds.  

What I would do though is to very briefly and w/o elaborating, advise your siblings in writing that you can no longer care for her, that filing for Medicaid and finding an alternative placement is the plan, UNLESS they are will to (a) provide financial assistance or (b) take her into their homes.   This letter can serve a few purposes: 

a.   CYA letter so you can't later be accused of not having informed them of your financial and burnout dilemma;

b.   Give them the opportunity to take over, as well as a deadline by which you will need to take action, w/o their input if they fail to respond, and

c.    Provide documentation in the event that issues arise later as to your perceived unwillingness to continue to care for her.

Your sibs have allowed you to carry the burden, but it's time to stop that, now.

NWDIL mentioned the term, 17 years ago.   Even if you had a valid statutory charge, the statute of limitations may have run years ago.
Helpful Answer (9)

The two responders so far are correct. You are basically screwed. And you did it to yourselves by not having something in writing wayyyyyy back, to circumvent this train wreck. “No good deed goes unpunished”—AlvaDeer nailed it. Let this be a cautionary tale for all you out there even thinking about being “the good sibling”! Get a deal in place, in writing, and notarized, before spending one penny more than your sibs.
Helpful Answer (8)

Stories like yours make me feel like I've had a very fortunate life never having been in such a position myself. Your cannot change the past 17 years, so focus now on what you can do from this point forward.
Don't waste energy on trying to get money from siblings--that's not going to happen. Think what would make your situation better and take those steps. If that means moving your mother out, work with senior services to help you make arrangements. Plug your ears to her complaints, and move her out in good conscience. You've had your turn.
Helpful Answer (8)

Couple of questions for you:

Was dad a wartime vet honorably discharged? She may be eligible for benefits.

Is she on medicare or Medicaid?

I am assuming that her income is below poverty level. Get her signed up for food assistance (snap, formally known as food stamps)

Go to your nearest senior services center, catholic charities, st vincent DePaul. They are great sources of information and help. She may be eligible for many programs.

Your siblings will NEVER help you physically or financially with your mother. We have asked in the past, "I got no money, I could maybe pay 10 or 20 a month" Funny few weeks later they're on the way to very expensive all inclusive resort in Riviera Maya plus just HAVE to fly first class because SIL just can't stand sitting 3 across. Trips like these are 2x a year. DH told her to skip one of her vacations to help mom out her reply was she NEEDS her vacations for her mental wellbeing. Hate to tell her it's not working, she's still bat sh*t crazy. These are the same people who will DEMAND their fair share of whatever little is left of mom's estate. Does mom pay her bills? Does she pay you rent? I know she expects you guys to pick up her tab but that is done now. She's going to complain about everything, even if you move into the garage and she has the whole house, you are her servant, the others golden children. Start looking for facilities for her placement and start charging her rent, utilities. Let her pay towards the household groceries and cleaning supplies. If she's on Medicaid you may be able to get paid for caring for her. Every little bit helps.

Biggest is getting her placed. She complained about her living conditions before she's in for a rude awakening later. If siblings don't agree ok what time should I drop her and all her crap off at your house, I'm done. I can no longer physically, mentally, or financially take care of her. I've done it for 17 years and I quit. If you get strong enough push back from them and mom you may need to officially evict her. Let siblings know that it's THEIR problem to get her settled elsewhere and if she is not moved by Dday the sherriff's office will be physically removing her. If you need to take this route, start packing up her stuff and box it up. This will let her know you are not kidding and in turn your siblings will also be aware when she calls to complain to them. When confronted by them stick to you guns and tell them that she's been served, they had best figure it out. Make sure to change all your door locks and security codes too after eviction, move. Sometimes you need to take that path to prove you're finished being a doormat. Dump it in their laps, you've done your time.
Helpful Answer (7)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter