My unmarried RN daughter, 57, has the major responsibility for the care of her father, my ex of almost 50 years. Her brother was given financial responsibility, and she says he is taking money for his own use, and that he was always double-dipping between me and my ex to give him money for dental implants, school and college expenses for his two daughters. She refused to come to Thanksgiving dinner since he and his family, plus and out of town niece and husband would be there. I then found out she has been asked to resign from her job as she was missing too much to look after her father....but she didn't tell me about it, her brother did. He said he had full time job and family so couldn't visit his dad much, and says he doesn't always recognize him when he is there. She says her father and I always liked her brother best and still do, when he is a no-good scumbag who didn't help change diapers, etc. before their father went to nursing home. Now my son has asked me for money to send his 15 year old to a summer college prep program, otherwise she won't go. He probably does live beyond his means, but I want my granddaughter to have this experience!

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Because their father had problems living within his means and every unexpected expense was a crisis requiring help from my parents, I wanted my nephews to learn about responsible money management while I was paying their college living expenses. I sat down with each young man and created a budget; so much for rent, utilities, groceries, restaurant meals, snacks at school, gas for your truck, cell phone, student health insurance, entertainment, etc to determine the amount I electronically deposited into their checking account twice a month. I also put $500 in that account for "rainy days" and required them to justify spending any of that $500 reserve. Over 6 years I got calls that the reserve had been dipped into for medicine, replacing a busted tire, other auto maintenance stuff, and replacing the apartment fridge. The boys had a chance to see that even a small amount of savings goes a long way in smoothing over the impacts of unexpected expenses.

I paid the expenses 10 months a year while school was in session. They had to work and pay the bills for 2 months each summer. I purchased a used truck and SUV and paid the insurance so long as they stayed in school and made good grades; when they graduated I signed the title over - my final gift to them. They had to maintain the basic maintenance on their vehicles (oil changes, checking fluids, tire rotation). I expressed on several occasions that helping them through college was the only money they would ever get from me. In the 20 years since their graduations, I have only _loaned_ money to one of them a single time. A business loan (with interest) to purchase needed equipment for his business during a divorce and the 2008 recession; I was promptly paid back. Both men pay their bills on time and are good providers for their families.

Arleeda, I mention this for two reasons. One, I hope you will see that your grandchildren have an opportunity for some practical money management guidance and experience since they may not be getting that at home. Give them a chance to experience pinching pennies while the stakes are only their personal pocketbooks. Two, my experience across two generations of my family is that when parents repeatedly help a child financially with normal living expenses the child is actually made weaker and less capable. Everyone experiences periods of financial hardship, most of us in our early years starting out and often again in later years with a fixed income and extra expenses. Sometimes life throws an illness or injury in there to cause problems too. While I believe family should help when there are problems, we need to be careful to not relieve personal responsibility. Across two generations of my family, the adult children "helped" _never_ got themselves on track to not need more help; they universally stole from their aging parents (once the parents lost the capacity to give them money), and they schemed to get most to all of whatever the parents left - excluding their siblings totally not only from financial resources but also from things like photos, heirloom jewelery and dishes. Being helped seemed to create an attitude of entitlement - these adults were never very concerned with being "fair" to their more responsible siblings.

Your relationship with your daughter is probably salvageable if you can adjust your attitude towards her. Please note you say she wrongly believes your son was the favorite, yet your next sentence is "But my son is the one with children, they are the ones with a future and I want to help them." Actions speak louder than words. While you have been gifting your son and his children over the years, have you ever gifted or offered to gift your daughter? Pay her expenses to travel with you one of your trips? When you son complains about sharing care giving tasks do you give him a pass? Acknowledge her responsibility by making her your POA and telling your son his irresponsibility makes him unsuitable?
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Arleeda Mar 24, 2019
I would have loved to have my daughter travel with me, but she refuses to fly. I have traveled with my niece, until she got married, and with each of my granddaughters to NYC and with the older one to Paris and London. The younger one also doesn't like travel much.
My daughter, as she is a nurse, is my health care POA, and right now I have both she and my son as financial POA with both having to approve expenditures. That may be complicated, but if I develop dementia (I have one ApoE4 gene and my grandmother had dementia) I may not be cognizant enough to keep up with the situation. I don't favor my son as a person, but I do favor the fact that he has children. My older granddaughter has a part-time job and is helping with her college expenses and has moved into an apartment with her boyfriend. I don't think that's a particularly good idea, but times have changed and it will teach them both money management.
I have not yet confronted my son with the knowledge that I know he has dipped into his father's resources. He would probably deny it anyway and it would cause more friction with his sister--not that things will ever be good between them again. I wish my niece lived in the same city I do, as I am closer to her than my own kids and she is not close to her own mother, my sister! What a dysfunctional family we are!
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Thanks so much for clarifying.

Since you are not hurting for money and have your long term care plans well laid out, it sounds as though you are very much able to help your granddaughters further their education. I vote yes for funding the Duke summer program. I think it's important for your granddaughter to apply to financial aid based on her parents' ability to pay. And as someone else suggested, payments need to be made to the college, not through the parents.

I was serious about funding some "financial therapy" for your son. It sounds like he may be drowning, especially in light of the loss of their second income. We all have to face financial hardships and dipping into his father's funds, if indeed he's doing that, is only going to complicate the matter.

Make sure that your granddaughter's get a good financial education as well so that they don't fall into the trap of living beyond their means.

It sounds like your daughter is experiencing a crisis of some sort. Write her a note and tell her that your love is unconditional. Do you think she's in need of money?
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Sorry if my posting was disjointed, I was very upset to learn that my son was taking money from his father for his own use. ... probably because he bought a house 3 years ago he couldn't really afford. He works for the county school system teaching IT. His wife was a P.E. teacher, but she can no longer work because of a hip dysplasia operation that was not successful. My older granddaughter is a junior in a local university; I paid for most of that out of a 509K fund I set up when she was a toddler. If anything is left over from that after she graduates, it can be transferred to my younger granddaughter, but right now the older one is still using it. It has to be used for documented school-related expenses. I am reasonably well off financially as I had a successful career and a second husband who died 5 years ago leaving me his pension in addition to my own. Plus we both had IRAs that I have to take a distribution from every year. I travel overseas several times a year, so I don't need the money for myself. I also have two LTC policies.

The program that my younger granddaughter wants to participate in is set up by Duke University Summer College Experience for High School Students. I have talked with her about it, and she really wants to go. I would like for her to get away from home for college since neither I nor my ex, my children or my older granddaughter went away to college. I have no doubt that if I pay for it she will go, and I will pay directly to Duke U. I haven't confronted my son about his sister's accusations, but I believe her and am sick at heart about it. I guess because she is an RN I thought she was trained to take care of sick people and wanted to do it. But three years of going to see him every other day (and bringing his dog, or at least she did that in the beginning) is taking its toll on her and she sees no end in sight. Right now she isn't speaking to me or responding to my emails.

I am certainly not involved in my ex's care whatsoever as our divorce was a very bitter one, but the thought that my son is stealing from his father is painful. He went to live with his dad when he was 13, as I remarried and he was jealous of my new husband (although they later got on very well). So far my ex has enough money to pay for the nursing home, but my daughter says she doesn't think it will last but two more years...less if my son continues to dip from it. My ex doesn't have any lifetime annuities. If my daughter had children, I would pay for their education as well, but she doesn't.

I approached this forum because many of you have dealt with feuding siblings and relatives stealing from their dying elders. I suppose I just wanted to know that I am not alone with these problems and need to make clear arrangements for what will happen to me if I develop dementia, or lose mobility and can't drive to my doctor or dental appointments. I intend to start looking at Memory Care communities this fall. I fear my relationship with my daughter will never be the same again, as she wrongly believes my son was the favorite of both my ex and of me all their lives. But my son is the one with children, they are the ones with a future and I want to help them.
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All I got to say is if son did abuse his POA and Dad needs Medicaid it will come out in the five year look back. He may just have to end up paying for Dads care.

If you can afford it, then help your grands. But don't jeopardize your future. As I see it, daughter is probably burned out and son cannot be depended on.

Now Dad is in a home daughter's responsibilities are almost nil. All she needs to do is visit. Your son has the financial responsibility which is the big thing right now.
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Why on earth are you involved in your ex's care if you have been divorced for 50 years?

I am divorced with young adult children. My ex and I do not see eye to eye on much, but when it comes to money for the kids we always double check to make sure we are on the same page and there is no double dipping.

Why in their 50's are you children feeling that they should 'tattle' on each other to you?

What does your granddaughter have to do with her grandfather's care?

Why are you supporting an adult who 'lives beyond his means'?

If you granddaughter wants to go to the college prep, then she or her parents should be paying for it. But I see that you are already paying for college for his daughters, why?

Why would you pay for your adult son to get dental implants?

Do you not feel that he should take responsibility for being an adult and a father?

Do you want your granddaughters to learn from their father that they do not need to live within their means? Once you are gone, their Dad will not be able to help as his Bank of Mum will be closed.

If you need care in the future, do you really think your son will step up? You have burnt your bridges with your daughter.
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Sorry, Arleeda, I didn't realise you already *had* started this new thread!

Ref the summer college prep program - can you afford it easily? If so, do it but do it direct - pay the college, don't give the money to your son. That way, not only can you be sure of where the money's going but also the credit will go where it's due. This is a very nice and worthwhile thing to do for your granddaughter; and it also, as a side effect, won't do her any harm to know that it is a gift from you.

And if you can't really afford it, don't do it. Do not get wheedled into making a "contribution." Save your money for something else that your granddaughter will need in the future, like books.

The conflict between your son and your daughter is very sad for you. The possibility that he is abusing his POA for your ex is a worry. But the wonderful thing about having divorced so long ago is that you are entirely free to sit on your hands and do nothing. You have no responsibility in this situation, none.

You can encourage your daughter to manage her care commitments at less cost to herself, you can praise her kindness to her father, you can sympathise with her hurt and frustration; and you can, if you want to risk it, remind your son of his position of trust and see if there is anything he needs to get off his chest. But resolving their conflicts, even if you could, is not within your remit. I think you can only deal with them individually, can't you?
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Well, I see some elements of my own family dynamic in this one, and it's a dynamic I have observed repeated in many families. "Sons" are preferred over "daughters" with women thought to be less able to handle responsibilities, especially finances, and unmarried siblings of either gender are deemed to be more "available" or have lives of less value because they are childless. The childless are just suppose to shoulder a larger portion of any family need whether financial or care giving while remaining less valued and less "capable" within the family.

My take on this is the RN daughter (who has been Dad's hands on care giver) has finally had enough being the "responsible" sibling while the parents enable her brother to be the irresponsible sibling and excuse his bad choices/failings. The grandchildren are a good excuse to defend enabling behaviors. What logical reason could there be for making a son who likes to live beyond his means and cannot support a family from his own resources financial POA over a daughter who can? The daughter made the mistake of not setting proper boundaries decades ago.

My older brothers got married and brought their wives to weekly Sunday dinner while I still lived at home with my parents during high school and college. After I finished college, got a job and moved out, the family expectation was that I would still help my mother clear the table while my brothers and their wives socialized. I rebelled and insisted all the adults could clear their own dishes from the table; my mother could continue to clear my father's dishes if she wanted to because what she chose to do for her husband was not any of my business. I refused to be a second class member of my own family and to my surprise my biggest supporter was my father who backed me completely. Although I would "win" these early battles and never become a second class adult member of my own family, my oldest brother would continue this type of thinking and it would all blow up again over my elderly parents' care. Because he was the oldest son, he believed he should be the decision maker for both our parents, regardless of their wishes, and that he _deserved_ to "inherit" all my parents' property because he had the only "true" grandchildren - since adopted children don't really count. OB's attitude resulted in a couple of court fights over who would be the elder care decision maker which I won easily; seems courts favor the sibling who lives independently over the leach siphoning his living from elder parents. Like the OP, my parents had helped my oldest brother financially repeatedly over the years while brother #2 and I paid our way and paid off our houses on our own.

Arleeda, I find it interesting that your son is asking you to provide the funds for your granddaughter's summer prep camp. Given his sister's comment about her brother's double dipping, I wonder if the camp is a good excuse to get 3-4 times the tuition from you and your ex... Please consider asking for information about the camp as well as the application and pay any funds directly to the camp provider.

I completely understand wanting your granddaughter to have the experience; I financed several things for my oldest brother's sons over the years for the same reason including food, clothes, lunch and spending money, and camp tuitions. I even provided transportation and paid all their living expenses through college. I acknowledged that I was to some degree enabling my brother's bad behavior. I could not change him, but I did want my nephews to have an education and the ability to choose the life they wanted.

I strongly encourage you to be honest with yourself and stop excusing your son's irresponsible behaviors and acknowledge the reality of your daughter's complaints. It's probably too late to really mend fences between your children but maybe you can avoid being in a Medcaid NH after your son has conned you out of your home.
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Have you ever gotten both your kids in the same room and talked this through?

This is your EX husband, right?

I'm not sure how much I would have to do with this situation ( and yes, I have an ex and we are friendly. But I don't involve myself in his medical care or finances. And if any of my kids ever started a sentence with "you and daddy always..." I would say talk to your therapist)

Before advancing your son any more money, I would ask for complete disclosure of all of his finances. That's what a bank would do.

Pay for a semester of Dave Ramsay's Peace University but stop bleeding money.

Talk to your daughter about her job situation. Find out the truth of the matter.

Re granddaughter. Did they apply for Financial Aid? Is this a Johns Hopkins program?
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From what I understand, daughter may have been asked to resign from her RN job due to taking off too much time helping with Dad? But this was hearsay through her son, who sounds to be making frequent withdrawals from the Bank Of Mom and Dad. OP feels badly that GD can’t go to summer camp without giving him even more money. Too bad for GD, but it evidently wasn’t a priority for her or her Dad or Mom. So why should it be a priority for grandma? In my humble opinion from only the story that’s relayed here, daughter is right, son’s a bum, OPs been helping the wrong kid, and daughter may need some more support. Sorry if I’m sounding cranky this morning. I just get agitated when kids have their hands out and expect parents to cough up. True need is entirely different. And if daughter has indeed lost her job due to caretaking, she might really have need now. More need than GD going to camp.
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What does your granddaughter going to summer camp have to do with your daughter wanting to resign from being medically responsible for her dad? Or your son stealing?

Sorry, but the whole thing is too disjointed to follow.
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Did you have a question?
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I am bumping you up. I am sure someone will answer you.
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