My sisters and I disagree on most things, but I could never have imagined how our relationship would end. My parents left me as trustee and agent for both their health care and finances in 1985, again in 2002 when they created a trust, and again in 2014 when they updated the trust and its various codicils since then.
“‘My sister finally agreed with our attorneys to allow Mom to live in my home, but this was only after she was told that Mom tested positive for COVID.’ ”
My sister finally agreed with our attorneys to allow Mom to live in my home, having wasted everyone’s time and money, but this was only after she was told that her mom tested positive for COVID. I am so heartbroken and guilty that I couldn’t do anything, and I’m angry that the courts were slow to act. My mom died alone, thinking we had forgotten her. How did my sister get so far? During the guardianship process, we found out that the hospital was only admitting Mom for observation, but the assisted living facility administrators said my sister threatened them if they didn’t accept the new power of attorney for health care. Bank tellers who signed as witnesses to the new power of attorney for health care sent letters to the courts withdrawing their signed statements. The Moneyist: ‘I have been haunted by enormous guilt and regret:’ I tried to care for my late father, but I gave up. How can I forgive myself? ‘He lied about my mom’s condition’ We also submitted requests for medical records and found out that my sister had lied about mom’s condition. My sister also removed all of Mom’s belongings from her assisted living home, including jewelry, television, and furniture, although I am in charge of the trust property. I am now the executor of the remaining small trust, which is worth between $ 30,000 and $ 40,000. I have hired an attorney to help manage it, but I have some questions outside of his responsibilities. Because my sister sent Mom to the nursing home without investigating the facility, I also consider it negligent. This facility already had multiple COVID deaths in the early spring, they had terrible scores with the state throughout the year. Additionally, most of the facility’s employees were fired for alleged elder abuse. Mom’s best interests were never protected and her request to live with me was denied. Clearly, my sister’s interest was only to control our mom and keep her away from me. Mom wrote me a check in 2016 for $ 48,000 with the money from the sale of her house (Dad was already deceased). This check was made out to me only and came out of Mom’s personal account instead of the trust account. Even though Mom gave it to me, I used this money to pay for her assisted living expenses. I also deposited money into his checking account over the years to cover his assisted living costs. None of my sisters helped with the costs. $ 20,000 of this money remains and is out of the trust. I also spent $ 18,000 on guardianship and attorney costs trying to get my mom released from the nursing home. My family thinks I should return this $ 20,000 to the family trust, for their benefit. What you think? Anguished Do you want to read more? Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter and read more of his columns here. Dear Distraught, Thank you for sharing your story. It must have cost you a lot to write it. What are you doing now? You could use the evidence you have gathered to start a case against your sister for financial and / or elder abuse, given the alleged subterfuge she engaged in to appoint herself as a power of attorney and have your mother enter a nursing home , but that would probably be a long and expensive process. A satisfactory result against his sister or an adequate sanction is far from guaranteed. You’ve been through a lot, but this won’t undo what happened. Assuming your mother was not diagnosed with dementia and was of sound mind in 2016, I don’t see any reason why she shouldn’t keep the $ 20,000. You did your fair share of work and more. She put money in her account to help her with expenses and spent years caring for her mother. Even if she gave you this money as a gift to thank you, it still belongs to you. You have no legal, ethical, or moral obligation to put it into a trust. The Moneyist: ‘I Was Dumped After 40 Years Of Marriage’: Can My Ex-Husband File A Joint Tax Return Without My Consent? He tried to take both of my stimulus controls. That said, I hope you do get to do something nice with the $ 20,000, maybe as a way to remember your mother and the time you spent together. You can take a vacation after vaccination, after COVID somewhere your mother dreamed of going, or even take classes on a subject you’ve always wanted to learn more about. Using money in a way that elevates your spirits and improves your quality of life could mark the beginning of a healing journey. And your sister? I can’t tell you what to do about it. Ask yourself how much restitution or retribution will satisfy you, and if it would satisfy you at all. We all have a limited amount of time on this earth, and how we choose to spend it is the most important decision we make every moment of every day. We should not take lightly what we choose to think while wandering the corridors of our minds. There is no point in flying to Paris in 2022, for example, if you are still brooding over your sister’s misdeeds. This is your time and money to use wisely. Your mother would want that for you. Hello MarketWatchers. Take a look at Moneyist’s private FB Facebook group, -0.06%, where we search for answers to life’s thorniest money problems. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or rate the latest Moneyist columns. Quentin Fottrell is a MarketWatch Moneyist columnist. You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions at email@example.com. By emailing your questions, you agree to have them posted anonymously on MarketWatch.