Question: Dear Luise: My Mom died two years ago and My father a year later. In their trust they left me to be trustee of the estate. My Mom fell and sustained a brain injury at 87 years of age and lived only 2 1/2 weeks. I notified my brother and told him that our Mom kept asking for him on a daily basis and she thought other people were him like my son or a nurse. My brother did not come to see our Mom, but made it to the funeral. During this time while staying in the home with our father (step) he managed to go through their files and records and accounts looking for money. My brother left the very next day after the funeral leaving everything in my lap. At the time I was preparing my house to sell and it was a very difficult task as I have health issues like fibromyalgia and I am also a 3 time cancer survivor. Right before he was going to leave, and I to take him to the airport, he called me, I’m still in shock, and having a sinus infection and just being exhausted from the hospital routine I had to handle. My borther’s conversation consisted of I am going to go back home and talk to my attorney’s to see how “WE” can declare my dad mentally incompetent. My God the man just lost his wife of almost 50 years, my dad was depress and in shock. That conversation did not really register with me at the time, but then I started to question why someone would do that? My answer to myself was “money”. Later I tried to discuss things with my brother and really wanted to share the responsibility as I didn’t really know what to do, I told him I am going to put all the accounts online to pay bills. My brother then told me to give him the passwords. I asked my Dad he said absolutely not. I gave up my life to take care of my mom and dad, sold my house moved my belongings into another and lived at my dad’s. My brother never came out and helped one ounce or could he barely ever call my dad. It was very difficult being the caregiver to a 94 old. But I was proud, my Dad gained weight had him on antidepressants and the Doctor told me he looked better than he had seen him for years. Then my dad fell with one caregiver and sustained a compression fracture and everything went downhill. My step dad had adopted me when I was about 11 but never adopted legally my brother. My dad and my brother really never got along as my dad was frustrated that he couldn’t motivate him and my brother was lazy and always had a sense of entitlement, plus an alcoholic. One day I had to take my Dad to an attorney to straighten out a little problem just to protect my butt in the future with my brother. The attorney discussed with me that she would just make me co trustor and talk it over with my Dad in private and see if he wanted to do this. The attorney called my dad into her office and asked me to leave. I thought they were just talking about the co trustor thing, but my dad had another agenda and he disinherited my brother. I had no idea this was going to happen or did I ever persuade him in this direction. My brother and his family is being so hateful towards me, and I am hurt and have confronted my brother that he did not help nor care about my welfare or my Dad’s and that he was selfish money hungry person. Now his daughter, the daughter I was going to leave something to deleted me from FB and her husband said some nasty remarks towards me, which I never saw, because I made an innocent comment that their baby was tiny, meaning petite, which struck me funny because our family everyone is big. I meant nothing offensive or malicious by my comment. Holy hell broke out, and my niece said I have to delete you because everybody mad at me for having you on FB and yet it was her husband that made the nasty remarks on FB towards me and that my neice said that is why she had to delete me. I have confronted them about this is about the inheritance that I had nothing to do with, I did not know that I was even left in charge of the trust, but my brother did, and that I got everything thrown in my lap to handle while my brother sat back just waiting for me to do all the work and him to collect. This situation stinks and I am tired of people blaming me for everything instead of appreciating that I took care of our parents. They swear up and down it is not about money, but it has been since this happened that I have been treated like this. If they were nice I would of gave them something. After my Dad talked to the attorney he was chuckling and I asked him what about? and my dad’s comment was; that will teach him! My dad knew that my brother did not care about his mother or his dad nor his sister. This has all taken a toll on my health. My brother finally shows up, quess when? To watch my Dad die and so does his family. I was pissed off and told him you have the audacity to show up now? My niece beg me to let him come, I told her I am not stopping anyone from coming to the funeral but I am hurt and angry that my brother did not help in anyway and could not even call my dad. My brother left the next day after the funeral like he did my Mom. Ten days later I get an email stating; I have contacted my attorneys regarding the family trust and they will be in contact with you to remind you of your fiduciary responsibility towards the trust. My daughter and husband will be my spokesman ( he can’t even speak for himself)? and that his life was not getting any shorter and I can split the money now, keep some out for the sell of the house and that he wanted nothing out of the house I can dispose of it all. My God my third house in a year I have to dispose of all by myself? I am already hurting and suffering from the other two houses. He did not offer to help one bit, just give him his money. Now I confronted him about that he was just about money and of course he denied it telling me oh sis, you got it all wrong. Now while I was giving up my life to take care of my parents he was internet dating and I found out later he got married. My question why was he so secretive about this and why he never brought this women out to meet his family. Only two reasons I could come up with he. 1) was afraid my dad would disinherit if my dad found out as my dad wouldn’t want stranger to get the money or 2) he was ashamed of her. Whatever it is I don’t get it. I am just hurt they are all punishing me for something I didn’t have anything to do with or have a choice. I didn’t know my parents picked me to handle the trust, I always was led to believe it would be my brother and myself together. I am so tired of this crap, and their blame and punishment of something I didn’t do. It so hurts as he was the only family I had left and now I feel I loss all of my family all at once. It hurts to know that my brother did not care about my health and what this stress was doing to me and knowing I am a cancer survivor, and that he did not try to be of help in anyway. I confronted him and told him that he was a very selfish person etc and couple other choice things. Of course the silent treatment and no response. I finally told my nephew in law I am done!! I divorce this family. I just can’t believe no one really cared about my mom or dad or me at all, and all they cared about was money in which they all deny and blaming me. If they want to be mad it should be at my Dad he made the decision, but I believe he was justified in what he did as he knew them for what they were. My brother’s family makes me feel crazy, their actions are clear and their words don’t line up and they are mean. My Brother thinks he is entitled just because he was born. When my first Dad died my brother was 15 or 16 and he believed my mother took his inheritance that half was his. My mother had an attorney write my brother a letter stating that our father had no will and that everything else was held in joint tendency which went to our mother. When I found that letter in my mother’s belongings I copied it and sent it to him, and told him mom never had to have a letter like this sent to me. My brother response was it was the other family which was blaming my dad’s family for it. That family was the always after money, and my brother is very much like them. I used to feel so bad about this decision my Dad made and I cried and cried. But you know what It doesn’t bother me anymore, because I think they got what the deserved. How do I get over the hurt? How do I quit doubting myself and feeling bad for something I didn’t do? T.
Answer: Dear T.: If you are doubting yourself, you are free to gift your brother in any amount you may wish, even though the estate is legally yours in it’s entirety. I don’t know why you would want to. I can’t imagine going through what you have without having it cost a great deal, emotionally. You are probably going to feel the scars of the whole thing for a long time to come. You can’t go back…nothing can be changed…especially that attitudes of others. My guess, is that if I were you, I’d wrap it up and relocate…leaving no forwarding address and then I’d get a good counselor to help me heal. Blessings, Luise