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Sister in-law Going For My Parents' Money

Teri wrote:

I am very concern about the way my sister inlaw is behaving. She is calling myself and another brother to work out my parents assets. I was surprise to hear from her because she has not spoken to me for over twenty years. Her reason was because I did not speak to her one Christmas but I do not recall the event and this is the first time I have heard why.

She called me last night because she wants to know who gets what of my parents property. My Dad health has been bad but he is not expected to die immediately. My mother is OK and has no life threatening health issues. My sister inlaw feels she is entitled to every asset that belongs to anyone in our family. This includes my uncle. She is upset because of a car that he owned was donated to a town he lived in. She felt that it should had been sold and the money become hers. I do not want her to take advantage of my Mom and Dad.

She has asked for a list of my parents accounts and outstanding credits. I think what she is after is my parents net worth. Unfortunately with the Internet, she can determine my parents property tax and market value. Once she has their outstanding credits, she would know how much my parents estate is worth. What would be a good way to warn my parents of this?

Dear Teri

Not a nice situation to be in, but I suggest it's just a matter of three-way honesty.

First, be honest with yourself. Much as you may despise her, does she raise a sensible issue or not? Know your own views on the matter; consider your position, and that of your parents and the rest of the family. Be very honest, even if it isn't easy.

Second, be honest with her (and other siblings and in-laws who may be involved); if you are happy to be a party to this, then fine. If not say so - and have no further discussion on the details.

Last - but by no means least - be honest with your parents. Tell them about the contact, tell them your initial reaction - and tell them your considered views. And be honest, however difficult it may be.

Then listen to them, and do you best to be a respectful and loyal daughter.

Good Luck!

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