Reply To: Do I give money to my siblings from an apartment in my and my sister’s name?

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March 26, 2023 at 7:07 am #1119332

I’m so sorry for how your parents have behaved. Upper middle class or not it’s devastating to find out your parents stole the money meant explicitly to pay for your college education and instead spent every cent on themselves. It’s a betrayal and a breach of trust. The promise to pay some expenses and then just never doing it is also a betrayal of trust. It’s ok to sit with that and have strong feelings – it’s ok if that changes the relationship you have with your parents. You’ve learned important information about their values and you can decide to distance yourself from people who have stolen from you, acted well against your best interest, and lied to you.

As for giving money to your younger siblings- do be not let your parents force or pressure you into a decision you aren’t ok with. The money is yours and you can do with it what you want – if you want to use it as your grandmother originally intended (to ease the school debt of her three oldest granddaughters) then do just that. Depending on how much there is, how old the other siblings are, and how close you all are to your siblings you could take a small amount (say $1,000 or so) and put it into a 529 savings plan for each of your siblings that can grow for a few years and be a bit of seed money for their education (or simply put it aside for them as a gift if they’re close to graduation). Whatever you do – DO NOT give any money directly to your parents. I suspect what they mean when they say “give money to your siblings” is really “give money to them and trust that they’ll give it to your siblings” and you absolutely cannot and should not do that. It was their obligation as parents to plan for contribution to their kids’ educations, and they failed to do that. Now they’re trying to guilt and force you into responsibility to make themselves feel better. I suspect that no matter what you do they’re going to be upset and try to use guilt and pressure to change your decision. It absolutely does not mean they’re right or that you should listen. Just be prepared for that. If you’ve got access to free counseling through your school’s health center, use it. Prepare some responses/talking points and have a plan for ending conversations where you feel you’re being pressured or treated badly. The Caption Awkward blog is a great place to start if you need specific scripts and tactics for that.