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

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  • Mila
    March 25, 2023 at 10:46 pm #1119331

    A little bit of backstory, my grandmother bought an apartment in a city where we used to live when I was very young. She put it into my older sister’s and my name (but not my oldest sister’s because the adoption papers did not go through in time of the purchase date), since we were the only legal children at the time.

    We recently sold it because of the increase in the real estate market, and it was costing too much for maintenance and some other personal reasons. Very soon, we are going to receive the money from the completed sale.

    My parents have had three more children over that course of time, so there are six of us. My older sister and I have all agreed to split the profits between the three of us, because even though the oldest sibling’s name isn’t legally bound to it, she was meant to be there. It was a no-brainer for both my older sister and me.

    However, my parents have recently said that they expect us to split it alongside our 3 younger siblings to fund their future college/university education.

    This wouldn’t have bothered me, however, I recently also found out that all the rent that was accumulated over the last 20 years was set aside in a bank account for us as well. I learned that since we were minors at the time, our parents were able to reach that account and use it for themselves if they wanted to. Which is exactly what they did.

    They took all of the money that was specifically set aside and set up to fund OUR education by our grandmother, and used it to buy 2 brand new cars and pay for a new addition to the 5-year-old house they built themselves.

    They used to always say that they would pay for our first 10 000 dollars of tuition per child, but now that we are receiving the money from the apartment, they want us to pay for our sibling’s schooling.

    This hurt mostly because they’re not helping any of us older siblings with our schooling (I know how this sounds, but they DID tell us they would help with the first year, so we were all partially relying on that), My oldest sister is almost done with school now and is overwhelmed with debt; my older sister is going into her third year of vet school which is long and expensive (especially where she’s going); and I am going into my second year of an undergraduate program. The rent that they used to pay for their cars and additions would have put all of us through school without debt.

    My family is upper-middle class, AT LEAST. They do not struggle with money in the slightest. I know it sounds extremely privileged, because I am. I extremely lucky with what family we were born into, in terms of financials.

    I have no idea what to do.

    Please ask questions if you have any.

    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.

    March 26, 2023 at 7:22 am #1119333

    A few more thoughts:
    You aren’t obligated to discuss this with your parents at all, period. “Mom and dad, I’m struggling with the decisions you’ve made that have put all of us paying for college on our own despite your own promises and money that was set aside by Grandma. I’m not comfortable discussing the apartment sale with you as a result. What you need to know is that you should plan (or not plan) to invest in our siblings’ college funds because we will not be paying for them. That’s your responsibility, not ours. What we’re doing with the apartment money is for us to decide and I need this matter to be closed. If you insist on bringing it up again we’ll have to end the conversation there.”

    You should talk transparently with your younger siblings about the reality that they cannot trust your parents and they’re going to need to plan to pay 100% for college themselves. You should also prepare for your parents to tell the younger siblings you “kept” money meant for their education – which would be a very cruel move, and I hope they don’t, but it’s possible. They need to know about the rent money and work as hard as possible to get as many scholarships as they can.

    March 26, 2023 at 7:27 am #1119335

    I had a long complex set of calculations but I think the best advice I can give you is to get the number from the rental account that your parents essentially stole and tell them that until they repay that, you’ll be dealing with the will as you’ve outlined. Any money that you want to set aside for your siblings should, as notes, be done in such a way that your parents can’t touch it.

    Your parents stole from you. And while I feel for your siblings, your parents can sell the house if they really need money.

    March 26, 2023 at 7:38 am #1119336

    Yeah, fuck your parents and what they say, at this point. You can calmly say to them that they really forfeited their right to have any say in this when they spent your college money on personal items and when they broke their promise to contribute to all the kids schooling. Not to mention when they decided to have 6 fucking kids. That’s on them.

    Is the money from the apartment enough to cover the 3 oldest kids’ educational expenses? If not, I would just divide it equally between you and be done with it. If it is, and/or there’s any left over, you could do something small for the younger kids if you want to. A Roth IRA is another idea. My mom put $1000 in one for me when I was maybe 22, and it’s over $21k now. It could be an emergency fund, because you can withdraw your contributions without penalty. But it’s also retirement savings.

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    March 26, 2023 at 8:52 am #1119339

    I agree with the above advice. Split the money from the apartment sale among you three oldest siblings and *only if you want* allocate a symbolic amount, like $1000 each, to your younger three siblings (in a Roth IRA, or whatever makes sense). You owe your parents zero explanation about this decision but if they press, simply say that you’d been expecting them to contribute to your education because they had promised they would and between that not happening and them stealing rent money all these years to finance their personal purchases instead of funding your education as your grandmother intended, you’re going to use the money from the sale of her apartment to pay of education debt as she would have wanted. Period.

    Also agree that when the time is right, your younger siblings should be warned about your parents’ behavior and what it might mean for them.

    March 26, 2023 at 2:31 pm #1119343

    Thank you. I can’t even begin to explain how much your post helped me.

    My parents are notorious for their manipulation within my family, my views for pretty much everything are skewed. Somehow, they managed to make my older sisters and me feel guilty that THEY used the rent money, and more recently, that we would be awful siblings if we don’t give them a third of the profits so they can (supposedly) keep it safe for our younger siblings.

    I was worried that they were right and that I would get people responding that I’m selfish.

    I’m glad that I posted here, and so grateful that you took the time to respond. <3

    March 26, 2023 at 2:41 pm #1119344

    Thank you all for taking time out of your day to respond! You all really helped put my mind at ease, not feel like trash for being hesitant about what to do, and make a plan on what to do for the kids.

    They are quite young, so it will be a while until they graduate, so until then, we are going to open a TFSA (closest Canadian equivalent to a Roth-ira) and put in 3000 each for them to receive when they graduate high school. (It won’t be just sitting there, we will put it into an index fund which will grow with them and inflation.)

    I really appreciate you all, and I hope you all have a wonderful week.

    March 26, 2023 at 2:41 pm #1119345

    Oh, do NOT even for a second consider giving your parents the money. If you want to give it to the kids, you have to put it in their names.

    March 26, 2023 at 3:22 pm #1119346

    Fuuuuuuck no absolutely do not give your parents a single cent. You already know they won’t “keep it safe”, but instead will spend it on themselves. Go to a reputable bank or investment firm and get it put into the right kind of account in your siblings’ names only, and explain you want your parents to never be able to touch it. Good for you for listening to your instincts.

    Again, I recommend counseling if you can get access to it at low/no cost to help you sort out the skewed views developed from your parents’ manipulation, and to determine what (if any) relationship you want with them going forward. Kids don’t automatically owe their parents money, support, obedience, or even respect or love. It’s ok to set boundaries, say “no”, or back away from the relationship.

    March 26, 2023 at 4:40 pm #1119347

    Also, their request to give them the money for “safekeeping” makes it clear they have no intention of the younger kids getting anything, so that absolves you of any obligation you might feel when they were trying to guilt you. And yeah, therapy.

    March 26, 2023 at 5:07 pm #1119348

    I’m going to make sure that my parents cannot touch a cent of the money we’re putting aside for them, in any circumstance.

    As for my mental health, it’s something I’m working on, but I still have a long way to go. I’m in a much better place than I was before, but there are many things I still need to unlearn.

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

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