Author Topic: Brother/Sister n Law only care about money  (Read 2132 times)

BOP Mustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Brother/Sister n Law only care about money
« on: May 05, 2019, 09:18:36 PM »
My wifeís parents are approaching 70 years old and have decided to put together a power of attorney document with my wife looking after the health side of things and my brother n law (their son) looking after the financial side of things.

We never hear from him or the sister n law and they live several hours plane ride away from us and my wifeís parents. My wife and I have a great relationship with both parents and we catch up with them in person regularly on the phone and in person.

The only time we ever hear from the son/brother n law is when money is involved (selling in-laws investment property earlier this year for example).

We have grown apart from the brother and sister n law but we are worried that with him coming across as greedy and money focused that it will tear us apart when my wifeís parents get a bit old and not in the state of mind to look after their financial affairs.

The will from what Iíve been told is 50/50 but it still causes us worry.

Anyone else dealt with this before?


  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6855
Re: Brother/Sister n Law only care about money
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2019, 09:40:20 PM »
I think itís great to separate the finances from the medical.  However, with their attitude it could be difficult.


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1450
Re: Brother/Sister n Law only care about money
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2019, 09:22:43 AM »
What matters is that the son & parents are communicating effectively about their wishes regarding their finances.


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2891
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Brother/Sister n Law only care about money
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2019, 10:06:22 AM »
The only way I have figured out how to manage people who are very different from me is to try to figure out what motivates them, so that I can understand them better and try to view them empathetically, even when I don't get it myself.  For example:  nobody actually cares only about money.  They may care more about money than you do, or for different reasons, but it's not actually about the money -- it's about how the money makes them feel.  So you need to figure out what that is and why.  Did he have an insecure childhood and now craves the security that money brings him, or now wants to have All The Things that he never had?  Did his parents teach him that status is the most important thing, and he figured out that throwing money around is the best way to get that?  Or is he just an accountant type who likes the sense of order and control he gets from tracking his finances?  Etc.  If you understand where he is coming from, that puts you in a better position to take his annoying traits with a grain of salt (e.g., you can feel sorry that all he learned from his parents is XYZ, instead of getting angry that he once again did ABC because money).  It also helps you communicate with him more effectively, because you can learn how to speak his language.  Because the way you "win" a negotiation isn't to convince the other guy that you're right and he needs to back down -- it's to convince him that your approach is a great way to get him what he needs.

My only other suggestion is don't borrow trouble.  Your in-laws trust him to handle their money, so he has provided them some reason to do so.  Maybe he's actually good at it.  Maybe they think he shares their values, even if they don't align with yours.  Etc.  It doesn't even necessarily mean he's their favorite person; heck, in my will, I put my brother-in-law in charge of the finances for my kids -- he and I don't see eye to eye on a number of things, and I could never live with him, but he's a CFO type, and I trust him implicitly to make sure my kids are supported and their future inheritance is managed properly.  Trust that your in-laws also had a reason for doing what they did, and trust them to exercise reasonable judgment on the matter.  Because, really, it is their money, and they have the right to do whatever they want with it.

And that means respecting your and your DW's limited authority in that matter.  This is about your in-laws' best interest, not your DW's potential future inheritance.  Yes, he may decide to spend the money in a way you and your DW don't agree with.  But it was the in-laws' choice to give him that power instead of you or your DW.  So you need to adjust to his role as the guy with the right to make those decisions and train yourself to ignore anything short of abuse or theft.

My one practical suggestion is that the in-laws should consider writing up some process for breaking a tie.  Because when you have one person in charge of making the decisions that require spending money, and a different person in charge of authorizing those expenses, you have a built-in stalemate, with no way to resolve it other than going to court -- which will likely take too much time AND all of the available resources.  So perhaps they could add some language specifying that if the two disagree, then they will get a medical opinion, and both sides have to follow the doctor's advice, or something similar.


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4987
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Brother/Sister n Law only care about money
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2019, 10:28:47 AM »
I'm in the reverse situation. My sister lives on the east coast and has medical POA. I'm in the midwest and have financial POA. While sister and I talk, it's not every day, and we talk a lot more because of the parents.

Just because you only hear from BIL about money doesn't necessarily mean that's what they care about. It's possible, but not a given. It does mean that money stuff will ensure you hear from him.

Has your wife tried to keep up/renew a relationship with her brother, outside of the parents? If not, then why would you expect to hear from him aside from when it's necessary?


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1972
  • Location: Southern California
Re: Brother/Sister n Law only care about money
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2019, 12:01:15 PM »
I'm not really sure what the problem is. Try thinking of this situation another way:

Your in-laws picked one child to handle health issues and the other to handle finances.  (sounds fair.)
Siblings seem to get along but are not close.  (That isn't unusual, especially if sibs live thousands of miles away.)
Son with financial POA informs his sibling when major money transactions occur.  (Would your wife rather not know?)

Maybe there is much more to the story, but based on what you've shared you in-laws and BIL are handling it fine


  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 291
Re: Brother/Sister n Law only care about money
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2019, 09:20:10 AM »
You say that you only hear from them when it comes to money.  When do they hear from you?  Maybe aging parents can inspire the family to rekindle some for their connections.  Long-distance is hard and easy to atrophy.