Author Topic: Need help - unique situation with monetary gift  (Read 759 times)

frugs

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Need help - unique situation with monetary gift
« on: December 01, 2019, 12:25:16 AM »
Hi fellow mustachians, need your help.

Parent held a joint bank account with sibling for many years. A few years ago parent told sibling and I to keep that money and split equally. Parent told me the dollar amount that was in the account and said to coordinate with my sibling for her to give me half of it over the next couple of years, up to the gift exclusion limit each year. At this point I am not sure if parent was even on the account anymore so I guess this may have technically my sibling's money now. Not sure.

Around the time my sibling handed my the remainder of the money, over a year later, she told me that because the account had been inactive or dormant for years, there had been a monthly fee that had eaten up a chunk of the balance. She said she didn't want to say anything and had been holding it in. She seemed relieved to be telling me. I think she felt like she had messed up. I asked her what the balance was when we started splitting the money and she said she didn't know. I told her to get the old statements and find out what the balance was when parent decided he wanted us to split it and we could divide it equally based on that amount.

Months went by and she said she asked for the old bank statements a couple of times and the bank kept giving her the run around. I should mention this is not one of the main banks, it is a foreign based bank with a branch/subsidiary in the US. She has closed the account since to avoid fees and she says she has not been successful in obtaining these bank statements. I asked her about this at least twice. Now that she is no longer their client I would imagine they have even less of a reason to go out of their way to dig up old bank statements and from what I have researched have no legal obligation to do so.

Now I feel guilt at having taken more than what is fair and don't know how to resolve. I believe we should split whatever was left equally after fees but I have no idea what was left. This bank account was an old account and the fees could have amounted to be significant.

I don't want to ask for parent's advice on the situation. I am under the impression sibling has not mentioned this to him because she is embarrassed. I know he would probably just be hurt and disappointed to know the money was lost. Not sure if he knows, but think he does not and think best to resolve on our own.  Parent is extremely frugal and he remembers what things cost at each grocery store, what he paid for cars he bought twenty years ago, so I have no doubt that the original amount he stated was there at one point.

I don't believe there is any chance sibling is bamboozling as I trust her, she is generally responsible with money and her spouse does well so not hurting for money whatsoever. This was an oversight. I believe my parent and sibling each thought the other was keeping an eye on it, my sister has been busy with other things like having babies etc, and mistakes happen.

The most important thing for me is to find a way to be 100% fair and not have this create resentment between us or affect our relationship long term. She is an excellent sibling and my ally for the future. Neither of us has brought up the subject in months, probably because I feel it is awkward and a bit painful for both, but I feel guilt at potentially having taken more than is fair and don't know how to resolve. Should I pick an arbitrary amount to give back? Leaving things as is feels wrong.

Please help, any and all ideas/thoughts welcomed.


Freedomin5

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Re: Need help - unique situation with monetary gift
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2019, 04:30:01 AM »
Can you not just talk to her and ask her what she feels would be a fair amount, given that it sounds like there is no way of knowing the actual fair amount? The point is not to figure out the actual amount. The point is to make sure your sister doesnít feel resentful. And if neither of you have a preference, just tell her outright youíre going to write her a cheque for $_____ (pick an amount that makes you feel less guilty and that you feel is fair).

It sounds like you and your sister have a trusting relationship, which is great. So itís just about making sure both of you are okay with whatever resolution you two come up with. 

SunnyDays

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Re: Need help - unique situation with monetary gift
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2019, 10:19:22 AM »
^^^^^^^
That's basically what I was going to say.  Since neither of you is hurting for money, make your relationship the priority and do whatever makes you both comfortable.