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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 27, 2005 / 26 Kislev, 5766

Siblings battle over Mom's funds

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: I am the youngest of three children. We range in age from 60 to 44. I have lived next door to my parents in a house we built on their property since I graduated from high school. My husband helped my father in his small farming operation for 20-plus years, and I have been the one they relied on to look after their needs as they grew older.


My brothers and sisters have little interest in the farm, which is on 40 acres, as well as the home where we were all born. They all moved away from our rural community years ago and live in big cities. They visit once or twice each year and call our parents irregularly. Because I am closest and most familiar with my folks' finances and medical problems, they appointed me to be their power of attorney years ago. I am also the personal representative of their wills. They did this on their own with their long-time lawyer many years ago without me being present or trying to influence them.


My father died three years ago, and left my mother a life interest in the property so that, when she died, my husband and I would be able to continue the farm — as that is how we support ourselves. His will says that my husband should continue to farm the land and set aside enough for my mother to be comfortable until she dies, at which time the farm and all equipment would be ours.


He and my mother kept three money market accounts, with nearly equal balances, with their names and one of the children's names on each. After my father died, these accounts were put in Mom's name with one of us children on each. Mom began to slip mentally quite a bit early last year, and now has full-blown dementia. I kept her at home as long as I could, but have had to put her in an assisted-living facility that costs $3,200 per month. After using her $800 in Social Security, my husband and I apply some of the farm income to her care costs and take the difference in equal shares from each of the three money market accounts.


My sister and brother began accusing me of taking advantage of our parents last year, but have now hired a lawyer who wrote to tell me that if I handed over their share of the accounts now, they would not sue my husband and me and would release their claims to the farm. Otherwise, he says, there will be a big court fight and everything will be up for grabs. Needless to say, I have been shocked and hurt by their behavior.


We don't have the money to hire a lawyer, and if I give up these accounts, all of Mom's care costs will come from only one account that will run out. Is there anything I can do, short of getting a lawyer and going to court against them?


A: Most presumptuously, your siblings appear to want to make sure that since you and your husband will get the land (which they can't stop), "their share" of the inheritance should be paid to them now and you should assume the cost of your mother's care.


First, it's unlikely that your mother's power of attorney authorizes you to take her money and gift it away to your siblings as an "advance" against their inheritance because they are afraid it will be used to take care of her.


Second, the money in those accounts during your mother's life is hers, not your siblings', and we believe you would breach your fiduciary duty to your mother to do anything other than what you are doing. In fact, as your mother's fiduciary, you can choose what accounts to use for her care.


Third, since your mother is the life tenant of the farm, she is entitled to all of the income, less a reasonable sum for the expenses required to make the land productive. So long as you and your husband continue the farming operation in the same manner as did your father, you should be OK.


Fourth, there comes a time in everyone's life when, after their back has been pushed against the wall, they need to come out swinging. This appears to be one of them. When faced with what appears to be nothing short of extortion, you are duty-bound to protect your mother's funds and make sure she is taken care of. You must hire an attorney to let your siblings know that two against one may be a fair fight when you are in the right.


Taking the NextStep: While giving chronically ill seniors and disabled Americans a gift of more reduced benefits, Congress has chosen again to increase their pay, and their retirement package remains better than most of us get from our employers.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JAN L. WARNER received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina and earned a Master of Legal Letters (L.L.M.) in Taxation from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a frequent lecturer at legal education and public information programs throughout the United States. His articles have been published in national and state legal publications. Jan Collins began co-authoring Flying SoloŽ in 1989. She has more than 27 years of experience as a journalist, writer, and editor. To comment or ask a question, please click here.

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