DEAR HARRIETTE: Having unexpectedly inherited a significant sum of money, I had intentions of assisting my siblings financially. However, their apparent sense of entitlement and subtle guilt-tripping have made dealing with this situation more challenging than anticipated. I never foresaw money causing disruptions in our family dynamic, and now I’m conflicted with how to manage the complexities of their expectations, my original plans and maintaining a harmonious relationship. How can I negotiate this delicate balance and follow through with financial assistance without compromising family bonds? -- Inheritance
DEAR INHERITANCE: The aftermath of a death often brings up a swell of emotions and odd behaviors among family members. The fact that you inherited money that you want to share with your family -- although it sounds like you aren’t legally bound to do so -- puts you in an interesting position. It’s your generosity that is at the heart of the matter, along with family members vying for whatever cash they can get. More than likely, there’s a lot of emotion mixed in there having to do with whoever passed on and why you are the one holding the money. Do your best to stay calm and neutral as family members experience their grief in different ways.
Take some time by yourself to think this through. Apart from the bickering, how would you like to support your siblings? What feels like an honorable way to share the bounty? Consult a tax attorney to ensure that you don’t create an extra financial burden on them when you do give them cash. You are not the expert here, so get professional help to make sure you follow all the laws and take care of your loved ones.