Dear Annie: When my dad passed away several years ago, he left a certificate of deposit to me. When it matured, I went to the bank with my mom because she had a CD that matured at the same time. The CD that Dad left me was a payable-on-death CD, with me as the only beneficiary, and my dad was the individual owner of the CD.
About a year later, I got a letter from my mom stating, “You need to split up the CD that your dad and I put in your name.” I called my mom and said that the CD was directly from my dad and tried to explain to her that she had nothing to do with it. I told her to talk to the lawyer who handled the estate, because I provided the information to the lawyer about the CD. The estate paperwork shows that my dad left me the CD. My mom then accused me of swindling her and hung up on me.
A short time later, my siblings stopped talking to me, and one called me a thief. I then found out that mom had told my four siblings and others that I had taken her to the bank and swindled her out of a CD. I sent copies of the CD to three of my siblings, and they all know that Mom is wrong, but none of them will confront her and help me out.
A couple of months ago, I stopped by my mom’s house and asked her what the problem with the family is, and she said it is the CD I took. I again told her to talk to the lawyer. I told her she is the one who created this mess and she can start getting the family back together by admitting that I did not swindle her. She said she would not do that.
Just a couple of weeks ago, my one brother called me a thief again. Fortunately, I have a wonderful wife who has been very patient with my dealing with this mess. We just need some guidance on how to deal with this. — Inheritance Headache in Illinois
Dear Inheritance Headache: First, rule out any medical reasons for your mother’s behavior, as it’s possible she’s genuinely experiencing confusion and memory loss. Try uniting with your siblings to encourage Mom to see a doctor for a complete assessment.
If that doesn’t turn out any explanations, enlist the help of a family mediator. Visit https://www.mediate.com to find one in your area.
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