Dear Amy: When my elderly parents were living in an assisted-living facility, both my older sister and brother lived nearby. My father earned a very good living and was a meticulous planner. They had accumulated a sizable nest egg that enabled them to live very comfortably in retirement, with the likelihood that there would be a reasonable sum left after they died.

After my father developed Alzheimer’s disease, my brother agreed to assume control of their financial affairs. After our father’s death, my sister took on the role and is now in charge of Mom’s finances.

To her horror, she discovered that my brother had taken large sums of money from our mother’s accounts for his personal use, including for the purchase of a new car.

She confronted him, and he admitted to the theft, saying that he needed the money to try and repair his money problems.

He repaid a small portion but said he simply couldn’t repay the rest.

This news shook me to my core. I had looked up to my older brother. I knew he wasn’t perfect, but I always felt he had integrity.

It has been six months since I learned his secret. Although we have seen each other and communicated several times since, I have not brought it up.

I am hurt, angry and disillusioned. How do I move on from this?


Younger Brother

Dear Disappointed: Let me point out the obvious: Stealing money to purchase a new car is not “repairing money problems” but creating them.

One way to move on from this is to be open about it now. Why are you protecting your brother from a natural consequence of his crime (i.e. your disillusionment and disappointment)?

You and your siblings should have a family meeting (with your mother, and with or without your brother). Now that everyone knows about this theft, you should handle it as a family. If you don’t want to pursue this legally, one obvious solution would be to deduct the amount your brother stole (plus interest) from any inheritance he might receive. Maybe his share of the inheritance will cover the amount he stole. If not, he should pay the balance to his siblings. If he assumes responsibility, makes amends and asks for forgiveness, he should receive it. So far, he does not seem to have done his part.

Dear Amy: My daughter is a stay-at-home mother with an 8-month-old child.

She is a great mother, and I am very proud of her.

She and her husband allow their very large dog to “clean up” the high chair or walker after the baby has eaten, by licking it “clean.”

They think it’s cute. I think it is disgusting.

I am by no means a clean freak, but this is gross.

I voiced my shock the first time I witnessed this, and just sprayed the items with cleaner after the dog was done. Should I just continue to clean up after the dog is done, or should I say something else?


Dear Grandma: If this baby is sharing its home with a dog, that dog and baby have probably been licking each other on the face for several months.

In the future, you could ask your daughter, “Honey, do you mind if I give this a wipe down?” Otherwise, keep your opinion to yourself.

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