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Woman livid when family claims she owes brother $30K based on a decade old verbal agreement. AITA?

Woman livid when family claims she owes brother $30K based on a decade old verbal agreement. AITA?


When this 23 year old woman is furious with her family for using something she said 10 years ago against her, she asks Reddit:

"My family holding a promise I made when I was 13 against me.. AITAH?"

Ridiculous or not? Family holding a promise against me from when I was 13y/oLong story so I’ll try to condense it. My brother (33M) and I received an inheritance from my father. At the age of 25 the money is released to you if you want or left in a trust for future generations.

My brother has been abusing the money for as long as he’s had access, completely and effectively wasting over $600,000; on cars, houses, debt, etc. He now has almost nothing left and debt to the IRS from not paying taxes on those transactions.

He has a good job supporting his family and has worked out a plan for his debt. I’m pretty proud of him!

When I (23F) was 13, our family house burned down. My brother had his money, which he then paid for the roof to be put on. I, at the time, promised to pay him back in the future.

Now, 10 years later, my family is bringing up this scared child’s promise and saying I owe my brother $30,000!

I have barely used my money-not even getting a car all these years and only paying monthly expenses-so I am sitting at a little more than 1 million. Which I’m terrified to touch.

I have some dental issues I’m just now getting to because I’ve been so hesitant to spend. Maybe the trauma of seeing your brother waste over a half a million dollars. I don’t know.

For the last 5 years I’ve lived in FL. My brother texted maybe twice. Never visited. He has not brought this up to me, only my mom who insists that I am being a bad person by not standing by my promise, even going so far as to say I was “acting as an adult” at 13 so it counts as an enforceable promise.

My mom makes it sound like my brother and his girlfriend are relying on this money and talk about it all the time. Am I the asshole?

rnginx7 writes:

NTA. You were 13, unable to legally make a decision like that (and I'd need some receipts to prove it was 30k!). Your brain hasn't finished maturing at that age.

They'd need a legal written agreement to hold you to it, and they can't get one because any legal counsel worth his salt would laugh in their face at trying to get a child to pay for damages on a house you don't even own.

Your mother is responsible for her roof, AND for not having fire insurance. If she wants your brother repaid, she can pay it herself, but in no way, shape, or form should you pay for it (even if you wanted to help as a child).

If your brother is relying on a promise you made as a child, that's on him. Just as his atrocious spending habits and debts are on him.

Tell your mother if your brother regrets making bad financial decisions as an adult, surely she can understand how you regret making a bad financial decision as a child, and how seeing the mistakes he's made, you'd want to learn from them and not repeat them.

My mother loves to throw in my face how, when I was four, I swore I'd never get married and leave her, and now look at me (married with three kids and NC with her).

It takes everything in me to bite my tongue and not remind her that she kicked me out long before I ever got married and told me to never darken her doorstep again.

acreg6 writes:

Your mother is reinforcing the financial pressure put on a frightened child--yes, Mom, 13 is a child--to influence you now. If your parents did not have homeowner's insurance when the house burned down, that is on them.

Honestly, it sounds as if they scammed your brother. $30K for a roof? I hope it was more than just the roof or everybody got scammed.

Talk to your brother and let him know what your mother is doing. Try to get the real dope on what happened 10 years ago, not just the memory of a 13 year old. This does not sound on the up and up.

Above all, don't settle for only your mother's word on this, she was the one who benefitted from the original transaction. Why doesn't she repay your brother? NTA.

leafydid5 writes:

I think it needs to be pointed out that he put a roof over your family's head. I highly doubt you lived in your own home that he purchased for you, where you lived alone because you refused to live with them.

The fact is it was your parents responsibility to be sure they had a place for their child to live safely, or else CPS would have been called.

They choose to buy a new roof and punted the financing on their children. Basically making a choice to spend money they didn't now possess or have ownership of. Now, if it was a trust with a purpose to secure your needs while you grew up, then maybe that's a bit different.

But if it's intended for you to inherit at the age of 25 for your future, you have no financial responsibility to pay for the things they are legally obligated to provide you. It's like if they gave you a bill for 10 years of food that they bought - no!

I imagine they sat you down and said "We're going to be homeless! We have no other choice (incorrect, lies). You are our only option (ie, this is the easiest choice for us)". Honestly, this all sounds like emotional manipulation.

Plus, there's no reason for you to foot the whole bill even if you wanted to help. Sure maybe you split with your brother if you wanted to, but by no means the whole thing. I think his whole financial irresponsibility is a separate issue.

But at the end of the day, this was your parents bill and they should pay it. I'm sure it will burn bridges if you don't pay, and you'll be passive aggressively called a tightwad every time you want to split a bill at a restaurant for the rest of your life. But you are an adult and this is your adult money, do what you want. NTA.

allayka7 writes:

NTA. Call your brother. Ask him if he asked mom to bring this up. I wonder if your mom know that you and your bother don't have a lot of communication and is trying to get the money for herself?

Especially since he did not contact you, and she is the one who is mentioning it. If he did not ask her to, tell her that you know he did not mention it, and you need her to stop.

Especially as you do not have access to it for 2 more years. If he did ask her to talk to you, point out that you should have never been made to feel like you had to offer up your money.

Unless you own the house (even then you were a literal child and it still should not have been your responsibility), then I would say you probably do owe him, but unless 100% of that house is in your name, and you did not have to buy it from someone, it should never have been your responsibility.

It should have been the responsibility of whoever owned the house. If they had proper fire insurance their insurance should have covered it.

Also please speak to a financial advisor, even a few from different financial institutions would be beneficial. You can make some nice dividends off of close to 1 million dollars, like to the point where you likely do not have to work, and that is just living off of the dividends/interest, not touching the principal.

If you choose to pursue a career, you can likely build some amazing generational wealth for any children you may have, or if you never want kids, maybe cover a few financial courses for your brother's kids (just to be nice and hopefully keep them out of the debt your brother ended up in), or support a charity that you care about.

You have the ability to basically do whatever you want to, without spending much, or maybe even any, of this money.

Looks like OP is NTA. What should she do here?

Sources: Reddit
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