Brother and Sister-In-Law

Married 16 years ago, my brother and sister-in-law have been mistreating my family ever since. They are financially irresponsible and simply immature. My brother was supposed to become a doctor, but could never pass the boards. He has gone from job to job and at times has not worked at all. He stole my father’s identity to obtain credit cards. When me and my parents found out, my father actually paid the debts my brother accumulated. We all forgave him, but asked him to please be a part of the family. Since he was married, he has seldom called or visited. My sister-in-law calls only to ask for money. Recently, and using poor judgment, I gave them a large chunk of money to get my brother’s car back that was repossessed. Now, we are getting calls from their creditors saying we will make their car payments. I need to protect my parents and myself from financial hassle.
If anyone has any words of wisdom or prayers to offer, me and my family would be grateful.

It’s really very simple: end your relationship with them. You don’t have to give them an explanation, because it should already be obvious to them. They are only using you.

I’m so sorry.

Your brother and sister-in-law are in difficulties of their own making. It is important that you cease enabling this behavior…no more money, period. They will never learn to take responsibility if someone always bails them out (believe me, I know…I have seen this with extended family members, and it never ends well.)

Simply tell their creditors to stop calling or you will report them; you are under no legal - or moral - obligation (unless you signed something, and I hope you didn’t.)

I will keep you in my prayers.

I also say end contact. Maybe you think you have a obligation to them because they are family. I don’t agree with this when it comes to siblings, cousins, aunts or uncles who behave badly.

You do have an obligation to honor your parents this extends to parent in laws, but you shouldn’t interfere in their relationships with their other children even if the relationship is bad. That’s your parents choice- they are grownups. If they become unable to handle their own affairs because of their mental or physical health, then you might step in. This has to be done legally by power of attorney. When your parents do get too old to handle their affairs, your siblings may try to take advantage of your parents. That’s when you should step in.

I have a similar situation, I had to take a good look at my mom and figure out why my siblings took advantage of her. They put her into bankruptcy and use her a a free daily baby sitter. When my mother took ill, I realized alot of the problems were her own doing. I realized she loved the drama and chaos in her life and didn’t want to be rescued from it. And the crying and whining she did to me somehow gave her the attention she craved but it was destroying me.

I don’t know it this is the case with your parents but since your parents seem not to set limits on your brother and SIL’s behavior toward them, I suspect there is disfunctional behavior on their part too.

Indeed, (unless you signed something) when the creditors call you tell them to never call you again or you will call the police if they call you again. My mother did this (actually called the cops and reported harassment) to a credit card company calling about my older brother who hadn’t lived with them for many years and were threatening (empty threats) my parents with legal action. They never called her again.

I agree with the others, stop giving them money and then maybe pay a little extra to get those regular credit reports, and look over them to make sure your brother and SiL are not going to steal your identity. You might want to advise your parents of similar measures, and maybe advise them see a lawyer about protecting their assets to keep the brother and SiL from ever gaining access to their accounts and assets if/when they ever need help with that stuff. If they do not take your advise there is nothing you can do until they need a power of attorney.

My prayers go out to you.

Debt collectors are the lowest of the low. I had a similar situation with a family member and they called and threatened that they’d take MY house if I didn’t pay the family member’s debt. They even threatened to call my employer. Unless you co-signed on a loan, they can’t do anything. They’re just trying to intimidate you into paying someone else’s debt since they’re only paid if they can collect (and if you did co-sign - well it’s your debt).

It’s actually illegal for them to contact a third party (just the debtor, the debtor’s spouse, and the debtor’s attorney). What I had to do was write a letter to the collection agency telling them to stop contacting me and explaining that what they were doing was a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act since I was not the debtor, the debtor’s spouse, or an attorney. I also CC’d the Federal Trade Commission on the letter and filed a complaint with the FTC. The daily calls stopped about 2 weeks after mailing that letter.

In the meantime, put a fraud alert on your credit reports and check them in case your family member gave them your Social Security number when taking out the loan (which is illegal and non-binding without your consent).

Thank you all for your responses. I have prayed and prayed and this information has been, in part, an answer to my prayers. Please keep my brother, his family, my parents, and me in your prayers.

God bless you all.

You and your parents need to cease the enabling behavior and make them face the consequences of their actions. They will never get better as long as people keep bailing them out.

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