What to do with gifts?

It feels like we are steeling by accepting gifts from my parent-in-laws. They have been broke for decades. My husband & I financially supports them. I’m guessing one or both have dementia. Further, my husband just told me his mother has run up credit card bills of amounts nobody in our family could possibly pay off.

Now, we brought back gifts we received from them from the same places where they overspent on their accounts. I’m assuming, they will not pay-back. So, are we participating in steeling by accepting these gifts? Further, FIL has been mentioning stories about suicide this holiday. There is no joy in these gifts which seem to be a burden upon us; rather a curse. What should be done with these? I’m exhausted and becoming indifferent to this. What would be pleasing to God in this situation?

If you are supporting your parents in law, it would be helpful to know if they have dementia. If so, whoever has diminished mental ability should not have credit cards.
Perhaps you could have a family meeting, along with your lawyer, to discuss their finances. It seems like you don’t have enough information to know what to do.
Perhaps a condition of supporting them could be that they cut up their credit cards?

I would not keep any gifts if they will be unable to pay for them.
God bless.


You need to have them assessed to see if they do have dementia,…and if they are running up bills and causing debts then its time to think about applying for some kind of conservatorship of their finances that would put you and your husband in control of their money to prevent any more debt …then speak to an attorney and see if their credit card debts and any other debts repayments can be set up to manageable amounts (maybe if you got a Dr letter saying they have dementia and therefore weren’t fully aware of the implications of what they were doing you may be able to get the bills slashed down.)

Definitely tell a Dr about their suicide comments, they may be in so much worry and despair that those comments may be their final cry for help before they try committing suicide

In the US, there are lawyers who specialize in “elder care.” If you can, try and get recommendations from anyone you might know who has been through this, because some lawyers are better than others. I had problems twice in my life due to lawyers’ giving me the wrong information; it is totally worth it to get a good lawyer even if they charge more. If you call a lawyer-referral place, all they do is give you the next lawyer on their list.

It’s not about the gifts, it’s about the mental state of the in laws. Intervention is the first order of business here. Talk to them about their situation, let them know it’s not hopeless if they will allow you to get them real help. If they are totally unreasonable, you will have to take legal steps to have them declared incompetent and put a stop to this downward spiral. If they refuse an offer of real help, advise them of your intentions going forward and cut off all financial assistance in the meantime. Aside from helping them keep warm and eating, offer no other help, definitely no monetary assistance which would be enabling the situation to continue. I will pray for your family.

You need to contact the credit card companies and let them know the situation. They can revoke the cards or put a limit on them-say $500.00 or so. You are not obligated to pay these debts unless you knowingly let them accumulate and are paying them. I have a lot of questions, but know that they will go unanswered, so I will pray for you and the parents. Peace.

I’m so sorry you are going through this, giggly giraffe. Everyone above has given good advice. Just wanted to let you know that my prayers are with you and your family. :hug1:

I have to say, as the daughter-in-law, I have the least amount of power/authority to take action. I have repeatingly stated my observations to my husband, my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law, with no avail. I am not a typical “nagger”, but I was about three months ago. I finally decided to shut my mouth, and finally my husband was able to say the words that his mother has dimentia (he refuses to see his dad’s part and dementia). I have called the doctor to mention my concerns, but the parents wrote “no one” on their Hippa form. Then I almost had BIL call the doctor, but his wife has basically sipped her hands clean and says, “people have to deal with consequences”.

Mary, mother of Sorrows, mother who was helpless when her son faced consequences … Pray for us.

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