Ask Paul: My daughter won't let me spend my own money
First, I love reading your column, as it's very informative.
I've got myself in a bit of a pickle. I've maxed out two credit cards and owe $15,000. I've also been scammed twice and lost more than $7000.
My bank has been unable to recoup any money.
I live in a $1.3 million apartment, which is fully paid off. Now my savings are down to $500.
I have money in a separate account, which my daughter controls since my husband's death two years ago.
She pays for my big bills out of my reserve money, but she is adamant that, as I get a pension, I need to learn to survive on that.
I feel violated. I'm in my early 60s, and having raised three kids and worked all my life, I feel she does not have the right to control me.
My kids have had the best of everything we could afford - private schools, family holidays. They've all got beautiful cars and homes, and have travelled extensively overseas.
Upon the sale of our lovely family home, my daughter informed me that by law they were to inherit part of the estate, so each one of them has already received more than $200,000.
My dilemma is, do I take her to court and regain control of my money, or should I just get a personal loan to consolidate my debts to keep peace in the family? - Janet
Oh, Janet! While parts of Kirsten's question made me laugh, yours makes me want to cry.
I suspect there is a lot here that I do not understand, such as why your daughter was given a power of attorney over your assets after your husband died. There is only so much that you can say in an email, but a couple of things stand out to me.
First, your children have beautiful homes, extensive overseas travel and now some $200,000 from the sale of the family home.
You have your apartment, but you have maxed out two credit cards and have $15,000 on those. Being scammed is a horrible experience; losing $7000 to two scams is painful. Your daughter pays your "big bills", but says you need to learn to live on a pension.
From what I am reading, you are being treated very poorly. So, I have no hesitation in agreeing with your thoughts to take legal advice.
"Keeping the family peace" is all good and well, but you are struggling to cover your living costs and credit card repayments. Taking out a personal loan is hardly going to help your situation. My fear is that you end up losing your apartment.
This first step you can keep to yourself, but you need to understand your legal rights and the choice you have to see what can be done to regain control of your affairs. Please speak to an experienced lawyer.
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