Life Advice



Ask Amy: Hard luck brother begs for funds

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

This bank transaction is an hour away for me to travel. It enrages me that it keeps happening.

I usually don’t answer his calls, but I am always worried that he will have an urgent need.

When my extended family saw him a few months ago, they all commented on how unwell he looked.

How can I maintain boundaries (and keep my money) while making sure that he is OK?

– Not my Monkeys

Dear Not my Monkeys: If you are willing to contribute when you’re asked to pay medical bills, you should ask your brother to show you the actual bills, confirm them with the physician’s office, and pay them directly.


You might also help by connecting him with local services and with a social worker who could help him to apply for affordable housing or other eligible programs.

You have attempted to intervene on behalf of other elderly relatives, and you should do the same for your father. You should talk with him about your brother’s requests, and if your dad is competent, willing, and able to fulfill these requests, you could help him by visiting his bank and exploring your options.

You and your father might want to open a joint account only for this purpose, with both of you having access to it. You could then link your brother’s account to it and make these transfers online. This would make your participation much easier, and would also enable you to monitor the spending.

You have been careful about maintaining boundaries, but you should also understand that you will not always be able to control the outcome.


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