Loaning friends or family money can be a very risky endeavor.
Those who can afford to often have no trouble lending money without a second thought, and never expect to be paid back.
Others however view a loan for precisely what it is, a loan, and not only expect to be paid in full but demand their debt be repaid in a timely manner.
Redditor AmIGreedy12 loaned her mother a substantial amount of money.
Sadly, the original poster (OP)’s mother passed away before she could repay the debt.
As a result, it fell to the OP’s sister to repay what her mother owed, which the OP’s sister was reluctant to do, as it would cost her something much more valuable than money.
Even so, the OP still demanded to be repaid and wasn’t going to back off.
Wondering if she was in the wrong for doing so, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for refusing to forgive a debt that will cost my sister a house?”
The OP explained why she found herself at odds with her brother and sister for demanding her sister repay their late mother’s debt.
“My mother died about 2 months ago.”
“She didn’t leave behind much other than a paid for house (worth about $180K) and a little money in the bank.”
“Mom announced a couple of years ago that she intended to leave her house to my sister Sara who takes care of her severely disabled son full-time.”
“Mom said that she wanted to make sure they had a roof over their heads and the rest of her kids could make it on their own.”
“Sara does struggle a lot and has said many times that she wouldn’t have been able to make it without Mom.”
“When Mom died she had some bills outstanding, but her biggest debt was that she owed me $37K.”
“I had loaned her the money so that she could fix her plumbing and septic system, as well as making the house more handicapped friendly for Sara and Jeremy.”
“Mom had been paying me back every month.”
“I have paperwork proving the money is owed.”
“Here is the problem.”
“If I file a claim against her estate like any other creditor would do, my brother John (Mom’s executor) will have no choice but to pay it.”
“But to do so – he will have to sell the house since there isn’t money in the estate to pay it any other way.”
“Which means that Sara and Jeremy will have to find a different place to live.”
“I know Mom wanted Sara to have the house.”
“There is also the issue that Mom’s will said Sara got the house, but any money in the estate would be split evenly between the other 4 of us.”
“So technically we think that means Sara wouldn’t actually get anything (John is talking to a lawyer to make sure he is reading that right).”
“Sara is also concerned that if she did get a large amount of money (John and I have both said we would give her whatever we got from the house if it does get sold) – that it could interfere with the help she gets from the government.”
“John and Sara are both pushing me to not file a claim against the estate.”
“But if I don’t – then the loan basically goes away.”
“Sara has said that she will pay it back to me and would even sign a new loan.”
“The trouble is that I don’t believe her.”
“She has borrowed money before and never paid it back – not because she doesn’t want to, but because she can’t afford to.”
“She struggled with money living with Mom – so it is going to be even worse for her without Mom paying bills in the house as well.”
“If I don’t file a claim – I will be out $37K – and that is far more than I want to hand over as a gift – even to my sister.”
“I’ve told John and Sara that I am officially filing a claim on Monday morning.”
“They are both calling me a greedy a**hole and telling me that I am ignoring what Mom wanted.”
“I think it’s unreasonable to expect me to just forget $37K.’
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
While the Reddit community agreed that the OP’s situation was a very delicate one, they were somewhat divided on whether or not she was the a**hole for demanding her mother’s debt be repaid.
Many felt the OP was being cold and heartless for ignoring her sister’s situation and the disadvantage repaying her mother’s debt would put her in, finding her to be the a**hole.
“So basically you’re saying you and your brother are thinking of forcing your sister to sell the house and then splitting it four (or is it five?) ways.”
“which of that, $37K or your sister’s cut goes to you?”
“And then she’s out of a house and will have to rent (can’t see how she’ll be able to buy) a house, which she already has trouble paying bills?”
“You don’t just want to sell the house to get it away from Sara, you also want to ensure she can be cut from any monies from the house since the will indicates the house goes to her and any money from the estate goes to the 4 of us.”
“In addition, your mom’s intent was never for you to get the house money.”
“If you want to make this as your mother intended and protect Sara, then the estate pays you the 37,000 out of the sale of the house, but NONE of the rest of the money is split between anyone.”
“It all goes to Sara in a trust so she and her son’s benefits are safe and they can buy a home.”-sheramom4
“YTA for a few reasons here.”
“You refuse to wait for your brother/the executor to talk to an attorney, which is literally happening later in the week.”
“Several people have made outstanding points, like getting a new contract or a lien against the house, you absolutely will not hear out a single word of it, just repeatedly saying she will not pay and I’ll never see the money.”
“That’s where contracts and liens come in. They are literally there to protect you.”
“You state you are QUITE financially stable right now and that you do not need this money right this second, but you’re also unwilling to help find any workarounds for your sister and her MULTIPLE children, you’re happy to make her homeless.”
“You CLAIM that you and John are willing to give her your shares but are unsure if the other siblings will.”
“But that it could also screw with the benefits she HAS TO HAVE to take care of her child so you all are willing to essentially hold onto it and what, give her as you see fit?”
“And the other two siblings – who realistically shouldn’t be getting a dime but will if you do this – have said nothing about THEIR shares.”
“You are willing to make your sister and her children homeless over money that you are not in dire need of right this minute.”
“No one in their right mind is telling you you should walk away from 37k and just be fine with that.”
“But they are telling you to take a step back and find out all the information before jumping, and you have zero interest in doing that OR accepting the judgment you requested when it’s not going your way.”- clrichmond2009
Others felt that the OP was not the a**hole for wanting to be repaid what was, indeed, a sizable amount of money. Though many also felt that she and her family could try to look for ways to make it happen without selling her mother’s house. Others also spotted some holes in her logic behind the legal technicalities.
“You’ve got a couple of things wrong.”
“First, if you file a claim against the estate, the executor can always object to it, after which you will have a set period of time (generally 30 days) to bring an independent action unless you paying for repairs and whatnot is considered a lien against the house itself.”
“Second, if an asset of the estate is sold that was a specific bequest to someone, the proceeds are usually still theirs; it doesn’t simply become a cash asset distributable under another portion of the Will.”
“If that were the case, an executor could just sell all the assets and give everything to cash beneficiaries and leave all the specific bequest beneficiaries in the dust.”
“Third, depending on whether it’s your sister receiving benefits or her son, the sums may not cause issues with the benefits.”
“NTA for wanting to be paid, but just wait until your brother talks to an estate attorney. You’re jumping the gun when probate matters aren’t as simple as you’d think.”- AthenavsZeuss
“The answer here needs to be – talk to an estate lawyer.”
“If she gifted the house outright in the will, (here in Canada) that would be a specific property bequest and not part of the ‘residual’ estate that’s divided up.”
“But this will vary depending on your estate laws and how the will was written.”
“So here in Canada, you filing a claim would not automatically make your sister lose the house because of our hierarchy of payments, debts are paid from residue first, and the real estate transaction last.”
“Are there enough other assets to cover the loan?”
“It might mean no one else gets a portion.”
“And for anyone else reading this – if you’re loaning money to elder relatives – buy a life insurance policy for the amount loaned (and add the premiums to the loan amount) to save yourself from this issue.”
“Situation sucks – NTA.”- chillout520
When you loan someone $37K, it isn’t unreasonable to expect to be paid back.
Even so, rather than demand that her sister repay the loan in full, knowing it would cost her the house, it is surprising that the OP didn’t look for other options.
Something that a lawyer might do for her, hopefully coming to a resolution that will please everyone.