Post # 1
Hi everyone, I was hoping to get some new perspectives on this situation. My estranged father recently was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. He has two young children of another marriage and a wife who is a Stay-At-Home Mom. My relationship with my father is very strained, he was absent for most of mt Life. I’m concerned about my young siblings as he is the sole provider for that family. I’d like to offer help, but I also don’t want to be put in the position of supporting a second family (and these are the kind of people that if you offer an inch they will take a mile). I’m curious to hear what other people would do in my situation.
Post # 2
If you believe these are the kind of people who would take advantage, and you don’t have much of a relationship with them, I’d say leave it alone. You are not responsible for the second family he decided to have.
Post # 3
wanda888 : What exactly do you mean by “help”?
If I were in your situation, I would not do anything financially except maybe look into educational savings accounts for the two young siblings. Or I might open some low risk medium-term investment funds for the children with the idea of handing them over at 18 or 21, to use for school, vocational training, a wedding, or part of a home/car purchase. I would not tell the stepmother about these funds.
This family is not your responsibility and you cannot help them by supporting the stay-at-home-wife indefinitely. Even if that were financially feasible for you, don’t do it. I think a relationship dynamic like that would be harmful to everyone involved. Any short-term aid would also likely do more harm than good.
At most, I might offer to contribute a specific amount to the funeral costs provided it is not a strain for you financially. Otherwise the best support you can provide would be offering his widow help with the legal fallout after his death (his car, bank accounts, retirement/investments, etc., all need to be transferred to her name, these tasks can be overwhelming and vary by state). You might also offer to help with child care, even if it’s only occasionally to give the mom a break. But I don’t think money is the best way to help your siblings.
Does your father have life insurance? Does your stepmom have family? Your stepmom’s support network of friends and family are the ones best positioned to help her transition. If your father doesn’t have sufficient life insurance then she will have to become a working mom. I’m sorry for your loss.
Post # 4
Thank you, those are great ways to help. They have been hinting that they will need financial help from me and it’s been making me uncomfortable
Post # 5
Ok, your update is strange. Why do turn they to you to ask for money? How is your relationship with them? Is it the fact that they already think that it is obvious that you‘ll help them that makes you uncomfortable or because you don‘t want to?
Post # 6
My relationship with them is not good, We are estranged but civil for the sake of my siblings. I guess they turn to me because they feel backed into a corner. They don’t have other family, her family is deceased. I do feel like they expect it so I guess that’s the part that makes me uncomfortable. Part of me wants to say yes because it’s the Christian thing to do and part of me feels like it’s not fair to me and also doesn’t solve the problem. If I had adult children who wanted financial help because they don’t want to work I would absolutely refuse (because it doesn’t teach them self sufficiency) so why would this be different.
Post # 7
The wife can get a job if she needs to. People do what they have to do. It is NOT your responsibility.
Post # 8
There is now way I’d be offering any help of any kind if the wife wasn’t working. If the situation isn’t serious enough for her to get to work, it isn’t serious enough for you to do anything.
Post # 9
wanda888 : they could file for government assistance if things get rough. don’t give them access to your pocketbook under any circumstance…
Post # 10
Helping because you are able and willing to is very different to helping because it is expected of you.
By the sounds of things, you are not close to either your father or his wife. I don’t think you should feel obligated to support them financially especially if the wife is able to work. I agree with PPs regarding setting up savings accounts for your half-siblings if you would like to help them out in some way, but this again is because you are able and willing to – not because of expectations.
Post # 11
Agree with PP that the most you should do is set up a college savings for the siblings and then maybe cover part of the funeral cost. But if she’s already expecting something, it could turn into a “if you give a mouse a cookie” situation
Post # 12
There are ways to help via in kind gifts to benefit the children. Do you live close enough to bring groceries? Or, could you amazon some clothes for the kids? Stuff like that.
The idea is to provide items that can be used to benefit the kids, rather than money.
Post # 13
wanda888 : Ok, thanks for the acclarations.
So do you think you could just say them that? That you don’t feel like this is going to help them in the long run? It seems that there is not much to lose for you here. So you could rather try to help them in other ways as the other Bees already wrote. Because you’re totally not obliged to give them money in any way.
Post # 14
wanda888 : wtf, she can hint all she wants but she needs to get a J-O-B. I wouldn’t give her a dime and would suggest she start applying..DO NOT take this on OP. They will try to emotionally manipulate you but this is NOT your responsibility, at all!