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I borrowed $20,000 from my mother in 1996, but only repaid $5,000. She deducted the entire loan from my inheritance. I need that money. What now?

‘I live in a semi-expensive assisted living facility, and I’m not in good health’ Dear Quentin,

When we sold our late mother’s house last year for $600,000, the equity was supposed to be divided equally by us four siblings (around $146,000 each). In 1996, I borrowed $20,000 from my mother interest-free to help buy my condo. I promised to pay her back in two years. 

I managed to pay her back $5,000 in six months. But I made terrible decisions in my finances and I lost my high-paying job. My budget couldn’t afford to pay her back. I was terrified to tell her. She was extremely angry at that time, so she deducted $20,000 from my inheritance.

Long story short: I defaulted on mom’s loan. When mom made out her will, she produced my letter from 1996, which stated that I did not repay the loan. This is the only evidence of the transaction. I want to have the CPA redo the taxes to show that I paid part of the loan off. 

When I called my sister,  mom’s power of attorney, she was so upset. She said, “F— you, never talk to me again!” I was shocked! She has never talked to me this way in 75 years. I understand her anger because this is a mess and she’s a hero for doing such a wonderful job as a power of attorney.

I too am upset, but I need every cent of my inheritance. I live in a semi-expensive assisted living facility, and I’m not in good health. On top of that, Medicare only pays part of my health bills. Do you have any suggestions on how to fix this mess, without having to redo our taxes for 2022?

Cash-Strapped Son

Related: ‘Our American dream turned into a nightmare’: I sold my home, but rising interest rates and prices have locked me out of the market. What can I do?

Dear Cash-Strapped,

You’re digging a dry well.