Dear Annie: My brother is a con artist

Dear Annie: When my mother was in a coma, dying, my brother closed her safety deposit box. He was co-executor of the estate. Life insurance policies, jewelry and all her personal and important belongings were gone.

I was stuck listing, cleaning and selling her home. There are a total of four children, and I had to drive nearly two hours to complete the task while everyone else was within a few miles of her. They enjoyed their trips while I worked my bum off.

However, I try to look at the positive side. For instance, I got to spend some alone time in the house I grew up in. I was able to add new memories and closures. The attorney I hired said, “Before this is over, somebody in the family will not be speaking!” How true.

My brother left a small life insurance policy to bury mom, and we had to fight to get the will. Unfortunately, he submitted one where he got $5,000 more than anyone else in the family for his friendship. To add insult to injury, the money was distributed before we realized the will was never filed with the state.

He lives very well in his home in Florida, but of course, he’s a great scammer. He scammed his employer, stating that he was unable to work, and his lawyer fought and won early retirement for him.

People like this exist right under our own noses. The saddest part is the fact that the night before Mom had a stroke, he told her he would no longer help her. My mom called me in tears. I told her she could move out of state with me and we’ll figure it out. She died knowing who truly loved her, and -- while dying in a hospital -- she realized that her son was stealing from her.

-- A Con Artist for a Brother


Dear Con Artist for a Brother: No amount of money in the world will buy peace of mind and a good night’s sleep. It sounds like your brother is a crook and you know it, your mother knew it and he knows it. That is really sad, but it is the way he has chosen to live his life.

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Dear Annie: Your recently published letter about a 79-year-old man and his desire to continue driving was a bit off the mark. He said he was a more defensive driver and had slowed down on the road. My guess is he is one of those drivers who travel 25 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone. I am 73 and aware of too many elderly drivers who are now afraid of their surroundings while at the wheel. My mother-in-law drove until her mid-80s, and I believe she was dangerous on the road. Anything over 45 mph scared her to death, and her driving reflected this. Not until she had a few minor accidents did she stop driving. Luckily, she hurt no one else.

This man might want to have an impartial third party evaluate his driving skills and accept the results. I imagine the reason for his letter was that someone was already concerned about how he drove and he did not appreciate those comments.

-- A Third Party Review

Dear Third Party: Thank you for your letter. A great number of you wrote in about the importance of having a third party evaluate elderly drivers.

Annie Lane

Annie Lane offers common-sense solutions to everyday problems. She's firm, funny and sympathetic, echoing the style of her biggest inspiration, Ann Landers. She lives outside Manhattan with her husband, two kids and two dogs. When not writing, she devotes her time to play dates and Play-Doh. Write her: