Inspired by this question: How to avoid being seen as a cash cow by my family?, I wanted to ask how my own situation should be handled.
We are not rich, but also not poor. My sister has two little children, has less money, but still is no way poor. My grandma has only one son, my father, of whom we are the only children, and a lot of savings. She has a really great heart and always gives a little bit money when we're visiting, but she wants to keep her savings, because shes extremely afraid of getting incapable to live on her own. By german law, maids etc.get paid by her savings - and when used up it gets paid by her child, my father. This is extremely expensive. She wants to avoid that at all costs, therefore looking carefully for her money.
I really respect my grandma for this way of thinking. And I think I'm still getting enough of that pie she has saved by all those little givings.
But not so my sister. Whenever we have some family party she starts to complain about financial problems, which, imo, she does not have. Always somethings going wrong for her, it seems. One time it's a broken car, next time the laundry machine, next time whatever. Oh and because of this and that we really can't go to that holiday the children were so happy of.
She never complains like this, when my grandma's not near. She tells about all those broken things, yes, but never ever mentions she's in financial problems because of it. She, too, spends lot of imo senseless things, like tattoos, ever new fishes for the pond (which will die soon enough) or fitness studio, which my grandma would never spend her savings for. But still, when she hears about the children being not able to go to that holiday they were so happy of, she gives her money. It's not that it's riches she's getting. 200 € here, 300 € there. Plus the regular givings for each visit.
Normally I would tell my grandma not to be stupid. But my grandma has always been fair for the two of us. That means, no matter what, I'm getting the exact same amount of money, though I never asked for it. So I take profit of maybe 2000-3000 € per year just for being my sister's sister. Only the money for a new car I don't get - she wants to give it to me as soon as I buy a new one, too. I don't know how much money this will be, as my sister broke so many cars by buying always old, but rather expensive cars and all those gifts to her have summed up. My grandma even urges me to finally buy a new car so she can give me that sum, too. I will certainly not do that, as long as my current car is still able to crawl.
Sometimes when we visit my grandma, my husband jokes before arriving, now we'll see how bad the financial situation of your sister currently is - just on the amount of money we will get.
I feel pretty bad taking all that money I think I have no right on. So how would you proceed? Should I talk to them? Would you react in "public" on such a family happening or rather look for some privacy to talk? Should I tell my sister to stop? What would you tell her? Would you tell my grandma?
Edit: As proposed in the comments, I edited my question. You are right, I should not ask for opinions - people will either way tell me.
And another edit to clarify the role of my father in this little game of my sister's... I know my grandma and my father really well. They would never start to talk about such things to me. But as far as I can interpret their silent communications when my sister starts complaining, is that my father thinks the same way I do and already told her. The way she looks at my father in such situations is like "but how should I tell her?". This is only interpretation, but what I know for sure is that sometimes my father jumps in, preventing my grandma from paying by paying himself. Same point in fairness - he's a second cash cow I'm milking unintentionally.
And no, grandma is definitely not dement. I really know her well. For an old woman of 78 she could not be any fitter.
By the way, also my grandpa is still living. In such situations he simply closes his eyes pretending to sleep - seemingly avoiding any discussions with my grandma.
So, in short, everyone is looking away, pretending not to notice to avoid any discussions.