Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

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Lee_WSP
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Lee_WSP »

sureshoe wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:46 pm The big problem you're getting into here is enforceability of the conditions. Depending on the state and the court, you get into a question of whether these stipulations are enforceable. In my opinion, they are not - but I'm not a lawyer. For example, I can't write a will saying, "you inherit $10,000 as long as you don't marry PersonX". Saying you must provide rent free housing to someone while also putting visitation restrictions on them feels akin to this.
Why do you think that?

You may certainly attach prerequisites. I don’t advise such prerequisites and there are plenty of workarounds if you know of them in advance.

You could grant a lease rent free for x years or for life if allowed. You can’t control your tenants, you can only kick them out if they violate the terms of the lease.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

bsteiner wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:03 pm
So don't sign more than one copy of the Will. Also, let the law firm retain custody of the signed original. If the law firm loses it, someone in the firm can sign an affidavit saying they had custody of it and lost it. I had such a case where the drafting lawyer signed an affidavit saying he had custody of the Will and lost it.

If the testator keeps it, it will be much more difficult to overcome the presumption that he/she destroyed it with the intention of revoking it.
Theoretically, that's great. My wife's aunt did exactly that. Then the attorney died. Then the aunt died. Nobody in the law firm can find the will. It's only one of the many loose ends DW (executor) is dealing with.
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Lee_WSP
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Lee_WSP »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:25 pm
bsteiner wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:03 pm
So don't sign more than one copy of the Will. Also, let the law firm retain custody of the signed original. If the law firm loses it, someone in the firm can sign an affidavit saying they had custody of it and lost it. I had such a case where the drafting lawyer signed an affidavit saying he had custody of the Will and lost it.

If the testator keeps it, it will be much more difficult to overcome the presumption that he/she destroyed it with the intention of revoking it.
Theoretically, that's great. My wife's aunt did exactly that. Then the attorney died. Then the aunt died. Nobody in the law firm can find the will. It's only one of the many loose ends DW (executor) is dealing with.
The successor attorney can sign the affidavit. All you’d need is someone who had actual knowledge of the will being in the firm’s possession. Absent that, business records indicating possession, but no destruction should be sufficient for the firm to certify. I think you are making more of the situation at such an early stage than necessary.

This situation is immensely easier to deal with than if decedent put the will somewhere no one else knew about and then it’s found 10 years later. Or any number of other decedent caused issues.
Last edited by Lee_WSP on Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
sureshoe
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by sureshoe »

Lee_WSP wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:04 pm
sureshoe wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:46 pm The big problem you're getting into here is enforceability of the conditions. Depending on the state and the court, you get into a question of whether these stipulations are enforceable. In my opinion, they are not - but I'm not a lawyer. For example, I can't write a will saying, "you inherit $10,000 as long as you don't marry PersonX". Saying you must provide rent free housing to someone while also putting visitation restrictions on them feels akin to this.
Why do you think that?

You may certainly attach prerequisites. I don’t advise such prerequisites and there are plenty of workarounds if you know of them in advance.

You could grant a lease rent free for x years or for life if allowed. You can’t control your tenants, you can only kick them out if they violate the terms of the lease.
You certainly cannot put something in a will like "you must follow X religion". There is no question in my mind of that, I'm not going to google legal precedent, but you can find it.

As for explicitly prohibiting her son from living there, that becomes VERY difficult to enforce legally, if not impossible. Real landlords struggle with this all the time. You cannot legally write a lease that says, "Mary Jones is allowed to live here, but her son is not allowed to visit her." All states have various laws prohibiting unreasonable guest restrictions. Most landlords have some type of prohibition against long-term guests, but they are very difficult to enforce. For example, "No guest may stay overnight more than 7 nights in any 6 month period or this is cause for eviction." Say her son moves in, keeps his crap there. Are you going to sit outside and take pictures of him going in and not leaving?

Again - ANYTHING can be written up, enforcing is a much different story.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Lee_WSP »

sureshoe wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:27 pm
Lee_WSP wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:04 pm
sureshoe wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:46 pm The big problem you're getting into here is enforceability of the conditions. Depending on the state and the court, you get into a question of whether these stipulations are enforceable. In my opinion, they are not - but I'm not a lawyer. For example, I can't write a will saying, "you inherit $10,000 as long as you don't marry PersonX". Saying you must provide rent free housing to someone while also putting visitation restrictions on them feels akin to this.
Why do you think that?

You may certainly attach prerequisites. I don’t advise such prerequisites and there are plenty of workarounds if you know of them in advance.

You could grant a lease rent free for x years or for life if allowed. You can’t control your tenants, you can only kick them out if they violate the terms of the lease.
You certainly cannot put something in a will like "you must follow X religion". There is no question in my mind of that, I'm not going to google legal precedent, but you can find it.

As for explicitly prohibiting her son from living there, that becomes VERY difficult to enforce legally, if not impossible. Real landlords struggle with this all the time. You cannot legally write a lease that says, "Mary Jones is allowed to live here, but her son is not allowed to visit her." All states have various laws prohibiting unreasonable guest restrictions. Most landlords have some type of prohibition against long-term guests, but they are very difficult to enforce. For example, "No guest may stay overnight more than 7 nights in any 6 month period or this is cause for eviction." Say her son moves in, keeps his crap there. Are you going to sit outside and take pictures of him going in and not leaving?

Again - ANYTHING can be written up, enforcing is a much different story.
You said marriage to a particular person. And you could, it’s just void per public policy in most states. Although the marriage clause is usually void for the same reason. Particular person clause is given more leeway.

I will not comment on the son situation. But your enforcement paragraph is consistent with my statement. You can only kick the tenant out if they violate the lease.
Last edited by Lee_WSP on Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by bsteiner »

sureshoe wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:27 pm ...
You certainly cannot put something in a will like "you must follow X religion". There is no question in my mind of that, I'm not going to google legal precedent, but you can find it.
...
It's not that simple.

See In re Estate of Feinberg, 919 N.E.2d 888 (Ill. 2009): https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case ... s_sdt=4,14.

Also see this law review article discussing this: https://law.siu.edu/_common/documents/l ... lorenz.pdf.
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wander
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by wander »

I would recommend to sell the house, split the differences and move on. One of my distant relatives lived to 106, if I was in Op's shoe, I cannot wait that long. It's a rare, but it may happen. :D
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by celia »

bsteiner wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:03 pm
celia wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:38 pm ...
I would also suggest that dad send a signed and notarized will to each child as wills left where one lives can mysteriously “disappear”. (There can be more than one “original”.) I’ve read that an original needs to be presented to the court.
In that case, ALL of the signed copies must be presented. Otherwise, there's a presumption that he destroyed one of them with the intention of revoking his Will.

That's the same presumption that applies when only one copy is signed and it can't be found.
Is the same true for a trust?

What if accounts were opened for the trust, then the original trust is lost?
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Dave55 »

Dad's wish that her son never lives in the house will be impossible to enforce.

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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Silverado »

Lee_WSP wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:27 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:25 pm
bsteiner wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:03 pm
So don't sign more than one copy of the Will. Also, let the law firm retain custody of the signed original. If the law firm loses it, someone in the firm can sign an affidavit saying they had custody of it and lost it. I had such a case where the drafting lawyer signed an affidavit saying he had custody of the Will and lost it.

If the testator keeps it, it will be much more difficult to overcome the presumption that he/she destroyed it with the intention of revoking it.
Theoretically, that's great. My wife's aunt did exactly that. Then the attorney died. Then the aunt died. Nobody in the law firm can find the will. It's only one of the many loose ends DW (executor) is dealing with.
The successor attorney can sign the affidavit. All you’d need is someone who had actual knowledge of the will being in the firm’s possession. Absent that, business records indicating possession, but no destruction should be sufficient for the firm to certify. I think you are making more of the situation at such an early stage than necessary.

This situation is immensely easier to deal with than if decedent put the will somewhere no one else knew about and then it’s found 10 years later. Or any number of other decedent caused issues.
Ugh, I hate to keep this branch going, but this is fascinating.

So, the law firm says 'yep, had it, lost it', what then? If it is lost, then no one knows what was in it. Quite the nightmare.

Or do mean then a copy (unsigned) that the executor may have will suffice?
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

I would hope whatever the father decides to do that his current wife can maintain her present standard of living.

IMHO a wife has a more moral claim than children.

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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Thesaints »

Isn't there a legal form to split right of use and rest of property rights ?
The decedent should be able to bequeath the former to one person and the latter to another.

The Wife's son is a non-issue. One the wife dies, he has no rights. Before wife dies, she is free to accommodate her son, or anyone else for that matter.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Lee_WSP »

Silverado wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:56 pm
Lee_WSP wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:27 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:25 pm
bsteiner wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:03 pm
So don't sign more than one copy of the Will. Also, let the law firm retain custody of the signed original. If the law firm loses it, someone in the firm can sign an affidavit saying they had custody of it and lost it. I had such a case where the drafting lawyer signed an affidavit saying he had custody of the Will and lost it.

If the testator keeps it, it will be much more difficult to overcome the presumption that he/she destroyed it with the intention of revoking it.
Theoretically, that's great. My wife's aunt did exactly that. Then the attorney died. Then the aunt died. Nobody in the law firm can find the will. It's only one of the many loose ends DW (executor) is dealing with.
The successor attorney can sign the affidavit. All you’d need is someone who had actual knowledge of the will being in the firm’s possession. Absent that, business records indicating possession, but no destruction should be sufficient for the firm to certify. I think you are making more of the situation at such an early stage than necessary.

This situation is immensely easier to deal with than if decedent put the will somewhere no one else knew about and then it’s found 10 years later. Or any number of other decedent caused issues.
Ugh, I hate to keep this branch going, but this is fascinating.

So, the law firm says 'yep, had it, lost it', what then? If it is lost, then no one knows what was in it. Quite the nightmare.

Or do mean then a copy (unsigned) that the executor may have will suffice?
They would need an extant copy.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by neurosphere »

Here's an actual example of a will with a similar situation. It doesn't have the "and in no way can her good for nothing son ever live in the house!" clause, but stipulates she has to live alone except if she needs full-time live-in care. If son is living in the house ALSO at that time, I can only assume he would not be the one providing that care and thus there would be someone else present to at least provide feedback to you about bad goings-on.
I also grant unto my wife the
personal right to continue residing in the said home, alone, for
as long as she, as an un-remarried widow, keeps her permanent residence there and
maintains the home and premises in a manner that will secure it, protect it from the
elements and keep it in compliance with all city ordinances regarding appearances.
Should the house require a new roof or other major structural, electrical or plumbing
repairs, those costs shall not be charged to my wife, but shall be the divided responsibility
of my children from such of my estate as they receive upon settlement of my
estate or upon the ultimate sale the home.

Should my wife require only temporary hospitalization, rehab residence, nursing
home or assisted living care, such shall not nullify her right to continue her residency at
the home upon the end of said temporary care. Should said
temporary care become physically or medically necessary on a permanent basis due to an
illness, mental incapacity or physical disability from which medically she is not expected
to recover sufficiently to live independently at the above described home, it is my desire
and I so direct that her personal rights and entitlements of residency in the home shall be deemed terminated. At such time, full, fee simple title shall be vested in my children.

"Permanent Vacation" by my wife shall be considered when she moves into
another residence either voluntarily or for health care. Any temporary periods
of absences for hospitalizations, vacations or rehabilitations shall not be
considered "Permanent Vacations". Should she require a full time, live-in,
caretaker due to a disability, as an option to a nursing home or assisted living
facility, such would not be cause for terminating this trust until time that such
care would not be in her best physical or medical interest. Should those issues
arise, she shall notify my Trustee and discuss her future plans for removing
from the house. Should my wife arrange to permanently
vacate the premises, she shall execute a notarized release of the Trustee and of
the premises which shall be recorded in the land records of ...

Invoices for expenses for repairs of a major structural nature necessary to
preserve the integrity of the house shall be paid timely by my
Trustee upon receipt of said invoices. Any minor expenses which my wife
incurs for the house and premises as for minor repairs, minor roof leaks,
cosmetic modifications, interior painting, pest control, air filter replacements,
yard work, clearing drains, or other routine maintenance, my wife shall be
responsible for paying upon receipt of the invoice for same.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by fyre4ce »

A few things come to mind:
  • First, I'd make sure he's actually allowed to leave the house to you and your sister, effectively disinheriting his spouse. It will depend on state law and the history of the property. If he owned the property clean and clear before he married his now-wife, he probably can. But even if he owned the house before he got married, if he had a mortgage on it that was paid while his wife was working and generating income for the household, she might be able to make a claim for at least partial ownership. Even if she did handyman repairs on the property she might have some basis to file a lawsuit contesting the will. Again, depending on the laws and facts she may or may not have a strong legal claim, but dealing with a lawsuit (even with little merit) could cost you time and money. After all, your dad is attempting to give away the house where she's living comfortably to someone else. And I'd be worried that the fact that she's been living there a while could swing a judge in her favor if there's any legal grey area. This is where I would start.
  • In general, wills have limited power to attach conditions to inheritance. Any conditions are limited to the short time period around inheritance. For example, if the will says, "OP inherits the house if he allows widow to live in it" you would inherit the property if she's living in it at the time of distribution of his assets. But then the house is in your name, and you can do whatever you want with it, including kicking his widow out and selling it as soon as the deed is recorded. If your father wants legally-enforceable conditions to persist after his death, he needs a trust. You could offer to be a trustee, maybe in conjunction with a professional trustee.
  • Assuming he does not create a trust and just leaves you and your sister the property (and this is legal), it's yours to do whatever you want with, within the law. I would write up a lease with your dad's widow, allowing her to stay there for $1/month, or for the cost of property tax or something. That contract is where you might have the power to exclude her son, but you would need to consult a lawyer who specializes in landlord-tenant law. Do you want to bar him from ever setting foot on the property? Would this be allowed legally? What about him stopping in to use the bathroom after a long road trip? Spending a long weekend? Providing care for his mom if she needs it? It would be up to you to figure out what the law says, and strike whatever balance you feel is correct between your late father's wishes and the needs of the situation. (eg. maybe long after your father is gone, you allow her son to live there and care for her against his wishes, if it seems like the right thing to do at the time). You would also get to decide what happens if she moves out - keep the property vacant and ready for her return, or sell it. All this gets sorted out in a lease. And you could modify the terms as you go, if both parties agree to the change.
  • I wouldn't worry about her dying and you not knowing. If you own the house and she's living there, you should have regular enough contact that I can't imagine this being a problem. Or, someone from her estate will contact you when they find the lease.
  • If you would prefer to just gift the house to your dad's widow, and your sister is okay with that, then sure, go ahead. You have to decide whether the house value is worth the hassle.
fyre4ce
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by fyre4ce »

neurosphere wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:31 pm Here's an actual example of a will with a similar situation. It doesn't have the "and in no way can her good for nothing son ever live in the house!" clause, but stipulates she has to live alone except if she needs full-time live-in care. If son is living in the house ALSO at that time, I can only assume he would not be the one providing that care and thus there would be someone else present to at least provide feedback to you about bad goings-on.
<snip>
Is it even possible for a will to grant one party the right to live in a property, and legal title to the property to another party? Along with the terms of who pays for a new roof, etc? I thought this required a trust.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by fortunefavored »

This thread has gotten extremely lawyerly.. :)

Try to keep it simple: Have your father explain to you what he wants ("she should be able to live there until it is unreasonable") and have him leave you the home, no legal strings attached. He needs to trust that you'll do what he intends. If he does not, he should just leave her the house, or have the estate liquidated.

Do not accept any other legally complex arrangement (as this thread makes abundantly clear!)
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neurosphere
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by neurosphere »

fyre4ce wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:03 pm
neurosphere wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:31 pm Here's an actual example of a will...
Is it even possible for a will to grant one party the right to live in a property, and legal title to the property to another party? Along with the terms of who pays for a new roof, etc? I thought this required a trust.
Sorry, what I posted was relevant portions from both the will and document that creates the trust. You'll see there is indeed the word "Trustee" somewhere in all that text. :wink: "Will" was my sloppy shorthand for "husbands wishes". :D
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by hudson »

mouth wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:33 pm - Dad is revising his will to codify the detail he's told me verbally several times over the years. That, he wants his wife to live in the house until she passes. Meanwhile the house and it's contents pass to myself and sister upon his passing and we are to pay the property taxes from the estate during that time.

He's asked me to comment on the revised changes.

- And what if the reason he's living there is because she is understandably no longer able to take care of herself? Now what? Sure I could just accept it ignoring Dad's wishes but even then ...

The actual email I sent my father pointed out some of the above (again, "softer"), highlighted that my goals are to honor his intentions that his wife have a place to live, but also not putting us all at risk of some very uncomfortable situations that would end up running counter to his prime directive.
If a parent of mine asked me for advice on a similar situation. I would give a very short reply....mostly thanking him/her for asking and for thinking of me. I doubt if I would address any of the high drama situations or worries. I would also add that I hope that he is hiring a good lawyer to set everything up. I would address all other issues if and when they ever came to be. I probably wouldn't reply in writing. I would probably do it with a short upbeat phone call. I'm probably the same age as your dad. If one of my children came at me with a whole lot of detail about how my will should be set up, I would probably get heartburn.

Bottom line: The less said, the better.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Lee_WSP »

fyre4ce wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:03 pm
neurosphere wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:31 pm Here's an actual example of a will with a similar situation. It doesn't have the "and in no way can her good for nothing son ever live in the house!" clause, but stipulates she has to live alone except if she needs full-time live-in care. If son is living in the house ALSO at that time, I can only assume he would not be the one providing that care and thus there would be someone else present to at least provide feedback to you about bad goings-on.
<snip>
Is it even possible for a will to grant one party the right to live in a property, and legal title to the property to another party? Along with the terms of who pays for a new roof, etc? I thought this required a trust.
Yes. It's called a life estate. A trust also does what you've described. As would a lease for x years. Unsure if a lease for life is even possible in some states.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Lee_WSP »

neurosphere wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:22 pm
fyre4ce wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:03 pm
neurosphere wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:31 pm Here's an actual example of a will...
Is it even possible for a will to grant one party the right to live in a property, and legal title to the property to another party? Along with the terms of who pays for a new roof, etc? I thought this required a trust.
Sorry, what I posted was relevant portions from both the will and document that creates the trust. You'll see there is indeed the word "Trustee" somewhere in all that text. :wink: "Will" was my sloppy shorthand for "husbands wishes". :D
The wording is taken from a trust document. The first part refers to what will terminate the trust. The second, after the elipses, refers to the trustee.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by texasdiver »

So after reading all the comments it seems like the following is true:

1. Father wants his estate to pass to his wife and two children but not the wife's son from a previous marriage.
2. Father wants the wife to be able to live in the house but doesn't want the moocher son to benefit.
3. Father doesn't want the wife's son to inherit *his* estate after his wife passes.

Seems like there is no real good way to do this while keeping the house in the family and causing enormous headache for the out of state children. The easier solution would be to liquidate the estate and distribute the proceeds as he wishes. 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 or however he specifies. Possibly the wife's share could be in the form of an annuity that pays out until her death so she is supported by the estate for the remainder of her life but nothing remains to inherit when she dies.

I don't know if it is possible to specify that the proceeds of an estate be passed to the beneficiary in the form of a lifetime annuity. But that would be one way to ensure the wife benefits for the duration of her life but not the son.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by rooms222 »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:25 pm
bsteiner wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:03 pm
So don't sign more than one copy of the Will. Also, let the law firm retain custody of the signed original. If the law firm loses it, someone in the firm can sign an affidavit saying they had custody of it and lost it. I had such a case where the drafting lawyer signed an affidavit saying he had custody of the Will and lost it.

If the testator keeps it, it will be much more difficult to overcome the presumption that he/she destroyed it with the intention of revoking it.
Theoretically, that's great. My wife's aunt did exactly that. Then the attorney died. Then the aunt died. Nobody in the law firm can find the will. It's only one of the many loose ends DW (executor) is dealing with.
Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts and Michigan allow you to pay a small fee and pre-deposit your will with the probate court while you are alive.

https://answers.uslegal.com/wills-and-e ... ath/28969/
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by abuss368 »

Dave55 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:45 pm Dad's wish that her son never lives in the house will be impossible to enforce.

Dave
True but in Dave’s case he owns multiple homes in many different states. This should not be an issue.😂🤣

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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Dave55 »

abuss368 wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:38 am
Dave55 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:45 pm Dad's wish that her son never lives in the house will be impossible to enforce.

Dave
True but in Dave’s case he owns multiple homes in many different states. This should not be an issue.😂🤣

Tony
Tony how was your "vacation"? Any pictures to share?

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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Petrocelli »

I just finished a dispute involving a life estate that lasted over a decade, so listen up...

My wife's stepfather named her as a beneficiary of his trust. (For those of you in the know, it was this trust that bought the $5,000 watch, but that's another story...)

The trust included a factory that one of the brothers was leasing from his father. The trust terms stipulated that one of the brothers could lease the factory at fair market value as long as he operated his company there. FMV would be set by the Trustee, his brother.

The trustee brother set the lease price at about $10,000 a month. The lessor brother complained that was too high, and that lead to a series of lawsuits where the Court appointed an independent trustee to set the rent. The independent trustee concluded the rent was to low, and set the rent at around $17,000. This lead to another series of lawsuits which cost around $250,000

The lessor brother then complained that the property was contaminated. He claimed his father had contaminated the property when the property was worth less rent because of that. This lead to a series of tests and remediation which cost about $250,000.

The brother then stopped paying rent. This lead to another series of lawsuits. That probably cost around another $100,000.

Finally, the lessor brother gave up. Last year, we sold that property and an adjacent property with 20 commercial units (which is located at the junction of the 405 and 101 Freeway in Los Angeles) for $6.6 million, but not after spending about $750,000 on lawyers and professionals.

So my advice is to DISENTANGLE YOURSELF FROM EACH OTHER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
Petrocelli (not the real Rico, but just a fan)
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by JonnyDVM »

Petrocelli wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:28 am I just finished a dispute involving a life estate that lasted over a decade, so listen up...

My wife's stepfather named her as a beneficiary of his trust. (For those of you in the know, it was this trust that bought the $5,000 watch, but that's another story...)

The trust included a factory that one of the brothers was leasing from his father. The trust terms stipulated that one of the brothers could lease the factory at fair market value as long as he operated his company there. FMV would be set by the Trustee, his brother.

The trustee brother set the lease price at about $10,000 a month. The lessor brother complained that was too high, and that lead to a series of lawsuits where the Court appointed an independent trustee to set the rent. The independent trustee concluded the rent was to low, and set the rent at around $17,000. This lead to another series of lawsuits which cost around $250,000

The lessor brother then complained that the property was contaminated. He claimed his father had contaminated the property when the property was worth less rent because of that. This lead to a series of tests and remediation which cost about $250,000.

The brother then stopped paying rent. This lead to another series of lawsuits. That probably cost around another $100,000.

Finally, the lessor brother gave up. Last year, we sold that property and an adjacent property with 20 commercial units (which is located at the junction of the 405 and 101 Freeway in Los Angeles) for $6.6 million, but not after spending about $750,000 on lawyers and professionals.

So my advice is to DISENTANGLE YOURSELF FROM EACH OTHER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
That’s a crazy story. Brother cost the estate 3/4 of a million for no reason whatsoever.
I’d trade it all for a little more | -C Montgomery Burns
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by michaeljc70 »

JonnyDVM wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 11:49 am
Petrocelli wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:28 am I just finished a dispute involving a life estate that lasted over a decade, so listen up...

My wife's stepfather named her as a beneficiary of his trust. (For those of you in the know, it was this trust that bought the $5,000 watch, but that's another story...)

The trust included a factory that one of the brothers was leasing from his father. The trust terms stipulated that one of the brothers could lease the factory at fair market value as long as he operated his company there. FMV would be set by the Trustee, his brother.

The trustee brother set the lease price at about $10,000 a month. The lessor brother complained that was too high, and that lead to a series of lawsuits where the Court appointed an independent trustee to set the rent. The independent trustee concluded the rent was to low, and set the rent at around $17,000. This lead to another series of lawsuits which cost around $250,000

The lessor brother then complained that the property was contaminated. He claimed his father had contaminated the property when the property was worth less rent because of that. This lead to a series of tests and remediation which cost about $250,000.

The brother then stopped paying rent. This lead to another series of lawsuits. That probably cost around another $100,000.

Finally, the lessor brother gave up. Last year, we sold that property and an adjacent property with 20 commercial units (which is located at the junction of the 405 and 101 Freeway in Los Angeles) for $6.6 million, but not after spending about $750,000 on lawyers and professionals.

So my advice is to DISENTANGLE YOURSELF FROM EACH OTHER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
That’s a crazy story. Brother cost the estate 3/4 of a million for no reason whatsoever.
I don't know if that was the cost for both sides, but I'm sure the estate didn't pay for the lawyer to sue the estate on behalf of the brother.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by abuss368 »

Dave55 wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:47 am
abuss368 wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:38 am
Dave55 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:45 pm Dad's wish that her son never lives in the house will be impossible to enforce.

Dave
True but in Dave’s case he owns multiple homes in many different states. This should not be an issue.😂🤣

Tony
Tony how was your "vacation"? Any pictures to share?

Dave
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Dave55 »

abuss368 wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:38 am
Dave55 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:45 pm Dad's wish that her son never lives in the house will be impossible to enforce.

Dave
True but in Dave’s case he owns multiple homes in many different states. This should not be an issue.😂🤣

Tony
I sold all the vacation places, too much work.

Dave
"Reality always wins, your only job is to get in touch with it." Wilfred Bion
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by protagonist »

What about putting the house in a trust, stipulating that you have no responsibility as long as the wife is alive....it is basically her house....she can do with it as she wishes, but if she is in default (mortgage, other expenses) she loses control and it automatically passes to you. If she chooses to sell it, your dad must stipulate as to whether she gets the funds or you do. When she dies it automatically passes to you (in whatever condition it is left in, assuming you wish to accept it).

If her son trashes the house, you may eventually be left with a trashed house, but you would have no responsibility or expenses so long as his wife was alive.

Ultimately, I agree that you need to speak with an estate lawyer.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by jarjarM »

abuss368 wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 2:28 pm
Dave55 wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:47 am
abuss368 wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:38 am
Dave55 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:45 pm Dad's wish that her son never lives in the house will be impossible to enforce.

Dave
True but in Dave’s case he owns multiple homes in many different states. This should not be an issue.😂🤣

Tony
Tony how was your "vacation"? Any pictures to share?

Dave
I was “banned” for 1 month and served time in the Soviet Gulag! Actually the time away was beyond expectation and relaxing!
Welcome back, hope to see you in the soaring thread soon enough :beer
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by mouth »

Thank you so much everyone for all your comments. I would like to apologize for being an absentee OP :oops: You all know the story, life just gets in the way. Also, I thought it best / easiest to take in what you all have said, which gave me a LOT to think about, and reply once I've had what will surely be the first of many conversations with my father. Fun fact, 7 years as a consultant post military with many many delicate client interactions and Facilitation training has clearly served me well :sharebeer

Let's address the elephant in the room, The Son. Bottom line is my father's wishes / understanding of reality, has evolved and his stated wishes are, "I know he might end up living there after I die if Wife needs help. At least then he'd finally be doing something useful. BUT I DON'T WANT TO BE ALIVE TO SEE IT!" So that's progress. No policing for me!!! His other stated wish, and the true goal, is ".. and I don't want that bum getting a dime!!!" After which I was regaled with a solid 15 min of his misdeeds and freeloader tendencies. Right, wrong, or indifferent everything that comes next is driven by his two Prime Directives
  • #1 Wife has a place to live out her days
  • #2 Son has no access to any monies derived from my father's estate. This has the practical effect that my father is unwilling to put Wife in control of any funds because all historical evidence suggests Son will drain it. Any money put in place for her benefit will be controlled by me
The conversation went much better than I probably ever could have hoped. I stated, on several occasions, the fact that this is all ultimately his decision on his wishes, that my goal is to do everything I can to ensure his wishes are honored by having a will that clearly states them, that my concerns/requests are focused on the practical logistics of enacting those wishes, and how we can address them in the will so his Wife isn't put in uncomfortable situations. I also admitted that, "...and I have a selfish motive too Dad, I don't want to be in those uncomfortable situations either and being a long-distance landlord might cause a lot of that." He agreed he didn't want that for us either.

There was a lot of back and forth as I tried to prompt him to ideas outside my sister and I owning the house while Wife lives there. My father can be stubborn in thought even before his advanced age, and getting him off a train of thought can be difficult. But I managed to lift the needle on his internal skipping record and get him to hear me when I said the whole situation is just full of logistical pitfalls as I live 8 hours away, sister is further, and it could get ugly fast. So much so that he had "... an idea! What if I put her in an apartment and set up an 'account' to pay the rent?" :shock: Could it be happening? Was I about to get everything I wanted out of this conversation???

Alas it wasn't to be so. After discussing the pros of such a situation he took a pause and said, "I don't think that will work. I know her pretty well after 10 years and she will feel like I'm kicking her out, even if say it doesn't have to happen for a year after I die" :( "You're right Dad, I can totally understand that. So no apartment. Let's talk about the house again."

Somewhere in the middle of all this, and somewhat as a lead up to his idea of the apartment, he even declared, "it's you and your sister's house, it's your responsibility to keep it up." This was a risky moment because I could hear the first signs of, and easily triggered, tipping point of anger in his voice. I could also feel my own frustration being triggered and heard my internal voice scream, "AND I DON'T FRIGGIN' WANT THAT RESPONSIBILITY OVER THE HOUSE AND HER!" Luckily I kept my cool and agreed with, "Yes I know. And that's why I want to discuss how you think it's best for us to do that while avoiding uncomfortable situations for Wife and myself."

So where does that leave us, and his wishes? Well the plan is still for the house to be immediately transferred to me and my sister upon his death and for Wife to be allowed to live there. Here are the changes / To-Dos
  • Dad is going to come up with some wording to the effect that if she moves out for any reason, intentional, medical, etc, then her rights are forfeit and we can do what we want with the house.
  • He is going to go through the last few years of expenses, do some more thinking, and come up with a list of things to be paid for related to the house. Then he and I will go through that list together to hash out what's reasonable for Wife to pay for and what the 'account' I'll control will pay for. He'll share the list with Wife before finalizing the will to get her thoughts and ensure she's fully informed so there are no surprises after he passes. I thanked him for this and reminded him that I don't really care who pays for what so long as it's clearly stated in the will to avoid ambiguity. I followed that with "What I really care about is who DOES what?" There was a LOT of unfruitful talk about this as I wasn't able to get him off the mantra that the 'account' will solve my concerns of upkeep. I sort of ended this part of the talk with, "we should also consider the costs involved for multiple maintenance contracts to include someone to inspect the home to prevent [entropy] from taking it's toll"
  • He's going to have some golf buddies who are retired lawyers and judges take a look at it. :oops: This was after imploring him to not rely solely on NoLo Will Maker and to consult an estate attorney. This is another case of his stubbornness kicking in and is fight for another day. If I'm lucky they were good lawyers and judges who will refer him to a practicing estate attorney [fingers crossed] If he just won't do it, I might take the will to a lawyer myself to get their opinion and then present any red flags to him for consideration. The realistic worst case is he ignores the advice and at least I'm prepared for what may come.
A few more details to answer a lot of your questions
  • The state in question is North Carolina
  • The house is 100% paid for, Zillow values it at $330k, and it is deeded in his name only. He has owned that house for 20-ish years. It was purchased during another marriage that ended in divorce from which previous wife has no claim on the house based on the pre-nup and divorce decree. I don't know if NC allows him to totally skip Wife so that's something for me to look into of course
  • All other assets of his estate (insurance, stocks, brokerage accounts, checking, savings) list my sister and I was TOD beneficiaries. Yes this means Wife gets effectively nothing from his estate. Keep in mind directive #2. The only thing she will "get" is a pot of money I control to pay for home expenses she "needs not wants".
  • The financial assets involved are ~$1.2M
    • Insurance and something else I missed: 550K
    • Stocks, Bonds, various Brokerage accounts 650K
  • Sister is standing on her own two feet in a home she owns, minimal debt (mortgage and student loan), running a very successful at-home business (but COVID took a huge bite). I know she has some savings, and she'll get some social security when the time comes, but I don't have a real sense yet if it can sustain her when she can't physically run the business anymore. Her and I will have that talk soon too at her own request. The real take away is that the inheritance will have a meaningful impact on her future financial stability. For me it just adds a lot of cushion to my already cushy situation.
    • So while the house value is nothing to turn one's nose up at, it also isn't the primary asset. If my sister and I decide to just disclaim it entirely it might just be worth it. What's more, being a hard asset in Wife's name, Son would at least have to convince her to take out a mortgage to get his hands on any money. I could live with that if it means a clean cut
  • Wife has a ~400k 401(k) and $1900/m in SS. So she has cash flow to live on, minimal expenses, and a nest egg for future care. She also has other responsible family besides Son to provide emotional, physical, and financial support. I don't know / assume that $1900/m is her SS now. When he passes is there any reason she wouldn't also get something based on his SS???
I do plan on addressing the home contents with Dad. Right now the will just says, "...ALL contents go to [Son] and [Daughter] except property of [Wife]" The problem of course is defining those items. I'd like a list of some sort, which Wife will see before hand, so there are no surprises like the home expenses. If she decided to contest the list after he passes, well, I guess we have a fight but I really won't care, she can have it all short of pictures of my mother.

So, progress, but not perfection. Sorry if I missed anyone's questions. If they are still germane and you're willing to continue pulling at the thread, please ask again because no doubt I need to hear and figure out how to answer it so I'm able to best manage this situation.

Cheers!
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Dottie57 »

Has your Dad asked his wife what she would want? Does she want the house?

All I can say after reading the thread - I am glad I am not a wife with a husband who has this plan. I realize that have not been married for decades, but still..
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Mako »

North Carolina apparently provides for a spousal elective share of 50% of the estate if married for 15 years, with lesser amounts for shorter marriages (not sure I caught how long they’ve been married). This would seem to be a problem with this plan. At the very least I think he should get an actual estate lawyer to help him out, not just a look over by his well meaning golf buddies. I am not your lawyer nor am I a NC lawyer, just googled.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by TxFrog »

Some posters have mentioned this, but is your Dad certain it’s his house not their house.

Just because the official deed is in his name only doesn’t necessarily mean the spouse has no ownership. This would probably depend on state specific laws, how long they’ve been married, any prenups, or how commingled their finances are (e.g. did the spouse help pay bills or fix up the house).
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Lee_WSP »

The only way to accomplish all that is to talk to an estate attorney and establish a trust, either living or testamentary. I personally prefer testamentary unless you have a reason other than avoiding probate for wanting a living trust.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by mouth »

Dottie57 wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:49 am Has your Dad asked his wife what she would want? Does she want the house?

All I can say after reading the thread - I am glad I am not a wife with a husband who has this plan. I realize that have not been married for decades, but still..
Wife has expressed two things; first that she's worried about where she will live when he dies and second that she would like to live in that house.

I know this might be controversial, but to my mind, my sister's mind, and most important my father's mind, she has no claim to the house. She wasn't there when it was bought, contributes nothing financial to the houses upkeep, and there is some "drama" between Dad and Wife related to a "walk out event" that contributes to his state of mind and trust issues with her and her family. What's more, and this dips a toe into family history I'll only briefly discuss, the house was bought with proceeds from the sale of a home owned originally by my mother's father, then my mother, and which our mother's first will left to my sister and I but was changed at the insistence of our father while she was on her death bed from breast cancer. My sister has some emotions on this topic that I lack, but I'll have to deal with if we find ourselves needing to consider disclaiming the house.

Reasonable people can totally debate, outside issues of "the house", my father's moral obligation to have his wife cared for after his death. Right, wrong, or indifferent, he has decided she deserves to live in the house near cost free, but that he's not willing to put any funds into her control because he believes it will just end up in Son's hands.

Addition to my above post: I've also suggested to my father that he consider putting the house into a trust with me as successor to avoid any risks of the house being in probate. We'll see if he bites. The link was from NoLo so maybe he'll consider it. NC doesn't allow TOD deeds unfortunately so the answer is a trust.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by bsteiner »

mouth wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:12 am ... I've also suggested to my father that he consider putting the house into a trust with me as successor to avoid any risks of the house being in probate. ...
What risk? Probating a Will is generally not difficult, expensive or burdensome, and in any event you probate the Will, not the assets.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by mouth »

Mako wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:12 am North Carolina apparently provides for a spousal elective share of 50% of the estate if married for 15 years, with lesser amounts for shorter marriages (not sure I caught how long they’ve been married). This would seem to be a problem with this plan. At the very least I think he should get an actual estate lawyer to help him out, not just a look over by his well meaning golf buddies. I am not your lawyer nor am I a NC lawyer, just googled.
It is 10 years right now. Yeah I'll have to research it more but the real worrying question is if that rule applies to everything such as TOD Brokerage accounts? Living Trusts where I'm the successor trustee? Or only to things passing through the will and probate?

Of course, yes, the correct answer is for him to consult an estate lawyer. Like I said, I suggested it and his golf buddies was his response [sigh].

Thank you for your thoughts and google-foo :)
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by rooms222 »

mouth wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:16 am
Mako wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:12 am North Carolina apparently provides for a spousal elective share of 50% of the estate if married for 15 years, with lesser amounts for shorter marriages (not sure I caught how long they’ve been married). This would seem to be a problem with this plan. At the very least I think he should get an actual estate lawyer to help him out, not just a look over by his well meaning golf buddies. I am not your lawyer nor am I a NC lawyer, just googled.
It is 10 years right now. Yeah I'll have to research it more but the real worrying question is if that rule applies to everything such as TOD Brokerage accounts? Living Trusts where I'm the successor trustee? Or only to things passing through the will and probate?

Of course, yes, the correct answer is for him to consult an estate lawyer. Like I said, I suggested it and his golf buddies was his response [sigh].

Thank you for your thoughts and google-foo :)
Yes, NC has made changes that include the entire estate including TOD/POD accounts. https://www.poynerspruill.com/thought-l ... e-planner/

This can lead to forced asset transfers to the spouse, if the elective share is not reached. Your father needs expert advise and a trust to work to accomplish his goals. As it appears trusts can be used to satisfy the elective share, in many cases, that may be a point in getting him to agree, as if he does not get legal advise and correctly set up a trust, she will just get liquid assets she can do whatever she wants with.

Note also the the trustee must be "non-adversarial" and someone who is not ever benefiting from the trust.
Thank you for providing the state.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by mouth »

TxFrog wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:43 am Some posters have mentioned this, but is your Dad certain it’s his house not their house.

Just because the official deed is in his name only doesn’t necessarily mean the spouse has no ownership. This would probably depend on state specific laws, how long they’ve been married, any prenups, or how commingled their finances are (e.g. did the spouse help pay bills or fix up the house).
All good points for me to address the NEXT chat and with some research. Thank you.

100% there is a pre-nup and if allowed by law it WILL say she doesn't get the house. She doesn't help pay any bills or fix up the house. Assuming my father is to be believed, the only funds she contributes is occasionally groceries and restaurants. I have no doubt in my mind there is no co-mingling knowing my father. But I'll confirm.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by fortunefavored »

Boy, that update makes it sound like even more of a crazy mess.

Did you discuss just leaving you & your sister the house, and trusting you to do the right thing? He can leave you an extra $100K in cash to pay for whatever future maintenance/issues/etc may arise. Trying to enforce all these stipulations is crazy. The only "real" way to do it is a life estate, and you do not want that under any circumstances. "the lawyers" will end up telling you the same thing.

Yes, in that scenario you could then immediately sell the place and kick her out.. but I assume he trusts you at least somewhat, otherwise you wouldn't be involved.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by mouth »

bsteiner wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:15 am
mouth wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:12 am ... I've also suggested to my father that he consider putting the house into a trust with me as successor to avoid any risks of the house being in probate. ...
What risk? Probating a Will is generally not difficult, expensive or burdensome, and in any event you probate the Will, not the assets.
I guess from what I'm reading it just sounds like the more things that transfer immediately, outside of the Will, the easier the probate process is to include possibly avoiding questions about who really gets the house. To the point that if it's value is low enough there are simpler processes. I could be wrong; that's why I'm here and want him to speak with a lawyer :)
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by mouth »

Lee_WSP wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:07 am The only way to accomplish all that is to talk to an estate attorney and establish a trust, either living or testamentary. I personally prefer testamentary unless you have a reason other than avoiding probate for wanting a living trust.
Testamentary is a new term for me. Looking at the difference I find this, "Only a funded living trust avoids probate court. In a testamentary trust, property must pass into the trust by way of the will and, thus, must go through the probate court process." and avoiding probate is my thought. I could be wrong about the utility / benefits of avoid probate of course.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by mouth »

rooms222 wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:26 am
mouth wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:16 am
Mako wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:12 am North Carolina apparently provides for a spousal elective share of 50% of the estate if married for 15 years, with lesser amounts for shorter marriages (not sure I caught how long they’ve been married). This would seem to be a problem with this plan. At the very least I think he should get an actual estate lawyer to help him out, not just a look over by his well meaning golf buddies. I am not your lawyer nor am I a NC lawyer, just googled.
It is 10 years right now. Yeah I'll have to research it more but the real worrying question is if that rule applies to everything such as TOD Brokerage accounts? Living Trusts where I'm the successor trustee? Or only to things passing through the will and probate?

Of course, yes, the correct answer is for him to consult an estate lawyer. Like I said, I suggested it and his golf buddies was his response [sigh].

Thank you for your thoughts and google-foo :)
Yes, NC has made changes that include the entire estate including TOD/POD accounts. https://www.poynerspruill.com/thought-l ... e-planner/

This can lead to forced asset transfers to the spouse, if the elective share is not reached. Your father needs expert advise and a trust to work to accomplish his goals. As it appears trusts can be used to satisfy the elective share, in many cases, that may be a point in getting him to agree, as if he does not get legal advise and correctly set up a trust, she will just get liquid assets she can do whatever she wants with.

Note also the the trustee must be "non-adversarial" and someone who is not ever benefiting from the trust.
Thank you for providing the state.
Wow! That is indeed eye opening. I have pushed that link to him already and will address it in our next phone call. My insistence on a lawyer might get a bit stronger. Good thing is, reading that on his own might be enough to give him the idea on his own.

THANK YOU!
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by Lee_WSP »

mouth wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:45 am
Lee_WSP wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:07 am The only way to accomplish all that is to talk to an estate attorney and establish a trust, either living or testamentary. I personally prefer testamentary unless you have a reason other than avoiding probate for wanting a living trust.
Testamentary is a new term for me. Looking at the difference I find this, "Only a funded living trust avoids probate court. In a testamentary trust, property must pass into the trust by way of the will and, thus, must go through the probate court process." and avoiding probate is my thought. I could be wrong about the utility / benefits of avoid probate of course.
Correct. Probate is not particularly burdensome or costly in most cases, but writing up a living trust and transferring a whole bunch of properties will involve a significant chunk of billable hours.

The real issue your dealing with are the emotional ties to the house, the fact father doesn't actually want wife to receive anything outright given son in law, and the fact that she can elect a spousal share. At least that's my understanding of what you've wrote.
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Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by mouth »

fortunefavored wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:41 am Boy, that update makes it sound like even more of a crazy mess.

Did you discuss just leaving you & your sister the house, and trusting you to do the right thing? He can leave you an extra $100K in cash to pay for whatever future maintenance/issues/etc may arise. Trying to enforce all these stipulations is crazy. The only "real" way to do it is a life estate, and you do not want that under any circumstances. "the lawyers" will end up telling you the same thing.

Yes, in that scenario you could then immediately sell the place and kick her out.. but I assume he trusts you at least somewhat, otherwise you wouldn't be involved.
I'm confused by your question as I thought it was clear that is his plan. Leave us the house, set up an "account" (his words, I assume a trust but know I have to be sure), and I pay for things out of that account as the trustee. There aren't any stipulations beyond what I've asked for (was I wrong to?) which is a clear set of expectations of responsibilities re: upkeep to avoid unpleasant conversations. I even told him "feel free to say the trust takes care of it all and fund it accordingly. But right now all you state is property taxes and that's not enough"

Sadly trusting people to do the right thing, and trusting people to think you're doing the right thing is just a recipe for drama. As it is, almost no wording of the will is going to avoid the situation where she, or her Wormtongue of a sister, thinks the house "needs" a new rug, interior paint, whatever and I disagree. I'm just trying to avoid it.

As for a life estate; yes I know I want to avoid that and 100% will disclaim that inheritance in writing on the drive to NC.
Topic Author
mouth
Posts: 306
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:40 am

Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by mouth »

Lee_WSP wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:52 am
mouth wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:45 am
Lee_WSP wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:07 am The only way to accomplish all that is to talk to an estate attorney and establish a trust, either living or testamentary. I personally prefer testamentary unless you have a reason other than avoiding probate for wanting a living trust.
Testamentary is a new term for me. Looking at the difference I find this, "Only a funded living trust avoids probate court. In a testamentary trust, property must pass into the trust by way of the will and, thus, must go through the probate court process." and avoiding probate is my thought. I could be wrong about the utility / benefits of avoid probate of course.
Correct. Probate is not particularly burdensome or costly in most cases, but writing up a living trust and transferring a whole bunch of properties will involve a significant chunk of billable hours.

The real issue your dealing with are the emotional ties to the house, the fact father doesn't actually want wife to receive anything outright given son in law, and the fact that she can elect a spousal share. At least that's my understanding of what you've wrote.
money spent up front to avoid emotional stress later might be well spent. But you're point is well taken. I don't have a path in mind, but I do have a destination.

Fun Fact: I just got a livechat request from NoLo that I think was meant for my father, unless it's meant for both of us. So I know he's thinking about it
Topic Author
mouth
Posts: 306
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:40 am

Re: Dad wants Wife to live in house left to me and sister after he passes

Post by mouth »

:D the reason for that chat is that he wanted to copy me on a chat he had with NoLo. That didn't work; it just invited me to a blank chat. But the important thing is ...

he's now going to talk to an estate lawyer in the next few days. WIN!!!!

He saw the link about the Elective Shares Statute and it really kicked him into action.

Thank you so much Rooms22 ... you may have just literally saved me and my family a ton of stress drama and heartache :sharebeer
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