Property Inheritance

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crazcarl
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Property Inheritance

Post by crazcarl »

Looking for advice for MIL. She recently inherited a house from the passing of her father (her mother passed 4 years ago). She has 4 other siblings that were not included with this part of the inheritance. All 5 of them split the rest of the estate. All, but one other, of her siblings live out of state.

She essentially has been taking care of both her parents for the past 10 years, as they lived with her, including taking them to appointments, bathing, food care, etc. The house was bought as a rental about 5 years ago. She fixed it up, and rented it out for him, and the money was going into a bank account they setup in her name used to pay for taxes and other items for the house. When he purchased as a rental, he told her he was giving to her for all the work and help she has done for them. In the will he stated that the house estate was to go to her, and now her siblings are all upset. They are demanding past years account statements, and want all rent from the house since it has been owned to be paid out to them.

I told her to have them file something with a lawyer before she starts doing anything.

Anyone with legal or other background have any idea on if she would really have to pay that money out, or any money from the account? Any links to other info somewhere else to shed any light?

I know this is not legal or binding advice...etc, etc.

Thanks
Luckywon
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by Luckywon »

crazcarl wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 10:37 am Looking for advice for MIL. She recently inherited a house from the passing of her father (her mother passed 4 years ago). She has 4 other siblings that were not included with this part of the inheritance. All 5 of them split the rest of the estate. All, but one other, of her siblings live out of state.

She essentially has been taking care of both her parents for the past 10 years, as they lived with her, including taking them to appointments, bathing, food care, etc. The house was bought as a rental about 5 years ago. She fixed it up, and rented it out for him, and the money was going into a bank account they setup in her name used to pay for taxes and other items for the house. When he purchased as a rental, he told her he was giving to her for all the work and help she has done for them. In the will he stated that the house estate was to go to her, and now her siblings are all upset. They are demanding past years account statements, and want all rent from the house since it has been owned to be paid out to them.

I told her to have them file something with a lawyer before she starts doing anything.

Anyone with legal or other background have any idea on if she would really have to pay that money out, or any money from the account? Any links to other info somewhere else to shed any light?

I know this is not legal or binding advice...etc, etc.

Thanks
Who was the executor or successor trustee for the estate? Was an attorney retained by that person?
Gill
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by Gill »

The attorney for the estate needs to advise them to file a claim against the estate if they so desire. It appears all these transactions were done with the consent of the decedent and there should be no need to account to anyone for the transactions that took place prior to death. If they wish, they should retain their own attorney and have the court decide if they are entitled to anything. I would think they are not.
Gill
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mouses
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by mouses »

Gill wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 11:08 am The attorney for the estate needs to advise them to file a claim against the estate if they so desire. It appears all these transactions were done with the consent of the decedent and there should be no need to account to anyone for the transactions that took place prior to death. If they wish, they should retain their own attorney and have the court decide if they are entitled to anything. I would think they are not.
Gill
+1

This is a job for the executor to handle, with the help of an attorney if it comes to that. She might point out to the siblings that the expense of an attorney's fees, which are sure to be high, will come out of the estate and reduce their inheritance. There may even be a clause in the will that says that any beneficiary who contests the will gets nothing.

If I were her, I would not bother to provide that paperwork if she even has it. It seems completely irrelevant and none of their business. Where were they when the MIL was doing all this work.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by adamthesmythe »

> Anyone with legal or other background have any idea on if she would really have to pay that money out

My understanding is that it would be unethical (or at least inadvisable) for any lawyer to respond.

But I'm not a lawyer, and I didn't stay at Holiday Inn last night, and my advice is worth nothing.

Having said that- my uninformed guess is that the only reason an "accounting" is warranted is if it is determined that one or the other parents was mentally incompetent, or had been a victim of elder abuse.

OP's reaction is, in my opinion, correct. Respond that he does not believe an accounting is warranted, and wait to see if legal action ensues.

Might not be a bad idea to have an initial consult with a lawyer, in case one is needed down the road.
DesertDiva
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by DesertDiva »

crazcarl wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 10:37 am Looking for advice for MIL. She recently inherited a house from the passing of her father (her mother passed 4 years ago). She has 4 other siblings that were not included with this part of the inheritance. All 5 of them split the rest of the estate. All, but one other, of her siblings live out of state.

She essentially has been taking care of both her parents for the past 10 years, as they lived with her, including taking them to appointments, bathing, food care, etc. The house was bought as a rental about 5 years ago. She fixed it up, and rented it out for him, and the money was going into a bank account they setup in her name used to pay for taxes and other items for the house. When he purchased as a rental, he told her he was giving to her for all the work and help she has done for them. In the will he stated that the house estate was to go to her, and now her siblings are all upset. They are demanding past years account statements, and want all rent from the house since it has been owned to be paid out to them.

I told her to have them file something with a lawyer before she starts doing anything.

Anyone with legal or other background have any idea on if she would really have to pay that money out, or any money from the account? Any links to other info somewhere else to shed any light?

I know this is not legal or binding advice...etc, etc.

Thanks
If I was her, I would be "demanding" that they reread the will :twisted: Some people will always ask for things they aren't entitled to when it comes to inheritances.
HomeStretch
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by HomeStretch »

MIL needs to start repeating to her siblings that they need to speak to the estate attorney. Nothing more or less. She doesn’t have anything to gain by engaging in further discussion about this with her siblings.

I can certainly understand the father’s desire to provide something extra for MIL and his will should be honored. But I feel sorry for MIL as it seems like it’s going to cause a permanent estrangement with her siblings.
cresive
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by cresive »

crazcarl wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 10:37 am Looking for advice for MIL. She recently inherited a house from the passing of her father (her mother passed 4 years ago). She has 4 other siblings that were not included with this part of the inheritance. All 5 of them split the rest of the estate. All, but one other, of her siblings live out of state.

She essentially has been taking care of both her parents for the past 10 years, as they lived with her, including taking them to appointments, bathing, food care, etc. The house was bought as a rental about 5 years ago. She fixed it up, and rented it out for him, and the money was going into a bank account they setup in her name used to pay for taxes and other items for the house. When he purchased as a rental, he told her he was giving to her for all the work and help she has done for them. In the will he stated that the house estate was to go to her, and now her siblings are all upset. They are demanding past years account statements, and want all rent from the house since it has been owned to be paid out to them.

I told her to have them file something with a lawyer before she starts doing anything.

Anyone with legal or other background have any idea on if she would really have to pay that money out, or any money from the account? Any links to other info somewhere else to shed any light?

I know this is not legal or binding advice...etc, etc.

Thanks
I am not an attorney, but I have dealt with a few estates. Your sister in-law is not the person with whom the siblings should be dealing. The executor of the estate is "paid" to be the mediator in such a situation. There should also be an estate attorney to help. Basically, the siblings are contesting the will and and such, if they lose, they give up all claims to the estate. Also, there is usually a hard line between your father-in-law's property and his estate. What ever your Father in law did with the property while it was his, doesn't have anything to to with the property once it is in an estate. Technically, all the rental income was your father in law's and if there is anything unspent, then that would be in the estate filing. The sibling's don 't really have a claim on rental income from three years ago, any more than they have a claim on the property now that it has been distributed to your sister in law.

Good luck,
Ben
Topic Author
crazcarl
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by crazcarl »

Thanks for the replies so far. Great community here.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

cresive wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 12:06 pm The sibling's don 't really have a claim on rental income from three years ago, any more than they have a claim on the property now that it has been distributed to your sister in law.
That's a good point. If one of them were to claim that they are, perhaps they'd volunteer to pay the property tax, income tax on the rent, upkeep and such bills that also go along with rent. I doubt it.
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celia
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by celia »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 2:02 pm
cresive wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 12:06 pm The sibling's don 't really have a claim on rental income from three years ago, any more than they have a claim on the property now that it has been distributed to your sister in law.
That's a good point. If one of them were to claim that they are, perhaps they'd volunteer to pay the property tax, income tax on the rent, upkeep and such bills that also go along with rent. I doubt it.
and mow the lawn, paint the eaves, pay the utilities, fix the things that break . . .
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chemocean
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by chemocean »

crazcarl wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 10:37 am Looking for advice for MIL. She recently inherited a house from the passing of her father (her mother passed 4 years ago)….
She essentially has been taking care of both her parents for the past 10 years, as they lived with her, including taking them to appointments, bathing, food care, etc. The house was bought as a rental about 5 years ago. She fixed it up, and rented it out for him, and the money was going into a bank account they setup in her name used to pay for taxes and other items for the house.
I am not a lawyer, but am looking at the situation through legal logic.
I see the crux of the issue is the Titling on the working Bank account for the property.

If the title was JTWROS with your MIL and her father, your MIL owns the account outright upon the death of her father outside of probate. When your MIL's father set up the account, he was essentially making her a legal partner in the operation of the rental.

If the account was in her name only, she owns the account and it is not part of the estate. Then the question becomes what does "rented it out for him" mean. If the checks were in his name and got deposited into her account, then I see that as her father's gift to your MIL. If he arranged for the renters to make the checks out in her name, what kind of transactions between the two was that? Also, if the account was in her name only, the bigger questions is under whose tax return were the income, expenses and depreciation filed.

Since you seem to be saying that your MIL was on the title of the bank account for the rental operation is some form, the bank account is not part of the estate. I think the more crucial issue is harmony among your MIL and her siblings. As former one-house landlord, I found that the net profits on a rental are limited. If your MIL kept the banking account separate from her personal funds and did not withdraw funds for her personal use, the balance of the banking account for the rental would be the net profit over the five years. For the family harmony among your MIL's siblings, a compromise might be to split the small balance of the working bank account among the siblings, which would preserve her ownership of the house outright with less animosity among her siblings.
muddlehead
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by muddlehead »

To the OP: Your MIL's Dad lived w/her at her home. The Dad bought a house 5 years ago that was exclusively a rental. And the rental was not for any family member, right? It was for rental income while he was alive and upon his death was to go to his daughter, your MIL. That, in itself, is an interesting scenario.
Katietsu
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by Katietsu »

I am going to be a bit contrarian. This was set up in a messy way. The rental house appears to have been in Dad’s name. Yet the rent was put in an account in daughter’s name and expenses paid for from that account. I might look at it as if daughter was a property manager and the net profit in that account really should have been Dad’s. And if that account should have been Dad’s then it should be part of the estate and subject to splitting.

I am not suggesting that the above would be the conclusion of a legal expert. But I do think it is useful to understand if someone else’s opinion might be rational.
MrsBDG
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by MrsBDG »

Another thought, just for your MIL's consideration, when Dad moved in with her, was he paying rent? Paying his share of food and utilities? Or did he set up the rental to sort of cover that, in his mind. Not only did your Mom have hours and hours of care, and days and weeks and years lacking privacy in her own home, she had increased expenses. She had to buy more food for him, and most seniors are more temperature sensitive, so she likely heated and cooled much more for him than for her. If she starts feeling bad about what her sibs are saying, she should remember that.

On the other hand, the siblings could be reasonable people who are just clueless about the commitment she made and all the time & energy & money it took. Face it, if MIL was caring for Dad she was not able to work elsewhere.

I have a sibling with a sibling in law currently doing care and we've had a lot of conversations about what is fair. I remind my sibling how much my in laws paid for in home care, easily $10k. It was painful to see that much money go out for something not very fun, but as I pointed out to my in law and, subsequently, to my sibling, I would not have gone to the in laws and done the care for them for that. :shock: So, why should I begrudge the person who did the care receiving payment.

Why do we, as a culture, pay so much to strangers and yet so little value the care work of family? How would my brother in law have felt if I had taken care of dad and been paid $10k monthly? Probably irritated and like it was not fair, people are strange.

Perhaps the siblings could be brought along to understand more of what the arrangement was? I hope the account was joint!
WhyNotUs
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by WhyNotUs »

One might notice that money can tend to have anti-social impacts. This type of situation is painfully common. As noted, the executor will be able to sort this out or it will be addressed in court at the estate's expense. Hopefully relationships will survive.
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phxjcc
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by phxjcc »

There is a point however, where the value of the property matters.

If this was beachfront in LaJolla vs. a single wide in rural MS.

The sibs would not be raising a fuss in the latter case.
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crazcarl
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Re: Property Inheritance

Post by crazcarl »

Thanks for all the responses. She was essentially the property manager of the rental. This property is valued at about $150k. So nothing crazy.

When her parents stayed at her house, they did not pay any rent or care. She essentially took care of them, and he told her that the house, was for all that care that she gave.

I agree that her siblings, even though they always stated how much care she gave them, did not really understand how much care that really was.

Again, thanks for all the responses. It is good to get different points of views.
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