I am a 49 year old woman with four grown children aged 19-29. I bought my house in 1998 as a single mother and my children grew up here. I now have a home friend who has done extensive repairs and upgrades to the house for the past 3 years – he did all the work himself while I was buying all of the supplies.
As he worked, he contributed his fair share of our expenses. However, he works in the oil and gas industry, was laid off about a year ago and has not worked since. His job prospects are uncertain as oil and gas is not recovering and he may need additional training to change his career.
Although we are in a committed relationship and intend to stay together as life partners until either of us dies, it is unlikely that we will ever officially get married as we both have had very bad experiences.
“I am absolutely at a loss how to address the house fairly in my will.”
He is 9 years younger than me and has three children from his previous marriage who are considerably younger than my children (7 to 12). You will likely spend much of your childhood in this house in the years to come.
Aside from my home, I have few assets – a car and some insurance policies – but very little cash. I am absolutely at a loss how to address the house fairly in my will. Three of my children want the house to go to them in case I should die. The other said I should leave it to my eldest daughter.
My boyfriend doesn’t want to leave this house should I die, but he also says that this house should go to my children as it is their family home. Of course, I hope to live long enough for all children to grow up and settle down. In this case I can make a new will.
In the meantime, I need to have a will that makes sense if I run off early.
I try very hard to treat everyone fairly. The last thing I want when I die is for one of my kids (or my boyfriend) to feel like I didn’t love them because I share things. Please help!
Girlfriend, mother & homeowner
You can email The Moneyist at [email protected] with financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus
You worked hard for this house. As a single mother, you raised four children. You have the right to breathe out and reflect on a life well lived and a job well done. You made it where many others have fallen apart. It’s also great that you have a hardworking man in your life and I hope he finds work in his chosen industry or another. Sit back and take a moment to enjoy everything you have achieved. Your job is done.
And now that I have said that, I feel compelled to tell you what is not your responsibility. You have met a man who is 9 years younger than you and you clearly love each other and he has gotten through difficult times. I understand he helped you with the renovations, but it is not your job to adapt to his demands or the needs of your adult children regarding what happens to your property.
This home should be a source of peace and contentment for you, not one that creates persistent fear.
This home should be a source of peace and contentment for you, not one that creates persistent fear. It is not your job to fix them all. It is not your job to divide up your property according to your children’s wishes. It is not your job to always do everything right for everyone. This is your moment Don’t give up your happiness on the bad winds of other people’s wants, needs, and what-ifs.
You cannot control how other people feel after making a decision. There is great freedom to make decisions that you believe are right for you and to allow others to feel the way they are going to feel. Some people will be mad at you in this life, others will try to bend to their will, and some will sit in the law office while your last will and will are read aloud and curse you from the other side.
It is stressful enough to care too much what people think of you while you are here. Worrying about how they’ll feel about you after you’re gone is an unequal form of interdependence that only serves to mess up your financial decisions now and later. Finally you are gone so you don’t have to worry anymore! Of course, you want to make sure that your loved ones are looked after, but do what YOU think is right, not what others tell you.
Trust your gut and consult a real estate attorney. Your friend is responsible for himself. Your children are responsible for themselves. You could lease your friend for life only if you believe this is the right one. After he dies, you can split your estate evenly among your children. Are you okay if he lives there with a new wife or girlfriend, should you die before he does? You have earned the right to make estate plans before and after your absence.
Hello, MarketWatchers. Check the money is private Facebook
FB, + 1.28%
Group in which we look for answers to life’s toughest money problems. The readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Ask your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or check out the latest Moneyist columns.