My fiancé and I are buying a house — he demands that both his 19-year-old daughter and our baby inherit our home

Dear Quentin,

I’m 30 years old and I and my fiancé have a baby. We’re looking to buy a house, and we’re half-and-half with everything.

My problem is that he has a 19 year old daughter who has just returned to his life after almost six years of MIA. She lives with us now and will live in our house that we want to buy.

I want my daughter to have full ownership of the house if something happens to us. He demands that his two daughters get 50-50.

I’m not happy with that. I’ll cover most of the closure costs.

Is there anything i can do? I really want to build a future with him, but I’m afraid my daughter will be left out – especially when I can get the most money together.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


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Love confused

I don’t think your fiancé can have both: expect you to pay most of the down payment and also request that his teen get half of the property.

Think carefully before making the biggest purchase of your life if you are not happy with the terms. You may – with a lawyer – find a compromise in which your baby gets a bigger share (75%) than your husband’s daughter.

Before going any further, you need to decide what type of property you want. Case in point: in a shared survivor’s home, you both own an equal share of the house, and if one of you dies, that share will be passed on to the surviving spouse. You avoid inheritance and cannot pass the house on to third heirs, but it has tax implications. Total rent is similar but is only open to married couples.

How much of your financial independence are you willing to give up? Ultimately, the question arises as to your own estate plan and whether it makes sense to own a property with your fiancé or to buy a property with only your name on the deed before the marriage. You have the financial leverage and a baby daughter to care for – two good reasons to exercise caution.

Whatever you choose, make sure you sign a contract that lists all of the possible outcomes. There are too many cautionary stories about a member of a couple spends more on renovations, or an unmarried partner insists to put their name alone in action while both names are on the mortgage itself. This is a healthy conversation to have now, before signing for a house or signing a prenuptial agreement.

The demands of both parties do not bode well for future negotiations.

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