Author Topic: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help  (Read 7035 times)

serpentstooth

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Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« on: May 11, 2014, 11:06:59 AM »
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« Last Edit: May 17, 2016, 09:39:59 PM by serpentstooth »

phred

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2014, 11:31:47 AM »
Happened all the time leading up to WWII.
Since you both earn enough to be self-supporting, the money they send you should be set aside for their eventual arrival.  I would not, however, suggest that you all live together in a 3 br.
Since they are both retired (?), they may not be able to find suitable employment, and will need some kind of self-employment gig.  The housing you help them find should reflect their business needs (need for a workshop, need for storage space, etc)

Gin1984

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2014, 11:46:41 AM »
Happened all the time leading up to WWII.
Since you both earn enough to be self-supporting, the money they send you should be set aside for their eventual arrival.  I would not, however, suggest that you all live together in a 3 br.
Since they are both retired (?), they may not be able to find suitable employment, and will need some kind of self-employment gig.  The housing you help them find should reflect their business needs (need for a workshop, need for storage space, etc)

My in-laws are 55. My MIL is a housewife and hasn't worked in 25 years but was trained as an accountant; my FIL is an accountant working for a large Chinese conglomerate. Both are good English speakers. My FIL will face compulsory retirement at 60. He's a fluent Mandarin speaker as well; my MIL speaks Cantonese. We have a massive Chinatown here and I'm assuming they could get relatively low-level work in a grocery store or similar in short order, as a lot of elderly do here. We've talked about him building out a small bookkeeping business in the Chinese community upon arrival. The hope would be for them to live with us in the 3BR and that they would move out when they could buy a little 1BR for themselves in cash. Unless they arrive soon and work at least 10 years, they're going to be ineligible for American Social Security and Medicare. Multigenerational living is the norm in the community, though it gets...cozy.

What would you do with the money they send? Put it in a taxable investment account? Bond fund? CD ladder? Savings account? They could come in 3 months or in 20 years, or they may never come at all, which is making it hard to strategize.
Could you support them with your income, and not any of their money?

Gin1984

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2014, 12:03:47 PM »
Happened all the time leading up to WWII.
Since you both earn enough to be self-supporting, the money they send you should be set aside for their eventual arrival.  I would not, however, suggest that you all live together in a 3 br.
Since they are both retired (?), they may not be able to find suitable employment, and will need some kind of self-employment gig.  The housing you help them find should reflect their business needs (need for a workshop, need for storage space, etc)

My in-laws are 55. My MIL is a housewife and hasn't worked in 25 years but was trained as an accountant; my FIL is an accountant working for a large Chinese conglomerate. Both are good English speakers. My FIL will face compulsory retirement at 60. He's a fluent Mandarin speaker as well; my MIL speaks Cantonese. We have a massive Chinatown here and I'm assuming they could get relatively low-level work in a grocery store or similar in short order, as a lot of elderly do here. We've talked about him building out a small bookkeeping business in the Chinese community upon arrival. The hope would be for them to live with us in the 3BR and that they would move out when they could buy a little 1BR for themselves in cash. Unless they arrive soon and work at least 10 years, they're going to be ineligible for American Social Security and Medicare. Multigenerational living is the norm in the community, though it gets...cozy.

What would you do with the money they send? Put it in a taxable investment account? Bond fund? CD ladder? Savings account? They could come in 3 months or in 20 years, or they may never come at all, which is making it hard to strategize.
Could you support them with your income, and not any of their money?

Yes, especially if I can work because my MIL or FIL is available to provide free childcare. I think my in-laws figure that their cash assets are safer out of the country and they'd rather see them being used for the benefit of their children and grandchildren than locked up by the government, which they fear.
Then I would have a "normal" EF (for me that is 3-6 months), but it may be more for you guys because of your variable income and put the rest in retirement and taxable accounts.  You can handle it without that money so why not make the money work for you?

Paul der Krake

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2014, 12:05:50 PM »
It seems a little premature to plan for an arrival that may never happen, so in your shoes in would set aside the money they send you and not change anything to your 2BR plans. Should they decide to leave in a hurry, they would be looking at a few months at the very least to have their visas/green cards processed. That should leave enough time to unlock the money and potentially upgrade from the 2BR to either a 3BR or duplex, or whatever other living arangements you can think of.

Bear in mind that their lives would be very different if they moved at age 65 instead of 55 in terms of how much government help they would be getting in their later years.

Daleth

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2014, 12:13:50 PM »
Do you have an immigration lawyer, perhaps whoever helped your DH? Have you talked to that lawyer (or to another one, if you didn't like the one DH used) about sponsoring his parents? It can take a long time (see link: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/types/family/family-preference.html#14).

So you may want to talk to a good immigration lawyer about other ways that you could help; for instance, maybe you could have all the paperwork ready and the in-laws coached on what to do to get a tourist visa, so that if things get unstable they can get a tourist visa ASAP, come here to visit you, wait here to see if things get worse in their home country and, if so, perhaps apply for refugee status. A tourist visa is probably the fastest way you could get them here, assuming the visa is granted (they will absolutely need to not bring more stuff than they would need for the length of trip planned, and do everything they can to make the US consular officials and customs officials believe that they are just coming for a visit).

Alternately, you could start the sponsorship process now, knowing that it will take a long time (ask a good immigration lawyer what she would ballpark the wait time at), and hoping that your application will have reached the point where they can actually get on a plane by the time they need it (if they ever need it).

Gin1984

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2014, 12:23:30 PM »
Do you have an immigration lawyer, perhaps whoever helped your DH? Have you talked to that lawyer (or to another one, if you didn't like the one DH used) about sponsoring his parents? It can take a long time (see link: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/types/family/family-preference.html#14).

So you may want to talk to a good immigration lawyer about other ways that you could help; for instance, maybe you could have all the paperwork ready and the in-laws coached on what to do to get a tourist visa, so that if things get unstable they can get a tourist visa ASAP, come here to visit you, wait here to see if things get worse in their home country and, if so, perhaps apply for refugee status. A tourist visa is probably the fastest way you could get them here, assuming the visa is granted (they will absolutely need to not bring more stuff than they would need for the length of trip planned, and do everything they can to make the US consular officials and customs officials believe that they are just coming for a visit).

We do have an attorney, and we'll consult them again once my husband is naturalized. My in-laws have other countries they can legally enter and stay in for a few months if thing collapse in short order while they wait to come here on an IR-5 visa. Part of the problem we're having is my in-laws don't WANT to leave (they like their home country!), so they don't want to come here if they don't have to, so I can't get them to just apply for a family immigration visa. I will talk to them about a tourist visa and being prepared to pass that interview if need be.
Is there also the chance of buying the two bedroom with the knowledge (and investments to handle) that you may buy a 3 bedroom in the future (or even a one bedroom, depending on how much cash they send from now to then)?

Another Reader

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2014, 12:32:07 PM »
In their shoes, I would be moving more assets to the US as quickly as possible.  Any way you could buy something like a condo for them in their name?  Do they have enough cash?  They could rent it out while they are waiting to see what happens.

Also, it's easier to get out of these situations earlier and with more assets.  Better to liquidate non-cash holdings and get the money out while that's possible.  You don't want to be the person hanging from the helicopter skids as it lifts off from the embassy roof on the last day.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 07:19:34 PM by Another Reader »

Another Reader

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2014, 01:22:41 PM »
If they have visible assets, it's likely they will be targeted.  Best to dispose of the trappings of wealth that cause resentment and move the liquid proceeds ASAP. 

lhamo

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2014, 02:26:59 PM »
You might want to see if you can find 2br co-ops with an additional "maid's room"  -- that's what we had (we lived in the Greystones on 80th street).  The room is more typically used now as an office or den.  Ours was directly off the kitchen, with it's own 3/4 bath.  Only big enough for a twin bed, but you could put a kid or two in there (with bunk beds) in a pinch. 

It doesn't sound to me like they would need to rely on you for all that long for financial support, if at all.  Your MIL would probably be able to find a fully time nanny job for one of the many families in NYC who want their kids to be exposed to Mandarin.  And your FIL has a useful skill set. 

Depending on personalities, living together can also be great.  My inlaws lived with us in NYC for 6 months when DS was a baby and it was AMAZING!!!  Such a relief to be able to leave him with people I knew loved him as much if not more than we did.  Didn't really have any conflicts or issues that I remember, except that I pretty much had to cook Chinese food most of the time.  I grew up living next to my grandparents, though, so I don't have some of the issues that many Americans have about privacy/distance from family. 

Daleth

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2014, 04:26:50 PM »
Do you have an immigration lawyer, perhaps whoever helped your DH? Have you talked to that lawyer (or to another one, if you didn't like the one DH used) about sponsoring his parents? It can take a long time (see link: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/types/family/family-preference.html#14).

So you may want to talk to a good immigration lawyer about other ways that you could help; for instance, maybe you could have all the paperwork ready and the in-laws coached on what to do to get a tourist visa, so that if things get unstable they can get a tourist visa ASAP, come here to visit you, wait here to see if things get worse in their home country and, if so, perhaps apply for refugee status. A tourist visa is probably the fastest way you could get them here, assuming the visa is granted (they will absolutely need to not bring more stuff than they would need for the length of trip planned, and do everything they can to make the US consular officials and customs officials believe that they are just coming for a visit).

We do have an attorney, and we'll consult them again once my husband is naturalized. My in-laws have other countries they can legally enter and stay in for a few months if thing collapse in short order while they wait to come here on an IR-5 visa. Part of the problem we're having is my in-laws don't WANT to leave (they like their home country!), so they don't want to come here if they don't have to, so I can't get them to just apply for a family immigration visa. I will talk to them about a tourist visa and being prepared to pass that interview if need be.

I don't know from experience but my guess is that "a few months" isn't long enough. In other words, the wait on a family reunification visa could easily be years, because it's one of the kinds of visas that has an annual cap. I don't know what the cap is, but say it's 50,000 people and your in-laws are in line behind 200,000 people who sent their applications in earlier--well then, they are going to wait four years.

So, ask your lawyer what the cap is and whether she can guesstimate how soon people in your in-laws' position might be able to come here, as measured from the date on which you file the application. Also ask your lawyer what's involved in getting a tourist visa. It's more difficult (in terms of how suspicious US consular officials are) from some countries than from others.

curler

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2014, 04:44:06 PM »

I don't know from experience but my guess is that "a few months" isn't long enough. In other words, the wait on a family reunification visa could easily be years, because it's one of the kinds of visas that has an annual cap. I don't know what the cap is, but say it's 50,000 people and your in-laws are in line behind 200,000 people who sent their applications in earlier--well then, they are going to wait four years.

So, ask your lawyer what the cap is and whether she can guesstimate how soon people in your in-laws' position might be able to come here, as measured from the date on which you file the application. Also ask your lawyer what's involved in getting a tourist visa. It's more difficult (in terms of how suspicious US consular officials are) from some countries than from others.

From http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/immigrant-process/approved/checkdate.html :  Approved petitions in the categores below are not subject to annual limits.  IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old

Daleth

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2014, 07:07:54 PM »
Family preference visas are capped. Immediate relative visas, which are what they are going to be eligible for as parents of an American, are not. My BIL would need a family preference visa, but he's just passed the Commonwealth Bar and is interviewing for law firms in foreign countries, so I'l less worried about him. I'm going to consult with our lawyer, though.

Ah. Good distinction. Definitely ask your lawyer how long it is likely to take. Here's what filing an immediate relative petition does for the parents, according to USCIS: it "gives your relative a place in line with others waiting to immigrate from the same country or region based on the same type of relationship. When your relative reaches the front of the line, he or she may be eligible to immigrate after passing the required background checks and meeting requirements for admission.... Your relative’s place in line will be based on the date you file your petition. So there is an advantage to filing as soon as possible...."

http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/A1en.pdf

That link is to a little pamphlet that you should definitely read before talking to your lawyer.

phred

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2014, 08:05:43 PM »


 My MIL is a housewife and hasn't worked in 25 years but was trained as an accountant; my FIL is an accountant working for a large Chinese conglomerate. Both are good English speakers. He's a fluent Mandarin speaker as well; my MIL speaks Cantonese. We have a massive Chinatown here and I'm assuming they could get relatively low-level work in a grocery store or similar in short order, We've talked about him building out a small bookkeeping business in the Chinese community upon arrival. The hope would be for them to live with us in the 3BR and that they would move out when they could buy a little 1BR for themselves in cash. Multigenerational living is the norm in the community, though it gets...cozy.

What would you do with the money they send? Put it in a taxable investment account? Bond fund? CD ladder? Savings account? They could come in 3 months or in 20 years, or they may never come at all, which is making it hard to strategize.
Both trained as accountants and one speaks Cantonese, the other Mandarin.  Forget about stocking the shelves in a grocery.  They can both get jobs as translators - either for the government, an American based global business, an international bank, an international law firm, an international accounting firm.  Your FIL may even be able to continue his accounting career
 
  There's an old saying that two women under the same roof may breed discontent.  Of course, this reflects the Anglo-American culture.  Maybe you will have better luck.

  What to do with the money -- if only that were easy.  While the first inclination would be to say "stocks", their arrival may coincide with a repeat of 2007-2009.  Also, you can't send them anything to sign in case the wrong eyes see it.  I would probably do some version of the 'Permanent Portfolio" (Fail Safe Investing by Harry Browne), except I would use the cash portion of it for the third bedroom.
  For whatever can't be in all your names as co-owners, at least make them beneficiaries.

ch12

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2014, 08:25:44 PM »

Yes, especially if I can work because my MIL or FIL is available to provide free childcare. I think my in-laws figure that their cash assets are safer out of the country and they'd rather see them being used for the benefit of their children and grandchildren than locked up by the government, which they [rationally] fear.

+1

My parents fled a country that was falling apart, and I deeply wish that they had put any of their money abroad. The government kept changing the currency, and all money eventually became worthless over the span of a few months.

If my parents lived in an unstable situation, I'd get them out immediately, or have them live in the US part time. Too many people who could've gotten out didn't get out until everything fell apart. That is a very bad time to be leaving - there's a river of people trying desperately to get out. I've heard incredibly terrible stories. At least see if you can convince them to take little sojourns with you, so that they get used to the community and stuff. Leaving your home country is a terrible shock, and anything and everything that you can do to blunt that (with a reasonable expectation that some day they'll come to the US) will be good.

In your shoes, I'd set up a taxable VBIAX account with the money and call it good.

rpr

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2014, 09:17:32 PM »

I'm hoping to get them here over the winter so they can see there's a large, viable community here where they could have a nice life. I'm also hoping that a grandchild will convince them they'd like to be here, rather than half a world away. I think the thing I'm going crazy with is that they vacillate between THIS IS A MESS AND WE ARE LEAVING and "NO, everything will be fine!" If they were willing to leave, we'd be selling their house and applying for visas this summer, while they send us $56k/annum, the max under gift tax laws. Then when the visas come through, they'd move. The problem is, on days they feel like they'd leave and the FOREX rate is good, they send us money, and then when they feel things are good, they're never going to leave because after all, they love their home country.
Currently, they are foreign citizens and foreign residents so US gift tax limits do not apply to them. They need to research what the gift tax limits are in their country of residence for tax purposes. Of course, if they become US residents then gift tax limits apply.

ch12

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Re: Odd Situation with In-Laws, Please Help
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2014, 05:29:08 PM »
I'm not qualified to give advice on your tax situation, but I searched the IRS website.
http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Gifts-from-Foreign-Person
Quote
Reporting Requirements
You must file Form 3520, Annual Return to Report Transactions with Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts, if, during the current tax year, you treat the receipt of money or other property above certain amounts as a foreign gift or bequest.  Include on Form 3520:
Gifts or bequests valued at more than $100,000 from a nonresident alien individual or foreign estate (including foreign persons related to that nonresident alien individual or foreign estate)

Given that each year has been safely under $100,000, I think that you are ok.