The Money Mustache Community

Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on July 17, 2019, 11:46:59 AM

Title: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on July 17, 2019, 11:46:59 AM
So, I feel like when it rains it pours. I just had an issue on one side of the family and now we have this. A few years ago my mom died without a will and she left no debt and a house with a small lien that my brother and me were able to pay off with a small life insurance policy. We were able to do an Affidavit of Heirship and not go through any type of probate. In the end, my brother bought me out of the house and he is now living in it. Everything was settled and my brother and I were happy.

Fast forward to Friday afternoon, I get a phone call from my mom's sister trying to close out the estate of my grandparents. It seems their house was left to the three children, my mom being one of them. According to the will, we are entitled to my mom's share. They didn't know this was the case until they met with their lawyer. We met with the two siblings today and they basically told us they supported my mom and grandparents all in their adulthood, made many improvements to the house for my grandparents, helped my grandparents and mom financially and paid off many of their debts through the years, watched my brother and me get many, many things from my grandparents, whereas their children got little to none including attention.

I had a suspicion they felt this way, but didn't know it would end up with my brother and me ultimately being able to decide if we want to pursue for our part of the house or just sign it over as, they said, "gratitude" for being taken care through my life. What they mean is my mom had many issues. Alcoholism and partying one of them. She was never stable and my grandparents had to step in many, many times and know, unbeknownst to us, it seemed they helped my grandparents financially as well.

SO....I'm left with what to do. My brother is indifferent and feels like nothing will be lost if we don't sign because there is no relationship there, but also knows they did do a lot of our mom over the years. We have not seen anything on paper. If they are talking about things they've done in the past there may be no papertrail or they will have to go back to things like building a garage for my aging grandparents or helping to fix leaks. Our cousin (one of the siblings' child) currently leaves in the house and has been for a few years which has been absolutely fine with us, but now there is this issue.

What do we do? Do we sign over the house or fight it out like rednecks racking up court and attorney fees? Any, ANY advice will be welcome.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: MayDay on July 17, 2019, 11:59:20 AM
I definitely wouldn't fight.

I'd either give it up, or ask them to meet in the middle.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on July 17, 2019, 12:01:34 PM
What is meeting in the middle?
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Another Reader on July 17, 2019, 12:02:15 PM
What is the house worth?  Were there any other assets? 

As an heir, you should get a copy of the will or trust and an accounting of the estate.  If they got other assets, such as cash and stock, their argument is less valid.  If the house was all there was, that's different. 

The will is the will.  They don't seem to be saying you are not entitled to a share of the house.  What your grandparents did to support your mom doesn't count anyway, unless there was a provision for repayment.

However, if the house is worth something like $30k, it's probably not worth fighting over no matter what other assets they got.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Villanelle on July 17, 2019, 12:02:57 PM
Would fighting it truly rack up legal fees?  Are they actually contesting your inheritance, or are they just asking you to do what they feel is right and waive your portion? 

Also, did your grandparents die with a will?  If so, it seems they wanted your mom to have 1/3 of the estate.  They could have easily left her less (or nothing) if they felt it was unfair to give her an equal share, due to the other help they'd given her.  They didn't, especially if they had a will (meaning they expressly gave her 1/3, as opposed to it being a legal default).  There's something to be said for honoring the wishes if the people who left the money.  And frankly, it's not your and your brother's fault your mom had issues. 

I suspect that I would offer a compromise, assuming all of this is a fairly substantial amount, and therefore worth some conversations.  Instead of 1/3, I'd offer to decrease to perhaps 1/5 (so you and your brother each get 1/10, instead of 1/6), unless none of it was a substantial amount, in which it wouldn't be worth the headache and I'd sign it over just to be done thinking about it, assuming your brother will agree to whatever you decide. 
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on July 17, 2019, 12:09:39 PM
There was a will and everything went in thirds.

As far as other assets, I don't know what else is out there. I truly have no clue. One of my aunts did all their bills.

The house is probably worth 120k. There is nothing owed on. My grandparents paid it in full probably 25 years ago.

There was no provision for payment for my mom. She just wasn't stable and they enabled her. For many, many years.

I think they are saying we aren't entitled to her share. They are wanting us to sign it off saying everything is good.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Another Reader on July 17, 2019, 12:19:32 PM
If there is a will that said everything went in thirds, the executor should provide you and your brother an accounting of the estate.  If it was probated, there may be a public record.  If that side of the family ended up with, say, $300,000 in stocks and cash for some reason, that might affect your decision.

In your shoes, I would ask for the accounting before I did anything.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: GizmoTX on July 17, 2019, 12:42:07 PM
They're wanting you & your brother to waive your inheritance. As said earlier, the will is the will. If your grandparents felt that your mom already received her inheritance by ongoing support, they could have stated this in their will as the reason for excluding her share. But no, your grandparents specifically included you & your sibling, making any 'support' that your aunts supplied to your mother irrelevant.

I agree that you must get a copy of the will and an accounting of the estate before you decide anything.

There shouldn't be a legal fight -- your aunt has no choice but to include you two in the distribution of the estate if you do nothing. If they are making your waiver a condition of their future relationship with you, I would not be impressed.

Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Frankies Girl on July 17, 2019, 12:45:40 PM
What your relatives say to you is meaningless. You should not make any decisions without actual facts and information.

Contact the executor and ask for an accounting of the estate and a copy of the will.

Review this with legal counsel if you have any questions whatsoever about what something means or if you see something that is not easily explained.

Your relatives are holding you and your sibling out as somehow less worthy than other relatives based on the idea that you and your sibling somehow must pay for the fact that your mother was mentally ill/had substance abuse problems. Or they did more for the grandparents. This is illogical. How are children at fault that she was this way? If your grandparents thought you as lesser beings/not as worthy as their other grandkids for having the misfortune to be born to her, or didn't want her to get as much, or they wanted the other relatives to get something extra for their care/work,  THEY WOULD HAVE MADE CHANGES TO THEIR WILL TO INDICATE THIS. They didn't. That speaks to what THEY wanted to happen. Sounds like it was an even split between all their children, and per stipes to make sure if any of them died first, their grandkids still got their equal share. It is SOOOOOO easy for them to have changed this if that's what they wanted, but they didn't and you need to understand that despite your aunt/uncles (?) wanting things differently - it isn't THEIR decision to make and they should take that up with their parents before they died, or else realize they can't dictate how someone else leaves things. Your grandparents could have left everything to ONE of their kids, a dog, a charity, their church... sure, life isn't fair. Your relatives can bitch about how terrible it is and how your mom was spoiledor how much work they did for your grandparents, but what it should come down to is the letter of the law and that appears to be: you get your mom's share because that is how your grandparents wanted it. Period, end of sentence.

Again, they can think all they want about what is fair or not fair. But to try to guilt or bully you to sign over what is legally yours because your mom got some extra attention while she was still alive and they were lucky enough not to be so screwed up? That takes real balls. She's gone. They already won. Now they want to screw over her kids because they're mad about how their parents left things. Wow.

In the end, once you remove the emotion out of the equation and base your decision on basic facts, you can then decide it's not worth it and decline the inheritance if you feel they'll drag things out and cost you time/money, or tell them you wish to claim what you are rightfully owed. But don't let their complaining and bullying make the decision for you.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: terran on July 17, 2019, 12:49:57 PM
It sounds like there isn't really a current relationship and even if there were would you want to have a relationship with people who are trying to guilt trip you in this way? Maybe you do, in which case you can decide if it's worth "buying" a relationship in this way. I would question whether this will work though. Will they always view you as the screw up kids of their screw up sister?

Other than that, if you just don't care about the relationship, and also just don't care about the money then the easiest thing would probably be to do nothing. If they try to screw you out of what the will says, just don't up a fight and also don't cooperate by signing anything, but probably what will happen is they'll cut you a check.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: frugaliknowit on July 17, 2019, 01:03:28 PM
What is the house worth?  Were there any other assets? 

As an heir, you should get a copy of the will or trust and an accounting of the estate.  If they got other assets, such as cash and stock, their argument is less valid.  If the house was all there was, that's different. 

The will is the will.  They don't seem to be saying you are not entitled to a share of the house.  What your grandparents did to support your mom doesn't count anyway, unless there was a provision for repayment.

However, if the house is worth something like $30k, it's probably not worth fighting over no matter what other assets they got.

+1

My $.02:  Was your Mom (only) left 1/3 of the house or was she left 1/3 of the estate?  You need to find out (see above).

The will is your grandparent's wishes.  Whatever was done by other relatives for them is irrelevant.  If your grandparents felt appropriate, they could have changed their wishes.  Another point is that I believe you cannot make "side deals" where you (legally) agree that instead of 1/3, you get say 1/5...of course you can always "re-gift" the money back to other relatives after you receive it.

Not a lawyer, but I do NOT believe you will encounter any extra legal expense just to have the will executed as is, unless relatives contest it. 

This sounds like a buncha nonsense family drama...good luck!
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Another Reader on July 17, 2019, 01:13:02 PM
My guess is there is another issue here.  One of the other siblings has a child living in the house now.  To pay you your share, the other two siblings will have to come up with $40k to buy you out.  That might be more than they can afford, especially if the house was the only asset.  If that is the case, the house will have to be sold to pay you, and the child is out of a place to live.

Again, in your shoes, I would get a copy of the will and the estate accounting before you commit to anything.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on July 17, 2019, 01:14:24 PM
What is the house worth?  Were there any other assets? 

As an heir, you should get a copy of the will or trust and an accounting of the estate.  If they got other assets, such as cash and stock, their argument is less valid.  If the house was all there was, that's different. 

The will is the will.  They don't seem to be saying you are not entitled to a share of the house.  What your grandparents did to support your mom doesn't count anyway, unless there was a provision for repayment.

However, if the house is worth something like $30k, it's probably not worth fighting over no matter what other assets they got.

I pulled a copy of the will from the courthouse. It reads I hereby give, devise and bequeath all of my estate, both real and personal, mixed and unmixed, and wheresover situated unto my three children x, x, and x, per stirpes.

+1

My $.02:  Was your Mom (only) left 1/3 of the house or was she left 1/3 of the estate?  You need to find out (see above).

The will is your grandparent's wishes.  Whatever was done by other relatives for them is irrelevant.  If your grandparents felt appropriate, they could have changed their wishes.  Another point is that I believe you cannot make "side deals" where you (legally) agree that instead of 1/3, you get say 1/5...of course you can always "re-gift" the money back to other relatives after you receive it.

Not a lawyer, but I do NOT believe you will encounter any extra legal expense just to have the will executed as is, unless relatives contest it. 

This sounds like a buncha nonsense family drama...good luck!
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on July 17, 2019, 01:15:39 PM
My guess is there is another issue here.  One of the other siblings has a child living in the house now.  To pay you your share, the other two siblings will have to come up with $40k to buy you out.  That might be more than they can afford, especially if the house was the only asset.  If that is the case, the house will have to be sold to pay you, and the child is out of a place to live.

Again, in your shoes, I would get a copy of the will and the estate accounting before you commit to anything.

This is true, but both siblings are very financially secure.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: TVRodriguez on July 17, 2019, 01:20:12 PM
My two cents:  they really have some chutzpah.  As FrankiesGirl said, your grandparents took the time to make Wills and chose to include your mom and her descendants.  It was their money and their choice.  Does it suck if what your aunt/uncle/whoever is saying is true?  That they extended all this support to your grandparents and mom and got "nothing" in return?   Sure, it sucks.  But it's not your fault that it sucks.  And how dare they come to you and ask you to disclaim your share by trying to guilt-trip you for things that you had no control over!

Think of it this way:  if your mom had left everything to your brother, would you have asked him to disclaim half because you deserve it?  Or would you have accepted that it was her decision? 

If you're asking, I vote no on the disclaimer.

FWIW, I've handled estates where family members chose to honor spoken wishes that didn't make it into the Will (for example, when everyone heard grampa say he wanted one cousin to get XYZ but gramps forgot to write a new Will to say that).  This is NOT that situation.  Here, your relatives are actively trying to guilt you into going against the written wishes of your grandparents.  Would they have asked your mom to disclaim or would they have just grumbled that she got too much anyway?  Likely the latter, or else they would have spoken up when grandma and grandpa were alive.  They didn't and now they are trying to bully you and your brother. 

Just say you don't want to make any trouble, let's just let the lawyer handle the Will and administer it as written.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: mm1970 on July 17, 2019, 01:31:52 PM
There was a will and everything went in thirds.

As far as other assets, I don't know what else is out there. I truly have no clue. One of my aunts did all their bills.

The house is probably worth 120k. There is nothing owed on. My grandparents paid it in full probably 25 years ago.

There was no provision for payment for my mom. She just wasn't stable and they enabled her. For many, many years.

I think they are saying we aren't entitled to her share. They are wanting us to sign it off saying everything is good.
I think this can be tricky.  Way way back on the inheritance thread on anti-mustachian page, I talked about my grandparents' will.  Basically similar to yours here, my mother pre-deceased my grandfather's 2nd wife, so her share got split 3 ways (3 kids).  Looks like approx the same amount of money as you are talking about here, when all is said and done.

Some of the heirs were really crappy, but my grandpa's will was my grandpa's will.  So I'm of two minds here.  If your mother really was a PITA and you and your brother are ambivalent about the whole thing - consider this a parting gift to the rest of the family for putting up with her.

However, perhaps your grandparents felt bad about what you and sibling had to deal with, and wanted you to have it.  Is there a money grab situation?  Two of my uncles were complete jerks after my grandfather died - no way I would have handed anything over to those two - they were greedy as hell.  (Luckily there were two trusts, a boy's and a girl's).  I say luckily but the boys was much bigger, natch.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: mm1970 on July 17, 2019, 01:36:35 PM
Quote
THEY WOULD HAVE MADE CHANGES TO THEIR WILL TO INDICATE THIS. They didn't. That speaks to what THEY wanted to happen. Sounds like it was an even split between all their children, and per stipes to make sure if any of them died first, their grandkids still got their equal share. It is SOOOOOO easy for them to have changed this if that's what they wanted, but they didn't and you need to understand that despite your aunt/uncles (?) wanting things differently - it isn't THEIR decision to make and they should take that up with their parents before they died, or else realize they can't dictate how someone else leaves things.
FG has a good point here.  My husband's grandmother gave a lot of money to  one of her children, made loans, etc., over the years.  Her will stated that the loans needed to be paid back and if they weren't, they were to come out of the inheritance.

So that actually happened.  Her son got less because he'd gotten more when she was alive. 

My stepfather is doing the same thing - wants exactly equal to go to his 3 "kids", and even though has given away some things already, had noted that in his will.  (Honestly, my sister and her husband and their son help him out SO MUCH they should get everything...)
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: TheExplorer on July 17, 2019, 01:38:20 PM
I suggest you follow your conscience... whatever that may be.  It sounds like the rest of the family made significant sacrifices over the years. The legal side is only ever one side.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Villanelle on July 17, 2019, 02:51:22 PM
So they specified you and your brother in the will?  In that case, they wanted you to have the money. So the aunts and uncles can whinge all they want, but these were your grandparents wishes.  If they spent money on your grandparents with the hope of being reimbursed via a great piece of the inheritance pie, that was foolish.

I would tell them you and your brother are considering how to move forward and your first still will be to get a full accounting of everything.

It sounds like you were left 1/3 of the estate, not just the house, in which case your mom's siblings may be trying to not only guilt you out of part of the hous,e but perhaps mislead you about the rest of the inheritance, too.  Getting a full accounting of the estate is the place to start.  And maybe it makes me petty, but if I felt I had been mislead (they only mentioned the house when there was significantly more, and they were trying to get me to sign over everything while thinking it was mostly just the house), and consideration I'd been willing to give would dry up pretty quickly. 

If, on the other hand, you got 1/3 of the house and there were significant other assets, then it does seem they were "paid back" for the inequalities over the years, in which case they don't have much ground to stand on.

All that said, if is it just the house, you would get about $20k.  If you truly think they are going to litigate this, it might make sense to offer to let them buy you out of the house for $15k/each instead of $20, "for the sake of family peace" (but really just for simplicity in your life). 

Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: civil4life on July 17, 2019, 02:58:50 PM
My grandmother's will divides everything between my aunt and dad, however I believe she also set a certain amount to go to me and my 2 siblings.  We are the only grand kids.  I borrowed money from my grandmother a year ago.  We each signed an agreement that if the loan is not paid in full prior to either of our deaths that the debt would be due to her estate or come from my estate. 
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on July 17, 2019, 03:12:16 PM
No, we aren't specifically in the will, but our mom is who died after my grandmother who died after my grandfather. It says per stirpes.

I don't think they ever thought they would get reimbursed, I think they did it to make my grandparents' life more comfortable. They came from nothing, but ended up having stable jobs, a house, cars, etc....I don't think they had anything of significance as far as accounts, but, then again, I don't know what is out there and what is not out there.

I know they dealt with a lot from my mom. I watched it. I did too. They were just more in a position to help her financially then I was and help her scrape by. They came to her rescue many times, but they also enabled her in many ways and never really addressed her issues. Nor did my grandparents. My grandfather was the same as my mom and I think he always felt responsible for my mom's issues which is one reason they also enabled her and took care of my brother and me growing up.

I'm so torn. Part of me wants to just give it to them in and not go through this the next 6 months. The money isn't too concerning for me. Not that I am rolling in it, but I could afford it. The other part wants to ask them why do they feel so entitled and treat us this way? They aren't even that friendly in public when we run into each other. If they would have just started with the accounting that would have been better than wanting a meeting with no paperwork on their terms at on of their houses.



So they specified you and your brother in the will?  In that case, they wanted you to have the money. So the aunts and uncles can whinge all they want, but these were your grandparents wishes.  If they spent money on your grandparents with the hope of being reimbursed via a great piece of the inheritance pie, that was foolish.

I would tell them you and your brother are considering how to move forward and your first still will be to get a full accounting of everything.

It sounds like you were left 1/3 of the estate, not just the house, in which case your mom's siblings may be trying to not only guilt you out of part of the hous,e but perhaps mislead you about the rest of the inheritance, too.  Getting a full accounting of the estate is the place to start.  And maybe it makes me petty, but if I felt I had been mislead (they only mentioned the house when there was significantly more, and they were trying to get me to sign over everything while thinking it was mostly just the house), and consideration I'd been willing to give would dry up pretty quickly. 

If, on the other hand, you got 1/3 of the house and there were significant other assets, then it does seem they were "paid back" for the inequalities over the years, in which case they don't have much ground to stand on.

All that said, if is it just the house, you would get about $20k.  If you truly think they are going to litigate this, it might make sense to offer to let them buy you out of the house for $15k/each instead of $20, "for the sake of family peace" (but really just for simplicity in your life).
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on July 17, 2019, 03:57:21 PM
They aren't contesting our portion. I don't think they can. We haven't received anything. They are wanting us to waive our portion as of way of showing "gratitude."


Would fighting it truly rack up legal fees?  Are they actually contesting your inheritance, or are they just asking you to do what they feel is right and waive your portion? 

Also, did your grandparents die with a will?  If so, it seems they wanted your mom to have 1/3 of the estate.  They could have easily left her less (or nothing) if they felt it was unfair to give her an equal share, due to the other help they'd given her.  They didn't, especially if they had a will (meaning they expressly gave her 1/3, as opposed to it being a legal default).  There's something to be said for honoring the wishes if the people who left the money.  And frankly, it's not your and your brother's fault your mom had issues. 

I suspect that I would offer a compromise, assuming all of this is a fairly substantial amount, and therefore worth some conversations.  Instead of 1/3, I'd offer to decrease to perhaps 1/5 (so you and your brother each get 1/10, instead of 1/6), unless none of it was a substantial amount, in which it wouldn't be worth the headache and I'd sign it over just to be done thinking about it, assuming your brother will agree to whatever you decide.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: terran on July 17, 2019, 04:11:43 PM
No, we aren't specifically in the will, but our mom is who died after my grandmother who died after my grandfather. It says per stirpes.

Wait, so if your mom died after your grandmother who died after your grandfather, doesn't that mean your mom was the last to die? I could totally be wrong, but doesn't that mean you won't actually inherit from your grandparents, but rather your mom's estate will inherit and that will then need to be probated according to her will or lack thereof? If that's the case it seems to me you don't have the option of disclaiming the inheritance as you won't inherit it until it passes through your mom's estate.

https://www.thebalance.com/beneficiary-dies-during-probate-3974776 seems to line up with my guess
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on July 17, 2019, 04:23:40 PM
Well, we didn't do an estate for my mom. We did an affidavit of heirship since she only had the house and a car both which were lien free. So, that is true we aren't inheriting from my grandparents rather what was to be my moms. They have given me paperwork to sign off on that says my mom had been paid her portion. I don't know what that portion is.

No, we aren't specifically in the will, but our mom is who died after my grandmother who died after my grandfather. It says per stirpes.

Wait, so if your mom died after your grandmother who died after your grandfather, doesn't that mean your mom was the last to die? I could totally be wrong, but doesn't that mean you won't actually inherit from your grandparents, but rather your mom's estate will inherit and that will then need to be probated according to her will or lack thereof? If that's the case it seems to me you don't have the option of disclaiming the inheritance as you won't inherit it until it passes through your mom's estate.

https://www.thebalance.com/beneficiary-dies-during-probate-3974776 seems to line up with my guess
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: GizmoTX on July 17, 2019, 04:35:33 PM
"Per stirpes" means you & your brother explicitly are in the will as a group representing your mother's share; each person in the group must still be living. No doubt your aunts expected "per capita" inheritance, in which an equal share is given to each named person who all stand in equal degree of relationship to the deceased; since your mother died, they expected a bigger share. So, they are guilting you two to make that happen. That sucks.

The will had plenty of time to acknowledge if your mother in fact was prepaid her share, presumably the house and/or car.

You are under no obligation to show "gratitude", especially given their behavior towards you.

The probate court judge and the support staff for the probate court supervise the work that the executor does. The court can remove an executor who is not following the law, who is not following the will, or who is not fulfilling his duties. The court can appoint a new personal representative to oversee the estate.

I would personally want the will to be executed exactly the way it directed, and then consider transferring part or all to other family members depending upon how they treated me, without telling them of course.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Another Reader on July 17, 2019, 04:47:19 PM
I would not sign a piece of paper stating your mother was paid her portion.  That's not accurate and it could conceivable come back to haunt you.  Either they are getting bad advice from their attorney (the same as the estate attorney?) or they are improvising.  You probably need an attorney to explain the proper courses of action and the consequences if you decide to disclaim.  Disclaiming is not the same thing as saying your mother's portion was paid.

If someone pressured me to come to one of their houses and sign a piece of paper I had not reviewed, I would decline.  My answer would be mail it to me, along with an accounting of the estate and a copy of the will.  Once we have reviewed the documents and have consulted our attorney, we will get back to you.

I believe that Frankie's Girl and the others that have emphasized the wishes of your grandparents are correct.  Had your grandparents wanted to "even things out," they would have done so.  It is not up to some of the inheritors that feel cheated to change the outcome after the fact.  Especially ones that use the tactics these folks are employing.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: TVRodriguez on July 17, 2019, 06:24:35 PM
"Per stirpes" means you & your brother explicitly are in the will
....

You are under no obligation to show "gratitude", especially given their behavior towards you.

The probate court judge and the support staff for the probate court supervise the work that the executor does. The court can remove an executor who is not following the law, who is not following the will, or who is not fulfilling his duties. The court can appoint a new personal representative to oversee the estate.

I would personally want the will to be executed exactly the way it directed, and then consider transferring part or all to other family members ....

ALL OF THIS
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: calimom on July 17, 2019, 08:55:00 PM
OP, I'm incredibly sorry you, your grandparents, your mom's siblings, and very specifically your mom, suffered so much and I'm sorry for your loss. Situations like this just happen in families. Your grandparents' wishes are their wished however. Please extract yourself from any family drama and collect what you and your brother were gifted by your loving grandparents.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: koshtra on July 17, 2019, 09:31:44 PM
Ugh, I'm sorry you're having to go through this. I would not waive the inheritance. The will sounds perfectly explicit and clear. Your grandparents' intention was for you and your brother to receive your shares of the estate. Doing anything other than what the will directs adds needless complexity to this situation. If you come to the other side of it all feeling like "wow, I really want to give these not-very-friendly not-very-close relatives $20,000 bucks," then you can do that, if you want.

Why should you disregard your grandparents' clearly stated wishes? I just don't see it.



Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Cassie on July 17, 2019, 09:42:53 PM
The way this family is acting I would definitely want to know the entire value of the estate.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: former player on July 18, 2019, 01:06:53 AM
I spent a couple of years of my early retirement as career for my mother and aunt.  I did it for love not reward, and the equal split of their estates between my brother and me I regarded as entirely fair.  If your aunt and other aunt/uncle want to be rewarded financially for looking after their parents I find myself unimpressed.

But besides that, your aunt's phone call is a bit troubling.  It seems to me that perhaps your grandparents died a while ago (you mention one of your cousins living in their house for some years), and yet this phone call about your inheritance only comes now?  I don't understand how her family could have been dealing with the estate all this time without having seen the will and known about its provisions and for all the beneficiaries to have been informed.  It seems entirely possible that they have just been disregarding something that was inconvenient to them until they wanted to put the paperwork on the house in order and needed your and your brother's agreement.

I think you need facts on which to make a decision and not allow yourselves to be bounced/guilted into making a decision over a matter of days after the estate has apparently been left unresolved for years.  I would get in contact with the lawyer (who should be the lawyer for the estate, not for your aunt and aunt/uncle) and ask for a copy of the will, a copy of the probate and a copy of the estate accounts.  If there were debts from your grandparents' estate to your aunt/uncle, including from house repair/improvements, then the estate accounts should show that, but set against that arguably you might be entitled to one third of the value of the occupation of the house by your cousin.  Once you have the facts and are away from immediate family pressure, you can make a decision on what to do.  My usual tack with a difficult decision such as this is to try to make it when I am not feeling emotional, and to do what I think I will regret the least.

Good luck.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on July 18, 2019, 04:57:16 AM
So, I have one update. When I received my aunt's call I decided to request, from the bank, how she paid off her house the year before he death. I just had to send in her death certificate, heirship legal doc, etc....

Knowing my mom like I did, I knew she did not save up enough to pay it off in one lump sum and I knew she had refinanced and refinanced it over the years. The copy of the check was faxed to yesterday and I saw it when I came in this morning. It seems my grandmother's estate paid a 23k to her house. So, there's that. I also called the car dealership where she bought her car to find out how she bought a car (in cash) a few months before she died and, according to their finance manager, they don't keep those copies. I am guessing the car was around 18k and, since my mom died with no debt, someone had to pay for that. Either my grandmother's estate or my aunt herself.

That does make me feel some better that my mom did, in fact, receive something from the estate. I don't know why my aunts couldn't just come out and say that or show me these items or show me the checking account of my grandmother.

There's really nothing else I see my mom had of value. When she died she didn't have any accounts other than a checking a savings of less than 1k.

This is very, very, emotional and my aunts' words keep ringing in my ear. That is what brings out the fight in me, but then there's the emotional side to me that does understand they took a lot of weight off my brother and me by taking care of my mom (for the most part) over the years.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Steeze on July 18, 2019, 05:40:07 AM
If I leave a will and estate behind and my descendants do not honor it I will be sure to come back and haunt them! You don’t want ghost problems!
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Pizzabrewer on July 18, 2019, 05:52:20 AM
If the estate did pay out for your mother’s benefit, it should be well documented. You are entitled to a full accounting of the estate. It seems they’re hiding something and trying to manipulate your emotions to keep it hidden. Perhaps they already divvied up the estate and now realize they did wrong?

It sounds fishy to me. If it were me I’d simply say “I’m not signing anything until I see a full accounting of the estate, to which I am entitled “. I’d keep it businesslike and not get drawn into any drama or self-doubt.

Edited to add:  I’d also want an answer as to why it has taken years to settle what they are trying to make you think is a small, simple estate.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: mistymoney on July 18, 2019, 07:22:44 AM
There was a will and everything went in thirds.

As far as other assets, I don't know what else is out there. I truly have no clue. One of my aunts did all their bills.

The house is probably worth 120k. There is nothing owed on. My grandparents paid it in full probably 25 years ago.

There was no provision for payment for my mom. She just wasn't stable and they enabled her. For many, many years.

I think they are saying we aren't entitled to her share. They are wanting us to sign it off saying everything is good.

your grandparents decided to bequeath to their children equally. Which means that you and sibling/s divide her share. So basically - when your mother died her siblings assumed 'more for us'? disgusting!

You say "there is no relationship" so - forget them.

As a parent, some children are harder, need more help, are more expensive/less independent than others. Only your grandparents know the whole story - but they did know it - and their decision was to leave the money equally among their children - which is the most common and most fair approach.

This was money your mother had coming to her, would have had had she lived, and I guarantee you she wants you and brother to have this additional inheritance from her.

I understand you mother was troubled. Your grandparents may have had a deeper understanding of why that was. They could have made other arrangements with their will, but they didn't. I would trust them. I would take this as a gift from your mother and grandparents.

Her siblings argue they did stuff for you grandparents - but if they are expecting money now from it, it wasn't really that nice of them.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: GizmoTX on July 18, 2019, 07:26:27 AM
My guess: the estate has been ‘settled’, ie split between the 2 aunts, for some time, but doesn’t pass final court review because the aunt executor ignored or didn’t understand ‘per stirpes’. Thus the attempt to guilt you into going away.

Don’t waive your inheritance. Your grandparents could have either changed the will or required your mother to sign off on any payments to document any effect on her inheritance — neither happened.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: mistymoney on July 18, 2019, 07:41:10 AM
So, I have one update. When I received my aunt's call I decided to request, from the bank, how she paid off her house the year before he death. I just had to send in her death certificate, heirship legal doc, etc....

Knowing my mom like I did, I knew she did not save up enough to pay it off in one lump sum and I knew she had refinanced and refinanced it over the years. The copy of the check was faxed to yesterday and I saw it when I came in this morning. It seems my grandmother's estate paid a 23k to her house. So, there's that. I also called the car dealership where she bought her car to find out how she bought a car (in cash) a few months before she died and, according to their finance manager, they don't keep those copies. I am guessing the car was around 18k and, since my mom died with no debt, someone had to pay for that. Either my grandmother's estate or my aunt herself.

That does make me feel some better that my mom did, in fact, receive something from the estate. I don't know why my aunts couldn't just come out and say that or show me these items or show me the checking account of my grandmother.

There's really nothing else I see my mom had of value. When she died she didn't have any accounts other than a checking a savings of less than 1k.

This is very, very, emotional and my aunts' words keep ringing in my ear. That is what brings out the fight in me, but then there's the emotional side to me that does understand they took a lot of weight off my brother and me by taking care of my mom (for the most part) over the years.

What you don't know is what your grandparents may have given to your aunts.

I know many parent who have a child that needs more help. But they also just send/gift to the other children as well, sometimes in equal measures.

Such as - less independent/secure child needs help buying a car, so they gift 13k to other kid/s.

Also - if you grandparent were able to gift 23k for the house, and 18 k for a car, what is the size of their estate? You need to find out.

You'll never know what your grandparent may have done for the aunts, we only know that in their minds, their estate being split equally was important to them.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Villanelle on July 18, 2019, 11:18:27 AM
My guess: the estate has been ‘settled’, ie split between the 2 aunts, for some time, but doesn’t pass final court review because the aunt executor ignored or didn’t understand ‘per stirpes’. Thus the attempt to guilt you into going away.

Don’t waive your inheritance. Your grandparents could have either changed the will or required your mother to sign off on any payments to document any effect on her inheritance — neither happened.

I'm wondering about this.  It sounds like the grandparents passed a while ago, before the mom.  Perhaps the aunts and given mom some money, and then when she died they assumed they no longer had to account for her portion, and have recently discovered they are wrong.

And I think the point about not know what your grandparents did for the aunts is a good one.  I'd definitely ask for a copy of the will and all the estate documents.  And if they pushed back even one iota, any consideration for taking less than my legal share would evaporate.  The fact that you are only now hearing about this suggests, at a minimum, a gross misunderstanding of how this all works, which could have easily lead to them taking more than allowed; and quite possibly an intentional attempt to screw you and your brother out of your inheritance.

And I also think the point made above, about whether you are even legally allowed to decline this, since your mother was the one who inherited (since her parents predeceased her), is worth looking in to as well.  When your grandparents died, your grandmother "owned" her 1/3 already.  Whether you can legally retroactively decline that on her behalf is an interesting question.  You could take what you eventually get and give it back, of course.  But if you can't legally decline on behalf of your mother who was alive at the will went into action, then all of the rest of this is a moot point.  That would take the pressure off you and your brother; when asked, you'd be able to tell the aunts that legally you can't decline because it was your mom's inheritance, not your, and what you inherit from your mom has nothing to do with the aunts. 
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on July 18, 2019, 11:51:34 AM
An alternate perspective -

My sister lives with my mom, has always lived with my mom, probably always will live with my mom, while only paying for a few of the utilities.  My mom helps my sister financially, although not to the extent of tens of thousands of dollars at once.

Mom's will states that everything is to be equally divided between my sister and I. 

When Mom dies I will take 50% of the liquid assets but I am signing over my half of her house to my sister.  Because it is my sister's home, and because my sister will have done the brunt of taking care of mom, since I live a few hours away.   Although it is against mom's explicit wishes, once she dies and it comes to me, I can do whatever I want with it.  I will choose to do what I think is fair and gift the house to my sister.

On the other hand, my uncle (supposedly) plans to leave the bulk of his estate to me and my sister equally.  I will probably take half of the estate, even though my sister helps take care of him and I don't really.  The family dynamics here are different.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Catbert on July 18, 2019, 01:37:14 PM
So, I have one update. When I received my aunt's call I decided to request, from the bank, how she paid off her house the year before he death. I just had to send in her death certificate, heirship legal doc, etc....

Knowing my mom like I did, I knew she did not save up enough to pay it off in one lump sum and I knew she had refinanced and refinanced it over the years. The copy of the check was faxed to yesterday and I saw it when I came in this morning. It seems my grandmother's estate paid a 23k to her house. So, there's that. I also called the car dealership where she bought her car to find out how she bought a car (in cash) a few months before she died and, according to their finance manager, they don't keep those copies. I am guessing the car was around 18k and, since my mom died with no debt, someone had to pay for that. Either my grandmother's estate or my aunt herself.

That does make me feel some better that my mom did, in fact, receive something from the estate. I don't know why my aunts couldn't just come out and say that or show me these items or show me the checking account of my grandmother.

There's really nothing else I see my mom had of value. When she died she didn't have any accounts other than a checking a savings of less than 1k.

This is very, very, emotional and my aunts' words keep ringing in my ear. That is what brings out the fight in me, but then there's the emotional side to me that does understand they took a lot of weight off my brother and me by taking care of my mom (for the most part) over the years.

That whole "gratitude" comment would piss me off.  That said, I would probably waive the inheritance since it seems that your grandparents/aunt provided significant $$ support to your mother over the years.  I would, however, want a firm accounting of what is in your grandmother's estate to ensure that I'm waiving ~20K and not ~200K.

This is in part because 20K wouldn't make a difference to my life.  Also there is no reason you and your brother have to do the same thing.  One could waive and the other collect. 
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: DadJokes on July 18, 2019, 01:44:10 PM
Is it worth fighting over? Unless your share of the house will substantially improve your life, I would just let them have it. I don't care enough about money (that I didn't personally earn) to fight over an inheritance.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Pizzabrewer on July 18, 2019, 03:34:19 PM
Is it worth fighting over? Unless your share of the house will substantially improve your life, I would just let them have it. I don't care enough about money (that I didn't personally earn) to fight over an inheritance.

You may well be right.  But I'd like to know the lay of the land before I signed away my rights.  It sounds like the aunts are pulling a fast one here.  Obviously everyone and every family is different but I'd want an accounting of the estate.  If everything is on the up and up, why are the aunts being so evasive?  You'd think they'd want full transparency to tidy this up ASAP.

Just my 2 cents.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: zolotiyeruki on July 18, 2019, 04:16:34 PM
Wow, I'm sorry you have to deal with this, OP.

A couple thoughts come to mind:
1) "Gratitude" in this case is pure guilt trip.  If they had said "we paid $xxxxx to do X, Y and Z for your grandparents, and were never reimbursed, so we request that you give up $xxxxx/3 to defray that cost," that would be another matter.
2) Posession is 9/10ths of the law.  If you claim your share, you can, at a later date, decide to gift some or all of that money to your aunts, once you understand the situation better and if you feel that they are owed.  If you waive your inheritance, however, that decision is *not* reversible.
3) I don't know if there could be legal trouble down the road if you sign a paper saying "mom got her share" when that may not have been the case.  Either way, it seems way simpler to me to execute the will as-is, and then sort out any second thoughts later.
4) IANAL, but if your mother received her share from the estate already, then why would the aunts need you to sign the paper?  The accounting for the estate would clearly show the payments, would it not?
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on July 18, 2019, 04:49:01 PM
Right, I was never told what was paid to whom. I was told that what all they had done financially for my grandparents and my mom over the years while they were alive. Other than my own research, I don't know what they paid to my mom and that's the 23k to pay her house off and her car that had no lien. Papers show it was around 18k (more research of my own.)

Legal trouble down the road? I mean maybe? I went today and got a copy of the will. Both of my grandparents named each other as executor and then didn't name anyone else in the event of their death. It appears my aunt opened up probate and her and my other aunt signed off saying that it was ok for one of them to be named executor and all heirs were in agreement. I don't know why anyone didn't catch that their was a third heir. The problem for them came, I'm guessing, is when they went to move the house out of my grandparents' name.

I really don't see my grandparents having a significant amount of money at their death. It would be a big surprise to me, but then, I didn't think my grandmother's estate would be able to pay off my mom's 23k mortgage, and, if that is where the money came from, buy my mom a car. I also found out that one of the aunts has already taken her share (somehow I missed this in our conversation earlier this week) my brother told me this came up. I have no idea if the other aunt (who has children living in the house) has been paid anything. Her current claim is she did so much for my mom, grandparents, their house,  the house should be hers.

Aiiiiiyyyiii. This is so emotionally draining. Part of me wants to give it up and say go get some counseling with anything left and part of me wants to say, "wait a minute, you can't talk to me like this even if you don't like me."
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Cannot Wait! on July 18, 2019, 05:23:29 PM
It sounds like your aunts and your grandparents went through a lot with your mom  -  but I'm guessing you and your brother did too.   
This is a classic don't lend money to relatives situation for your aunts/grandparents   - they could have loaned her the money for her house and car legitimately,  in writing, and that could have been taken out of her estate.  Instead they want you to pay for their mistake.  Who lends that kind of money to someone in your mom's condition?  Did she need an $18,000 car and a paid off house or could she have managed with a $5,000 car and help with a few mortgage payments?
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: happy on July 18, 2019, 05:30:00 PM
OP, I suspect in the long run you will fell better/ have more self respect etc if you sort this out properly, even if you decide once the facts are clear to gift your share back to your aunt/s.

Tell your aunts you can't make a decision until you have all the facts and then get the accounts of the estate etc  and see what sort of money you are talking about. If its only 20k, but all means make your own decision to gift the money to your aunts. If its a lot more than that, personally I'd have a long think about it..and probably keep the money. Along the way if need be get some legal advice.....
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Another Reader on July 18, 2019, 05:51:54 PM
If there wasn't money or other assets in the estate, how did the one aunt "take her share?"

There appears to be more going on here than has been disclosed to you.  They may have been able to take the other assets with no problem because there is nothing recorded.  Or they may have thought because your mom died, they got everything, until they needed to clear the house title and the attorney told them that was not the case.  The house needs to have clear title, so they have to handle that part correctly.  Are probate records public in your state?  If so, I would obtain copies.  And I would not sign anything until I completely understood the situation.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: mistymoney on July 19, 2019, 05:57:24 AM
If there wasn't money or other assets in the estate, how did the one aunt "take her share?"

There appears to be more going on here than has been disclosed to you.  They may have been able to take the other assets with no problem because there is nothing recorded.  Or they may have thought because your mom died, they got everything, until they needed to clear the house title and the attorney told them that was not the case.  The house needs to have clear title, so they have to handle that part correctly.  Are probate records public in your state?  If so, I would obtain copies.  And I would not sign anything until I completely understood the situation.

+1
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: PoutineLover on July 19, 2019, 06:11:02 AM
You should definitely get all the info before making a call. There was a similar situation in my family when my grandmother died, one child was living in the house and had done most of the caring because they were closest. After her death, it took about 8 years before the house was sold and the other two heirs saw anything. Inheritances are complicated, and especially so if you don't want any hard feelings.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: dcozad999 on July 19, 2019, 07:24:38 AM
You may be surprised at what assets your grandparents had. When my father died, my sister and I had to take control of my mother's financial life since she is no longer capable of doing it herself. After getting everything in order (which was no easy feat. They had accounts EVERYWHERE), we found out that my mother, at 70 year-old with no debt and $1.2 million in assets, was still paying for a $50k life insurance policy.  They weren't actively paying for a policy for my father, but as part of his retirement package (federal employee), he had a $15k life insurance policy that was paid out to my mom.

I think a lot of elderly people just keep life insurance policies (or paid for variable policies) out of habit to take care of the other spouse.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: mm1970 on July 19, 2019, 01:30:05 PM
Is it worth fighting over? Unless your share of the house will substantially improve your life, I would just let them have it. I don't care enough about money (that I didn't personally earn) to fight over an inheritance.
It seems like a mess, and these things often are.

I wouldn't actually "fight" over it at all, but I would - as others are recommending - ask for a very careful accounting from the estate - the value of the estate, the amounts that were paid out to your mother (there should be records of all of this).

I mean, though I did not have to pay taxes, I did have to record the inheritances that I received when my grandfather's estate and my father's will were both settled.  You definitely want to make sure that everything is on the up and up legally - to protect yourself, if for no other reason.  After that, do what you want.  Keep it, give it back, whatever.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: mm1970 on July 19, 2019, 01:44:12 PM
Quote
Her current claim is she did so much for my mom, grandparents, their house,  the house should be hers.

Well, but that's not what the will says.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Rosy on July 19, 2019, 03:01:47 PM
I think whoever said the aunts basically divided the estate between themselves was right. Which is legally and morally wrong!
The only hiccup is that they can't clear the title to the house.
If they already screwed you over royally then you might not be inclined to be so generous in just letting them have the house.

You are not less than - just get full disclosure from the probate court and follow the money.
How is it even possible that one aunt already claimed her inheritance without you even knowing about it?
Is the other aunt claiming the house since her kid is living in it?

That is a fine state of affairs indeed! ... and now they want to guilt you into going along with their machinations? Gutsy!
Unacceptable!

Just don't sign a thing until you know exactly what is happening here and how much money is really at stake - then you go from there.
Breathe:). Don't make their drama your drama. You have done nothing wrong - at all.
You are entitled to your inheritance whether your aunts like it or not - period.

Take your time to mull it over once you have the full picture. Do not be too quick to give up what is legally yours.
You can always gift something back once you are a bit more removed from the drama and can think clearly.

You've got the power here - not them, which is exactly what this is all about, power, money - retribution, arrogance, entitlement - guilt trips - SHEESH.
Just get the facts from probate.




Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Villanelle on July 19, 2019, 04:38:21 PM
Also, consider the fact that cousin has been living there rent-free for several years.  I the aunt's want special consideration for themselves, it seems like they've already gotten it, without permission.  If you and your brother wanted to get nasty, you could probably purse 1/3 of FMV rent.  The executor had an obligation to settle the estate efficiently (failed) and to ensure fair use of the assets (failed). She didn't have the right to set up zero income on a potential income-earning asset.  So, consider YEARS of free rent on a property on which you and your brother are 1/3 owners as their compensation for whatever it is they are claiming they did that makes them owed something. 
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Rosy on July 20, 2019, 06:27:14 AM
YES - you own 1/3 of the property, therefore 1/3 of the rent is yours.
YES - years of simply "taking" does not make it right or legal.
The executor should have set up an account with rent payments due to you - each month - for years already.

I think they have taken enough on the sly by now, not to mention the rent-free nephew.
You have nothing to be guilty about.
You know damn well, that regardless of how generous you will be - this is family drama - and nothing will ever be "enough" for them.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Omy on July 20, 2019, 06:44:17 AM
Your grandparents EXPRESSLY wanted your mother (or her heirs) to get 1/3 of the estate. If I were your grandparents, I would be furious if I found out that my children were bullying my grandchildren out of their fair share. I agree with most posters here - it's probably much more than just the value of the house.

In almost every family, there is one kid who struggles more than the others - and parents handle that in different ways. If your mother had a traditional disease, it would be shocking if her siblings were arguing that her need for health care should somehow invalidate your share of the estate. Your grandparents choice was to care for your mother and her children. Please respect their last wishes. You can always donate the money if that feels better to you.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: oldtoyota on July 20, 2019, 06:45:37 AM
There was a will and everything went in thirds.

As far as other assets, I don't know what else is out there. I truly have no clue. One of my aunts did all their bills.

The house is probably worth 120k. There is nothing owed on. My grandparents paid it in full probably 25 years ago.

There was no provision for payment for my mom. She just wasn't stable and they enabled her. For many, many years.

I think they are saying we aren't entitled to her share. They are wanting us to sign it off saying everything is good.

I would not sign it away without knowing facts like the full value of the estate.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: mistymoney on July 20, 2019, 09:03:29 AM
Also, consider the fact that cousin has been living there rent-free for several years.  I the aunt's want special consideration for themselves, it seems like they've already gotten it, without permission. If you and your brother wanted to get nasty, you could probably purse 1/3 of FMV rent.  The executor had an obligation to settle the estate efficiently (failed) and to ensure fair use of the assets (failed). She didn't have the right to set up zero income on a potential income-earning asset.  So, consider YEARS of free rent on a property on which you and your brother are 1/3 owners as their compensation for whatever it is they are claiming they did that makes them owed something.

ya!
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Bee21 on July 21, 2019, 04:59:19 AM
From an outsider's point of view, your aunts are trying to trick you/guilt you into signing your inheritance away. What they are doing to you and your brother is not only illegal (as executor of a will they have legal responsibilities)  but also highly immoral. It all looks very dodgy. Don't let them guilt you or manipulate you. They chose to support your mother, it has nothing to do with you inheriting from the grandparents.

I would politely request the details of the inheritance and my share. End of story. Just because they feel entitled to the whole estate it does not mean they are. You and your brother are also entitled to it.Worst case scenario, seek legal advice. And definitely claim your inheritance.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: snacky on July 21, 2019, 07:01:46 AM
Wow. This sucks. I'm sorry you've had so much recent loss, and have had these family shenanigans. I know what I would do, but you have your own values, so my opinion is moot.

Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Telecaster on July 21, 2019, 10:56:39 AM
They aren't contesting our portion. I don't think they can. We haven't received anything. They are wanting us to waive our portion as of way of showing "gratitude."

Screw that.  She was your mom, but their sister.  They chose to help out a family member. 
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Cassie on July 21, 2019, 09:50:34 PM
This entire situation makes me suspicious that there is more money at stake than just the house.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on August 15, 2019, 09:01:28 PM
So, just an update....

I met with a lawyer two weeks ago and he called their lawyer asking them to produce an accounting statement. We received that today and basically it was a typed up piece of paper with the distribution of what money my grandparents had which was about 115k before the house. It showed my mom receiving  the 20k for the house and that, if the house sold for an estimated 100k she would be due 36k. There were no bank statements. This came from the estate lawyer. It had a proposed distribution of 2500 to the executor (my aunt assigned herself as executor) and showed paying off my grandmother's debts, tombstone, etc of 41k. Of course, again there was no bank statements so I don't know where that money exactly went.

At this point, I don't know what to do. Is it worth it to go after 36k (if that is really what it is) or should I ask them to actually produce bank statements or do my brother and I let them buy us out of the house and we collect our roughly 18k each?

I mean legally we are entitled to it and there is no way they can get out of it.

Part of me wants to take it and go because of how they've been towards us through this and other things in years past and had little to no contact with us since these deaths have occurred. Part of me knows they bailed my mom out of situations and that could have had an even worse impact on us as kids that what we already had to deal with.

I just don't know. I'm at a loss right now. 18k would most certainly help a few things in mine and my brother's life and both my aunts are successful and financially smart people. They are not hurting for money. I'm frustrated that they would even put us in this situation without any lack of regard for wanting us to be a part of something left behind by my grandparents and I'm hurt at their lack of caring and treating us like we are so undeserving and unworthy almost.......

Any thoughts, advice, past experiences, other views would be appreciated.....
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: mozar on August 15, 2019, 09:27:37 PM
I think you need to take a break from thinking about it and take a walk in the woods.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: former player on August 15, 2019, 09:35:46 PM
I would ask your lawyer to ask for a copy of the accounts as certified by a lawyer or accountant.

Once the accounts are finalised I would probably say "we loved and miss our grandmother, we would like to respect her last wishes."
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: LaineyAZ on August 16, 2019, 06:46:11 AM
I would ask your lawyer to ask for a copy of the accounts as certified by a lawyer or accountant.

Once the accounts are finalised I would probably say "we loved and miss our grandmother, we would like to respect her last wishes."

Ditto.  You know who else got away with sending typed copies of supposed account balances?  Bernie Madoff.  (laws have since been changed, thankfully.)
You, via your attorney, have every right to see actual bank statements.  The self-appointed executor is either being lazy or deliberately sloppy, but either way there is no excuse.  Should be very simple.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Pizzabrewer on August 16, 2019, 07:12:49 AM
What did your lawyer think of the document they produced?  What’s his advice?
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: GizmoTX on August 16, 2019, 09:57:26 AM
I'd want to see bank statements. The fact that you haven't been provided any is suspicious. What you received is worthless.

How did your aunt assign herself as executor? This is supposed to be stated in the will.

Do not give them your inheritance.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: koshtra on August 16, 2019, 12:00:48 PM
I'd just politely decline to give my share away, and let law and nature take its course. If there was a shred of evidence that the testators intended some other result, that would be another story. But the fact that some of the legatees wish they had been left more is... well, just the way things often are.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: TVRodriguez on August 16, 2019, 01:57:30 PM
A formal accounting does not usually include bank statements in my jurisdiction, but I don't know based on what OP wrote whether he received a formal accounting.  A formal estate accounting usually has certain schedules listing assets, income, disbursements, distributions, things like that.  Those things are usually drawn from the bank statements, but it need not actually include the bank statements.  Usually, if you do not accept the accounting, you can ask for more information.  You can also challenge the accounting in court, which can cost you more than you are due based on what you've received.  If I were you, personally, I'd seriously consider accepting the accounting and accepting the $18,000 that I am due.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: frugaliknowit on August 16, 2019, 02:04:43 PM
Sorry, typing it out on a piece of paper WILL NOT DO!  That's ridiculous!
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: BicycleB on August 16, 2019, 02:56:49 PM
Like others, I think you can get a better accounting than that, if what you got was what I imagine from your description. And I think a clear accounting should set the mind at ease. Certainly it's missing the supporting documentation, and I suspect you're within your rights to ask for that. But I think you're almost done.

Based on your description, what you are proposed to receive is reasonable...assuming you are willing to accept your cousin getting free rent, when probably you and your brother are technically entitled to a portion of the forgone rent. I'm not a lawyer, so just guessing (I think some of the other commenters ARE lawyers...). From what I think you said, it went like this:

Original estate
115k financial assets
100k house (estimated)
-----
215k
-   2.5k executor fee (not crazy...though 2500 makes me wonder if it's 1% of 250k, and 35k wasn't accounted for?)
- 41k debt payments, funeral expenses (may be reasonable, should have been accounted)
____
171.5k assets to be divided by heirs

Mom gets 171.5/3 = 57,167 or so.
Mom got 20k for something that you found out about later, without clear accounting (should have been accounted)

57,167
-20,000
---------
37,167 left for you and brother to split

It could be bad accounting in good faith. It could be bad accounting that was done after your lawyer's accounting request made them back down from asking for the "waiver." It could be accurate accounting that just doesn't include the supporting documentation. Perhaps it's close but a few details were hard to document and they're sweating. If the 41k "debt" paid mom's siblings for labor, more judgment is required, but if the 41k paid actual vendors outside the family, the accounting could be pretty accurate. I'd just ask for the supporting documentation.

Re rent - Suppose rent for the property should have been 15k at fair market value for the time Cousin stayed at the house after Grandparents died. Mom should have received 5k from that. That would be 2,500 each for you and your brother. I wouldn't find fighting over that amount to be worthwhile, and if I trusted the accounting, I'd take the 18k. I'd be comparing the amount vs the cost of arguing.

I'm a persnickety dude. Asking for docs is in my wheelhouse. But if you got bank statements, and any investment statements, and they support the accounting that was made, you'd be golden unless the amount of the rent is important to you.

Take that walk, like the other poster said. But I'm guessing that this response was the acknowledgement that you "won" against the earlier request to waive your mom's share, which has been implicitly withdrawn. I think you're in the home stretch now.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: civil4life on August 16, 2019, 05:39:51 PM
I forget...was it stated in the will that your mom's $20k should have been taken from her portion or not.

The only thing is does $100k sound right for the house.  Is there an appraisal?
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on August 16, 2019, 05:44:22 PM
My lawyer is out of town and we are meeting next week after he reviews it.

There is not an exact appraisal for the house of 100k. The paper does state that this is an estimate.

There is nothing in the will about my mom's 22k, but the check did come from my grandmother's estate.

We have never received a formal accounting other than the paper we received this week with the numbers on paper. There is nothing to back these numbers up. I think it's bad accounting in good faith.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: iluvzbeach on August 17, 2019, 06:17:55 AM
Let me ask a question.  If your grandparent’s estate had been settled before your mother died and her portion of the proceeds had been sitting in her savings account, would you consider returning those proceeds to your aunts instead of distributing amongst you and your brother? That’s essentially what this situation is, but the “savings account” is still in your grandparent’s names. The money rightfully belongs to you and your brother since you were the recipients of your mother’s estate.

It’s beyond appalling that your aunts are trying to get you to disclaim your mother’s portion. I would not give in to this guilt trip. Your grandparents could have noted loans that your mother needed to repay, if they’d wanted that to happen. And, as others have also said, you have no idea what type of financial help your grandparents may have provided to your aunts.

Demand an accounting of the estate and claim what is legally yours. Release the guilt, your aunts are the ones who are in the wrong.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Finances_With_Purpose on August 17, 2019, 10:55:38 AM
What your relatives say to you is meaningless. You should not make any decisions without actual facts and information.

Contact the executor and ask for an accounting of the estate and a copy of the will.

Review this with legal counsel if you have any questions whatsoever about what something means or if you see something that is not easily explained.

Spoken with the wisdom of someone who has been through some things.  I agree.

You don't know them that well, per your post, so I'd be hesitant to sign off on anything.  Especially not under any kind of pressure.  Evaluate the situation first: get the facts.

Realize, too, that it's really easy for people to get greedy and for people to hide things: they may not be telling you that there's X stocks, or X gold, or whatever it is, because they're hoping you'll sign off and then they'll own it all.  It's sad, and I hope that's wrong, but it's frankly very odd that they're asking you to disinherit yourself over things that weren't your fault to begin with.  It smells like greed.  (Or perhaps desperation, since they planned on another outcome only to now realize that's not what's happening.)  Either way, it's not necessarily what's right.

With that said, I would value people and relationships over money.  But you also don't want to be a sucker for someone else's greed/desperation, which is just more enabling behavior, this time, on your part.  It's tough to walk that line, and you can't do it here without the facts. 

I will say this: the burden is on whoever wants to change the will (because that's what this is: distributing not according to the will) to prove the absolute necessity of that, how it wasn't factored in already, and so on.  Even shares is a pretty easy way to keep things fair, and all the more so here. 

I can't say which way you should ultimately lean or whether, like some suggest, a compromise is in order, because we just don't have all the facts.  Sounds like you don't yet either.  With that said, I would be very skeptical in general of folks pulling out things from the past that you aren't that familiar with, don't really know about, or aren't really sure about.  If it's not enough to prove it in court, then why are they wanting you to just accept it as true, to your own detriment?  I'd be very skeptical in general.  In other words, my bias would be strongly against changes, absent some very impressive proof and so on.  Keep in mind: you're only hearing one side of a story, it sounds like, and the folks who really could have filled in the other side (grandparents, your mother) are all gone.  (Proverbs 18:17: "The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.")

Best wishes to you on figuring it out: it sounds like a headache either way: you either forfeit a good chunk of funds or harm relationships, and, either way, it's hard not to be skeptical that those relationships are worth much anyway due to the eagerness to have you forfeit large sums of money for them.  All around sad, especially after a loss; you have my condolences.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Finances_With_Purpose on August 17, 2019, 11:01:04 AM
I would not sign a piece of paper stating your mother was paid her portion.  That's not accurate and it could conceivable come back to haunt you.  Either they are getting bad advice from their attorney (the same as the estate attorney?) or they are improvising.  You probably need an attorney to explain the proper courses of action and the consequences if you decide to disclaim.  Disclaiming is not the same thing as saying your mother's portion was paid.

If someone pressured me to come to one of their houses and sign a piece of paper I had not reviewed, I would decline.  My answer would be mail it to me, along with an accounting of the estate and a copy of the will.  Once we have reviewed the documents and have consulted our attorney, we will get back to you.

I believe that Frankie's Girl and the others that have emphasized the wishes of your grandparents are correct.  Had your grandparents wanted to "even things out," they would have done so.  It is not up to some of the inheritors that feel cheated to change the outcome after the fact.  Especially ones that use the tactics these folks are employing.

Also, this.  Never ever sign anything for a legal proceeding unless you actually know it to be true.  You don't know what, if anything, your mom was given.  You don't know what's in the estate, or what your share would be. 

They're effectively asking you to lie to a court.  People do it, but I sure wouldn't recommend it.

Given that (and the brazenness of it), I would say pound sand and refuse it completely; distribute per the will. 
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Finances_With_Purpose on August 17, 2019, 11:14:47 AM
Sorry for multiple posts: read through your updates and the whole thread.

I generally agree that you're closer, but I'm now more skeptical and think they're actively trying to screw you here.

You said the check to your mom was for $20k.  That's not an equity share of a home, it's a check for 20k.  If you loaned your brother 20k and expected to be paid back, would you expect to be paid back the exact value of his house per that proportion at the time?  Of course not. 

You give him a loan, and the loan might be secured by the house's value (maybe) - what we call a mortgage.  But it's very, very unlikely that the value of that loan is 36k.  More likely, it's just a gift.  (At least in my experience.)   

Their lawyer knows all of that, too, by the way; it sounds like he's trying to actively screw you and get the aunts' families as much as possible.  He knows you don't count the value of a loan as the value of the asset it was used for -- the loan value is the loan value unless otherwise stated. 

At best, they might be able to claim an interest-free loan: there's no contract, just some sort of informal understanding.  But even that is really sketchy: there's a check from a *prior* estate, I gather.  Which doesn't impact this estate.  Did they give an accounting of that estate?  Who else was paid from it?  How do you know they didn't get valuable things from it?

It's exceedingly odd that they want you to pay $36k now for what cost $20k and was probably a low-interest or interest-free loan, or, frankly, more likely just a plain old gift.

I'm guessing they can't prove it's not a gift; it'll be he-said, she-said at best, without documents. 

So I certainly wouldn't accept the 36k figure.  That's just an opening negotiation.  Their lawyer expects you to come back at 20k or less--he may be hoping you won't challenge the 20k if he inflated it to 36k.  I call BS, though. 

And, you know one thing: he's trying to squeeze you out.  So I certainly wouldn't trust him, his accounting, etc.  It looks more like his client (your aunts) have made it clear that they want you to get as little as possible. 

I'd ask your lawyer all of this, of course, as I am not your lawyer.  I began skeptical, but now, I'm beyond skeptical.  They're either trying to screw you, or they all made agreements that nobody bothered to write down, ever, for thousands of dollars, that could impact YOUR future.  I'd say hell no to that.  I might compromise a little, but not based upon this.  I'd stick with full share at this point. 
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: AMandM on August 17, 2019, 09:12:13 PM
Like others, I think you can get a better accounting than that, if what you got was what I imagine from your description. And I think a clear accounting should set the mind at ease. Certainly it's missing the supporting documentation, and I suspect you're within your rights to ask for that. But I think you're almost done.

Based on your description, what you are proposed to receive is reasonable...assuming you are willing to accept your cousin getting free rent, when probably you and your brother are technically entitled to a portion of the forgone rent. I'm not a lawyer, so just guessing (I think some of the other commenters ARE lawyers...). From what I think you said, it went like this:

Original estate
115k financial assets
100k house (estimated)
-----
215k
-   2.5k executor fee (not crazy...though 2500 makes me wonder if it's 1% of 250k, and 35k wasn't accounted for?)
- 41k debt payments, funeral expenses (may be reasonable, should have been accounted)
____
171.5k assets to be divided by heirs

Mom gets 171.5/3 = 57,167 or so.
Mom got 20k for something that you found out about later, without clear accounting (should have been accounted)

57,167
-20,000
---------
37,167 left for you and brother to split

It could be bad accounting in good faith. It could be bad accounting that was done after your lawyer's accounting request made them back down from asking for the "waiver." It could be accurate accounting that just doesn't include the supporting documentation. Perhaps it's close but a few details were hard to document and they're sweating. If the 41k "debt" paid mom's siblings for labor, more judgment is required, but if the 41k paid actual vendors outside the family, the accounting could be pretty accurate. I'd just ask for the supporting documentation.

Re rent - Suppose rent for the property should have been 15k at fair market value for the time Cousin stayed at the house after Grandparents died. Mom should have received 5k from that. That would be 2,500 each for you and your brother. I wouldn't find fighting over that amount to be worthwhile, and if I trusted the accounting, I'd take the 18k. I'd be comparing the amount vs the cost of arguing.

I'm a persnickety dude. Asking for docs is in my wheelhouse. But if you got bank statements, and any investment statements, and they support the accounting that was made, you'd be golden unless the amount of the rent is important to you.

Take that walk, like the other poster said. But I'm guessing that this response was the acknowledgement that you "won" against the earlier request to waive your mom's share, which has been implicitly withdrawn. I think you're in the home stretch now.

I agree with pretty much all of this. I'm slightly more sceptical than BicycleBob about the numbers themselves. In particular, is there any actual evidence (an assertion, even if typed, is not evidence) that your grandmother's non-house assets at the time of her death were $115k? And is there any actual evidence that the $41k was spent as asserted? 

OTOH, you may want to accept these numbers in order to preserve whatever relationship with your aunts is possible at this point. You say you do have reason to be grateful to them in some ways, so here's one way to look at it: Not demanding official financial statements (even though to do so would be perfectly reasonable and normal) can be a way to show your gratitude to them--by not forcing them to reveal that the executrix aunt has failed to comply with her legal responsibilities, and perhaps also (though you can't know) by not revealing that they have skimmed off something extra for themselves.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: AMandM on August 17, 2019, 09:19:36 PM
P.S. In case it wasn't clear, I think you and your brother should take the $36k, not waive it out of gratitude.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: AMandM on August 17, 2019, 09:20:43 PM
FwP, I think you misunderstood something. The $20k was paid from the grandmother's estate to the mother, while the mother was still alive. So it gets subtracted from the mother's share of grandmother's estate, leaving $36k to be divided between OP and brother.  The aunts are not asking OP for $36k, but rather showing that OP and brother are entitled to a total of $36k.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on August 18, 2019, 07:05:49 PM
Yes, the 20k was paid directly to my mom's mortgage company. It was actually 22,000 and I found this out by requesting the a copy of the check where my mom paid off her own mortgage. (I knew there was no way she was able to make one a lump sum payment like that.) The copy of the check came from my grandmother's estate so I know she got something....what is odd though....the amount they put down that my mom received is $19,396. 3,000 less that what she actually received....which makes me think this is bad accounting in good faith. Why didn't they actually research and put down what she received to get them more credit?

In response to someone else's question, there is no record of anything other than the piece of paper I received with numbers on them and the word settlement spelled wrong. lol

They have estimated if the house sells at 100k. Property tax records show it at 113K and Zillow shows it at 130k. I know both of those are not accurate and an appraisal needs to be done. Should I request an appraisal? I know it's more than 100k, but not more than 130k in my opinion.

Of course, what all this goes back to is my aunts wanting my brother and I to waive the 36k as "gratitude" for what we received growing up. Basically, it comes down to their bitterness towards my mom and the fact they do not whatsoever want to hand us over any money.

My aunts and I have little to no relationship and, if we actually request the 36k, there will be none at all. Writing that check will be one of the last things they ever want to do.

I talked to a close friend today who knows them both well and, when I said, I feel like they will think I'm being greedy for taking the money, her response was, "well don't you think they are being greedy for withholding the money?"

That made me think....
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: GizmoTX on August 18, 2019, 07:13:34 PM
At this point, do nothing -- let them be hoist on their own petard, so to speak. Don't waste any time being mad at them, but do NOT waive anything. They have not behaved honorably.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: MrThatsDifferent on August 18, 2019, 07:17:54 PM
I’ve read the initial post and your last one, so I’m sure I’m repeating some people. My quick thoughts: if your Mom was alive, what would happen? Do you think she’d walk away with nothing except gratitude? I doubt it. So she was looked after, that’s family. Anyways, it’s as legally yours as the aunts. I wouldn’t sign away a thing. Either they buy you and your bro out or you both retain ownership and pass it on. I wouldn’t fight for the money or force a sale unless you need it, but I wouldn’t sacrifice your ownership. The grandparents made their choices, to pass it on to all 3 and their heirs. Your aunts don’t mean shit in regards to this, their claim isn’t greater. When they die, then force payment.

Nothing tears families apart more than what happens to the house. Welcome to the American nightmare.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: BicycleB on August 18, 2019, 07:56:21 PM
I don't think there's any reason to accept a final payment without the house being sold. If the house is to be sold, it seems that the 36k payout would be an interim payout, pending sale of the house. In that case if the house for more than 100k after expenses, you would receive additional payment proportionally.

If one of the aunts is to keep the house, I would definitely get an appraisal. Similarly, I would ask for documentation to support the "piece of paper" accounting that you were given.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Frankies Girl on August 19, 2019, 12:23:33 AM
Yes, the 20k was paid directly to my mom's mortgage company. It was actually 22,000 and I found this out by requesting the a copy of the check where my mom paid off her own mortgage. (I knew there was no way she was able to make one a lump sum payment like that.) The copy of the check came from my grandmother's estate so I know she got something....what is odd though....the amount they put down that my mom received is $19,396. 3,000 less that what she actually received....which makes me think this is bad accounting in good faith. Why didn't they actually research and put down what she received to get them more credit?

In response to someone else's question, there is no record of anything other than the piece of paper I received with numbers on them and the word settlement spelled wrong. lol

They have estimated if the house sells at 100k. Property tax records show it at 113K and Zillow shows it at 130k. I know both of those are not accurate and an appraisal needs to be done. Should I request an appraisal? I know it's more than 100k, but not more than 130k in my opinion.

Of course, what all this goes back to is my aunts wanting my brother and I to waive the 36k as "gratitude" for what we received growing up. Basically, it comes down to their bitterness towards my mom and the fact they do not whatsoever want to hand us over any money.

My aunts and I have little to no relationship and, if we actually request the 36k, there will be none at all. Writing that check will be one of the last things they ever want to do.

I talked to a close friend today who knows them both well and, when I said, I feel like they will think I'm being greedy for taking the money, her response was, "well don't you think they are being greedy for withholding the money?"

That made me think....


Your grandparents wanted you to have your mother's fair share. Your aunts are petty, abusive and likely committing fraud and theft because they are so twisted with hate that they are trying to rob their dead sister's children of their inheritance.

Your aunts are 100% in the wrong. You and your sibling requesting a real accounting and your fair share that you are owed is NOT greedy. They're counting on the decades of you being seen as the poor little broken kids from the poor little broken sister that can be bullied into doing whatever they want because you're embarrassed about your mother's behavior. It comes with the territory when your parent is sick/an addict. They're counting on this guilt trip working because you are supposed to feel bad (as far as they are concerned since you are tainted from being HER kids).

Have your lawyer contact their lawyer and tell them the "paperwork" provided is not adequate. And have him explain that no matter what the aunt(s) told him, they did not keep you and your sibling informed and you do not consent to informal record-keeping and demand real, legally binding documents, bank statements, cancelled checks showing things down to the penny, etc.

And do request a formal assessment of the property's value. If the aunts want to keep it, then ask for whatever you think is fair. But this does not mean you have to take the assessment as the actual price - say they assess the house at $100K... you can demand $40K for you and your sibling's share (and do consider doing this - you're giving them a break taking cash if they REALLY want to keep the house so there should be a premium involved). If they don't like that? Fine. Put the house up for sale then and you'll take whatever they get for it. DO NOT ACCEPT A PENNY LESS THAN WHAT YOU ARE OWED. DO NOT MAKE THINGS EASY FOR THEM. The don't deserve it. If they'd been nicer about all of this... sure, but they are the nasty, entitled, sneaky (and likely dishonest) bitches here. Screw them, get what your mom should have gotten from them - what is rightfully yours.

I would not be surprised if the aunts lied to the estate lawyer about how they kept you both in the loop and may have even hidden things, but told the lawyer it was okay since everyone was okay with it being super informal... but as the sworn fiduciary, the aunt that was the executrix was required by law to do things properly or risk severe penalties. Be interesting to see if the executrix aunt doesn't freak out.

Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: AMandM on August 19, 2019, 09:37:52 AM
Of course, what all this goes back to is my aunts wanting my brother and I to waive the 36k as "gratitude" for what we received growing up. Basically, it comes down to their bitterness towards my mom and the fact they do not whatsoever want to hand us over any money.
I can understand them feeling bitter towards your mother, even though some of their suffering was self-induced through their enabling of her. But that doesn't make it okay for them to take revenge on you and your brother.

Quote
My aunts and I have little to no relationship and, if we actually request the 36k, there will be none at all. Writing that check will be one of the last things they ever want to do.
Not to be nitpicky, but you are not requesting the money. It is your money. *They* are requesting the money from you!

Quote
I talked to a close friend today who knows them both well and, when I said, I feel like they will think I'm being greedy for taking the money, her response was, "well don't you think they are being greedy for withholding the money?"

That made me think....

And one more thought:
It's only an accident of the timing (i.e. your mother having died before your grandmother's estate was settled) that creates the opportunity for this demand by your aunts. In the normal course of events, the $36k would have gone to your mother and at her death it would have passed to you and your brother. In that situation, it would not make any sense for your aunts to come to you after your mother died and say, "Since we looked after your mom, you should be grateful, so you should give us your inheritance." The delay in settling your grandmother's estate hides the ludicrousness of their demand, but doesn't fundamentally alter it.

Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Finances_With_Purpose on August 19, 2019, 07:46:55 PM
FwP, I think you misunderstood something. The $20k was paid from the grandmother's estate to the mother, while the mother was still alive. So it gets subtracted from the mother's share of grandmother's estate, leaving $36k to be divided between OP and brother.  The aunts are not asking OP for $36k, but rather showing that OP and brother are entitled to a total of $36k.

I did.  Misread it.  Even after reading it twice, because it confused me.  That makes a lot more sense.  In light of that, I'd revise what I said above slightly, though I'm still with @Frankies Girl and @AMandM and others.

One caution to you, from my experience.  I have walked through something like this with family before and can tell you one thing as a certainty: you do NOT want to own a part of a home that someone else lives in.  Either have them buy you out or sell the house (and take their share and buy what they can with it).  (Odds are: they can either buy you out at a fair price--put a mortgage on the house, for instance, or they can't afford it anyway and couldn't get a loan for the remaining home value otherwise.  Which is to say: none of it depends upon you, they're just hoping you'll give them a free gift.)

You do NOT want to own part of a home that you don't control.  It can give rise to lawsuits, legal issues, and so on.  I had a relative who got sued for unpaid taxes once because a bunch of grown adults couldn't pay their own paltry taxes on a fully paid for (and inherited) home.  Which then created its own problems for the inheritor.   

You would be setting yourself up to be the guy who bails them out.  It starts right if/when you signaled your willingness to bail them out of a situation where they're living in a house that they don't own, and it often doesn't get any better from there.

Yeah, you may feel bad for a bit forcing a sale, but really, it's just recognizing a fact: this situation isn't reconcilable without screwing yourself.  Even with a sale, everyone gets their fair chunk of fair value, which people should be happy about either way. 

Turning back to your primary question: that's still a raw deal.  It's even worse, to me, that they would demand this given that your mother just died while the estate was pending, and their grievances are against her, not you.  I can't imagine any of my relatives acting that way, or holding the parents' actions against kids.  You had a troubled parent, and you're our nephew, but will you give us $36k because we didn't like your mom?  (And I say this as someone who has odd relatives, and knows many a friend with relatives who've done each other some serious wrongs and still wouldn't stoop to this level, at least I hope.) 

This just screams greed.  And the response to greed isn't more greed, it's "let's have a fair accounting."  Then find a reasonable amount, knowing that you can't trust a thing you're being told.

In all likelihood, there may well have been other assets that the attorney or aunts didn't bother to mention, like bank accounts, bonds, or whatever.  If you're willing to DEMAND a free $36k, there are a lot of other bridges you'd be willing to cross first...

If you want additional perspective on inheriting, go read the inheritance drama thread.  At least your story won't be the saddest one there...
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: BicycleB on August 19, 2019, 08:37:15 PM
@Finances_With_Purpose, no offense, but I don't think they're asking for $36k. They have stopped asking OP to abandon his share.
They're saying that the share due to him and his brother is $36k, meaning 18k apiece.

It's been stated upthread, but their statement now appears to be:
115k financial assets
100k house estimated value
-----
215k
 -2.5k executrix fee
 -41k funeral expenses, debts incurred by grandparents during life
-----
171.5 net value of estate
divided by 3 inheritors (mom & 2 aunts) = 57k mom's share of estate

57k mom's share of estate
-22k received by mom when she was alive
-----
35k mom's remaining share

They're offering 36k, divided by 2 kids = 18k each. OP hasn't gotten documents to support the above, but it's an accounting that doesn't necessarily imply anyone is being ripped off.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Finances_With_Purpose on August 19, 2019, 11:34:05 PM
Agreed @BicycleB ; I used the $36k figure this time because, morally speaking, it appears that OP and his brother are in the same or essentially same position. 

To clarify, I'm referring to the original ask.  The first ask, right out of the gate, was to drop any claim to $36k. 

That's more than reason enough to be pretty skeptical of subsequent accountings...36,000 reasons, in fact, if not more. 

Not saying the accounting is a cheat, but I am saying that I would have zero trust in it without independent verification (which I realize is complicated in these circumstances). 

Aunts expected OP to quickly and completely sign away $18k (and with his brother together, $36k) that they're by law entitled to.  It's not a big hop from that point to outright fraud. 

In fact, as others pointed out, they may have only asked for the signature because otherwise they lack clear title to the house.  So there's reason to think that outright fraud was in fact the entire goal from the outset. 

That could even explain why the aunts backed off so quickly: any hesitation by the brothers makes it more likely that fraud will be exposed.  Not saying that's necessarily what happened, but I am saying that OP wants to look at this situation with a heavy dose of cynicism towards the aunts. 

If it's not clear: it's not that I detest the aunts' actions here, or even that we have all of the facts from this, but I really hate it when honest people get screwed simply by being too trusting and I am throwing a note of skepticism in here for OP, as someone who has seen far, far too many situations like this go sideways. 

Based on the info we have, my read of the situation is that the aunts are taking everything in sight--as much as possible--to OP's detriment, so I would be extremely cautious about agreeing to anything without more info. 

And OP, one more thought: if you learn a year or two later that the aunts were actually spot on in their intentions, and you were wrong all along, you can always gift $$$ back.  But once you sign it away, it's gone forever.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: MrThatsDifferent on August 20, 2019, 02:11:46 AM
@Finances_With_Purpose, no offense, but I don't think they're asking for $36k. They have stopped asking OP to abandon his share.
They're saying that the share due to him and his brother is $36k, meaning 18k apiece.

It's been stated upthread, but their statement now appears to be:
115k financial assets
100k house estimated value
-----
215k
 -2.5k executrix fee
 -41k funeral expenses, debts incurred by grandparents during life
-----
171.5 net value of estate
divided by 3 inheritors (mom & 2 aunts) = 57k mom's share of estate

57k mom's share of estate
-22k received by mom when she was alive
-----
35k mom's remaining share

They're offering 36k, divided by 2 kids = 18k each. OP hasn't gotten documents to support the above, but it's an accounting that doesn't necessarily imply anyone is being ripped off.

Awww, thanks for clarifying. All things considered then, the $18k each sounds fair to me.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: dragoncar on August 20, 2019, 03:08:00 AM
Woah, what have I walked into here?  I stayed up past my bedtime to read all the helpful advice and now I need to see the resolution.

Sorry I can’t offer any advice OP but I’m rooting for you
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: AMandM on August 20, 2019, 06:22:54 AM
Of course, what all this goes back to is my aunts wanting my brother and I to waive the 36k as "gratitude" for what we received growing up. Basically, it comes down to their bitterness towards my mom and the fact they do not whatsoever want to hand us over any money.

Two more thoughts from me. One on the legal/procedural aspect: You haven't said anything about what your brother is thinking, but remember that even if he waives his inheritance, you don't have to waive yours.

And one more on the interpersonal aspect: Don't let the aunts make you feel that waiving your inheritance will somehow heal or resolve all the emotional trauma. If you and your brother waive the inheritance, your aunts will be $36k richer, but it won't make them happy. They will still be bitter towards your mother, they will still look down on you as unworthy, they will still be resentful of their situation in life.

Hang in there. I am so sorry you have to go through this wringer after having lost both your grandmother and your mother.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Cpa Cat on August 20, 2019, 06:32:50 AM
In your situation, I might have been tempted to waive my share... until they basically told me I was an unworthy, ungrateful leech and so was my mother and that they had to sit back and watch while I sucked up resources as a child.

After that, I would take my share.

They're greedy and resentful. Their resentment/greed won't be healed by you being generous.

If it were me, I would contact the attorney directly and tell them I am not waiving my rights and expect to be kept in the loop of the final dissolution of the estate, which should involve selling the real estate or buying you out. Then I would stop accepting calls from Aunty.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on August 20, 2019, 06:42:51 AM
Of course, what all this goes back to is my aunts wanting my brother and I to waive the 36k as "gratitude" for what we received growing up. Basically, it comes down to their bitterness towards my mom and the fact they do not whatsoever want to hand us over any money.

Two more thoughts from me. One on the legal/procedural aspect: You haven't said anything about what your brother is thinking, but remember that even if he waives his inheritance, you don't have to waive yours.

And one more on the interpersonal aspect: Don't let the aunts make you feel that waiving your inheritance will somehow heal or resolve all the emotional trauma. If you and your brother waive the inheritance, your aunts will be $36k richer, but it won't make them happy. They will still be bitter towards your mother, they will still look down on you as unworthy, they will still be resentful of their situation in life.

Hang in there. I am so sorry you have to go through this wringer after having lost both your grandmother and your mother.



Thank you to everyone for caring and responding. I feel I am being as upfront and honest to make sure all sides are presented. We've not received anything of any significant support or gift over the years from our grandparents, as adults, that would contribute to our aunts' thinking and saying, "we think you've had enough." And honestly my mom supported herself for the most part. We may have had to rob Peter to pay Paul, but we made it. Not saying that my grandparents or maybe one of my aunts for that matter would step in and pay our electric bill or a car payment now and then when things got really bad. My mom worked up until a year prior to her death when she started having medical conditions and, luckily for us, that is how we were able to take care of her funeral and debts. She had a basic life insurance policy through her work because she was on approved medical unpaid leave. That is what made me skeptical of how she paid off her mortgage in one lump sum and what sent me on that trail that led me to the bank who produced a copy of the 22k. My mom didn't leave a will so my attorney did an affidavit of heirship and my brother and I spilt everything in half. I handled all that with complete transparency with my brother and we both walked away content.

My brother is indifferent. He is 13 years younger than me and, with our mom being how she was, I was always like a mom to him so he is basically letting me handle it. He has a family to take care of (I do too, but I'm in a completely different stage without young ones to tote around) and doesn't have the financial resources or time to track all this down. He's already decided that he will go with what I decide because he knows either way we have not had and will not have any relationship with our aunts and that is pretty much all that is left from our mom's side of the family.


Our aunts have made no promises of if we don't take the money things will be better nor will they. I don't see that happening either way.

My lawyer called yesterday and looked over their financial accounting and he says it looks pretty reasonable and if I'm ok with it he will call their lawyer and see what they are thinking. He says maybe they didn't realize they owe us money, but I know that is not the case. It is not a matter of neither one of them not having the money either. Honestly, 36k is a lot of money, but it's very doable to them and won't set them back. It just comes down to them being controlling and they don't want to give us anything. I think it came as a complete surprise to them the will said "per stirpes" not whoever is left and they didn't realize it till they had already made a plan and spilt everything. Again, they brought up things they did to our grandparents' house to help them, took them on vacations, etc.......
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Rosy on August 20, 2019, 07:47:22 AM
@Finances_With_Purpose, no offense, but I don't think they're asking for $36k.

 They have stopped asking OP to abandon his share.

They're saying that the share due to him and his brother is $36k, meaning 18k apiece.

It's been stated upthread, but their statement now appears to be:
115k financial assets
100k house estimated value
-----
215k
 -2.5k executrix fee
 -41k funeral expenses, debts incurred by grandparents during life
-----
171.5 net value of estate
divided by 3 inheritors (mom & 2 aunts) = 57k mom's share of estate

57k mom's share of estate
-22k received by mom when she was alive
-----
35k mom's remaining share

They're offering 36k, divided by 2 kids = 18k each. OP hasn't gotten documents to support the above, but it's an accounting that doesn't necessarily imply anyone is being ripped off.

Nice accounting - brilliant clarification, Bicycle:)

1. At this point, the aunts realize that you will not be bullied or guilted into simply giving up your combined $36K inheritance. They know that the law is on your side.
Round one goes to you:).

2. I agree with Bicycle that the accounting given so far does not "necessarily" imply that anyone has been ripped off.
The questions I would have for your attorney are:

HOUSE
Can you ask for at least two independent appraisals on the house? Then agree to accept your portion of that amount?, once papers are drawn up that show you are no longer the one-third owners? (you do not want to become entangled with anything like taxes or expenses for the house).
I'd lean toward letting the nephew stay for free assuming the aunts have paid for upkeep and maintenance, improvements to the house and you are presented with evidence that there are no other lien or taxes levied on the home that you are not aware of as yet.

I do believe it is of utmost importance for the aunts to clear the title of that house - it is your biggest bargaining chip. Owning a home in good condition clear and free is undoubtedly their ultimate goal!

3. The 41K for debt and funeral expenses may well be accurate, but could be overblown. Does the attorney think it would be prudent to ask for an accurate, fully documented account of those expenditures?

4. I still don't quite understand why the $22K given to your mom as a gift can be deducted from your inheritance.
I still question the validity of that claim.

I would ask your lawyer to view the current accounting from the standpoint that you are extremely reluctant to accept any figures without proper documentation based on how they've handled this so-called "execution of a will" or rather a complete disregard for the will. I'd ask him if he thinks it prudent to dig deeper since it appears that they've already tried to "cheat" you out of your inheritance in the most underhanded way. Does he see something blatantly missing or worth asking about?

You would like to handle this matter in a prudent, cautious fashion. You have no fences to mend with your relatives they've erected barbed-wire fences and told you in no uncertain terms exactly how they feel about you and your brother.

I hope it all goes well for you!
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: former player on August 20, 2019, 09:03:07 AM
I think it came as a complete surprise to them the will said "per stirpes" not whoever is left and they didn't realize it till they had already made a plan and spilt everything. Again, they brought up things they did to our grandparents' house to help them, took them on vacations, etc.......
Er, actually, I don't think this can be true.  Firstly, the "per stirpes" thing is irrelevant, because your mother was still alive when your grandmother died, and per stirpes would only have applied if your mother died first, in which case her one-third share would have come directly to you and your brother equally, rather than through your mother's estate. And secondly, your mother got $22k or thereabouts from an earlier partial distribution of the estate, so your aunts must have known then exactly what your mother was entitled to (from what you say, chances of them giving her so much money if she wasn't legally entitled to it seem small), and when she died after that partial distribution from the estate they would have known at that point that you and your brother were entitled to the remainder of her one-third share.

So I'm sorry, but I think your aunt has been lying through her teeth to you about this.  Especially as she is saying that this came from a lawyer: no lawyer would make such a fundamental mistake as to call this a per stirpes distribution instead of an inheritance through your mother.  And this has been going on for years since your grandmother died, there's no chance they only just got legal advice about it.  I suspect, like others, that your aunt has belatedly found out that she needs signatures from you and your brother to get the house title transferred into whatever her preferred new ownership is, and has cooked up what she thinks is a legal-sounding excuse about why she is only just contacting you now.  There's also an implication that she has been trying to guilt you into thinking the $22k was a gift to your mother when it was not.

Your aunt can have no possible reasonable objection to your lawyer asking either to have the formal financial accounts certified by an appropriate official (lawyer, accountant, probate office, etc.) or being supplied with the original background documents such as bank statements and evidence of debts and expenditures.  And if the house is not to be sold on the open market then you need at least two open market appraisals and for it to be valued at the average of them.

I'm sorry you are having to deal with this.  I would suggest that all communication about the estate goes through you lawyer, and that if your aunt contacts you directly you just say "I'm happy you called, but I'd rather not mix money and family so anything about the estate needs to go through our lawyer".
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: A Fella from Stella on August 20, 2019, 11:02:16 AM
They paid out to help you mom and you, but you missed out by having a mom who couldn't give you more.

I'd take what's been left by the grandparents as mine. If your aunt and uncle are in trouble financially from the help over the years, that's difference, but they are saying they are owed back what they gave, which is not the case.

Also, they are treating you as the lesser of your generation, saying that you got more than their kids, implying that their kids deserved more than they got (stable home, financially secure upbringing).
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: dragoncar on August 20, 2019, 11:50:11 AM
They paid out to help you mom and you, but you missed out by having a mom who couldn't give you more.

I'd take what's been left by the grandparents as mine. If your aunt and uncle are in trouble financially from the help over the years, that's difference, but they are saying they are owed back what they gave, which is not the case.

Also, they are treating you as the lesser of your generation, saying that you got more than their kids, implying that their kids deserved more than they got (stable home, financially secure upbringing).

This is exactly what got my goat about the “gratitude” comment.  The aunts obviously have no gratitude for their position in life.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: TVRodriguez on August 20, 2019, 11:52:37 AM
I think it came as a complete surprise to them the will said "per stirpes" not whoever is left and they didn't realize it till they had already made a plan and spilt everything. Again, they brought up things they did to our grandparents' house to help them, took them on vacations, etc.......
Er, actually, I don't think this can be true.  Firstly, the "per stirpes" thing is irrelevant, because your mother was still alive when your grandmother died, and per stirpes would only have applied if your mother died first, in which case her one-third share would have come directly to you and your brother equally, rather than through your mother's estate. And secondly, your mother got $22k or thereabouts from an earlier partial distribution of the estate, so your aunts must have known then exactly what your mother was entitled to (from what you say, chances of them giving her so much money if she wasn't legally entitled to it seem small), and when she died after that partial distribution from the estate they would have known at that point that you and your brother were entitled to the remainder of her one-third share.
....
There's also an implication that she has been trying to guilt you into thinking the $22k was a gift to your mother when it was not.

I'm sorry you are having to deal with this.

I agree with this analysis.


They paid out to help you mom and you, but you missed out by having a mom who couldn't give you more.

I'd take what's been left by the grandparents as mine. If your aunt and uncle are in trouble financially from the help over the years, that's difference, but they are saying they are owed back what they gave, which is not the case.

Also, they are treating you as the lesser of your generation, saying that you got more than their kids, implying that their kids deserved more than they got (stable home, financially secure upbringing).

This is spot on as well.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: ZMonet on August 24, 2019, 08:56:30 PM
Any update Retiring_early_in_EastTN?  I'm really curious if there are any more twists and turns to the story.  Really hoping you get paid the money due to your mother's estate.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on August 26, 2019, 05:54:39 AM
Any update Retiring_early_in_EastTN?  I'm really curious if there are any more twists and turns to the story.  Really hoping you get paid the money due to your mother's estate.

Thank you for asking. The last interaction I have had with any of it was a week ago today with my lawyer who said he would reach out to their lawyer and go over the informal accounting we received. I'm very curious what is going on as well. I'm assuming the ball is in their court. My biggest question is will they do an appraisal of the house or just do the assumption of the 100k. Whatever it is I know they are not happy campers.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: dragoncar on August 26, 2019, 01:05:33 PM
Any update Retiring_early_in_EastTN?  I'm really curious if there are any more twists and turns to the story.  Really hoping you get paid the money due to your mother's estate.

Thank you for asking. The last interaction I have had with any of it was a week ago today with my lawyer who said he would reach out to their lawyer and go over the informal accounting we received. I'm very curious what is going on as well. I'm assuming the ball is in their court. My biggest question is will they do an appraisal of the house or just do the assumption of the 100k. Whatever it is I know they are not happy campers.

Just be aware that appraisal is not a science.  It’s supposed to be impartial, but practically speaking an appraiser is likely to skew the result in the direction favorable to the person writing their check
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Goldielocks on August 26, 2019, 01:09:54 PM
Any update Retiring_early_in_EastTN?  I'm really curious if there are any more twists and turns to the story.  Really hoping you get paid the money due to your mother's estate.

Thank you for asking. The last interaction I have had with any of it was a week ago today with my lawyer who said he would reach out to their lawyer and go over the informal accounting we received. I'm very curious what is going on as well. I'm assuming the ball is in their court. My biggest question is will they do an appraisal of the house or just do the assumption of the 100k. Whatever it is I know they are not happy campers.

Just be aware that appraisal is not a science.  It’s supposed to be impartial, but practically speaking an appraiser is likely to skew the result in the direction favorable to the person writing their check
Good point... OP - would you consider getting the appraisal and taking the cost out of the amounts paid / waived?  You could always offer to arrange it for your aunt / relatives to get things moving.   Or you could just sit as they are the ones wanting to get full title and you don't really care about the timing.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Villanelle on August 26, 2019, 02:57:55 PM
Given that you are paying lawyers and that appraisals cost money, I'd tell them to just wait to pay until they sold, assuming they do plan an open market sale. You aren't in a hurry.  Save the money on an estimate and just take your share when it actually sells.   It not, I'd see if I could determine an approximate FMV on my own (us actual comps sold, not Zillow's Zestimate!) and if that was close to the number they were offering, I'd just go with that.  It doesn't sound like it would be a difference of tens of thousands or even thousands of dollars in your pocket. 

But given that they have been shady, if you think what they are offering isn't fair, then push for the estimator, but I'd want to hire one myself and be the one communicating with them if at all possible.  It's very easy for someone to mention to the estimator that they want a low number, and then presto!  He magically goes on the lower end of the scale.  That means you ideally don't even want family to be the one letting him/her in to the house, if avoidable. 
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Pizzabrewer on September 18, 2019, 01:48:19 PM
Any updates you can share?  Thanks.
Title: Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
Post by: Retiring_early_in_EastTN on September 19, 2019, 08:39:24 AM
Hi! Thanks for asking! No update as of now. My lawyer reached out to their lawyer for clarification on the accounting page. I'm curious to see what they want to do going forward. I have checked the city and county property taxes online and everything is paid up to date.