Author Topic: To Inherit or Not to Inherit  (Read 9253 times)

Retiring_early_in_EastTN

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To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« 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.

MayDay

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #1 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.

Retiring_early_in_EastTN

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2019, 12:01:34 PM »
What is meeting in the middle?

Another Reader

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #3 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.

Villanelle

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #4 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. 

Retiring_early_in_EastTN

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #5 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.

Another Reader

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #6 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.

GizmoTX

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #7 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.


Frankies Girl

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #8 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.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2019, 12:47:38 PM by Frankies Girl »

terran

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #9 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.

frugaliknowit

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #10 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!

Another Reader

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #11 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.

Retiring_early_in_EastTN

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #12 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!

Retiring_early_in_EastTN

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #13 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.

TVRodriguez

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #14 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.

mm1970

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #15 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.

mm1970

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #16 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...)

TheExplorer

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #17 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.

Villanelle

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #18 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). 


civil4life

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #19 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. 

Retiring_early_in_EastTN

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #20 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).

Retiring_early_in_EastTN

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #21 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.

terran

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #22 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

Retiring_early_in_EastTN

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #23 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

GizmoTX

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #24 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.

Another Reader

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #25 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.

TVRodriguez

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #26 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

calimom

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #27 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.

koshtra

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #28 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.




Cassie

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #29 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.

former player

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #30 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.

Retiring_early_in_EastTN

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #31 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.

Steeze

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #32 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!

Pizzabrewer

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #33 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.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2019, 05:56:28 AM by Pizzabrewer »

mistymoney

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #34 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.

GizmoTX

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #35 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.

mistymoney

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #36 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.

Villanelle

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #37 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. 

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #38 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.

Catbert

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #39 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. 

DadJokes

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #40 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.

Pizzabrewer

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #41 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.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #42 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?

Retiring_early_in_EastTN

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #43 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."

Cannot Wait!

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #44 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?

happy

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #45 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.....

Another Reader

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #46 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.

mistymoney

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #47 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

PoutineLover

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #48 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.

dcozad999

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Re: To Inherit or Not to Inherit
« Reply #49 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.