Saturday, June 2, 2007
Stand Your Ground
This was sent to Aunt B via email...
I need an unbiased opinion so I went searching and found your page. Here is my situation. Some 20 years ago My wife and I moved in with my Mother (whom was alone then) with plans to purchase her home eventually. For years my Mother and Father would say "We want the house split between you and the younger sibling". The plan was to buy it from her and she would assumingly take care of my younger sibling. That never happened, we still lived there and had a couple children. My Mom was sickly and really would not have been able to live on her own for at least 10 of the 20 yrs. My mom never made a will and she died intestate. I am the administrator of the estate. The younger sibling lives in another state. There are 3 other older siblings involved, all of which, now get a share. One has signed his portion over to me to help me with purchasing the house. He did not intend for his share to be split with the younger sibling although she thinks it should because of the past 50/50 split my parents spoke about. I really need my brothers good will to keep my payments down. Right now I have a pretty good job, but if I was to lose it I would find it hard to make the same salary due to my education level, my job requires a college degree, that I don't have, but due to my company's overlooking that, I am able to work there. But in todays world of corporate buyouts nothing is safe.
Anyway she is really upset that I was not going to split his share with her in the buyout portion. The law says I do not have too, but she is using this as a reason not to sign off I believe, though she has not said. Our relationship is now ruined either way, If I don't sign over 1/2 she is angry. If I do I am angry. I can't see how she thinks this is the same situation now that it had to be split 5 ways. My brother is angry that she is doing this. I really don't want to get them fighting, its bad enough already between me and her.
Your thoughts? Keep me anonymous please.
Dear Anonymous, When someone dies, it really brings out the greed and ugly side of people, doesn't it? I've seen this in the past and for some reason, when money is involved, family can get, down right ignorant, huh? For the life of me, I do not understand how people can be this way. It is surely understandable, why they say, money is the root of all evil. I'm not sure, if I understand, the full context of your question but I'll give it a whirl. From what I understand, you have lived with and taken care of your Mother, all these years. I did not hear you say, that any other sibling, lived with or helped you in the care of your mother. That alone speaks volumes.
From what I understand, also, your Brother, out of the kindness of his heart, gave you the gift of his share. Am I correct on this? Assuming, I understand you correctly, it is a gift from your brother and your sister has no claim to this. A gift is a gift, plain and simple. If per say, your brother was the executor and owned the property, solely, your sister would certainly not have any rights to that gift. Nor does she have the right to any part of his gift to you. It is his percentage and is not thrown in the pot for divvy.
It is a sad, sad situation that your sister could be this hateful. I don't think she realizes that, a quick perception would be drawn from the fact, firt off, that it was you that took care of your mother for more than 10 years. Would they have split the cost of a Nursing Home? You saved them that cost. Now, you may have benefitted from living with your mother. That would be thrown in your face. But a quick retrot would be, no one else did, huh? It is now past tense and saying that they would be willing to do what you did, is futile and the point is moot. In other words, they didn't do a damn thing but they still want to reap the benefits.
It is a sacrifice, you can not really put a monetary fix on, to take care of a sickly person. They can say, well, she wasn't that sick, huh? Sorry to say folks, she was sick enough to succumb from it. Were they there to share in the aid of a dependent mother? I do not believe you complained but suffered in silence, didn't you? It was very difficult for you, on an emotional level, to watch, as your Mother slipped away. But your home life was not as it could be, having to care for an ailing Mother. Unfortunately, in a legal sense, that does not give you the right over the entire proceeds. We think we'll live forever and quite often, we do not get our affairs in order. I think, if there had been more money to work with, your Mother would have paid the attorney fees to, sell the house to you and make provision, in her will, after the fact, to fairly split anything left, after her death. But she did not, thus our dilemma here.
I spoke with the Legal Team, in Manhattan, (which shall remain anonymous) and the agreed opinion, was and is, that your sister would not have had the right to your brothers, money, nor hers or yours and so on. So, why would she think, she would have a right to the gift, your brother so graciously gave? It is a ridiculous thing for her to think she has even a thought to right of that money. Furthermore, it's downright shameful.
My suggestion, is you mail this exact response to her. You tell her that you are sorry, she feels this way and you would hate for this to come to these terms. But if you took her to court on the issue, she will lose. A gift is a gift in the eyes of the Law. If you must force her hand, it will cost her, in Attorney fees alone. Even worse, will be the split this will cause between family. Ask her, if this is worth it to her, when she has no God given right to that money?
Do not bend or bow to her. In conclusion, I would send this response to all your family members, so they may see, your true feelings and intention. I do not believe you are a money grubbing brother. I do not have the same opinion,for your sister. Besides the principle of the matter, ask your sister, if she feels so strongly, that she's willing to go to court on this matter? She will lose and make a fool of herself. Then, it will not only be clear to all family members, that she is greedy but it will be on record, just how petty and stupendous, she has made this whole affair.
My Answer; Stand Your Ground