Dear Quentin, I am a 49-year-old woman with four adult children ages 19-29. I bought my house in 1998 as a single mother and my children grew up here. I now have a boyfriend who lives with us who has done extensive repairs and improvements to the house for the past 3 years; he did all the work himself while I bought all the materials.
“‘I am absolutely at a loss as to the fair way to address the home in my will.’ ”
He is 9 years younger than me and has three children from his previous marriage who are considerably younger than my children (7 to 12). They are likely to spend a good part of their childhood in this home for years to come. Other than my house, I have few assets (a car and some insurance policies), but very little cash. I am absolutely at a loss as to the fair way to address the home in my will. Three of my children want the house to be theirs, if I die. The other said that I should leave it to my eldest daughter. My boyfriend does not want to leave this house in case I pass away, but he also says that the house should go to my children as it is his family’s house. Of course, I hope to live long enough for all the children to grow up and settle, in which case I can make a new will. In the meantime, I need to have a will that makes sense in case it expires early. I am very concerned about treating everyone fairly. The last thing I want when I die is for one of my kids (or my boyfriend) to feel like I don’t love them because of how I divide things up. Please help! Girlfriend, Mother and Homeowner You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to the coronavirus at firstname.lastname@example.org Dear GMHO: You worked hard for this house. You raised four children as a single mother. You have every right to breathe out and reflect on a life well lived and a job well done. You succeeded where many others may have collapsed. It’s also great that she has a hardworking man in her life, and I hope she finds work in her chosen industry, or another. Sit back and take a moment to enjoy all that you have accomplished. Your work is done. And now that I’ve said that, I feel compelled to tell you what your responsibility is not. You met a man 9 years younger than you, and they clearly love each other and he has been through hard times. I understand that he has assisted you with the renovations, but it is not his job to accept your demands or the needs of your adult children regarding what happens to your estate.
“This house should be a source of peace and satisfaction for you, not one that generates constant anxiety. ”
This home should be a source of peace and joy for you, not one that creates constant anxiety. It’s not your job to fix everyone. It is not your job to divide your estate according to the wishes of your children. It is not your job to do everything right for everyone all the time. This is your moment. Don’t surrender your happiness to the bad winds of wishes, desires, and what if other people You can’t control how other people will feel after making a decision. There is a great deal of freedom to make decisions that you believe are right for you and to allow others to feel the way they are going to feel. Some people will be mad at you in this life, others will try to bend you to their will, and some will sit in the lawyer’s office while your last will and testament is read, and they will curse you from the other side. Worrying too much about what people think of you while you’re here is exhausting enough. Worrying about how they will feel about you after you’re gone is a disastrous form of codependency that only serves to confuse your financial decisions now and later. After all, you’ll be gone, so you won’t have to worry about that! You want to make sure your loved ones are well cared for, of course, but do what YOU think is right, not what OTHERS tell you to do. Trust your instincts and consult a real estate attorney. Your boyfriend is responsible for himself. Your children are responsible for themselves. You could give your boyfriend a rent for life, only if this is what you think is the right thing to do. After your death, you could divide your estate equally among your children. Is it okay for you to live there with a new wife or girlfriend in case you die before him? You have earned the right to make succession plans both before and after your departure. The Moneyist: My daughter in law will only have a second child by surrogacy and she wants to use $ 200K from my son’s inheritance to pay for it Hi MarketWatchers. Take a look at Moneyist’s private FB Facebook group, + 1.28%, where we search for answers to life’s thorniest money problems. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or rate the latest Moneyist columns.