My husband and his brother inherited their family home. Our son lived there for 4 years. We pay $ 60K in taxes and repairs after a fire. Do we still divide it 50/50?

When will I receive my stimulus check? I’m one of the 35 million people waiting, and I sent in my 2019 tax return this month

My husband and his brother inherited their family home. When they were able to take over, our son and his family needed a place to live. Brother was quite willing to let them move out and instead of paying him 50% rent, my husband and I would take responsibility for all maintenance, repairs, taxes, etc.

The house is probably 90 years old and it took quite a bit of work before they could move in. We spent approximately $ 20,000 to make it habitable. After 4 years the house caught fire and with the help of a corrupt contractor it took another $ 30,000 of our money to repair all the damage. Now comes my concern. If my husband and brother had sold the house when they first inherited it, they would split the profits 50/50. It definitely would have been sold because we didn’t want to own anyone other than our son. But now, 6 years later, we have paid over $ 60,000 in repairs and taxes. This amount is well above what we had planned, but it was an opportunity that we took advantage of. Based on old tax records, the house was probably worth $ 45,000, and is now worth more than $ 100,000 and growing. The future sale and division of the home’s earnings were never discussed. My husband is in favor of dividing it equally. I’m the one with the problem for all the money we spend on improvements. I understand that your brother did not take anything at first, and I am totally in favor of him getting 50% of the original value plus a little more, but I don’t think he should get half of the current value. The house would certainly never be worth what it is worth now if we hadn’t done all the work on it. Unless the house continues to increase in value, we will never get our investment back. Can I have your opinion on this problem? On paper this makes me look petty, but my mind is haunted by this. Annoying wife Dear annoying wife, You are pleased that you entered this money pit with both eyes wide open so that your son can save money in the short term. It seemed like an attractive prospect at the time, and I can understand why – his brother-in-law is tolerant, so why don’t his son and his family live in the house for a while and give him a new coat of paint when he needs a scrub -mop here and a mop-mop there, and make sure it’s working while your child lives there rent-free. Everyone wins, right? Well, not quite. You, your husband, your child and your family win. His brother-in-law, unfortunately, didn’t get much out of that deal. But being Mr. Good Guy, he said, “Be my guest.” Literally. Why would you want to collect rent from your nephew? He decided to give up money that would come from a possible rental property or quick cash for the sake of the family. What good is having a home if you can’t help other people? In addition, it will be taken care of. And that was. But then there was a fire.

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“‘His brother-in-law decided to give up money that would come from a possible rental property for the sake of the family.’ “- The Moneyist

You don’t say how the fire started. Did the stove stay on? Was it caused by faulty wiring? Or did a power line fall on the house during a storm? If it was your responsibility to take care of the property while your child and family lived there, you are responsible for those first two scenarios. Even if it was an act of nature, you are responsible for making sure the home is insured. Of course, the main thing is that no one was injured. Still, as you say, maintenance (and that includes insurance) is your department. You don’t do well on the renewal vs. free rent argument, but you also make a hypothetical argument to back up your case. You should receive more than 50% of the proceeds from the sale of the house because your brother-in-law and husband would have sold the house (maybe, we’ll never know for sure) if your son hadn’t moved. It was worth $ 45,000 back then, and is now valued at $ 100,000, so given your $ 60,000 in repairs and taxes, you should be happy with $ 22,500. OK, I’ll play that game. Let’s remove another layer of wallpaper and say, “If your parents had passed away when they were much younger, they would have sold the house for an even lower price.” Or, “If your parents lived to be 99 1/2, they might be living in the house in 2021, and maybe you would kiss like bandits because you never paid Sam the Contractor and Uncle Sam money.” Let’s peel even more layers: “If no one was born, we wouldn’t have this problem!” If you have to bend the laws of space and time to justify your proposal, it becomes a ridiculous scenario, and splitting the winnings 50/50 doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all. You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to the coronavirus at qfottrell@marketwatch.com The Moneyist: I married ‘the life of the party’, but he is different at home. He takes away his money problems and calls me a “gold digger.” Hello MarketWatchers. Take a look at Moneyist’s private FB Facebook group, -2.23%, 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 comment on the latest Moneyist columns. By emailing your questions, you agree to have them posted anonymously on MarketWatch. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, on all media and platforms, including third parties.