Dad and Charlotte live in a house that is in an irrevocable trust for his 4 children. Charlotte wants to sell the house. Any advice?

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My dad and Charlotte have been together for about 35 years. They have never married. They live together and she has been there for him every step of the way as his health issues mounted. Heart issues, a serious stroke, and late onset Parkinsons to name a few.


He owns a house in Pennsylvania in 12 acres worth around 150k. It's been in the family since 1993. 7 years ago he put it in an irrevocable trust for his 4 children. My sister Christine is the POA. 6 months ago Charlotte announced in a text that "it's time to sell the house because her and my dad have no use for it anymore." We love Charlotte and she's been an angel for our dad taking care of his every need. That being said she is a bully and it's her way or the highway. My dad receives about 6k a month between SS and his pension check. We never seriously looked into where that money went every month because she took care of him and also it was probably none of our business. The 4 of us were busy with our families and our own "stuff."


I mentioned to Charlotte that selling the house is not her decision it's the decision of the trust as far a I know. After some back and forth she says she is not paying the expenses on the house any more. Notice she says she not we her and my dad. Myself and my siblings would rather not sell. We still enjoy it with our kids many times a year. According to what the trust says my dad is responsible for expenses and upkeep until he passes or the house is sold. We checked with the lawyer and that is the case. Our dad did this for us out of the goodness of his heart. In fact it's one of the few things he has done for us.


It seems to us that she is trying to control and or sabotage the one thing he's given to us. Does she have any say at all as to when this house gets sold or whether or not my dad continues to pay expense and upkeep? I'm furious and let her know in no uncertain terms. My brother could care less and my sisters are also upset. Where do we go with this? Charlotte says she spoke to our dad and he agrees on selling g it and not paying the expenses any more. The expenses amount to about $500 a month. A: we don't know if she actually spoke to him. B: we don't know if he's capable of understanding whats going on. C: we don't know if she is threatening him to agree with her. When I mentioned to her that she always texts or says I not we she says its because he's not capable of fully understanding what's going on. In the next sentence she says she ran it by him and he agrees with her. Can't have it both ways either he DOES understand and agrees with her or he DOESN'T and she's full of crap saying he does. Please advise. thank you.

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I really don’t think the Trust is the issue here, though I may be wrong. Our OP and his family have been content to let Dad’s long-time partner handle things for decades while they went about their lives. OP seems to have no clue as to his father’s physical or mental health. OP seems to have the idea that partner is brainwashing Dad into selling property that perhaps Dad and partner are not legally able to sell. But OP has no idea what goes on between Dad and partner, this is purely “guessology” on OP’s part. Although OP has claimed to “love” partner, OP hasn’t done much in their posts other than make unfounded accusations. We’ve all made suggestions and asked questions. OP has not agreed to take any of our suggestions to heart, including mine of calling a family meeting with the lawyer. I firmly believe that until this happens with all players present including Dad’s partner and the family attorney, no viable solution will ever be reached.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Is it possible for an irrevocable trust to stipulate that the trustee can sell the house, but the proceeds must be retained in the trust? That way the beneficiaries would eventually receive the money, but meantime, since the house is gone, there are no upkeep, insurance, etc. issues.
It seems that the children were happy enough that Charlotte was taking care of their dad - for 30 years. To me, that means that she has some real "sweat equity" in this situation and it is unreasonable and mean for the kids to take the attitude that she should have no "power" or say in the situation.
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Reply to rovana
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I’m a bit confused. If the house is in an irrevocable trust for you and your siblings, how can it be sold? That’s kinda the deal with irrevocably trust - the irrevocabllity...
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Reply to Rainmom
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If the house is in a Qualified Personal Residence Trust, selling it before the retained income period can have some nasty income tax consequences.
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Reply to AlfredR
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The key word here is irrevocable. The Trustee would be the only one who could sell the house and the proceeds remain with the Trust.
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Reply to paperlady
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If possible, I would think the trust would have to be dissolved before the house could be sold.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Garden Artist, really have no idea how trusts work per see. My nephew has an irrevokable special needs trust that was set up to protect insurance money he received after his Moms death. This had to be set up before I applied for SSD for him. SS and Medicaid cannot include it as income but need to be aware of it. Nephew cannot touch it. I am Trustee and have rules to follow to how its spent. Upon his death, my brother is beneficiary. He raised him when my sister died.

So to me, irrevokable means the trust cannot be revoked. It was set up that way for a reason. Maybe at the time he and GF hadn't been together that long and he wanted to protect that part of his estate, just in case. Well now, don't think he can go back on the deal. I would first find out if Dad keeping up the place is now causing money problems. If so, then maybe splitting cost between those benefiting from the trust is a good idea.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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It seems to me that the real thorn on the rose is the ongoing maintenance costs rather than the capital - father and partner are burdened with it and getting nothing from it.

So, if that is also part of the trust's terms and the trust can't be varied, what would happen if father simply didn't have the money to pay?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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I swear I posted on this very similar thread on the same topics just a few days ago. When I searched, that thread had been closed/removed...whatever - it's no longer there.

Fredmund, is this the second time you've posted on this same topic, same issue? Or am I really losing my mind?

JoAnn, you are right that an irrevocable trust can't be changed. I don't know about Medicaid applications, but it can be irrevocable for other reasons as well.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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AgingCareCM May 17, 2018
You're correct. A very similar question was posted yesterday, and all of the answers were only to ask for further clarification. Since a new question was created we made the original question inactive. Sorry for the confusion!
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Do I gather that the bottom line is that your father and his long term partner are paying $500 a month to maintain a house for which they have no use that you and your siblings and your families enjoy spending occasional vacations at?

It may be that the trust commits your father to this spending. I glean from your rather hurt-sounding comment that it is one of the few things he has ever done for you that you are indeed feeling upset and angry about this disagreement, rather than its being a serious summary of his merits as a father?

Do you and any siblings you can persuade to take an interest in the matter really feel that you should hold your father to this obligation? What about taking over the house altogether and splitting the upkeep among you, instead?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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