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7 years ago, my husband and I purchased a home with his parents. It was 50/50. FIL now wants his half, left to the other 3 children, because he got mad 4 years ago, that his golden child (son from 1st marriage) was mistreated by my husband (1/2 brother). My husband has always been a scapegoat for my narcissistic FIL. Sister (1/2 sister, same mother) has been instructed to come after us for FIL contribution, after he dies. He denies this. He loves to attack us verbally, whenever possible. The past 4 years have been hell on earth. He has turned the whole family against us, so we have no support system. The MIL knows nothing about FIL's smear campaign. When we try to tell her about it, she says that it's too hard to believe. She is the ostrich of the family. She just wants everyone to get along. FIL is mean and hateful, when she is not around. He is almost 94 and a diabolical liar. We made a contract years ago and all four of us signed it in front of a notary public. The contract states that if one of us passes away, the three remaining will own the home, and so on, until there is only one. Even though the deed is in our name only, we constructed this contract to make sure that it was fair to all four of us.


The father in law told my husband's half sister to wait and come after the money when he dies, because he doesn't want to be a part of it, even though he started this entire battle. He has destroyed this family. The house was paid, in full, 7 years ago. My husband and I had to take out a mortgage for home upgrades. We are stuck here. Any ideas on ways we can protect ourselves from the SIL?

I can see the discord is now all on you. Not that your husband is The cause but for what was omitted 7 years ago. My explanation is how The rest of the family sees all 3 of you: The deed is in your name and 5 years have passed. Father gifted his entire house savings to your husband. Legally you two own the entire house and no one can claim it. So all other sibs are out of luck. If father dies, and you want to honor the family contract, how is it paid out? You two would need to take out a mortgage on half of the house. Then if the cash distribution of greater than what is allowed for gifting to each individual, it has income tax attached to it. The way everyone will look at you is that you are the villains and stole their inheritance. Even if father makes out a new will, his only assets will leave out the house because, on paper, you are the only owners. It is up to you now to provide restitution to the other sibs. And here you are calling everyone liars and cheats. Your FIL created a fine mess with this . You all should have consulted a lawyer with the contract, because I can see the loopholes all going in your favor
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FloridaDD May 4, 2020
To me, not entirely a gift.  It appears more like a quid pro quo, OP and her DH take care of Inlaws in exchange for the housing situatin.  NO, OP is not the villain.   The kids who would not take care of their parents need to give up.

I don't see loopholes, I see FIL either forgetting original deal or trying to renege.  Doesn't matter, wont work.
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The only way for him to leave his “interest” in the property to anyone is if he is listed on the title and you all hold AS TENANTS IN COMMON. This means each persons interest in said home goes to their delegated beneficiary. If the title is held AS JOINT TENANTS then it reverts to the last remaining survivor automatically.
if his name is not on title he has no say at all. Period. End game!
The mortgage belongs to the ones who applied for it and regardless who or how title is held, it must be satisfied before selling or liquidation.
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happyandchirpy May 1, 2020
True dat Power3! Thank you for your feedback!
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I just read ur first response. Too many longgg responses to read all of them. So if I repeat, sorry.

The deed in your name and that contract shows Dad agreed to everything. The other thing going for you is you owned half the home before this agreement. Count in Caregiving. Any money you put out for them you got no return from. I think there is some decline here. For now, see a lawyer when u can. Let Dad say what he wants.

Just thinking here so take it with a grain of salt. Lets say when u took over the home it was worth 100k. Dad bought half for 50k. A few years later its worth 200k. (And u have put ur money into it to improve). Is Dad really entitled to half, 100k or his entitled to initial payment of 50k. And, over a period of time, Dad has saved on rent, utilities, taxes and insurances. So he has offset that 50K.
My opinion, the siblings are not entitled to anything to do with the house. This is just ramblings.
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happyandchirpy May 1, 2020
Thank you JoAnn! You are very helpful! Stay safe!
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You have nothing to worry about since deed in your name. If you still have worries, please speak with Attorney who made it. Maybe he or she can suggest further protection...FIL may be developing dementia too & probably need nursing home care...Hugs 🤗
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happyandchirpy Apr 30, 2020
Thank you CaregiverL! I appreciate your feedback! FIL is a narcissist and has always been saying and doing underhanded things. He tries to play the dementia card sometimes, like "I can't remember anything anymore", but he remembers everything. Like an elephant, except he keeps score. He uses a walker, but MIL waits on him hand and foot. He doesn't have the money for a NH. That's why my husband and I agreed to move in together with them. To take care of them, until they pass away. This is why we are stuck here! I will try not to worry. I must strengthen my faith. I'm such a weakling sometimes....
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I just read again. The contract is set up as like jointly held with rights of survivorship of the original group. Can’t leave your interest outside the original joint group. Let SIL FIL and anyone else pound sand.
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happyandchirpy Apr 29, 2020
Thank you Guestshopadmin! Pound sand! A whole beachful!
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Just a quick comment; I'm having a lot of trouble accessing sites.

So you have a deed in which only you and your husband are named, but there's a side contract between you, your husband, and your in-laws, which (a) addresses ownership rights of all four of you, jointly, presumably, and (b) addresses rights of the others if one of you should pre decease the other?

B/c of the difficulty of staying online, I haven't had a chance to read all the other posts, so there might be an overlap, or I may miss something. But just from your initial post, I think there's really a chance for a battle afterwards between the contract, the Deed and whatever the will provides.

There's a possibility of your amending your Wills to add an "in terrorem clause" as it relates to the house. I just wanted to throw this out and will try to write again and explain.
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FloridaDD Apr 29, 2020
I don't think her fear is with her will, but her father or mother in laws, and I do not see them helping at this point.  I don't see any reading of the contract or the deed that gives anyone other than OP and her DH the house (unless they both die before the inlaws).  Can the SIL sue?  sure.   But as PP said, with the deed saying owned by OP and DH, SIL is likely out of luck
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Be sure and keep track of the hours spent caregiving for your father in law, that way you can present the bill to his estate when he dies. That should keep his other kids from trying to steal your home.

Thank you for sharing your story, hopefully it stops anyone else from making the same mistake that you made.

Caregiving has really made me feel like no good deed goes unpunished. You help the needy elder and some how you end up being the bad guy. What!?!?

Thank God that you have the deed in your name, that is the legal proof of ownership. So grin and bear it knowing that you hold all the aces.

Great big warm hug! You guys didn't deserve his garbage and the family turning on you. Go make your own family with people that love you and whom you love.
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happyandchirpy Apr 29, 2020
Thank you realyreal! You are awesome!! Best hug ever!
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happyandchirpy -

By law, when it comes to real estate, if it's not in writing, it didn't happen.
Unless the in-laws have paperwork that shows they legally own 1/2 of the house, then they have no claim to the house.

So, this is a verbal agreement? If so, morally, they do own 1/2 of the house as you said you bought the house with the in-laws and it's a 50/50 ownership. Why was it not in writing? What did they originally agree to do with their 1/2 of ownership? Give to you/your children?

Edit to add: I read your reply that you agree to live with them and take care of them in exchange for them paying 1/2 of the house. Understood.
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happyandchirpy Apr 29, 2020
HI PB! We never would have agreed to the deal, if we had to go into debt to be their caregivers.... It was not 50/50 ownership, ever. They actually just went from one house to another, only with live-in caregivers to bully. We spent thousands for them to move here and 150 thousand on home improvements after we moved here. They have no property taxes, no home insurance payments or mortgage, or yardwork on 5 acres. We wait on them and clean up after these two. They are like two messy teenagers. Clueless!
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No, you are not "stuck here". I would not waste any of my money consulting any attorneys. You have a deed in yours and husband's names. You have a notarized contract regarding the house. When FIL dies, let *his* daughter waste *her* money trying to get stone from a blood. Worry about it then, not now. Worrying is useless and will only cost you precious time and energy.

Do not say anything to FIL, MIL or SIL about this. Do not get roped into conversations about the house. You and your husband act like everything is fine because it is fine; you have a deed and a contract. FIL's are the rantings of a narcissist whose perhaps coming unhinged with reality. Ignore FIL and SIL.
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Shell38314 Apr 29, 2020
See that is all I was trying to say! I agree with you NYDaughter 100%. Let the SIL waste her time and money!!
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leave house discussions to lawyer. If house is being left to relatives, it can be the adjusted amount AFTER taxes, maintenance, upgrades to house and payment for caregiving. If there is an interest in house to parents and they need Medicaid? Very messy. Let those involved in care come collect at end.
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I feel for you, but I think if the house in only in your name you will be OK. You say FIL denies telling SIL to "go after you".. can you get that on a recording somehow? I don't care if its legal ( sorry, not sorry) , just do it. It's something at least! My BIL and SIL "offered" to take care of my FIL if he bought a big house for all of them to live in.. he did, but at least its in his name and not all their names. He is miserable, and they have all been to the lawyer several times as they want more and more.. We also have a "family " home. The deal is supposed to be that they get the big house, and we get the river home. BUT.. it is also the deal that "everything is 50/50. It was never specified that they would GET the house for the care. The latest story is that they will get the big pricey home in the ritzy area ( paid for totally) and we will get the river house and anything left. I'll believe it when the lawyers are done.. LOL.. At least you have the house in your names only,, I'd think a lawyer would agree that is how they wanted it, as that is what they did orginally! I joke that if we all end up owning the big house together,, I can move my 89 YO smoking and drinking mom into FILs old bedroom,, that ought to bring things to head.. LOL
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happyandchirpy Apr 29, 2020
Thank you pamzimmrrt! Your feedback has been most helpful! Oh, and yeah, we have proof that FIL told SIL to wait until he's gone, before she starts her battle royale. He started this because my husband stood up to wife of FIL's golden child. ( son from first marriage) They were visiting and left abruptly, because she got called out on her bullying behavior towards me in my own home. FIL retaliated by starting a smear campaign as payback. Now, he wonders why everything is different around here. He wants it back like it was, where we all hung out together. (The 4 of us) He ruined all that. Broken, not bent.
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I vote you ignore him and all the others who are on the drama train. If they already have their undies in a bundle, then ignoring them won't matter. It is entirely possible he has cognitive decline and is imagining all sorts of things that didn't really happen, or is obsessing on something and having it get blown out of proportion in his broken brain. I don't think you'll ever know for sure unless you are living with him every day. My aunt with dementia does this and we just ignore it because we know why it's happening. It doesn't always make it hurt less, however. I wish you peace in your hearts that for some problems there are just no good solutions.
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Happy,

You have two choices! 1) If your FIL's name is not on the deed you can just make payments to him for half the house (pay him back). In this case, you are doing what is ethically and morally right! However, if there is no legal paperwork to show that your FIL paid for half of the house then he has no legal right to it.

2) Do nothing because he does not have any rights to the house; however, this could and probably will cause a riff in the family.

I would NOT put anybody's name on my house and I don't care what they (FIL & SIBs) say because you have know idea what their intentions are. You sign half the house over to FIL and he leaves his half of the house to your hubby's SIBs and the next thing you know someone wants to move in or someone decides they should have a say on what you and hubby can or can not do with YOUR HOUSE! I have seen this before and it NEVER turns out good for the real owners of the house. Please don't put anybody's name on the house, just figure out how to pay off your FIL! He will screw both of you over and not lose a night's sleep! Know that you did do what is more than fair with the contract!
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FloridaDD Apr 29, 2020
I don't agree that paying FIL for half is morally and ethically right.   The deal was the last to die to get the house, and Op and her DH planned on that basis, and they invested in repairs on that basis.   I would just ignore the FIL ranting and do nothing now
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Well if you (Happy) & hubs (Chirpy) wanted to & actually would be all hard-ball in this, you could ignore him. Yeah it’s not nice but I think you could as I bet there is no securitized document legally attached to the property. This would be a real estate atty type of question to get legal answers from as property law is kinda state specific.

heres my take on this..... If in fact house is only recorded in your & hubs name, like it’s recorded as that at courthouse and in annual tax assessor bill, and on all “hazards” (homeowners insurance, flood insurance), it’s viewed as just in your names.
The initial mortgage has been paid, right? Well if so and Release of the Deed of Trust was issued by the old mortgage holder and Release was recorded at the courthouse, then whatever was on or associated with that old mortgage agreement is done, gone, over, doesn’t matter. If Santa loan you 100k on a 150k home, doesn’t matter; what matters is that full 150k was paid off in fulfillment of mortgage terms. Any lending flowing from that mortgage ended when Release done. FIL would have needed when original mortgage was filed or recorded, to himself have recorded some sort of document at courthouse to have an $ amount interest on the property based on his lending ..... nothing like that exists now does it?.... and I bet he knows this and is really pissed off that he didn’t do this. If he had done this he would have a legal “securitized” interest on it.

That notarized document is cute but didn’t attach “securitization” onto the property. To get that done something would have been filed & recorded at the courthouse. The notarized document still is an agreement and it likely can be entered into probate as a claim or debt against the Estate.... but it’s for terms or conditions initially done. And whomever is Executor can review it to determine in discussion with the probate atty as to if it’s a valid claim, entered as such at the terms in the original notarized agreement. To change terms at a later date would require new agreement with fresh signatures by the 4 of you.

If you & hubs got new securitized lending on the property..... like that new mortgage for repairs / upgrades you mentioned.... the new lender did a title search to see if any old debt on the property. And that new lending agreement would have had some sort of statement as to new lenders secondary position to old mortgage company, (which has the primary or first position in lending). If that’s not there, then House is owned outright by you two AND FIL & MIL show no ownership in the property. If they had ownership, the bank would have wanted them to sign off on the repairs $ loan.

probability is FIL or MIL will predecease you & hubs. When that happens whomever named in will as Executor will need to deal with the property. And Executor can list it as an asset of Estate. You & hubs as owners of property have the real estate atty file a challenge to property’s inclusion for probate docket. What’s likely to happen is an in-chambers meeting is called to discuss. I just don’t see court going with house goes to last man standing, but instead ask for a fair value placed on the % deceased share. The real estate atty can tell you how to work the valuation to discount the increase in value you & hubs have put in it over time along with % of the costs y’all have paid that actually was in-laws share. You need to keep all the old tax assessor statements & property repairs / renovations to support all this. A good atty will know what to do now to be at-the-ready when someone dies.

Generational lending is sticky to work thru as there’s so much dramarama, so having an attorney imo is needed. Plus FIL is a bully and likely with dementia. Good luck and stay above the drama.
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FloridaDD Apr 29, 2020
I think just as likely the probate court would rule that FIL had made a gift.  Legal title in RE is not easily challenged.
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I think if the deed is in your name only and you have that contract, your SIL will be out of luck, but you will likely need a lawyer, but it wont be a big deal
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happyandchirpy Apr 29, 2020
Thank you DD! The SIL lives far, far away. She never spent time with mother and step father. She just loves drama and to fight for control. I still find it hard to believe that my husband's own father would betray him like this and turn everyone in the family against him. Poor kid! Yeah, and living here is just wonderful! I mostly stay upstairs and they are downstairs. Due to this lockdown, I feel even more alone.
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Just one. Get an attorney. You will need exhaustive and legally drawn up records and paperwork to prove just about anything you need to. Hopefully you also have receipts for any remodeling or repairs youv’e done to the house. You will have to prove your claims. Family wars are meaningless with something like this.
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happyandchirpy Apr 29, 2020
Thank you Ahmijoy! The difference between the value of the home 7 years ago and now differs by 150 thousand dollars. This was my family home, since 1983. I inherited it with my sibling. FIL bought out sibling. I already was part homeowner, before the four of us decided to move here together.
The decision was made when MIL fell outside on front porch at the same time that the FIL fell outside in the back, next to the garage. She was standing in a rocking chair to hand up a Welcome sign. We knew that they could no longer live alone. We lived two blocks over. They sold their house 3 days after put on the market, after my husband and I spent thousands on new hardwood flooring throughout their house. Then, my husband and I spent thousands on two different moving van trips. We also paid to have everything packed, since they did not pack anything, except books. Then, my husband and I rented two storage units for their extra stuff. MIL crafter/hoarder. One unit was for an antique car that I bought for FIL for 10,000. I used part of my land sale money. My brother and I sold 5 of 10 acres, prior to the house purchase transaction. No one in the family even knows about all the money that we spent to get in this house. My husband and I sold our home to his nephew. We let him keep the 15,000 equity, so he could purchase the home. We did not move in here for any monetary reasons. We did it because we knew it was the right thing to do. I would have done it for my own parents. I sure wish they were here, instead!
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