AIBU if I don’t want to go in on a house with my IL’s?(119 Posts)
We’re moving to London next year. A few days ago my in-laws came up with a proposal. They would sell a rental property they own and put the money into our new house. It wouldn’t be a gift, it would be a long-term investment for them. Well, it would be a gift of a kind, because they wouldn’t be getting any rental income from our property while we’re in it, they’d just be getting their share back if/when we sell in future.
My initial reaction was No. Frelling. Way. I’ve heard way too many horror stories over the years about family going in on real estate together, and it all ending in tears. Or worse, in court. Don’t get me wrong, my IL’s are nice people, but this could go so wrong. They’ve always been very hands-off in the past, but they’ve always been an ocean away, so they haven’t had the opportunity to be hands-on. They offered to help out with school fees after we move, and are already starting to take a proprietary interest in which schools we pick. Plus, years ago when DH and I bought our first apartment, my parents gave us a gift of money towards the deposit. And then felt they should be consulted about every swatch of paint that went into that apartment.
DH’s initial reaction was that I was turning down a good idea, and his parents are much more reasonable than my parents were (thanks, DH). However, we talked it over, and eventually both agreed that it was a bad idea. Partly because he has two siblings, and neither of them has been offered this deal as far as we know. This could lead to serious resentment by his sibilings. There were just too many variables we wouldn’t be able to control, as well, in terms of what if IL’s get into financial difficulties in future and need their share back (it’s not especially likely, but anything’s possible). DH politely turned IL’s down yesterday, and this morning MIL was on the phone in floods of tears, talking about how ungrateful we’re being. DH is now wavering. He hates to upset his mother.
I am even more against it than I was before. I don’t want to go into business with someone who’s going to burst into tears when they don’t get what they want. DH is also wavering, I suspect, because even though he’ll be making more money at the new job, given property prices in London, he’s effectively taking a paycut to move. We’re in one of the most expensive real estate markets in Canada, but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to London. My attitude is okay, we don’t get to live exactly where we want, and we don’t get as big a house as we have now, so what? At least we keep our independence. I’d only consider it if we were in dire straits, which we’re not. The whole point of the move is so the kids will be close to the extended family they have left. (My parents have both passed away, and I was an only child) What’s the point of moving if we might end up not on speaking terms with his family within a few years?
I’m concocting doomsday scenarios here, I know. AIBU, and if not, how do I convince DH to stand fast? I’m posting this on lunch and then going into meetings, then making the DCs their dinner, so I likely won’t be able to respond for quite a while, unless one of my meetings gets cancelled. But thanks in advance for your replies. I will be reading them.
If the in laws are going to help with school fees, then it's reasonable they should have imput in picking the school(s). Those who pay the piper call the tune.
So rather than accept you want to do your own thing your MIL turns on the tears and decides you are ungrateful.
That would seal it for me.
Don't go there with a 10ft bargepole!
If I offered financial help to someone I would never be in tears if they refused it! YANBU, stay firm!
If you can comfortably put a roof over your heads without their financial input, they do so.
You are absolutely right to worry. I thought it didn't sound like a bad plan until you got to the bit about her crying and calling you ungrateful for not accepting. It confirms all your worst fears really.
If you can afford to buy independently, you should IMO.
If your dh feels guilty now, imagine how much worse he would feel if you took the money and something went wrong - house falling in value, ils needing the money back, whatever. Would mil be on the phone in tears then as well?
Some of your reservations are very sound - not wanting to cause sibling rivalry and concern about any creditors of your parents requiring them to sell the house (this could happen entirely against their wishes if eg they were sued.)
But - have you seen the London property market?! You may really appreciate the extra quality of life this may afford you.
If you sort the legal stuff out before purchase and agree % holdings then it shouldn't be a problem (well more than normal).
Are you sure they haven't helped the siblings in the past? Have you explained your concerns?
It's a nice offer. Did your dh handle it well (lots of thank your) or allow his awkwardness to come out?
I think the no cash plan is best (the tears are worrying) but a big bunch of flowers wouldn't be a bad place to start either.
For all the very well-thought out concerns and possibilities you have already come up with YANBU. I wouldn't get into any financial shenanigans with my ILs as I know we'd have to be soooooo grateful and demonstrate it on a daily basis.
Don't do it. Remind DH of your parents' desire to be included in the decoration of your first place and tell him you don't want to fall out with ILs, and that this would be a sure fire way to do so. As for your MIL's tears, two words spring to mind: emotional blackmail.
I'm with Xales. If she's unreasonable enough to start with the emotional blackmail because you said no to being offered this money, I have no idea how she'll act when she's got a half-way reasonable case for making demands of you. Like if she's loaned you money.
Don't accept this!
One word: bargepole.
Listen to your instincts!
My parents bunged both dbro & I sizeable (& equal) deposits when we were moving to 'family' size houses - on the clear understanding that it was a cash gift, no strings, & there'd be that much less, eventually, to inherit.
We both accepted gratefully.
I wouldn't have considered the offer your PILs are making for all the excellent reasons in your post. Totally different & potentially disastrous scenario.
You are so right to refuse. Family and money brings trouble. If it was a gift, fine, but an 'investment' that may be needed back at any time? That they would feel gives them a right to have a say in what is bought and where? That would mean they part owned your home? HUGE potential for conflict and ill feeling on both sides. Also, your MIL is in floods of tears over this? That sounds like the last person to get into a vague semi-business arrangement with
So the emotional blackmail has already started and youhhaven't even agreed to anything!
Run a mile from this one!
I would put it this way - the is their long term investment but also your family home, how are they ever going to feel ok about liquidising their investment when they need to and turfing you out of your family home?
If they really want to invest in property maybe agree to rent it from them for six months while you look to buy your home with the understanding they then let it out on the open market after that initial period?
Can you get a mortgage to buy in London? If so, I'd just tell them that it's important to you to buy your own place.
The crying about you being ungrateful is very strange... If I offered somebody in my family financial help, and they turned it down politely it would not make me cry... very odd.
To your DH I would say, if she's crying over this and he hates to upset her, what does he think will happen when you start looking at houses and prefer an area she dislikes? If she gets upset will he bend to her wishes? What if they suddenly need some of the money back? They will after all lose the rental income. Will you end up taking on more debt to refund them? If you feel this bad about upsetting her now, how much worse will you feel if you owe your home to them?
for the sake of your relationship and sanity, say no!!!
What if they decided they had the right to move in, seeing as they owned some of it!
And what would happen when (if?) they die, before you want to sell the house? You could end up being forced out by your DH's siblings in 10 years. Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
(a) I wouldn't. I don't think that they would be able to force you to let them move in legally, but what they might be able to do is force you to sell it if they want the money back and you aren't in a position to find it.
(b) If you are seriously considering it, don't do it without talking to an IFA first.
I assume that they want to do it because they see it as a way of avoiding (inheritance?) tax and that's why your MIL is so upset?
No, no no! It's a control mechanism you can do without.
Re: inheritance tax. A lovely idea to bung you some money to help and also avoid the tax paid on the 'over the limit' inheritance, but it needs to be no strings attached, unless you're 100% happy with that. I know lots of GP's who help with school fees and most are happy to just see how the GC's are doing, just as they would if they were not paying towards/for the fees. Otherwise....not the best of ideas.
Ultimately unless in times of dire straits, I think independent adults should row their own boats.
You already know the pitfalls of this generous offer, and it is generous, just fraught with potential future issues.
The most generous gifts are given without condition and if you're going to feel beholden to them or they're going to use emotional blackmail in any way then I think it's perfectly reasonable to steer well clear.
It could cause future problems between the two of you and the ILs and worse, it could possibly cause problems between you and your DH. Not good.
Mortgage companies won't be keen to loan to you if someone else has a charge against the property.
And what lottie said about what happens when they die?
I wouldn't either. How is it an investment for them when it is your home, what about when they need the money? They'll either ask you to sell your much loved home so they can have their money back or they'll try to move in when they're older. What about when you want to make a home improvement they disagree with.
It's not fair on your DH's siblings either and you don't want to cause a family rift over something like this.
Finally your MIL is crying on the phone because you don't want this offer, how ridiculous!
If you DID do it, and anything happened to your ILs, your DHs sibling could possibly force you to sell your home to get their share of ILs estate. Don't do it !!
Another no from me, mainly because she started being emotionally manipulative when you said no.
If she is really doing you a favour then why would she be upset because you prefer to be financially independent? Why is this something for her to cry about?
If I feel someone is ungrateful (and my teenagers often are) it doesn't make me cry hysterically, it just makes me a bit pissed off.
She obviously has another agenda here to be that upset about it.
I would tell your husband that you definitely don't want her getting involved in your house if she gets that emotionally overwrought and controlling about the issue.
Never mind when they die, what if they require long term care? You could be faced with being obliged either to let them move in and becoming their carer, or sell up to pay care fees.
DO NOT DO THIS. Your life won't be your own hereafter, and mil has already been very unreasonable phoning up crying and trying to change your dh's mind.
"If she is really doing you a favour then why would she be upset because you prefer to be financially independent? Why is this something for her to cry about?"
Yeah, this. Does she have some ulterior motive you're not aware of, perhaps? And why are they keen to sell their flat, have they worked out the finances there - ie, how much they'll get from that vs how much they'd get from your future sale.
And what if you don't want to sell your London home for some time? Like, decades? What are they expecting to actually get out of this investment? This is an investment that doesn't really make sense.
Don't do it. Terrible idea. Your instincts are right.
Don't do it. Even if they were the nicest in-laws in the world. The "crying on the phone" bit raises massive red flags already.
They might be thinking "if we own part of their house we can move in when we get old/infirm and they will look after us".
And when they decide that they want to pop in an visit you in
their your house whenever they feel like it and it is hard for you to say no, how happy will you be then.
The inequitable treatment of siblings is the hung that will really cause family problems down the line. I think it would be reasonable to point this out. if they want to help here are other ways. And if she says the siblings won't mind , don't listen.
I know of a case where the in laws offered to allow a child and their partner to build their house on their land. The parents are quite old now and the family has been torn apart arguing about what happens after they have died. The other two siblings want their share, but the one living on the parent's land cannot afford to buy everyone out. I would be very reluctant to put myself in this kind of situation.
no FRIGGIN WAY!
what if in future you and dh split up. you wont gethalf theproperty and hepays his parents back, they will get their bit, then youand dh split the rest. they will then no doubt let dh live in one of their other properties.
Oops - sorry - did I mention NO
You could graciously accept the offer of help with school fees (with absolute final decision being yours) but I don't really see that the house thing is workable. As someone else said, the "investment" they'd be making doesn't make sense.
My parents have done this with my brother. It's worked pretty well and meant that he could buy a flat at 22 rather than the 32 it probably would have been otherwise.
As the only sister I'm not at all bothered but I'm older so by the time it was going on I already owned (with a massive mortgage!) a much bigger house with dh. A few friends did express surprise that I was so laid back about it.
They did it all legally with separate solicitors etc got a "parent and child" mortgage which some building societies do. Db paid all the legal fees and all maintenance costs but no rent I think.
So I was reading your message thinking "should be fine - go for it!" until you got to the tears. Now I'm saying"run for your life!" You need the right type of parents for this type of scheme - your dh doesn't have them!
bad idea. sounds to me like the money will come with big fucking ferry chains attached, never mind strings.
and the fact she's crying on the phone laying on the guilt makes it even more of a red flag.
I wouldn't do this in a million years.
Maybe it would be OK if your In Laws are well off and want to give you a gift of cash but I would only accept it if it was given equally to all siblings and with a note confirming it was a gift. It's not a bad idea for parents to gift their children money while they are still alive - it's much better than the money being lost to inheritance tax.
It only counts as gift if the person making the gift has no interest or control in the gift so a note is a good idea.
I would also be wary of the in laws paying for any private schooling. You need to be 100 % clear of what everyone's expectations are. I would try and do this in an almost 'formal' way. I would sit down with everyone and discuss everything at length. I would then write everything up and distribute the 'agreement'. It's the type of thing that sounds very OTT but I bet their are loads of people who wish they had done it. IMHO it would show the in laws that you are treating any proposed gift with the reverence it deserves.
Thanks for your replies, everybody. I’ve just skimmed a few, while taking a quick Mumsnet break.
OK, so, update. DH phoned FIL direct, bypassing MIL entirely. FIL is not particularly upset about us rejecting their offer, and is sure MIL will get over it once she’s has a chance to calm down. He says give it a few days and he (FIL) will talk to her again, see how she’s feeling about it then. She does frequently get emotional about things. DH also pointed out that SIL and BIL might feel resentful if only we get this opportunity and they don’t. (SIL and BIL already, half-jokingly, refer to DH as the chosen one because he’s the only one who had kids) FIL had not considered that aspect of things, and said he would definitely consider it.
FIL also pointed out that DH’s email rejecting the offer could’ve been more tactfully worded, and he probably should’ve phoned instead of emailed. Which is entirely reasonable. FIL also said they want to sell this particular rental property and put the money somewhere else because they’ve had nothing but troublesome tenants there. DH suggested they may want to either put the proceeds into a different property, or invest the money some other way.
I don’t think MIL means to be manipulative. She’s just a very emotional person, cries at sad movies, cries when she sees a squirrel run over by a car, that kind of thing. It’s not totally unheard of for her to call us up in floods of tears over some small thing, but DH hates it anyway. She is, after all, in genuine distress, even if what causes her distress would mostly be shrugged off by tougher people. And she’s a very generous person, does volunteer work, is kind to animals, etc. etc. I don’t want to paint her as some kind of monster just because I’m currently unhappy with her.
To the poster who pointed out that of course my FIL and MIL will feel proprietary when they’re paying the school fees, and perfectly reasonably, you’re absolutely right, and I need to remember that. It’s just that the logistics are getting a little complicated, trying to get 4 adults to agree on a suitable school, and then have the school actually accept the child. Plus, MIL is in denial about DS’s ASD, thinks he’s just a little quirky and will grow out of it. So when we rejected Ibstock Place out of hand because according to Mumsnet they make zero provision for special needs, MIL got a little huffy, which made DH and me a little huffy. DH and I agree that MIL will probably change her tune on the diagnosis once she’s seeing DS on a regular basis.
Your children's school fees are being paid and you are being offered money towards a house. The siblings are as yet childless. That is likely to change. Do your pil have a very large fund? You know the joke about DH being the chosen one? Well it is not a joke. And that your fil had not even considered that when your DH mentioned it makes it worse.
I'm quite willing to believe your MIL is not being calculating with the emotional manipulation. Most people who do it aren't- they think they are merely sticking up for themselves.
The non-deliberateness just makes it harder to deal with on the other end, if anything, because the person on the other end doesn't get what your problem is!
If you want to continue to be able to view her with a kind eye, don't make this deal!
I would say a couple of things.
I suspect that for your MIL it is a big, big deal that her son, and you, and her only grandchildren are coming back to the country she lives in. I would guess the tears are about wanting to build a relationship there, and feeling that her generosity was turned down, not so much about direct manipulation. So I would focus on this. Make her feel loved and included and tell her quietly that you were just so worried that the sibs would resent you, and you really don't want things to get difficult.
Your Dh was a total and complete klutz to email and not to take his parents out to dinner if he was in the country, or ring them and send flowers if he was abroad, when he wanted to say no. Sorry, he just was. That was bad.
On school, I had GP pay for DS1. I didn't even consult them on the choice of school, but we did make sure they knew how well he was doing and what a great school it was. I also made sure DS1 knew it was his GFs hardearned cash that had sent him there, and made him respect that by working. The GP were totally happy with the odd school report and magazine.
The thing is, why do we work hard and save our cash? It's to help our kids in the future. And we probably dream of grandchildren. S when that all happens, and we have all that pent up cash and goodwill to give, we get very frustrated when to turned down. Perhaps as I am nearer in age to MIL than the rest of you, I don't see this as control freakery, but as a not very well thought through wish to contribute.
If you find your MIl another way t contribute, I think the money stuff will subside.
You know the joke about DH being the chosen one? Well it is not a joke. And that your fil had not even considered that when your DH mentioned it makes it worse. I agree with this.
If they want to help you then perhaps selling the property and splitting it between all siblings to help with mortgages is better than giving it all to one.
Good. God. No.
There are so many strings attached to this ostensibly kind offer that you will end up dancing like a puppet. Run. Run. Run.
DH politely turned IL’s down yesterday, and this morning MIL was on the phone in floods of tears, talking about how ungrateful we’re being.
^ this means stay well away
If I was you, I'd also look at state schools in the area you are looking to move too (and possibly living outside of London and commuting in if your budget doesn't stretch in London to the lifestyle you want).
I would be very careful about accepting gifts where the other siblings won't be able to have the same.
Also if this causes problems down the line it will affect your relationship with your dh.
Check out this thread to see what it looks like when it all starts to go wrong with PIL and money, in your actual marriage
There has been a thread on Mumsnet in the last few days where a couple were having to sell their home, because the parents (I think it was the wife's parents, FWIW) were recalling the loan they had made.
I'm not saying your PIL would do this, but what if they needed the money out again at sometime in the future? What would happen, then?
I still think the pragmatic and wise way out of this is to make it all about fairness to siblings. Say how terrible you would feel being the only ones being helped. With any luck they won't have enough money to help all of them, and you never need t have any more difficult conversations.
The control freakery will die down, I suspect, once you are all seeing more of each other and your MIl feels more confident.
"Your children's school fees are being paid and you are being offered money towards a house. The siblings are as yet childless. That is likely to change. Do your pil have a very large fund? You know the joke about DH being the chosen one? Well it is not a joke. And that your fil had not even considered that when your DH mentioned it makes it worse."
Sibyl, I totally agree that PILs’ attitude towards DH as compared with towards their other kids sucks. I’m just not sure what DH and I can do about it, beyond refusing the “investment” and potentially refusing the offer to pay school fees. And at this point I’m seriously, seriously considering turning down the school fee offer too, in case it ends up coming with as much baggage as the investment offer.
Incidentally, not that it makes a difference in terms of PILs’ favouritizing DH (is favouritizing a word?), but I kind of doubt they will have other grandkids. SIL is in her early forties, and self-describes as “happily childfree”. BIL is in his late thirties, and he and his partner seem to have no desire for kids. In fact, BIL has said in the past that he’s driven slightly crazy by the fact that MIL keeps sending him news clippings about gay adoption and surrogacy. But you’re right, they could still change their minds and have kids, and that may or may not be something PILs have considered when they did their financial calculations. Probably not, if they didn’t consider the effect on their other kids of making this very generous offer to DH.
Sigh. It just gets more and more complicated and dysfunctional the more I consider it. On the bright side, they’ve never actually offered DH money that they didn’t also offer to SIL and BIL in the past. On the cloudy side, there have definitely been intangibles in terms of them prioritizing the child with kids over the ones without. And those intangibles have caused tension between DH and his siblings.
Do not do this under any circumstances.
An investment property can only work if all parties approach it as a cold hearted investment.
I'd be very uncomfortable if my dad prioritised his kids with grandchildren over those without and would tell him that I wasn't happy with his approach and wanted us all treated equally.
I can't imagine giving more money to one of my kids just because they got married and had children. In many ways they may need money less as then 2 of them are paying the bills and having children these days is a choice often a much wanted choice not a burden.
I still think crying on the phone to other people is manipulative. If she wanted to have a quiet weep when she got the email she could have done so and then got her husband to phone rather than blubbing melodramatically. if you know you will cry when you phone someone then you are choosing to cry over the phone to them and emotionally manipulate them even if you are a weepy person. She didn't have to phone, she could have asked her husband to phone.
Canuck just another small point that no-one has raised specifically. There are two problems with the crying scenario. One is the one that everyone has pointed out; that your Mil is, consciously or unconsciously, in the habit of manipulating her family. The second problem is that, as you said yourself, DH hates it. It makes him feel bad. He is vulnerable to the manipulation and it works on him, at least to a certain extent.
I would say run anyway, as there are all sorts of legal and other points which other people have pointed out above wrong with it. But if your DH can't tell his mother a firm "no" without equivocation, having to come up with lots of "reasons" why not and without feeling terrible, RUN VERY FAST INDEED.
Once you are in a situation where they have a halfway reasonable case to make for interference, they will- you've seen that over the school fees thing- and you may find your DH may have trouble defending boundaries when MiL turns on the waterworks, particularly where even some, not all outsiders think she has a right to have a "say".
And welcome to London!
The whole 'because we're offering you money we should have a say' business really grates on me. Don't get me wrong, it would be unreasonable to fritter hard earned money on say a gambling trip to Vegas, but for them to start researching school prospectuses as they offered funding is a step too far. It is for you and your dp to decide where your DC go to school, nobody else. And I would question whether this funding into a house would end with them putting their views across on your home. Before any money changes hands, they have to be aware that a gift is exactly that, not conditional bribery.
My in laws offered a similar deal. We weren't even looking to buy a property, we were their plan B because they were refused a mortgage. We turned them down. They would have been relying on the investment for their retirement. They have a daughter who, if I'm honest would accept the offer before you could say 'daddy's princess', so I don't believe we have ruined their plans.
Keep your future relationships simple by keeping these matters separate.
Well, dammit. I had a big long reply typed out, and then the cat walked over the laptop and I lost it. Anybody want a slightly used house cat? Short version:
Lisianthus, you make an excellent point. DH does indeed have difficulty saying no to MIL when she gets upset.
The good news is DH is no longer wavering. He talked with a friend of his who's a property lawyer who said not to touch it with a barge pole. And we're taking the advice of someone further up the thread who pointed out that it was amazingly tactless to reject the offer via email rather than phone. They're right, of course. DH is currently on the other computer ordering a big bunch of flowers and drafting a nice note. He's also going to call FIL again tomorrow, and emphasize that we're not rejecting them, we just don't want to cause them to have ructions with the siblings over it not being an equitable distribution.
The bad news is we are undecided over whether to accept the school fees offer. DH really wants the kids to be educated privately, for various reasons. I say if we go that route, we need to make sure there's enough room in our budget for us to afford the fees ourselves. Which means less house. Or we use our current house budget, but send the kids to state schools. DD is an all rounder who would probably be just fine. DS is a high achiever with SN, so finding the right school is a trickier mix. But plenty of parents have no option but to send their SN kids to state school, and they mostly seem to cope. The discussion rolls on, but is as yet perfectly amicable. We have plenty of time to make a decision, after all.
And thanks for the welcome! So far the projected move has just been a source of stress, but I'm sure eventually it will be a good thing. I've visited London quite a few times over the years, and it's an amazing city. Also, the winters are better than here.
Off to chase the kids into bed, proofread DH's Interflora note, and, oh yeah, have a big glass of . Think I deserve it. Thank you for your feedback, everybody. You've been awesome.
Rather than accept the school fees offer could you suggest that they start a trust for the children that will cover it?
I am sorry, I dont know how these things work but I am thinking that they pay in a certian amount that is invested and pays out a certain amount each year so you dont have to go cap in hand once a term. Also it means that once the money is there you have the final say and they cant suddenly withold the fees.
As I say, I dont know how these things work, just that my friend grew up with a fund like this from her (living) grandma. There was a trustee who would approve (or not) applications to take money from it, and it was agreed at the start that school/Uni fees would be approved on the nod. She then got full control of what was left when she was 30 (her grandma didnt trust her to not piss it up the wall, which was a good call!).
'Also, the winters are better than here.' that made my day :-)
well i think i'd go for a smaller house and have the budget for the school fees. then you're not stressed. but i probably would accept a little help for the fees. you can use the extra to pay off the mortgage quicker, and move to a nicer / larger house later on. in my view education comes before house.
I am glad that it appears to be resolved because my answer would have been a resounding NO! Your later posts about your MIL's emotional manipulation --> Even Louder NO!! Absolutely not a good idea. Shared property rarely works out well anyway but can you imagine?
What if one of your ILs were to die, and the other one decided that as they had part share in your house then they had the right to live there - could you face that?
What if their share of the house was included in their Will - would you have to sell it to pay out?
It's far too much of a minefield, and as you've already said they've got over-involved in other ways (school selection/fees) then your reservations are absolutely sound and thank goodness for the property lawyer friend agreeing!
Your DH might have problems standing up to his mother but your FIL seems to be a better bet to deal with, even if he doesn't think too well about his other children.
Hope that you manage to bypass this potential iceberg!
Well done, and welcome to MN. I think the thing about sibling fairness is a very good thing to hold onto. It affects school fees too, of course.
I would wait and see on school fees. I assumed I would send all mine to state. Then our local state school had a wobble and I sent the eldest private. Then I assumed I would send my second private, as she has SEN and surely a small private schoo, would be good, no? Wrong, in my case. Provision for SEN can be very expensive and state schools can be mandated to provide it, but not private. I was told I'd have to pay an extra salary for someone to be with her! So you may want to see how the state school SEN provision checks out.
I am sure the move will work out fine and your MIL will stop getting over excited soon and settle into a more normal pattern. Yr DHs sibs will also be pleased hat he has refused the cash!
ClaudeDebussy, the winters in England are better than here. If you've never been in Canada in the winter, you don't know how bad it can get. Just trust me, and pray you never find out for yourself! Don't be fooled by what you saw on TV with the Vancouver Olympics. Vancouver has freakishly warm winters compared with the rest of the country.
err i wasn't being sarcastic. i know what winters in canada are like!!!
i'm a south african and i'm already getting down with the winter here. honestly wasn't having a dig!
I can't imagine giving more money to one of my kids just because they got married and had children.
It depends on whether you regard school fees, say, as something you're giving to your children or something you're giving to your grandchildren. My in-laws are planning (indeed, have already started) to give money to my children towards university costs. My brother-in-law has no children, and is unlikely (single, approaching fifty) to have any, certainly of university within my in-laws' lifetime. I'm not sure that there's a reason why people can't give money to their adult grandchildren without having to concern themselves with the non-existent grandchildren of their other children.
My only sibling has the same number of children, of a similar age, to me, so it doesn't arise in "my" family. So I don't have a strong view one way or the other, and obviously my hands are dirty as I'm not the childless child, but it doesn't strike me as an open and shut issue. Should my in-laws give my brother-in-law extra Christmas presents to compensate for spending more at Christmas on my family, because they give gifts to my children?
OP you need to readthethread in Property/DIY from a MNer who did this 5 years ago and is having to sell because her parents want the money back. It's horrendous and a good warning not to fall into the same trap.
I think people just find it hilarious anyone sees a british winter as lovely and mild! especially if you're from S.A, I imagine!
We lived in Joberg and I found the winters really cold because the houses aren't insulated. We were bloody freezing sometimes. It even snowed when we were there. We were also regularly hit by electricity cuts and oil shortages.
I love my warm cozy English house.
ClaudeDebussy, sorry for jumping on you about the winter thing. I was feeling a bit irritable at the time, general IL stress. Wow, South Africa to Britain, that’s a huge move. When I feel sorry for myself about our big move, I will remind myself that at least we’re not switching hemispheres.
The only thing that travels faster than the speed of light is family gossip. SIL and BIL now know about the original offer and are, as predicted, pretty frelling irate. So, so glad we turned it down flat. SIL is directing most of her wrath towards her parents. BIL is being rather more impartial in his anger, but then, DH and BIL have a more fragile relationship than DH and SIL, so it probably shouldn’t surprise me.
On the bright side, apparently FIL was pretty shaken up by how angry/hurt his other kids were and now realizes the original plan may have been unfair. I’d say “may have been” is putting it mildly, but baby steps. At least he’s admitting to a possible error. MIL is apparently in floods of tears yet again because her kids are mad at her. As long as she’s not crying on the phone to DH and making him hideously uncomfortable, I’m not too worried. She’ll settle down eventually.
And to think, I used to consider DH’s family an oasis of normality compared with my own dysfunctional family. DH always swore they were just as dysfunctional as mine, just better at hiding it in public. I guess he was right. And I guess it’s good this is all happening before the move. At least I’ll be going to live near-ish them with my eyes open. Where is this elusive “normal” family? I begin to think it doesn’t exist.
I have three DC and my BIL and SIL have 2. Those grandparents were very concerned to keep it fair. They have left their money equally between their two boys, even though they intend it for the grandchildren, so our kids will get 1/3 each of our legacy, where their cousins will get 1/2 each. They paid for school fees for us, but gave the same amount to the other son, which he used I think to save up for his DD's future.
As it happens, the other side of the family both earn very well and have far more money and savings than we do, so in no sense do they "need" any of it. It must be said that if my DC inherited all the money from those GP, they could buy a home each, which their cousins can do anyway without any legacy.
Despite all this, I am pleased it has always been fair between the two brothers. I feel we have a better relationship as a result.
Hello Canuck! It just shows you were absolutely right to say no. I guess there is a hidden bitterness there about grandchildren and your MIL's very strong preference for everyone to produce them.
I guess when you arrive someone will have to control her from making it clear that your family trumps her other kids in social terms because of the GC. But maybe if you live a nice long way away from her, you wont have to deal with it the whole time. 100 miles is perfect- close enough that she doesnt have to stay over, but too far (in this country) for popping in.
Winters- they have changed these last few years and it has got quite cold and snowy, but when I grew up they were mild. Compared with Canada I guess the weather will feel better but the organisation will seem comically inept
I am going to make my DC an interest-free loan. We will have a legal arrangement whereby they pay back the money so I will get my money back month by month but will have no particular say in what they buy or how they decorate it.
You need to read a current thread on here about parents who want their money back from a similar investment. Very messy!
Actually, the paying school fees offer is likely to stir up even more resentment now. SIL may feel that the PIL are just funneling their £ to the grandchildren as a means of disguising their favouritism of your DH. She might even be right.
And the fact your PIL want a lot of say over schools is a very bad thing. You can't do these things by committee, especially as you know your children so much better than they do and your MIL minimises the SN.
How would you feel if your DS was not settling and was unhappy and your PIl were saying they liked his school and would not continue to contribute to fees if he was moved?
BeastofBurden, unfortunately we won’t be 100 miles away from them. We’ll be in SW London and they’re in Cobham, in Surrey. Maybe we should be looking at schools and houses in North London instead, put the bulk of the city between us! DH thinks MIL will calm down some once we’re actually there. To be fair to her, she always starts out being really full-on during visits, and then after about 2, maybe 3 days of it being All Granny Time, All the Time, she settles down and starts interacting with us and the kids on our own terms. So she may well calm down once she’s seeing them, say, once or twice a month instead of once a year. And definitely, definitely no popping in.
EldritchCleaver, I’m beginning to think you’re right about the school fees potentially causing even more resentment. It’s BIL who’s really mad, incidentally, not SIL. SIL is mad, don’t get me wrong, but is directing it mostly at the appropriate targets (i.e. her parents). BIL and DH have a more complicated relationship, and BIL has long felt that DH is the favoured son (not only because DH has kids, but because DH is the straight one). BIL jokes about it, but only half-jokingly, if you know what I mean. It’s complicated, and has complicated DH’s relationship with BIL over the years. Until the other day, things had been pretty good between them for several years, but we seem to be going rapidly backwards now.
And as you say, what happens if DS doesn’t settle in a school, but PIL want him to stay anyway? I am definitely going to raise these points with DH. I’d like to think it would never come to that, but we need to be prepared for the worst, just in case.
The thing is, with special needs, a state school may be your better option in any case. Though in London, I don't know.
SW London to Cobham might geographically look a short distance but it could take up to an hour to travel it, depending on where you are in SW London! So not quite as close as you think, maybe (I used to live near there).
So glad that your DH had decided to turn it down given the fall-out - your BIL is being a touch histrionic about it, since it has been turned down but I suppose he feels just irritated that his parents offered it to your DH in the first place (although how he considers that to be your DH's fault is crazy; that is the irrational part of his anger). Hopefully your SIL will be able to help direct his anger in the more appropriate direction, as she has!
Btw Canuck, extra points for the "frelling". <outs self as Farscape fan>
Lisianthus, wasn't Farscape an awesome, awesome show? DH introduced me to it when we were first dating. I still miss it. My DD came this close to being named Aeryn.
BeastofBurden, I have pointed out to DH several times that a state school might be DS's best option. However, he is adamant that state schools in the UK have appalling educational standards. To which my response is that he doesn't actually live there right now, and he's never had a child in education in the UK, so he's getting his info from newspapers. I think it's a comfort thing. He was educated privately, so were his siblings, and so were about half his friends. Plus, the DD of an old friend of his had a very bad experience at a state school in London. But London is a big place!
Thumbwitch, good to know re: Cobham and SW London not being as close as they look on a map. You relieve my mind! And yeah, I agree that BIL is being a bit histrionic. He's a really sweet guy, but a bit temperamental. Hopefully he'll simmer down soon, or at least focus his frustration on a more deserving target.
"Vancouver has freakishly warm winters compared to the rest of the country".
Enjoying the freakishly warm and sunny October we're having and hoping for one of those fabulous winters.
I can only echo what everyone else is saying. Good for you for saying no.
It was fab. And Aeryn was deeply cool (and had a great name!)
Perhaps you could educate via state school for primary and move private for secondary? That might take the pressure off a bit financially, and also help re waiting lists to get in as it gives you a bit more lead time.
OP I came on to say don't touch this with someone else's barge pole, so glad to see the resolution. Fiends if ours were in a similar situation and it made her ill with worry when they came to sell.
Ah, the snobbery of the privately educated. Let me guess - you were state educated and its done you just fine? DH and I are in a similar position. When we met he was adamant that no-one can have had a "proper" education from the state sector. And he's right that there are gaps in my history knowledge compared to him (his barometer). But my stare education also gave me a much better sense of social ease among people not exactly like me and an understanding that we don't all trip off to ski every winter and holiday in mummy and daddy's little place in the summer - that's slightly unfair because neither did he, but you get my point.
As others have pointed out, given your DS's SN the state sector may be the best bet. Very best of luck with it all. Welcome (back?) to the UK!
London has some of the best state education in the UK. London schools have made a huge amount of progress - there has been considerable investment in the past 12 years through Excellence in the Cities programme. You need to do your research before you buy a property so at least you have the option of a choice of good local schools in your area.
DNephew has ASD. He's attending the best provision he could for thirty miles (rural area). Which happens to be his catchment primary school .
OP you sound like a nice, decent, kind person.
Word of advice - stop seeing your MIL as a 'lovely but emotional' person. Crying when she doesn't get her way, phoning your dh sobbing because of some minor happening, expecting to have a say in where you live and where your children go to school by bribing you with money...NO.
Get tough. You can have a perfectly nice relationship with her, you don't have to fall out with her but hold her at arm's length, stick to your guns and trust your instincts here.
To others saying they are owed a say in your dc's education if they pay for it - no, that's not how truly generous and loving parents behave. They decide to help their children financially and leave the decision making to them. Of course, it's always a risk you run with bullish people - that they will see it as their right to meddle and that's why I wouldn't do this no matter how expensive schooling and London property is (I live in London - I know!!).
Canuck, one of the uncomfortable truths that your DH may not be facing right now is that private schools vary. I have had 1 DC in private, 1 in state comprehensive and 1 in state SEN school. My two ounces bth have SEN, my eldest has a gift for science and so after much thought and advice, we left state sector at 11 and went to a very high achieving private school.
Bt if your DC has SEN he may well not be accepted by a high achieving private school. They don't have to. A lower achieving private school can be a difficult place, some are lovely but others are chippy and snobbish. If your DH thinks your child will do better academically at a non selective private school than at a good state comprehensive with proper SEN provision, it sounds as if he is also a bit in denial about his SEN.
Agree with other posters, try to pick an area of London with good state primary provision and be prepared to move at secondary stage.
Ounces= youngest, that was weird.
I also don't think that your husband's parents should have loads of imput because they're paying. You see, all of us would agree that the most important thing is that it is actually the best environment for the children concerned (within commuting distance anyway). I've been struggling to word it to myself, so half the thread has already beaten me to this!
I don't think it's possible to put your children's needs first while you also feel it's your duty to make a choice that satifies 2 other adults, who live overseas and do not even admit your son has ASD. As long as you continue to think it is your duty, you'll be more vulnerable to being persuaded into a choice the grandparents lurrrrve but turns out to be crappy for the children.
<Is going to start re-watching Farscape DVDs now>
DO NOT DO IT. Your instincts are spot on.
Does anyone remember the MNer who's IL's had paid towards their house, kept coming and going, telling them how to decorate it and threatened to chuck them out?
MrsHoratioNelson, I was educated at a state school for elementary school (what you call primary school) and then at a private secondary school. At 16 I had a minor nervous breakdown and dropped out of the private school. Eventually went back, but to the local state school, which got me through to graduation. So yeah, I have mixed feelings about private education.
I thought you might do. And what I forgot to mention is that my state school picked up that I was coasting and pushed me (net result max grades); DH's school failed to pick it up and he got the (bad) shock of his life come results day. So these expensive schools aren't always perfect.
OK, update time. After much discussion, we've decided to turn down the school fees offer.
SIL is okay with PIL paying, but warned us to expect some well-intended interference on the subject of school choice. BIL is not okay, feels it's very unfair that we'd be getting this substantial financial help, especially when DH makes more money than he does.BIL knew about the school fees offer before the property offer, but kept his mouth shut about his feelings at the time, not wanting to be a grinch. He is no longer keeping his mouth shut, in the aftermath of the property offer debacle. It would become a perpetual grievance, and ultimately, DH is not prepared to torpedo his (already fragile) relationship with his only brother over it.
Furthermore, we know our kids best, and we can't be sure PIL will butt out and let us choose the right school(s). And we don't want to be beholden to them, but rather to have a relationship of equals. I am playing Lady Macbeth in the background, urging DH to screw his courage to the sticking point and face his mom's tears when he politely turns it down. He's inevitably going to upset her sometimes, especially when we're living in the same time zone and seeing more of each other, so he needs the practice!
The state v. private debate goes on, and I have no idea when or how it will be resolved.
I'm feeling a bit disgruntled, because we had a babysitter last night, and basically spent all of our romantic evening out discussing all the above at length instead of being carefree and kid free. Oh well. There will be other nights out.
At least everything is out in the open. It's much better for everyone to be open about their feelings even if it's a bit awkward.
Your BIL has done nothing wrong by saying he would be irritated if your in-laws paid the school fees. Although, of course, your in laws are allowed to spend their money on whatever they wish.
You know what, Canuck? If you choose your house carefully in SW London (take local advice, visit the schools in person and check the council website for maps of distance offers), your children could be having a perfectly decent education entirely free of charge. I went to a SW London private school, but I think education has changed loads since I was young and my daughter is currently in state education, doing really well and I have no plans to alter that at secondary level unless things change massively in the next few years. We are in Richmond, in case that was one of the areas you might be considering. The local SEN provision is generally quite good from what I have heard. DD's (much) older friend who has ASD recently moved up to secondary school and is doing wonderfully - really happy and has been looked after quite incredibly well.
Good luck. I think you are doing the right thing.
Or you could consider whether your family would look kindly on the isea that you accept some financial help towards school fees ( if that is what you feel you want for your children) but have it legally written into your pils will so that you receive that amount less upon their death.
I think that's the best way forward, Canuck, glad your DH has "given in" on the school fees point. Your BIL might have a chip on his shoulder but there's no need for anyone else to add salt and vinegar to it, although he should at least attempt to be a little grown up about it and realise it is NOT your DH's fault - hopefully your DH's refusal to accept the money will help him with that.
Perhaps you could start a thread in Education on here (or Chat if you need more traffic) asking about schools in the area to which you will be moving - it might help you and your DH in making the decision between state and private, or at least give you better insight into the provisions and differences. Including the exact postcode you need to be aiming for to get the best of both worlds!
To be fair to DH, he didn't so much "give in" as come to see it on his own. He usually gets there in the end, he just spends a lot of time analyzing things before he makes a final decision.
I had to laugh at not putting salt and vinegar on BIL's chip: so true! DH and I both think he'll settle down now. DH called his parents about 1.5 hours ago and told them. As predicted they were not particularly happy, and his mom cried. Hopefully they'll settle down too.
That's a good idea re: the thread in Education. I already put one up a couple of weeks ago but that was only about private primary schools, and was fairly vague about where in SW London. We've since narrowed things down somewhat geographically. Thanks!
About 4 hours ago, i should've said. 1.5 hours would have been far too late. And we're sending more flowers.
Why send flowers? That panders to her hysterics. "Thanks but no thanks" really is enough!
If you are moving to SW London do you need to go private? The schools there are all pretty good.
No, I think flowers make sense.
the MIL is having to come to terms with the fact that her little dream is not going to happen. She is also having to realise that her favouritism has been noticed by her other kids and has caused them hurt.
It may well be her own fault but that doesnt mean she wont be feeling bruised and uphappy. You dont need to try to reinforce that message- she is getting it loud and clear from the other kids in any case.
By sending flowers, and by making the refusal about fairness to other sibs, what you are saying is that this is not a personal rejection. I think that is very sensible and will pave the way for a caring relationship, but one with clear boundaries, rather than a family fued.
Being kind is almost never wasted. You have set very clear boundaries, being kind will not undermine them. If anything, it gives her an horourable exit and a way to accept them.
<terrible typing, I need tea>
Coincidentally there is a current thread about just this kind of thing.
You and DH are not entirely innocent parties in this and i am irritated by the criticism of bill.
Despite earlier family tensions over favouritism (i assume financial?) you were seriously thinking of accepting a sum for fees that would leave no change from 500 000 pounds and help with housing. Your refusal initially was to do with not wanting parental interference rather than fair treatment of siblings. Your sil is possible more angry with you than you realise. If she displays her anger, she is probably aware you will dismiss her feelings as histrionic, and claim she has a chip on her shoulder as you have bil's.
You have said your family is dysfunctional and now you feel your DH s are too. It might be enlightening to examine your own roles in the family dynamics?
Hi Sibyl, thank you for your honesty. It wasn’t a whole lot of fun to read, but it was necessary. I guess on a subconscious level I was kind of thinking, “If BIL hadn’t kicked up a fuss we wouldn’t have had all this kerfuffle.” Which is totally unfair to him. And it’s far better for him to kick up a fuss now than to sit on it and then have it all come out in a year or so. I guess I do tend to instinctively take DH’s part, and I need to be aware of that, aware that I’m not an objective observer but an interested party.
To be fair to DH and me, this is the first time there’s been the financial sort of favouritism. And you’re right, we could’ve handled it better. We’ll certainly know better for next time (hopefully there is no next time).
The longest relationship you will ever be likely to have is the one you have with siblings. I have seen many families estranged through money. It is always a great shame.
I don't think the parents who caused the estrangement ever thought it would happen. They seem to think their children are so close they will be in full agreement with their decisions and the losers are frightened of appearing greedy if they object. Things are usually different where there is real need wihin a family of course. In our society, money equals value.
I think that writing early inheritance gifts into a will is perfectly reasonable if agreed by all.
Wise words indeed, Sibyl. Particularly because as an only child I have no personal experience in having to get along with siblings or share my parents with them.
I don’t think we will end up asking for the school fee money to be taken out of DH’s eventual inheritance, although it’s a very good idea in theory. We have a feeling we won’t be given a free hand in terms of school choice if we’re using PILs’ money, and we don’t want to make a decision re: schools by committee. Plus, I’m not convinced a private school is necessarily the best thing for DS.
This whole big family thing erupting may well have been a blessing in disguise. For one thing it’s cleared the air, and means we’re not going to have DH’s sibs silently resenting an unequal situation. For another, FIL at least seems genuinely shaken up by this eruption. Finally, it’s gotten me to look closely at whether a private school is indeed going to serve DS well with his SEN, or whether he might be better off in a good state primary. And if we find a good state primary for him, there’s no reason DD couldn’t thrive there too. So we have a lot to think about. Thanks again.
Cash gifts can work. We had significant financial help from our ILs- cash to fund a house deposit and then help with school fees. The key was that the GP gave the same to the other brother- for instance, over two years we repaid half the deposit loan, and then they wrote the second half off and used what we had repaid them to give it to the brother, thus making it fair.
Our GP school fees help was a mixture of early legacy and cash gifts to the sibs.
My own sister has had significant financial help from my mother to help her and her DH buy their home, as they earn much less than we do and couldn't manage without it. My mother is very worried about this and refers to it whenever we discuss wills, etc, saying I must make sure I take the extra back when she dies.
What I dont say to my mum is (a) inflation will mean that it will be unfair anyway by then, as she is just talking about the original sum and (b) I don't think she will have much to leave us, if she ever needs nursing care. Actually, if my sister ends up with more cash overall, I am not fussed. Especially as she has no kids and I expect will leave her house, when she eventually dies, to my kids.
But the key I think is that all of this was openly and fairly discussed and agreed between all the sibs before any decision was taken.
And Canuck- good luck, and welcome to London! I hope that with all this stress you are able still to look forward to coming to what is a lovely, welcoming and interesting place.
That's good to hear Canuck. And with luck and some bridge-building there is no reason why, once you are in London, your DH's relationships with his siblings shouldn't improve. With closeness you get more chance to see them without involving PIL.
Did anyone link to this thread already for an example of how it can go horribly wrong?
Both my PIL and my own parents have been generous but also careful to only ever offer anything that they are in a position to do equally for all their children. We did get help when we bought out first house, but it has always been made very clear in writing exactly what was a gift and what was a loan and what would be repaid when. Well done OP for steering clear of the emotional trauma that this could have led to.
Thanks guys. I think it's resolved now. DH got nice emails from both his sibs. And apparently FIL phoned both SIL and BIL to apologize to them.
I think you have made the right decision but I do think BIL is being a bit grinchy about PIL giving you school fees... because they wouldn't really be doing it for you they would be doing it for their grandchildren
It's like saying they can never give them gifts because then BIL is missing out (btw I totally understand you refusing PIL because you don't want outside influence) I just think BIL should have kept schtunm about it
Well, to be fair to BIL, he did initially keep quiet about it, precisely because he wanted to avoid being a grinch. It was only when matters escalated and something much more unfair was in the offing that it all came spilling out. We'd rather know now than in a year or two. And it can't be easy, feeling like the less favoured son because you've chosen not to have kids.
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