A long (sorry) post about step child & property

(45 Posts)
Collywobbler Wed 10-Aug-16 09:22:46

potentially misleading title - I am not a step parent (as yet)
My partner and I are looking to buy a place together next year.

We are not married, we have no children together but my partner has one child from a previous marriage.
We have started to discuss wills and what happens in the events one of us dies. Obviously we will be taking legal advice but at the moment we just want everything straight in our heads before we even consider this because at the moment we can’t seem to agree on what’s fair.

So for the deposit I will be putting a bit more into it than he does just because I have more savings and it will bring the mortgage down. As far as I am concerned this will be my forever home and wont plan on moving ever again.

I am 99% sure that his son will come to live with us full time once we have bought this house which isn’t a problem at all but something to consider for the rest of this thread.
So my partner has stated that if he dies first he wants his share of the house to be left to his so, which obviously means we need to be tenants in common rather than joint tenants.
I have said that I don’t think this is fair and that it should go to me – after all it will be my entire life savings and hard work/money spent on the house whereas his DC has spent nothing yet gets a say in what happens to the house.

My partner doesn’t want to do this because he said I could potentially decide that’s its MY house and that his DC is no longer welcome living there and kick him out and then not leave it to him in my will when I die – fair enough I can see his point here but my feelings are that if he leaves his share to his DC then that means his DC could potentially decide he doesn’t want me living there anymore or decide to move in a new girlfriend or even (heaven forbid!) his mother!

My partner said he wants DC to continue to live there for as long as he wants and I cant do anything about it – fair enough but what happens if his DC grows up to be someone I can’t get along with, I have to move out of my own home and start again to get away from the situation?
What if he wants to start a family and moves them in, I would have no say?

I know you can put restrictions in place that I am allowed to remain in the house until the end of my days and that would be fine but I still don’t understand what sort of say his DC would have in the house in that situation, can he move in whoever he wants?

My OH has stated that if I were to meet someone else I wouldn’t be allowed to remain in the house as it wouldn’t be fair on his DC.

Now the way I see it – if my OH were to die I have all these rules and restrictions in place, whereas if I die then the house automatically goes to my OH no questions asked, no restrictions and he can meet someone else, move them in, sell it, leave it to a cats home if he wants whereas I cant do anything.

I have asked that perhaps the life insurance should go straight to his DC and then he can leave me with the house (and any remaining mortgage) but he’s not happy to do this – he wants the mortgage paid off but want his share to go directly to his DC.

I have also read that if his DC is under 18 then the exw is entitled to claim something from the estate to cover the maintenance? Not sure what would happen if his DC were living with us full time but if he decided not to then that needs to be taken into consideration.

I don’t know where to go with this now, it feels like I’m going to potentially be made homeless or be made to feel uncomfortable in my own home if my OH were to die.

BuzzzyBeee Wed 10-Aug-16 09:29:54

IMHO the house should be left to you and alternative provisions made for his son.

Not sure if it's possible but could a legal agreement be drawn up that states that upon your death a percentage is left to his son?

Are you wanting children together? How would that work if you do?

IMHO if he doesn't back down on this I wouldn't buy with him.

Wdigin2this Wed 10-Aug-16 09:31:49

Yes, if you do it as tenants in common, then you own half the property each, which means if he dies you will have to buy the son's share....not a good move. I'd buy the house as joint tenants, but get a solicitor to draw up wills stating that if either dies, the other owns the property in perpetuity, but his son gets the percentage of the property's value that he put in, when you die. Should you have DC together you'd need to update your wills accordingly, but if you married again and had further children, the will would need to be changed to suit again! Agree it all NOW before you buy!

Collywobbler Wed 10-Aug-16 09:35:39

We do want children together at some point but as we live apart right now it's not practical, neither of our houses are big enough for us, his DC and another child so the only solution is to move to a bigger place together.

I am pushing 40 so the chances of us being able to have children may not happen anyway but again we aren't trying because its not feasible right at this moment.

I am happy to have something written up to say that when I die the whole lot gets left to his DC (providing I don't have any children of my own) that's not a problem, but I can see from his point of view that after he dies I am free to change the will if I want to completely exclude his DC.

I can totally see it from his point of view that he doesn't want his DC excluded because as I have no obligation to leave him anything once my partner dies, but at the same time we need something fair put in place, I just don't know what!

Collywobbler Wed 10-Aug-16 09:39:01

Yes wdigiin - that's exactly what I want to do, agree it all in principal before we even start the process and before any money is spent.

I don't want to have to buy the sons share because there's no way I'd be able to. In a normal setup (if his DC were mine also) then the house would get left to me no questions but because I am not his mother then that arrangement in my partners eyes isn't fair.

I am happy for the agreement to be written up that i own the property in perpetuity but what does that mean whilst I'm still alive, could his DC have a say in who lives there, whether he moves a family of his own in and squeezes me out that way for instance?

Rainbowqueeen Wed 10-Aug-16 09:43:20

His will can say that he leaves his share to his son but that you have the right to live there until you die or remarry.

Just an option. I do think leaving the life insurance to his son would make more sense though

Lunar1 Wed 10-Aug-16 09:50:03

He's wanting to leave something tangible to his son. There are circumstances under which insurance companies don't pay out. He's probably wanting to avoid that risk.

PepsiPenguins Wed 10-Aug-16 09:50:58

It is a difficult situation as of course he wants to leave something for his son in the event of his death, but the house should be left for you and as buzzy suggest other provisions made for his son.

it is very unreasonable for him to expect you to carry out your life as some Miss Faversham type character should he pass away, if you want to keep living in your home. It does seem he is not giving much consideration to you in the event of his death.

I also would not purchase a house unless in the event of DP death it was fully left to me and I would want my DP to be left the house in full on my death - worring about house ownership in the event of your beloved partners death is the last thing you would want for them.

OutToGetYou Wed 10-Aug-16 09:53:52

* I'd buy the house as joint tenants, but get a solicitor to draw up wills stating that if either dies, the other owns the property in perpetuity, but his son gets the percentage of the property's value that he put in, when you die. *

That's not possible.
If you are joint tenants then the property is held jointly, so if one dies it automatically belongs to the other (not in perpetuity, it's just theirs) and the dp has no say over what the OP does with her house once he is dead.

I have to say (being in almost exactly the same situation) should dp die, there is no way I would want dss living with just me. He can go and live with his mother, or her family, or dp's family. I am not his mother. I don't want to 'houseshare' with a teenager thank you very much.
Also, it would be up to me if I start a new relationship, not my dead dp.

So, our situation is slightly different in that I had enough cash to pay for my half of the house, but dp didn't. So we do have a mortgage for the bit he couldn't cover (even though I could have, he insisted on 50/50 share as Tenants In Common, I'd have been happy with a different allocation) - though it is a joint mortgage dp pays it.

We had many many conversations about wills. I wanted to leave the house to him. He wanted to leave his half to me too. But, in fact, leaving his half to me was problematic due to 1) his estate would need to pay outstanding maintenance and 2) I would then need to pay the mortgage.

We solved these problems by taking life insurance that would cover the mortgage and any outstanding maints. As dss has got older the remaining maints years have obviously reduced and the mortgage has reduced, so if he were to die today there would be money left over from the life insurance.
The only slight problem we have is that he has never yet managed to tell the life insurers that is where the money is to go and as we are not married I would not be automatically the beneficiary.

As this will be your home I think he should agree to leave it to you - we talked round and round this and dp didn't want to make me homeless nor have me have to worry about this sort of thing the minute he died. (he hasn't died yet!)

Dp then leaves the first £20k of any cash he has to dss and the rest 50/50 between us. £20k now will cover the outstanding maints (dp has named me, not the ex-w as trustee for this money). dp has also split his work life cover 50/50 with me and dss. To be honest, I'd probably keep enough to run the house for a year and gift the rest to dss (via a deed of variation probably) as I wouldn't want it.

If we die together the house goes to dss and dp sister is then the trustee for dss. My family lose out in that scenario but as it's only a niece and nephew and they will share my cash (which is knocking on being worth as much as my share of the house now) they'll be OK.
My pensions I have split 50/50 between dp and my dsis (she is currently having a lot of financial trouble so if I died it would be good to help hr out and dp wouldn't need the money - he gets 10% of all cash when I die too).

I think it's a hard decision though.

After lots of thought I decided that if I was going to buy a house with a guy I needed to commit fully, which I have done, and that included leaving the house to him. As a result he did the same.

But dss would be OK.

Don't forget, it's not forever, you can change the wills later. But also don't forget, dp can change his will at any time without telling you (and vice versa) even if you do agree something - so make sure you look out for yourself.

wibblewobble8 Wed 10-Aug-16 09:54:27

I agree with Lunar, your dp wants to leave something tangible to your son, and is doing the right think imho. How old is the son?

Clutteredmess Wed 10-Aug-16 09:58:32

I have also read that if his DC is under 18 then the exw is entitled to claim something from the estate to cover the maintenance? Not sure what would happen if his DC were living with us full time but if he decided not to then that needs to be taken into consideration

My divorce settlement obliged ExH to have a life insurance policy that went to me if he died before children were 18 to cover this.

nicolasixx Wed 10-Aug-16 09:59:48

I wouldn't do this - if he dies and the son becomes an unruly or easily persuaded teenager you are utterly vulnerable to anything with nowhere to go and no way of realising the value in your home.
I wouldn't buy with someone in these circumstances. Better to keep your own place and rent a larger one with him.

cexuwaleozbu Wed 10-Aug-16 10:05:41

You also need to consider what will happen if the two of you have DC together. The child who is your step-son then shouldn't be getting 100% of his dad's share of the house because the other child or children are just as much his children as yours.

It's fair enough for you to be tenants in-common and for you each to leave your half to your own offspring (if any).

However, if you can't be confident of being in control of the property when you are old, it is not your forever home. Do not put any extra into this house more than you absolutely have to. You could keep your excess deposit and any over payments you might otherwise have made, and aquire a second property, in your name only - keep it as a holiday let or rental property for now, put any spare cash you may have into that property and then you have somewhere ready and waiting for you in retirement. If your step son as an adult inherits your partner's half of the house and wants to live there he can either buy you out or pay you rent for your half.

OR you write into the wording that although your stepson inherits whatever proportion of the property he may (less than 50% if there are future children) he only has the right to live there until he is 21 after which he can either stay only with your agreement if all is well between you, or can leave and receive a fair rent for his proportion of the property, as you have a life interest in that half of the property and it is not fully his to dispose of as he wishes until you are also resting in peace.

Nb you are under no obligation to leave your half of the house to your dh. You can leave it to a donkey sanctuary or to a niece or nephew - potentially giving your dh a "life interest" in it so that it can't be sold to give them their inheritance until he is also resting in peace.

Clutteredmess Wed 10-Aug-16 10:08:59

But dss would be OK

Coming from the other side, I would never agree to a will that left my DC's inheritance to someone's goodwill. As an example of what can go wrong a friend's DH was effectively disinherited by unfortunate circumstances. His DF died leaving everything to the SM who had promised to ensure that her DSS received a share of the estate. She died suddenly 2 weeks later and her DC inherited everything and friend's DH received nothing.

Missgraeme Wed 10-Aug-16 10:17:45

Personally if all this is happening before u move in together I wouldn't be packing any time soon!!

Collywobbler Wed 10-Aug-16 10:19:32

nicolasixx- this is what worries me, his mother is a complete nightmare (I'm not just saying that because she's partners ex, she really really is a total and utter nightmare), she inherited 200k and blew the whole lot in less than 2 years, she is constantly in debt, permanently behind with her rent payments, so i am worried that if his DC has half of the house he might decide to say that his mother is broke and needs somewhere to stay and moves her in.

Or he might decide he needs the money to give to her and force me to buy him out or sell the house and split the money.

He is very easily persuaded, he's only 9 right now but his mother is an extremely manipulative person and obviously his loyalties are going to lie with her after his dads days.

It's something i don't want to be worrying about, if this is going to be my forever home i would like to think i can put my heart and soul into it and not have to worry about losing it at some point but in the setup that OH wants then it could potentially be taken from me.

Chippednailvarnishing Wed 10-Aug-16 10:29:35

Don't buy with him.
You're too far apart in terms of what you think should happen, and given that you are putting more in financially I think you are exposing yourself.

Would you consider a buy to let in the medium term? Then reassess the situation when DSS turns 18?

puzzledleopard Wed 10-Aug-16 14:00:47

Are you living together now? How often do you have his son when you are present?
Why are you sure that his son will come to live with you both full time once you have bought this house?

Personally I wouldn't buy with someone in these circumstances, I don't think I would think that far ahead until I had lived with him and his son full time, as you would be doing after purchase. For me it just wouldn't be worth worrying about till after that as there might be other factors to deal with before even considering a purchase. If I could do that without buying then I would find a way be it to rent as you have no idea how the dynamics of the relationship are going to change once all three of you are living together. For us they changed dramatically from my DC being introduced and seeing DP when he stayed periodically to eventually all living together (Which I could have written a thread about).

I understand him wishing to leave something tangible to his son but I think it would be unfair to make you go through further upheaval if he died before you. As if the loss wouldn't be enough but to not know if the house you lived in was secure and that someone could dictate if you sold it or not. (It may not be his son but pressure from family and lawyers on his behalf) What happens if you are not in the financial situation to buy his son out or to get another mortgage on his half ? Would they force you to sell the house?

I would leave mine to DP If we were in that situation which we are not atm DCS would have insurance, some savings and a home to live in with Dp. Though I'm sure my Dc would want to live with Biological dad if anything were to ever happen as they are close and he has a lot of family where as I do not. That might change if I had a DC2 for me (our first together, would be DC4 in total between us) as they may well wish to stay together which I would hope DP would accept!

Its a risk but I would have to trust Dp to respect my will and wishes.

Lunar1 Wed 10-Aug-16 15:13:25

What about letting him leave his half to his son but having a big enough insurance policy for you plus enough to cover maintenance. Then at least you could afford to buy something outright if needed. Not your first choice but it would give you security.

OutToGetYou Wed 10-Aug-16 16:01:29

Clutteredness - you are quoting from my post. My comment 'but dss would be OK' isn't about anyone's goodwill, it's about the amount of money that will go to him when dp dies.

And you don't get to 'agree' to what goes in anyone's will other than your own - as I said, anyone can change their will at any time and don't need to tell anyone else about it.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 10-Aug-16 20:34:15

I am in a similar position. I disagree with the children having rights to a couples house when one dies. This would not happen in a marriage, and for good reason. Neither would want to have the stress of finding funds to cover a child's share, and what if you wanted to move?

It is crazy to say to you that you would have to continue living with his son.
We bring up our children to find their own way in life, set up their own house with their own wife/husband!

I too have considered tenants in common or joint tenants, but apart from marriage nothing seems to be quite concrete. I would not want to be booted out of my home.

I'm not sure, your DP sounds very much like mine. Completely obsessed with leaving our family home to his children. He even says that it is a 'shame that they will have to wait so long to get the inheritance'... ! Honestly, I have reached middle age without having an inheritance from either parent, and if they spend it all on their care homes then that is fine with me. Their money is to care for them once children become adults. Anything else that is left is a bonus.

I would get this sorted OP before you move in, and tackle him directly about letting his son move in. I'd even consider talking about these matters with a counsellor, a financial advisor, and a solicitor. It really is worth getting what his ideas behind it are. He is not thinking of your wellbeing here at all and 'babying' his son, who is not your responsibility.

ZenNudist Wed 10-Aug-16 21:16:29

It doesn't sound like you are in a good state to be buying a house together.

It's difficult to maintain a strictly half each policy of contributions over a lifetime together. Expecting you to maintain a separate nest egg in case your dp dies and immediately gives half of your joint funds to his DC is unrealistic and not in the spirit of starting a life together.

His unwillingness to compromise and get life insurance to leave something to his Ds is a red flag. Plus the fact that he expects to benefit as your sole beneficiary but not secure your future in the joint house is selfish and uncaring.

What are your options for bequeathing your house to someone else? A parent or sibling or niece/nephew etc? At the moment you're going into a one sided arrangement and I don't think that's wise. It might seem selfish and uncaring to you but he's doing the same to you. Otherwise he's got no incentive to ever change things in your favour.

Plus you probably do need to be strict about contributions to the house being equally split. It's not boding well for your future relationship. There's no generosity, mutual support or trust.

I'm not in your position but I know my dh to be a decent man who would always do right by others. So I'd be willing to leave him to sort such affairs if I died. Sounds like your dp doesn't have this trust in you.

Your dp needs to figure out a way to bequeath his son insurance money and trust you to sort out inheritance some 50 years away to his Ds if he dies first.

DontMindMe1 Thu 11-Aug-16 01:53:56

op.....in your previous thread....http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/2699869-AIBU-because-I-dont-want-to-pay-for-Partners-exmils-shopping-all-the-time

You've been with this guy 4 years yet he thinks nothing of accusing you of being a 'tightarse' because you don't like being pressured into subsidizing other members of his family without consultation. In this thread he never even considered reimbursing you until you spoke up - and even now you don't know if you'll get the money back. It wasn't as though he was actually bothered about it - made you feel like you were being 'argumentative' for insisting on dealing with it hmm

Now here you are throwing your money into something that benefits him and his family over your own security. You're still not wiping the pollen off your rose tinted glasses.

As far as I am concerned this will be my forever home and wont plan on moving ever again I bet that is what everyone thinks when they're in the 'honeymoon' period.

You CANNOT risk yours and your own dc future security. Especially not when he's already shown he can't pay his own way or stand up to the pisstakers. He'd rather manipulate you into a passive state than take proactive action himself. What changes/provisions has he made for his growing family?

why should he get 50% rights when he's not paying 50% deposit? I'm assuming you've decided that you will be splitting mortgage/ownership 50/50 as tenants in common? At least legally protect your financial contributions if your future security depends on it...so if the worst happens then at least you can get your money back.

*I am 99% sure that his son will come to live with us full time once we have bought this house" then why isn't your dp being open and honest with you? It sounds like he's happy for you to provide the finances to fulfill his wants and aspirations without him making any real effort. Also sounds like he's dodging the inevitable discussion about finances and blended families. I guess he'd rather 'sneak-attack' you with the practicalities so you feel like you have to come to the rescue?

If i were you i'd keep the mortgage and house in my own name, let him contribute/pay the bills. You start giving him power/control over your future security like this then you can kiss goodbye to your 'forever' home. It can only be yours forever if YOU are the only one who has the authority to make it so.

He views your hard work as providing a financially secure future for his son....you need to make it secure for you and your dc first before he or his dc come into it. He can always legally protect his financial contribution for his son so he gets the money but not the house.

Don't let romanticism blind you to the (logical) reality.

Eliza22 Thu 11-Aug-16 08:30:12

I think this is unreasonable of your OH.

DH has 3 (now adult) children and I have a 15 yr old. The house is in joint names. If DH dies, the house comes solely to me. I can move, remarry, whatever. But...when I die it is then split proportionally, between the 4 kids.

You will have NO security with the arrangement proposed by your OH. What's your incentive to work hard, build a home together. If your partner got flattened by a bus in 5 yrs, you're expected to live with his son forever, to keep a roof over your head.

You need legal advice.

UnexpectedBaggage Thu 11-Aug-16 08:32:07

What's his is his and also what's yours is his. This is not a good basis for a relationship. Don't buy with him OP.

He's a selfish git..

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