To think equality is not treating people the same?(17 Posts)
This is a delicate situation. Jane is a single woman in her sixties, has 2 adult children in their thirties. Their 'father' disappeared when they were children. DD is married with her own children, lives in a rented home and they struggles financially. DS has a physical disability, some mental health needs and has never been well enough to move out from family home. He works part-time and relies a lot on Jane for practical needs which she is willing and able to provide. Neither DD nor DS have ever expected money from their mother, nor asked. They are not that way inclined. They are a close knit family and not money focused in general.
Jane does not have much in cash but she owns a small property (where she lives with DS), worth around £200k. She is a very fair and equal woman, never wanting to treat her children differently. As she's getting older, she wants to write a will, ensuring that her DS will always be assured lifetime tenancy.
DD has hit the roof. Jane thinks it's because this might be the DD's only chance of buying a property. However, the DD denies this, stating that the only issue is that she's offended at Jane's she would not support her brother. "You think so little of me that I'd throw DS onto the streets?!" DD also thinks that they should be treated equally, as they always have been. DS doesn't have an opinion. He has hopes that he will recover and be fully functioning. Jane knows this is not realistic and worries about DS more than DD. His physical illness is progressive.
Who, if anyone, is being unreasonable? I am not any of the people in the scenario but related to them all. I have no financial interest either way!
If the dd has no plans to kick ds out she shouldn't mind having this protected in the will. I presume if the house is to be sold the proceeds will then be split equally? This has occurred in my family as well but the house will be left to one granddaughter only. I could care less but it has caused uproar amongst others
She should see a solicitor to discuss the options property, maybe she could leave it 50:50 but so her DS has a right to remain in the house and DD only gets her share when he chooses to move or dies.
If the DD is married then worst case her share of estate would go to her and her DH. In the event her and her DH separated he could well be entitled to a 50% share of the inheitance leaving no choice but to evict the DS to settle the financial separation.
As the mum of three DC, 12, 9 and 5, one with long term needs (Autistic unlikely to live fully independantly) its something i have considered and can't quite resolve in my mind.
Equality doesn't mean treating everyone the same, it's more like giving everyone the same opportunities to access the same things.
In this example, being equal would be completely unfair. One child has far greater need than the other. The DS needs the security of a home, the DD is capable of supporting herself.
She will see a solicitor, I'm sure. She was just throwing some ideas around. I think she's got more worried as DS has become less able.
I don't know what I'd do if I were her, to be honest.
Does DS have a SW? Have you spoken about his needs when you are gone? I used to work for SS and the times when DMs died and left their disabled kids without a plan were very hard. Will he manage the house or would be be better in residential care? I KNOW how hard that is but some people love the activities and structure.
I can see why the dd would be hurt at the implication she would evict her brother if she's a loving sister in a loving family. But I think the ds should have his interest in the house protected. Not incase the dd starts acting like a twat, but if she got into debt, got sued for something, Divorce settlement or anything else, her share in the house would count as an asset, and with it being an asset she doesn't even live in it could be sold regardless of whether she consents to it. I also have a feeling that regardless of the logic she wasn't getting any advantage, if she ever needed to claim benefits, having £100k of legally, if not morally, saleable house would go against her. So writing a watertight will ensuring ds has lifetime tenancy protects both of them from the rest of the world, rather than protecting ds from dd.
Protecting the DS against the fates is sensible. But I can see that writing it down implies he needs protecting.
Can Jane present this as better for her DD in the long run through tax advantages somehow? Or benefits as Lurked suggested
It wouldn't always be down to daughter though. If she owes money to creditors they could go after the house even though she wants brother to stay in it. Mum is being sensible, but ought to look at how that might affect the son's eligibility for social care support.
Thank you for all these thoughts. I am trying to help Jane think through the options. I am a social worker, so have been advising her on practical aspects of the care and what this means. She is quite fixated on the house at the moment. Even with his progressive condition, DS could easily live in the community, with the right help. It is not a given that he will need residential or nursing care. That said, I am all too aware of the lack of support and funds in social care. What it may look like in 20 odd years, who knows?!
It's hard to be objective because it's family. So my detached work persona goes out the window and I worry about Jane who is making herself sick with worry over this.
She needs to see a specialist solicitor.
Things she may not have thought about: if ds needs to go into care could the house be sold to pay as it is with the elderly. If he is living in a family house it may affect his benefit claims and leave him worse off.
I think I'd look at selling the house, giving Dd her share, and putting ds' in trust in case he needs money at some point in the future.
The daughter is being unreasonable. People who think they're entitled to an inheritance make me sick. It's Jane's house and she can do whatever the hell she wants with it.
Can there be a stipulation that DS leaves the house to DDs children when he dies? This may make it more palatable for DD to accept.
Is DS likely to have a family of his own?
I agree that it's Jane's house and that she can do whatever she likes with it. But...
My grandmother had two daughters, my mum and my aunt. My grandmother was always going to leave more cash to my aunt and uncle as they earned way, way less than my mum and dad and had some financial difficulties. Fortunately, my uncle and aunt insisted that everything was left 50:50.
Within 5 years after my grandmother died my father lost his job and his pension and my parents had to pay tens of thousands of pounds for a psychiatric hospital for my sister basically cleaning them out. Meanwhile my cousin (aunt and uncle's child) has (to everyone's surprise!) got an incredibly lucrative job (mid six figures), my uncle got a promotion and my aunt has recovered from a health issue and gone back to work part time. They have resolved their financial difficulties, bought a big new house etc. Now I can't help but feel that if my grandmother has left them loads more, that would now feel very unfair.
The situations have entirely reversed themselves. I just think that those sorts of eventualities are worth keeping in mind but maybe ultimately you have to trust your children to do the right thing if things do change.
I think the DD is BU.
I think there's a tendency to think of couples only in terms sexual relationships.
Here we have a co-ha biting couple with a strong bond of affection and the one likely to die first (though as she's only in her 60s, that could be 20+ years away) wants to ensure her cohabited can remain in the house rather than having to move when a) bereaved and b) has never known independent life. Providing for your dependent sis the right thing to do, and their situation should be considered ahead of the non-dependent.
As DD using hyperbole and emotional blackmail to claim that she'd never "throw her brother onto the streets", I think that she's demonstrating that she cannot be trusted (I hope this is a brief aberration) then I suggest Jane says 'good, then you can have no objection to my ensuring this won't happen'.
Then find a lawyer who can arrange a watertight scenario along the lines of the house left in trust, with a shit-hot trustee who will ensure that Jane's wishes in terms of housing DS are met life-long. So he gets the right to live in it for his full lifetime; or unless he needs to move into residential care, at which point it can be sold and the proceeds invested to fund that if required, for as long as required, and the remainder divided between his estate and his sister/her issue at his death.
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