Is Mum being too nice or should she get half the house now?(84 Posts)
My mum, let's call her Jean, is in her mid-60s. For the last 20 years she's been married to a very nice (but dull) man, let's call him Colin. Colin is kind, dependable and adores her but he's a real home-bod and never wants to go anywhere, no sense of adventure or curiosity and it's got worse now he's retired. He hates spending money. She's much more sociable and likes to travel. Once she retired I think the prospect of a few decades watching him do the crossword and gardening tipped her over the edge and she decided to leave, he was heart-broken and she feels very guilty about this.
At this point she moved in with her sister, they get on very well, there's loads of room and they're both happy with this as a long-term arrangement.
Colin and Jean owned the house 50/50, it's a fairly standard smallish detached, they both sold smaller places to buy it. Jean has just decided to divorce but has said she plans to let Colin live in the house for as long as he wants and she will basically get her half when he dies. He's the same age as her. She hasn't sought legal advice yet (she obviously will) but I'm concerned that she may be being too nice - although she doesn't need the money now I'm worried that she might in the future and might not be able to get it, also she could undoubtedly have a better quality of life now and travel more whilst she's young enough to enjoy it. She doesn't want him to lose his home as well as his wife, if he had to sell then he'd have to buy a smaller terrace or flat whilst she lives in a nice house with her sister. Is this a sensible way forward that causes the least harm or is she being too nice because she feels guilty?
I think Mum is an adult and you should keep out of it and your opinions to yourself tbh.
She doesn’t need the money right now, she left a fairly decent (if dull) man and of this helps her feel better about that, that’s her right.
Leave Mum to it
I'd say she needs to force a sale to get her equity now. Unless there are children involved, this is surely the usual thing to do. She is being way too nice to let him carry on living there.
Colin either needs to buy her out or they sell the house. She has nothing to be guilty about, she didn’t cheat on him.
Your mum and aunt are happy living together now but can fall out at any time and your mum will lose her security.
Urge your mum to sell the house sharpish!
She should have her half; doesn't matter how nice the man is.
I would try and encourage her to see a solicitor so she can get a clear picture of how this will work in practice and any potential pitfalls. Until she gets proper legal advice both you and she are just speculating.
Id be concerned what would happen if Colin met someone else and they moved in with him? Complications galore ...
you should keep out of it and your opinions to yourself tbh.
I think you should follow this advice tbh
I think it's your Mum's business, not yours.
I'm assuming Colin isn't your DF. Are you worried about losing your inheritance if she goes first and he inherits it all? (Sorry, but we're quite pragmatic about things like this due to losing my DF unexpectedly when I was young).
It does seem a bit off to leave her equity tied up in it, but as said above, if that's helping her feel better about leaving and she doesn't necessarily need it, that's up to her.
Of course she should get her half. It's her money. You never know what might happen that means she needs it.
What happens if she needs care and all her capital is tied up in the house? Will Colin be forced to sell when he's elderly and less able to cope with a change?
It's a shame that Colin is heartbroken but she doesn't owe him her half of the house as compensation
House should be sold now for a clean break with the divorce, if he needs to downsize so be it, he's still in a better position than most people to buy a house outright.
I actually think it’s worse for Colin not to have the clean break and move on now, in his 60s, than to be tied to the house with his ex.
Guilt is clouding your mum’s judgement.
If she needed her equity for whatever in the future, it would be more devastating to Colin the older he gets.
Equally, if she does before him, she is effectively leaving the ‘problem’ if Colin to her children who will inherit. What if you needed to sell then to pay tax etc? You’d be the ones dealing with the guilt and fall out.
She’s not thinking long term.
Either he buys her out or they sell.
To those saying I should stay out of it - she's asked me what I think and I'm mulling it over - this seemed like a sensible place to get some other opinions.
Regarding inheritance - I have my own money and am not concerned about the impact her decision has on me.
It is your mums business and decision, you are entitled to an opinion on it but not entitled to share your opinion with her.
She should sell up with him and split the money
Cross posted there OP.
Tell her to get some legal advice before she decides this, I can’t see any solicitor agreeing to it.
If anything gos wrong with that house between now and his death, she’ll be responsible for 50% of the cost to rectify it. There’s loads of possible scenarios where she could be shafted.
Roof fault? Water leak?
Is she going to be contributing to the insurance? Will it be valid if she’s not living there?
If he has enough money to buy a smaller terrace or flat outright if they sell he is in a great situation. It’s very sensible as you age not to be in a house that’s too big for you anyway.
Could Colin buy her out? It sounds like she’s being nice out of guilt and love for Colin, but yes, she could be in a financial fix in the future. For example, what if something happens to her sister? Would your mom be without a home and no real money to buy another? While it’s not really your business, I think it would be good of you to talk to your mom and point out the financial issues and possible problems. Then it’s up to her to make her own decisions.
You'll be in a right pickle if
a) mum pre dec'd Colin- house in joint names presumably- would become his.
b) Mum needs residential care- House would be disregarded if her husband was living in it- but he wont be her husband- could get vey messy
c) Colin could suddenly turn into a wild boy and run up debts against the house for which mum would jointly liable ( maybe only Comm tax but even so)
d) Will mum agree to paying half the standing charges and such as insurances? She should do really
She shouldn't be tied to the house, and the situation is rife with complications as a pp said above.
None of us know what will happen in the future, so much better to deal with the issues we know about and can do something about when we can.
Procrastination and/or guilt helps no one in this situation.
Im sure Colin is a very nice man, but I'm sure he will expect things to move on and change now in any event?
It needs to be sorted. Legally and financially.
Just for clarity and ease of probate they really should sell and split the proceeds now. Then they can both move on with their lives unencumbered, making divorce after 2 - 5 years a more simple process.
Imagine what would happen if Colin moved Susan in and lived happily for 20 years before dying...
I think part of the problem is that he really loves this house, it was new when they bought it, he's very particular so the house and garden are perfect and just the way he wants them. I think it's knowing what an emotional upheaval this would be for him that's led to this.
My mum, let's call her Jean
Because we’d be confused if you call her mum?
its not your mums responsibility, he made his choices.
A house is bricks and water, it’s a fair trade for a life being miserable.
He could always buy her out if he really wanted to live there?
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