Fa­ther gives daugh­ter money but deeds a house to her step­mother worth more

The Washington Post Sunday - - DIVERSIONS - Ask Amy ©2017 by Amy Dick­in­son dis­trib­uted by Tri­bune Con­tent Agency

Dear Amy: My fa­ther re­mar­ried 14 years ago. He mar­ried a Rus­sian wo­man 15 years younger than he (he speaks Rus­sian) and bought a house.

My fa­ther paid for this house. She can con­trib­ute very lit­tle, as she still can­not speak English and is not es­tab­lished in a ca­reer the way my fa­ther is.

Re­cently, my fa­ther gave my brother and me our in­her­i­tance. He told us that he had signed over own­er­ship of the house to his wife. The house is now worth three times more than it was when he pur­chased it.

The ad­vance in­her­i­tance he has given us amounts to a quar­ter of the value of the house, each.

Do I have grounds to be up­set? He says he did it be­cause she needs to be taken care of after he is gone.

But, Amy, why did he re­ally do this? Up­set Daugh­ter Up­set Daugh­ter: Your fa­ther is leav­ing his wife a house, be­cause he is try­ing to pro­vide for the per­son he has been mar­ried to for 14 years, not to pun­ish you.

Be­cause of their age dif­fer­ence, he may as­sume that she will help take care of him in his later years and that he will pre­de­cease her, per­haps by many years. Hav­ing the house will en­able her to ei­ther live in it, or con­vert it to as­sets she can use to sup­port her­self later.

Many states have laws in place pro­tect­ing a sur­viv­ing spouse from be­ing dis­in­her­ited, so your fa­ther’s wife could claim up to half of the value of the house, re­gard­less of your fa­ther’s will.

Chil­dren have no au­to­matic right to in­herit from their par­ents. You did not grow up in this house. It is not your fam­ily home. Un­less there are cir­cum­stances you don’t men­tion here, you should feel happy that your fa­ther has a de­voted part­ner, ac­cept your ad­vance in­her­i­tance and move on. Dear Amy: I cringed when I read the let­ter signed, “Mommy Dear­est,” from a wo­man who was try­ing to heal her ter­ri­ble re­la­tion­ship with her mother by ask­ing her mom to be with her in the de­liv­ery room when she had a baby.

Wow! That’s a pretty bad idea. Talk about a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion for ev­ery­one! Yikes Yikes: For this mother and daugh­ter, first: baby steps. Then, if things go well: baby birth. Amy’s col­umn ap­pears seven days a week at wash­ing­ton­post.com/

ad­vice. Write to

askamy@amy­dick­in­son.com or Amy Dick­in­son, Tri­bune Con­tent Agency, 16650 West­grove Dr., Suite 175, Ad­di­son, Tex. 75001.  You can also fol­low her @ask­ingamy.

MIKE DU JOUR BY MIKE LESTER

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