Father gives daughter money but deeds a house to her stepmother worth more
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/
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MIKE DU JOUR BY MIKE LESTER