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Old 09-12-2016, 12:41 PM   #21
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OTOH: Have the youngest son and his wife been taking care of the parents for the five years they've lived there and will continue to do so for your mother? That might be worth a house....
It could be but the "will" is still invalid by all the laws I've ever heard of. If it was the FIL's intentions to do that then hiring an estate attorney would have been worth every nickel. As is, it sounds like the State is going to decide who gets what and when.
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Old 09-12-2016, 12:49 PM   #22
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Definitely the will is probably invalid and needs to be dealt with but unrelatedly it might well be that the youngest sibling has shouldered most of the caretaking burden vs the average they'd be expected to in this large family. Just throwing that out there--
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Old 09-12-2016, 12:54 PM   #23
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Definitely the will is probably invalid and needs to be dealt with but unrelatedly it might well be that the youngest sibling has shouldered most of the caretaking burden vs the average they'd be expected to in this large family. Just throwing that out there--
Very good point. Not saying this is so with the specific family, but have seen up close in family dynamics how many times how caretaking ends up falling on ones that have the bigger heart, closest in proximity, you name it with very little discussion until after a family crisis happens.
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Old 09-12-2016, 01:00 PM   #24
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Perhaps, but I'm skeptical... it could be that youngest son has been caretaker of his parents in their later years, but he could just as easily do that from his own home... my bet is that youngest son is an underachiever who cohabitates with his parents out of necessity and is making a play to gain ownership of the home once his mother passes on.
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Old 09-12-2016, 01:05 PM   #25
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... my bet is that youngest son is an underachiever who cohabitates with his parents out of necessity and is making a play to gain ownership of the home once his mother passes on.
I think you win the chicken dinner

The son (and daugher in law) have been unemployed the entire time they've been living in the house. They don't cook. They don't clean. They borrow money from family members and if anything they've cluttered most rooms of the house to the extent it may qualify for an episode of "Buried Alive".
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Old 09-12-2016, 01:11 PM   #26
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The son (and daugher in law) have been unemployed the entire time they've been living in the house. They don't cook. They don't clean. They borrow money from family members and ...
...they're terrified that they're going to actually have to work for a living.
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Old 09-12-2016, 01:12 PM   #27
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Sounds like even if he were to gain ownership of the house that he probably would not keep it long and that it would eventually go to tax sale.
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Old 09-12-2016, 01:16 PM   #28
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I think you win the chicken dinner

The son (and daugher in law) have been unemployed the entire time they've been living in the house. They don't cook. They don't clean. They borrow money from family members and if anything they've cluttered most rooms of the house to the extent it may qualify for an episode of "Buried Alive".
In that case, boot them. No wonder your mother wants to move.
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Old 09-12-2016, 01:20 PM   #29
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Recently, DW's father passed away. She comes from a very large family and after the funeral they all sat down to prepare for the inevitable paperwork.
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The son (and daugher in law) have been unemployed the entire time they've been living in the house. They don't cook. They don't clean. They borrow money from family members and if anything they've cluttered most rooms of the house to the extent it may qualify for an episode of "Buried Alive".
Sorry for your loss.

This will be a tough situation to deal with, and most likely someone will be disappointed. Before involving all the lawyers, it might make sense for someone to sit down with Mom and help her articulate what she wants. From what you have posted so far, she seems too struggle with that. That's not uncommon, and she may never be able to fully reconcile her views on disposing her estate and helping her children. What matters, though, is not what the siblings want. First and foremost is her welfare - she needs an advocate who takes her side and helps her make sure that her needs are taken care of without regard to the children.
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Old 09-12-2016, 02:19 PM   #30
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Sorry for your loss.

This will be a tough situation to deal with, and most likely someone will be disappointed. Before involving all the lawyers, it might make sense for someone to sit down with Mom and help her articulate what she wants. From what you have posted so far, she seems too struggle with that. That's not uncommon, and she may never be able to fully reconcile her views on disposing her estate and helping her children. What matters, though, is not what the siblings want. First and foremost is her welfare - she needs an advocate who takes her side and helps her make sure that her needs are taken care of without regard to the children.
Very good advice. Thank you.
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Old 09-12-2016, 02:26 PM   #31
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Yes, this can be done. Textbook method would be "to W for life, remainder to youngest Son." (I don't practice in this area, so my knowledge is not much beyond textbook.)
As long as you remember all the nuances of the rule against perpetuities, you should be good!

This is yet another good example as to why estate planning is not just a good idea, it is a MUST!
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Old 09-12-2016, 03:24 PM   #32
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Okay, some states have some strange laws but absent that, this "will" is trash. Do talk with an estate attorney though, I see this going to probate. That is a good thing. I can't see how any half-competent probate judge would accept this "will" that is a blatant attempt by the son to get the house.

+1 on this.... when I was out I was thinking about this... even IF she had a POA for her husband, I doubt it allowed her to sign a will for him... a POA has to be specific...

I also doubt that many states would even allow a POA for the signature of a will... but, this is just a guess....
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Old 09-12-2016, 03:26 PM   #33
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Applicable to Texas only, but likely similar in other states...

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Texas recognizes two types of written Wills.

An attested Will is the most common type of Last Will and Testament. To be valid, it must be in writing, signed by you, or another person at your direction and in your presence, and attested in your presence by at least two credible witnesses over the age of 14.

A holographic Will is a Will that must be written completely in your own handwriting, and signed by you. There is no requirement that it be signed by any witnesses.
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Old 09-12-2016, 03:31 PM   #34
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Just want to mention that the house does not necessarily go to the spouse...

In Texas, which is a community property state, the dying spouse can leave their half of community property to anybody they wish... even the house that has both spouses name on it... the surviving spouse has a life estate and can live in the house for as long as they wish...

The worst example I have heard about was half a house was owned by 12 children... and all 12 had to sign in order to sell it... along with the surviving spouse...
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Old 09-12-2016, 03:36 PM   #35
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Just want to mention that the house does not necessarily go to the spouse...

In Texas, which is a community property state, the dying spouse can leave their half of community property to anybody they wish... even the house that has both spouses name on it... the surviving spouse has a life estate and can live in the house for as long as they wish...

The worst example I have heard about was half a house was owned by 12 children... and all 12 had to sign in order to sell it... along with the surviving spouse...
I always thought Texas was a bit strange... In most state that i am aware of jointly owned property goes to the surviving joint owners.
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Old 09-12-2016, 03:44 PM   #36
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A witness cannot be a beneficiary, at least in OR.
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Old 09-12-2016, 04:36 PM   #37
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Sounds like this is certainly going to be an interesting situation. I'll update this thread as it progresses.
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Old 09-12-2016, 04:43 PM   #38
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A witness cannot be a beneficiary, at least in OR.
Same here in IL.

There are 2 issues:
  1. The invalid will - probate will settle it and some places require probate when real estate is involved.
  2. The alleged free loading son and family - reminds me of an old relative, he wanted to sell his house and move, but he has a son and daughter living there (rent free) who did all sorts of things to block/impede the sale so it took a few years and a super cheap price to finally sell. All so this son and daughter could continue to freeload.

So even after the will is settled, the family drama will continue as the Mother is coerced into staying, or not selling the house even if she moves.
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Old 09-12-2016, 04:52 PM   #39
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Just want to mention that the house does not necessarily go to the spouse...

In Texas, which is a community property state, the dying spouse can leave their half of community property to anybody they wish... even the house that has both spouses name on it... the surviving spouse has a life estate and can live in the house for as long as they wish...

The worst example I have heard about was half a house was owned by 12 children... and all 12 had to sign in order to sell it... along with the surviving spouse...
That's interesting. Assuming that was the case, can the surviving spouse then will their half of the property to someone else? I think in this case the wording was that she could live in it and upon her death it would pass completely to the son. I don't think it even provided for her possible decision to sell the home. But I'll check on all that as well as who it named as executor.

As nefarious as this situation sounds, perhaps it could be legit. The youngest son assured all of his siblings that he had a lawyer look it over and everything is correct. I just have a hard time believing that a probate court would accept a will that wasn't signed by the deceased in which the two witnesses (both youngest son and his wife) are both beneficiaries of a major asset.
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Old 09-12-2016, 04:59 PM   #40
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That's interesting. Assuming that was the case, can the surviving spouse then will their half of the property to someone else? I think in this case the wording was that she could live in it and upon her death it would pass completely to the son. I don't think it even provided for her possible decision to sell the home. But I'll check on all that as well as who it named as executor.

As nefarious as this situation sounds, perhaps it could be legit. The youngest son assured all of his siblings that he had a lawyer look it over and everything is correct. I just have a hard time believing that a probate court would accept a will that wasn't signed by the deceased in which the two witnesses (both youngest son and his wife) are both beneficiaries of a major asset.
Be careful what you wish for. If/when you discover that the freeloading son's version of the will is not legit, the rest of the family may want to name you as executor to straighten up the mess. Of course, unless you don't mind serving in that capacity.
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