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Old 06-19-2007, 01:07 PM   #21
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If there is not some "middle ground" (such as selling the out-lying lots) that allows you to maintain the land without sacrificing your goals, then he is essentially asking you to give up your life to live his.
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:19 PM   #22
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This may be off-topic:

A house with a Thomas Church garden was bequeathed to the city in 1999 for public use as a small park and place to rent out for such occasions as receptions and weddings. There was no money given for maintenance so a fund-raising effort was made. Now in 2007 the grounds are open to the public for six hours three days a week and everyone is invited to do volunteer work in the gardens.

Of course taxes have been no problem and curiously the house, fence, garage, etc. has received no graffiti activity.
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:57 PM   #23
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I was thinking long term leases, too. 20 years? Maybe agrobusinesses - greenhouses or a nursury might work. Or lease it out for light industrial/warehouse use for 20-50 years, and let the lessees build the improvements.

I also like the idea of selling off pieces of the land in slivers and chunks as necessary to pay the upkeep costs. Or selling what is necessary up front to put into a kitty from which you can pull your "4%" to pay upkeep.

A bigger question is what endgame does your father see? It sounds like there is a significant chance you won't have kids in the future based on your earlier post. Does your father realize that you don't feel duty-bound to have kids? Where will your share of the land go if you have no kids? To your sister and/or her kids (if applicable)?

This does sound like an old-fashioned European notion, although I see this type of thing happening here in the US with old farmland being passed down generation after generation, even if it isn't being put to use.
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Old 06-19-2007, 03:22 PM   #24
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Or selling what is necessary up front to put into a kitty from which you can pull your "4%" to pay upkeep.
That's the approach I prefer personally because that way I can be upfront with my dad and tell him exactly what I will sell and what I won't.

Quote:
A bigger question is what endgame does your father see? It sounds like there is a significant chance you won't have kids in the future based on your earlier post. Does your father realize that you don't feel duty-bound to have kids? Where will your share of the land go if you have no kids? To your sister and/or her kids (if applicable)?
I keep telling him I don't want kids, but that does not prevent him from asking almost every week whether or not a "surprise" is on the way. Well he'll figure it out sooner or later. Now what will happen to the land after I pass is a good question. I see 3 options: 1) I leave it to my sister's kids with the kitty and whatever money is left from my estate so that they don't have to worry about paying the taxes and upkeep. 2) Create a land trust and leave the kitty and whatever money is left from my estate to the trust. or 3) Leave the land to my cousin's kids (their great grand father was my grand father so they are part of the bloodline).

option 3) I see as the last resort. I think option 1) is my favorite. At present, my sister's kids are the beneficiary of the estate my wife and I have built on our own. So it seems logical to also leave the land I inherit to them if they want it. If they don't want it then I would go to option 2).
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Old 06-19-2007, 05:31 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Nords View Post
For the last 25 years, if my spouse didn't talk to her mother every few weeks then my spouse would feel in danger of "being written out of the will". She'd call my MIL, they'd chat for an hour or so, and then she'd dolefully report to me "OK, I'm back in the will."

My FIL used to make the same joke-- "You guys are in our will, but it's on perforated paper!"

About the time that they put us through hell decided to move back to the Mainland, spouse and I realized that we have an ER portfolio large enough to support us for the rest of our lives. (Duh.) We no longer need their damn money. Those "will" jokes aren't funny any more.

So rather than burden yourself with your father's wishes (which clearly do not seem to be your wishes), thank him profusely for thinking of you but tell him that you can't accept his very kind bequest under those conditions. Suggest that if he wants you to be the land's steward that he also bequeath sufficient funds (in trust if necessary) to pay for all taxes, maintenance, and whatever in perpetuity. (This works out to more or less the same thing as a land trust.) Or suggest that he donate the whole thing to your sister or a conservation charity.

At the very least he should add contingency beneficiaries or a disclaimer provision to his will so that you have a choice of disclaiming the bequests in favor of his contingencies.

No matter what he wants, it's only money. And it's not enough to pay for the psychotherapy...
I loved Nords response. I think it is a good option but will cause a rift between you and your father.

My thought was to tell him anything he wants to hear and sell it anyway. He dies happy and you get your inheritance without the hassle. The only problem is if your sister fights to "keep it in the family." In which case, do what you can but the ultimate response is to walk away from it and let her pay the taxes. She may be much more agreeable with that prospect. I wouldn't let a piece of dirt I didn't care about dictate my life.

I wouldn't do anything fancy with the property since your father wants to "keep it in the family." If you don't want it, don't take it. If you can't sell it or generate a positive cash flow, it's unnecessary baggage.

When my father got on in years, he became obsessed with our family history and the "family name." Male heirs suddenly became significant. It isn't like we had any massive estate to inherit or title to pass on.
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Old 06-19-2007, 08:54 PM   #26
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Interesting - just a thought here, but it keeps nagging at me....

You say he insists nothing go in writing. I just wonder, is this a way for him to hold up his tradition, yet, in a wink-wink-nod-nod kind of way, to let *you* 'off the hook'?

That way he feels that he can say, yep, I kept the property in the family, I can't help it if they sold it, I asked them not to. Sort of lets him wash his hands of it, but like he tried to do the right thing?

I know that is kind of trying to get into his head, and it's kind of twisted, backward thinking, but it might be it.

If you are not comfortable with that, then you got other good suggestions, sell some to cover costs, try to gift it as a park or whatever. But if it's going to be a burden, then it is not fair to be put on you. Decline the gift if you have to.

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Old 06-19-2007, 10:48 PM   #27
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I loved Nords response. I think it is a good option but will cause a rift between you and your father.
I am working hard not to create a rift between us. My family is very very close knit. It would not benefit anyone to purposedly create tensions over a problem which can be solved in my opinion tactfully but honestly. I think there is a way to make it work for everyone if we can both find an acceptable compromise.

Quote:
The only problem is if your sister fights to "keep it in the family." In which case, do what you can but the ultimate response is to walk away from it and let her pay the taxes. She may be much more agreeable with that prospect. I wouldn't let a piece of dirt I didn't care about dictate my life.
She won't fight to keep it in the family. She just doesn't care about that "keeping it in the family" concept and she doesn't want to deal with the upkeep. That's the reason why my dad is giving her little RE, and the properties he is giving her are mostly not part of the "family estate" (it's mostly rental apartments acquired by my dad about 10 years ago). My dad doesn't mind her selling the rentals.

Quote:
You say he insists nothing go in writing. I just wonder, is this a way for him to hold up his tradition, yet, in a wink-wink-nod-nod kind of way, to let *you* 'off the hook'?
It could be, but my impression was that if I gave him my word then it is as good as a written contract as far as he was concerned. I believe that he trusts I would not lie to him about something as serious as this.

Tomorrow I will call my dad and present him some of the ideas you guys helped me come up with and we will see what comes out of it.
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Old 06-20-2007, 03:26 AM   #28
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I would ask him also to get a tax expert's opinion of the amounts you and your sister would have to pay, es well as future property tax. As a parent I would make sure to give each of the kids so much of the money that at least the estate tax is covered.

What would happen if you just waive the inheritance? In some countries (like Germany) there is a mandatory minimum that a kid would be entitled to if he rejects what is provided to him by will.
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