Beach House Inheritance and Siblings

<p>abasket, I can certainly understand why you are upset. Death brings out the worst in people. I do have to say though, I would never think of charging my siblings (or h's siblings) to use a cottage. Replace stuff you use, yes but rent- no. For us, family always gets a free pass.</p>

<p>The family of one of my college roommates had a large, historical summer home on Eastern Point, in Gloucester, MA dating back to the early 1900's. It had successfully been kept in trust for decades, where extended family was able to share time equally....because the original owner was of considerable means...and had the foresight to account for every detail regarding time shares, maintenance costs and even the mix of the interest bearing accounts that would pay for his heirs to enjoy the place over time.</p>

<p>Even so...family became progressively more itchy and agitated with one another over recent years...over finances and other 'stuff' ...so two principles on one side of the family bought the others out. I just checked on-line, and the owners are currently renting guest rooms to beach vacationers....but the property is also listed for sale.</p>

<p>A very interesting estate planning book is "Beyond the Grave" by Gerald Condon. It touches on so many topics of estate planning -- it is a real eye opener. I am sure that this topic is mentioned. </p>

<p>A dear friend was left a cabin near Lake Tahoe with her brother. She bought him out. He wanted to get the peak price for the property, but she is a real estate agent, and showed him that the property was not worth what it once was -- especially with the updating it needed. He still has use of the property, but his step children do not. (They don't take care of it!) The property has been in the family for 3 generations, and her children wanted them to keep it. So, for the time being, they are. Now, if they don't use it enough, or it becomes too much of a hassle, then she will sell it.</p>

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I've also heard that there is a stipulation in mil's will that the house cannot be sold to anyone outside the family. So that will eventually leave the ten grandchildren owning this cottage.

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<p>It's been [almost exactly] 25 years since I took the bar exam, but wouldn't the Rule Against Perpetuities figure in there somewhere....?</p>

<p>After seeing the way H's siblings "used" the cottage and left it for all his life (and now their children doing the same) we felt very comfortable making a minimal charge to stay there - it is difficult for ourselves to afford the upkeep on it and truly my husband spends many weekends away from home trying to keep the place in working order - between his sibs and their many children (who now have children themselves) we would simply be innkeepers/caretakers. </p>

<p>Of course, there are many more family dynamics involved, that lead to decisions like this. :)</p>

<p>You are correct. Every family is different!</p>

<p>I have this issue in my family, and I see it all the time in my practice. Parents leave the treasured beach house to all the kids to share, and the kids beat each other to a pulp before they finally decide to sell it. Either the parents or the kids have to set up a system where one of the kids is the CEO, and there should be explicit discussions to make certain everyone has the same expectations.</p>

<p>It's really hard to finance jointly held property, by the way, in case you need to make capital repairs. You definitely need some sort of written agreement for how to handle things.</p>

<p>We will be facing a similiar situation down the road.</p>

<p>My FIL recently died leaving 79 yr. old MIL in a beach house they bought for retirement about 10 yrs. ago. It's not right on the beach, prob. six blocks away. It's a very small modest house but has a large tax value due to it's location in a major beach vacation destination. DH has three sibs. We are not interested in the house and I don't think two of the other three will be either. Then there's the one sister(age 54) who has always dreamed of living at the beach. She is currently unmarried, unemployed and trying to sell her own home in the city where she just lost her job. If her own home sells she will move in with MIL at the beach..very convenient.</p>

<p>We are worried that when MIL dies this will turn into a big fat mess.
MIL hates confrontation and wants everybody to be happy. She just says when she dies the house will go to the four adult children and they can decide what to do with it.
DH is the executor of her estate. I see a train wreck ahead.</p>

<p>When I read the title of the thread I thought "bad news". I wont' go into detail but a situation with a beach house worth an astronomical amount of money caused a major rift in my family. What was intended by the original owners of the house was not followed through on by the next generation. It is unbelievably important that things get put in a will and that the next generation not have the opportunity to gain power of attorney and change what was the original intent.</p>

<p>PS Pack Mom, you are correct.</p>

<p>My parents don't have a beach house, but I'd still love some advice.</p>

<p>My parents have their home, which probably has a value of only about $90k. They also own some land in my dad's small hometown valued at about $200K (shocking the increase in value there!). My brother and his wife, who have no kids, and I get along well, and I have no doubt we could settle matters amicably between us. But our sister is a difficult personality. Do you have any advice for how to advise my parents to handle matters? I know they have a will, but I have no idea what it says. Is it my business to find out?</p>

<p>The house will be the biggest stickler because it's only about five minutes from my sister. I predict a power grab on her part to try to take the house for her two adult kids, who still live with her. She/they would not have the money to buy us out.</p>

<p>Another tricky bit is that the land is currently being used by my dad's brother for farming. But my uncle is in his upper 70s and won't be farming for too much longer, I imagine. At one point, the uncle was giving my dad a part of the profit, but, truthfully, I'm not sure that's still happening.</p>

<p>Also, I think any assets of my parents should be split three ways, not taking into account grandkids, as I don't think my brother/SIL should be "penalized" for not having kids. Does that sound reasonable? My sister might fuss about that, but, hey, I have kids, too, so it's not like that doesn't affect my kida as well.</p>

<p>Any general/specific ideas on here would no doubt be appreciated by many reading!</p>

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She is currently unmarried, unemployed and trying to sell her own home in the city where she just lost her job. If her own home sells she will move in with MIL at the beach..very convenient.

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<p>Similar to a friend's situation. Her MIL had two sons. The unemployed son (not my friend's H) was living with his mom, rent free. MIL was put into a nursing home and my friend's husband wanted to sell or rent out the house, but then his brother would lose a place to live. (I hate to say this, but my friend died of a stroke while all this conflict was going on.)</p>

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She is currently unmarried, unemployed and trying to sell her own home in the city where she just lost her job. If her own home sells she will move in with MIL at the beach..very convenient.

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<p>Not the same situation, but some overlap. I know someone whose mother lives in a rental property (inexpensive rent controlled building). The mother's H died. The mother went into an "investment" with another one of her children (they each put in some money) to purchase a home in a warm climate for the winter months. Now the person that I know is other sib and does not have funds to invest and is left out in the cold. She sees the train wreck when her mother dies and since her brother put money into the second home she will be left with no inheritance. There are no other assets to leave to the daughter.</p>

<p>There is no good way to deal with it unless everyone wants to pay a share of upkeep or one or some of you have enough money to comfortably buy out those who do not want it. </p>

<p>My parents were extremely equitable and that worked great for most thing,s including their primary residence, for which selling was an easy decision. But as part of the absolutely even division of their estate they also left their vacation house to my sibling, who did not want to keep it, and me (and I did want it). I could not justify a buyout because I live too far away to use it regularly and it needed a lot of work to make into a truly comfortable vacation house for us--and no matter what we did to fix it up it still would have been too far away to use regularly. It was not in an area with a great rental market and it was not a location that lends itself to use as retirement home. I believed for several years (and still believe) that it would have worked for us to hold on to it and see if any of the next generation could make more use of it; we would have had a few more year to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings and maybe do some basic upgrades to make it more appealing for long weekends. We ended up selling the place about two years ago and it has caused a real sense of loss for my family and created what I believe to be an irreparable rift between those who wanted to keep the place and those who did not.</p>

<p>My advice would be to consider the feasibility of a buyout if you can and it is a place you really care about.</p>

<p>Some friends of ours have a family beach house acquired in the 30s or 40s, when the kids got it, i think in the 90s, 2 siblings wanted it and 2 did not, so the 'keepers' bought out the others.</p>

<p>But what is really interesting is how they deal with the non-owners now wanting to use it, visit, borrow it, etc. There was initially some real resistance to letting the non-owners borrow it.</p>

<p>Another family I know did a similar thing and actually took out a mortgage to pay off the exiting siblings</p>

<p>I'm facing variations of this with two different houses.
1. My father owns a share of the "family homeplace" with three siblings and the five children of a deceased sibling. The shares--even among the siblings--aren't equal but are based on shares in a (now sold) family business. The five grandchildren are the offspring of a sibling with the smallest share--but they are the only ones who use the property. Expenses are charged proportionately to shares. My sister and I don't want our shares, but nobody is going to buy them--that would increase their shares of the expenses. And we can't sell the house, because it's a "shrine."
2. My mother owns her family homeplace--and several destitute relatives are living in it. What are my sister and I to do when my mother passes away?</p>

<p>These situations are a mess. Anybody reading this who can avoid them, please take note!</p>

<p>Hunt, can you get your mom to stipulate the property must be sold at fair market value, saving you from having to kick the family out? This is the deal with my dad's land; if I sell, then I'm depriving my uncle of that source of income.</p>

<p>I have another family member whose parents died and when that happened her mid-40s brother was still living there. I think the last parent died 3 years ago and they still have not done anything with the home because the brother (who is not mentally disabled, merely a tool!) would be homeless.</p>

<p>The market has been bad, so maybe they will make more by holding it to sell when the market comes back, but they certainly could have been renting it out for $1500 a month at least.</p>

<p>During this time one sibliing DH lost his job and it took months to get a new one; another sibling's wife died. Certainly 1/4 of the rent would have helped every one, but they all have been conditioned to take care of little brother.</p>

<p>I wonder what will happen in my family when/if the disabled person cannot afford her place to live any more.</p>

<p>I find it very sad when the family vacation home cannot be kept in the family</p>

<p>Hunt, in situation #1, I think I'd sell my share to the rest of the family for $1, and if they refused it at that price, I'd walk away.</p>

<p>In-laws have a lovely house in Maine; we recently chose to opt out of any inheritance. No thanks, I don't want to spend the rest of my life vacationing on a remote island in Maine. (H agrees.) MIL is establishing a family trust which will provide for the house for her sons. </p>

<p>I know of only one family that has made the family vacation home work. In that case, two generations ago--in the '40s--a hefty trust with income was established for the maintenance of the house. It provides for a summer caretaker to receive a small salary. Anyone who chooses to visit pays rent (at reduced rates for the family); if weeks are empty, the house is rented and income goes into the trust.</p>