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Am I being unreasonable for only leaving my son the house?

 
 
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2022 01:15 pm
Since my ex wife and I recently got divorced I changed my will to leaving equal shares of my assets (aside from the house) to my three children instead of all to my ex. The only thing I hadn't changed in the will was to leave the house solely to my eldest son, Thomas.

After I had everything finalized I ended up sending the updated will to my ex so she could keep it for her records. She was quite upset when she read it. She says that it is unfair and that all my assets, including the house, should be split equally between all three kids in the event of my death.

My reasoning for only leaving Thomas the house is because he is actually the son I had with my late wife. The house was from her parents. Being that Thomas is the only one of my children that was also their grandchild I feel it is only right that he inherit the house.

My ex wife knew about the history of the house, but had mistakenly assumed all these years that all three children would get an equal stake in the property. I had actually told her to look through the previous will when we first got married, but apparently she only glanced at it. Obviously there was a lack of proper communication, but we cant change the past. So here we are.

Am I being unreasonable here? or is my ex wife?
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Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 513 • Replies: 8
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2022 01:24 pm
@macadams,
macadams wrote:


Since my ex wife and I recently got divorced I changed my will to leaving equal shares of my assets (aside from the house) to my three children instead of all to my ex. The only thing I hadn't changed in the will was to leave the house solely to my eldest son, Thomas.

After I had everything finalized I ended up sending the updated will to my ex so she could keep it for her records. She was quite upset when she read it. She says that it is unfair and that all my assets, including the house, should be split equally between all three kids in the event of my death.

My reasoning for only leaving Thomas the house is because he is actually the son I had with my late wife. The house was from her parents. Being that Thomas is the only one of my children that was also their grandchild I feel it is only right that he inherit the house.

My ex wife knew about the history of the house, but had mistakenly assumed all these years that all three children would get an equal stake in the property. I had actually told her to look through the previous will when we first got married, but apparently she only glanced at it. Obviously there was a lack of proper communication, but we cant change the past. So here we are.

Am I being unreasonable here? or is my ex wife?


I certainly do not think you are being unreasonable...but I also understand your ex-wife's position.

There is a strong case could be made for both stances, mostly because you do consider the three to be YOUR sons. The fact that your eldest was also the son of your late wife is almost incidental to that...that all three are yours. The house is YOURS.

But as I said, both sides could be argued. I would suggest you go with your gut feelings on this. You seem to have decided it. Neither you or your ex-wife has to be wrong or unreasonable. Just go with what your gut tells you is correct.
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Mame
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2022 01:38 pm
I agree with Frank that you should go with your gut. I think your position is entirely reasonable. Your other two sons will each get 1/3 of your other assets, so it's not like they're getting left out.

Your wife shouldn't make assumptions. The house is yours to do what you like with. I don't know why you sent her a copy of your will in the first place. Is she going to be the executor?
RPhalange
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2022 01:58 pm
@macadams,
Being on the other side of a will....I think the only mistake you made was to give a copy of the will to your ex-wife. You should have left it solely with a lawyer or a trusted family member to be trustee.

If you want to leave all your assets to your cat so be it. It is yours - it is yours to decide how you want to leave it. No one else. I suggest you simply ignore her opinion. You could say give to any family member and they would all have a different opinion. It is yours to decide bottom line.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2022 01:58 pm
@macadams,
Your position is fine BUT it could lead to hard feelings between your sons in the future. My guess is the house is a very significant part of your assets and that all three boys grew up in the house. It wouldn't hurt to explain things ahead of time to your sons who are not getting a share. You could even spin it as part of your first wife's bequest.

PS: There is no reason your ex is a part of this discussion.
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RPhalange
 
  2  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2022 02:13 pm
@RPhalange,
One thing I meant to add; a house to me is a bit different than say money or investments. A house can be left behind with the thought that the individual is going to continue to live in it. You cannot really split it up if the intention is to leave it so it stays in the family.

I have a friend who inherited a family cabin. The intention was to leave it to the children evenly so that it would stay in the family and everyone could enjoy it. The real issue is now that it has been handed down to so many levels, no one really owns it. Each has a small percent ownership. Some do not contribute financially to taxes or upkeep and never go visit it. They are unwilling to give up their share and no one has offered to buy them out. It is kind of messy and causes a situation where upkeep is minimal.

So if the intention is that you want to keep the house in the family then it is very reasonable to leave it to the son most likely to do so. Otherwise you end up in a situation where the one son may want to live in it, but does not have the finances to buy out his brothers and it ends up being sold and the assets from the sale are split; or a situation like my friend where it is just upkept enough.
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macadams
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2022 02:37 pm
@Mame,
She's not going to be the executor, but I was advised to give her a copy so nothing would be a surprise in the future.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2022 05:35 am
@macadams,
Bad advice, IMO. She doesn't need to know anything and because you can change it at any time, it's pointless. It's just none of her business. That advice opened up a can of worms.
BrianMills
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2022 06:11 am
@Mame,
so true
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