‘My brother and I have been seeing her darker side’: My father is worth $3 million, but my stepmother only looks out for her own 6 kids. How do I protect my inheritance?

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Dear Quentin,

Before my father got married, he owned a house and a separate five-acre property that he currently rents, as well as a small business. After marrying my stepmother, he bought the second house in which he currently resides. Two years ago, my grandparents passed away, an important legacy to my dad. My dad used the money to pay off the current house and ensure a comfortable retirement for both of them. The estate’s net worth is over $3 million. Before marriage, my stepmother was unemployed and living on welfare (just adding because I’m not sure it matters).

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My stepmom has really made my dad happy and we have become closer. However, my brother and I are seeing her dark side where she is providing a significant sum of money to her six surviving children and the widow of the seventh, while complaining about a 20-year-old truck that my dad drove my brother. Had given. My sister-in-law, who provided a significant amount for her finances, was diagnosed with an illness that left her unable to work.

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,‘I have no doubt that if my father dies she will do everything she can to inherit everything to her children.’,

My brother, at the time, was barely able to meet his mortgage and medical bills. He has since broken up with our stepmother, and paid for the truck to ease the tension. My stepmom is a nice person but is selfish when it comes to her kids and doesn’t see any parallels between gifting a truck and paying for legal fees, house payments, vacations, etcetera for her kids has been unable. I have no doubt that if my kids inherit everything before my dad has it, she’ll do everything she can to make sure it’s there.

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I sincerely hope that he and my dad live well into their 90s. And, if my dad passes away before he leaves, I hope we continue our relationship. My brother and I have tried to bring them together to make a trust or a will with no success. The idea of ​​my half-siblings getting our childhood home and property expanding on top of my grandparents’ inheritance makes me sick to think. Four of them are living in poverty due to addiction and poor life choices, while the other two, and the youngest widow, are decent people whom I’d like to believe would be fair if anything happened. But I doubt they will become evil and selfish.

What rights do we have to prevent him from taking everything if he had passed first? I know that if the situation is reversed, my father will take care of his children. We are still hopeful that they will put together a will/faith, but what rights do we have if it doesn’t?

stressed in utah

Dear Stressed,

For the selfish, read intimidating. For the worse, read intimidating. For the inappropriate, read intimidating. As for the potential war over the $3 million estate, where multiple siblings and half-siblings are involved, read horrified. Where money and family and inheritance are concerned, people almost always act out of fear. It doesn’t excuse unpleasant behavior, but it can help us understand it and show compassion for those who – in our estimation – are acting out.

Old rivalries, past resentments and insecurities all play into a family property fight. Sure, $3 million is a lot of money, but it won’t grow as much as one might think between nine potential heirs and a widowed spouse, especially if the surviving spouse decides to pass a greater share to their children. And as you rightly point out, the outcome may depend on who goes first – your father or your stepmother, especially in the absence of a will.

The old truck was a relatively small gift in the big scheme of things. But you probably already know it wasn’t about the truck. The truck was a trigger, and a proxy for the fight Royal So that your stepmother could look at the horizon, and it was also an opportunity to draw ranks, test your power over your two stepchildren and your husband. When people feel threatened and uncertain, they reprimand. Unfortunately your brother bore the brunt of it.

Your stepmother, as you say, was living on Kalyan when she met your father. I’m glad she survived and got back on her feet, even though she may have done so through her relationship with your father. Living through long periods of financial insecurity and experiencing housing insecurity can leave a deep psychological scar. She makes him happy, as you say, and that’s all. This is what parents want for their children, and all children want for their parents.

Inheritance is generally treated as separate property, and this would have been for your father to leave to his two children. Yet whatever share your father put into your stepmother’s house was mixed up. They together own that property, and all the equity in it. Under intestacy laws in Utah, if your father dies without a will — without a will — your stepmother will inherit the first $75,000 of her intestate estate, plus 50% of the remaining amount.

If your father and stepmother are co-owners of the house they are living in as tenants with right of survivorship, they will inherit that property. Similarly, other life-insurance policies may designate him as the beneficiary, and they may also have joint ownership of certain bank accounts. It’s hard to negotiate with parents about inheritance, but the only way to achieve this is to be as honest and transparent as possible. Making a will now will avoid any kind of unpleasantness later.

Some parents want to leave behind the battlefield and years of malice.

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