I am a remarried father of 3 boys and 3 girls; 3 of those children are from a previous marriage. My wife and I are looking to buy a house next year.
She recently told me that she is going to put it in her name only as she is worried about my previous kids staking a claim on their portion of the house from my contribution; she said she is looking out for our 3 shared kids, but she is not considering my other 3 children.
The Moneyist:My mother saved $10,000 for my wedding. I’m now 41 — should I spend it on a house?
When my wife’s father died he had other children, and an estate dispute ensued. I told her that we can establish conditions in our will to determine how the home is divided. I have reservations about jointly purchasing a home only to have my 3 kids cut out of any inheritance it may generate.
I understand that my wife wants to ensure our mutual kids are cared for, but if we are going to equally pay for the mortgage my prior children deserve a part of that investment, right?
Loving Father Divided
Dear Loving Father,
Right. Don’t pay for a house, if your name is not on the deed. Your wife may be fearful about her children’s future based on her own family history, as you say. But there shouldn’t be a winner and a loser in this scenario. Even if she did as she says, this house would most likely be treated as marital/community property, anyway. Bottom line: You are partners, as well as husband and wife.
There are many ways to slice this cake. Suggestion #1: Treat all 6 children equally, while taking in account of any lump sum that you each contributed. Suggestion #2: Slice the pie 9 ways, and give your shared children 2 slices each, and give your own children 1 slice each. That seems like a meticulous, if slightly churlish, way of splitting this inheritance. Assuming there will be one.
The Moneyist:Why spend $25,000 on a wedding when you can spend $150?
In an ideal world, divide the house 6 ways, and treat all 6 children the same. That would honor the “what’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is ours” marital agreement in spirit and practice. That is easier for you, of course, than your wife. But given your wife’s concerns, suggestion #2 may be the most realistic option. Let me know what you finally agree upon. I am interested to know the outcome.
The Moneyist: My father wants to deed his kids his home before Prop 19 takes effect. I suggested a life estate instead — he said I’m ungrateful
You agree to your emailed letter to the Moneyist will be published here anonymously. It may be edited for style and space.
Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook
group where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers share all sorts of dilemmas.