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Moving in with FIL-do I want my name on the family home?

counseling.advocate's picture

Hey guys,

I'm looking for advice from people who know more about home ownership than I do. My MIL passed away, so we are going to move in with my FIL (5 of us) in the house my Dh grew up in. We will refinance the mortgage to put our names or DH's name on it and add another 30,000 or whatever it costs to extent the office downstairs out further into a larger 2 bedroom area for him. This should add a great deal of value to the home, I'm wondering that if my name isn't on the loan or if fil doesn't allow it, then I won't be entitled to the equity that's accumulated?

Our offer was to buy the house from him fair and square and he could just pay a small fee for rent/household expenses. However he only has 5 more years to pay and said what he could do is add our name to the loan after its refinanced with the extra room and it would be ours after he died and a gift for taking care of him.
We brought up the fact that his brothers would feel entitled to the house as their inheritance and he didn't seem to see it that way because they don't need a house and we need to use the resources we have to survive. He suggested we could refinance again and split the equity that he accumuliated into 3rds and give that to them.

I want to know, if we ever got divorced, just want to be safe, am I ok if I'm not on the loan? Would I still be entitled to everything owed to me in a divorce? Should I not fight to put my name on it or should I file some sort of other document?

jam's picture

Why would you want to invest in something that is not yours? Your name should be on the house. You need to have security that the home you live in is yours. If anything happens to your dh you would have enough to worry about without the added stress of where you will live.

counseling.advocate's picture

These are all things that I said last night!!! DH said he was worried FIL would only put the mortgage in his name which I didn't get from the conversation but he claims that just from "knowing" his dad that he might do that. I said we have the upper hand here, I offered to move in to take care of him! U tell him u want me on it or no deal! But then he said since we're married it shouldn't matter and that I should have just as much ownsership.
However I told him that financially if DH and I are both on it then we will have to pay out less equity to his brothers when fil passes away. If I'm understanding all this right. Fil will own 1/3 instead of 1/2.
Yeah I definietly wouldn't pay into this house unless it was legally my investment. Ugh guess I need to see a lawyer!!?

Oh and the only reason we would be refinancing on this is because we are building out and need to take a loan out against the house.

counseling.advocate's picture

Thank you for the helpful breakdown, seeing how someone else has theirs set up is helpful. I don't think I was clear totally, DH is thinking fil might only refi with him and DH on it and leave me out of it, but DH and fil would both be on it. So one of us would be on it if he were to pass

counseling.advocate's picture

DH and I wanted to buy it but FIL proposed that he put him on the loan when we refinance it when we build onto the house, then when he dies pay out a 3rd of all of the equity the 2 other brother are owed.

simifan's picture

I'd also like to know how your assets are protected if something happens to DH. You need an attorney to do this.

counseling.advocate's picture

Yeah I just thought about this. What if DH dies?? This is their family home! Will the brothers fight to take it or...
If this were our house from the start it wouldn't be an issue

counseling.advocate's picture

Honestly, I know this might annoy everyone, but we don't know if he doesn't want me on there yet. My DH said he possibly most likely won't offer to include me on there because he "knows" him. Probably having something to do with DH's grandma. She left his grandpa when he was like 70 and remarried and when she died her new husband kept the house and all of her belongings.

But he hasn't actually spoken the words. I'm trying to prepare myself and prepare DH for when and if he does so that I can have a fair argument and u guys have done a great job educating me Smile

Disneyfan's picture

Your husband knows his dad better than you.

I know tor a fact that my mother would never agree to what you want. She would never allow a son inlaw to their hands one of her homes. The only names she would allow on her deeds (other than my step dad) are my sister, her grandkids or I. My mom is big on keeping her assests in her bloodline. She would pay for someone to come in and help her rather than go along with your plan.

counseling.advocate's picture

Really?? Shit.. It would be downstairs. Basically like adding another standard size bedroom onto the office so he could have a bedroom, place to work from home (he's 69 and still working) and a full bathroom.

I should add for everyone else that he's not like old to where he can't take care of himself yet, just emotionally not capable of being alone without his wife at this point.

Disneyfan's picture

Wait, you would move the man into the basement (addition )of his own home???? :sick:

What if he meets someone? She may very well view this as you taking advantage of him during we peak point in his life. Hell, your husband's family may think this well.

Since he's physically able to take care of himself, why not help him get over his lost and you and husband look into purchasing a home of your own?

counseling.advocate's picture

Disney fan, haha I wish any of this were possible.

1) we really wanted to purchase a home of our own soon and had no expectation of this happening to her at this time so unexpectedly. He just doesn't want to be alone and wants us to move in.

2) he will never meet anyone else new. He said she was the only one for him. I already tried suggesting this possibility.
3) the addition was his idea, and it doesn't go out to the basement, it extends from the office by the front door into the side of the house intothe basketball court.

Disneyfan's picture

The man is hurt right now. Once he's over the lost of his wife, he will change his mind about dating.

counseling.advocate's picture

I hope so, he deserves to be happy. But I really don't think he will. He's not outgoing AT ALL

Disneyfan's picture

Didn't his wife just die a few weeks ago?

Just because he isn't interested in dating now, doesn't mean he won't be in a few months or years.

counseling.advocate's picture

Yeah a month now, man it's gone by so fast... Yeah I really hope he does. I'm sure that if he met someone and they decided to spend their lives together then we might renegotiate things finanicially since we wouldn't be taking care of him the remainder of his lifetime but hed probably move out in that case to something smaller where they wouldn't have to take care of such a big house, front and back yard and everything.
I hope you are right Smile
He has 2 different types of cancers also... Bladder and something else but not active or anything. U never know when things can change especially if he doesn't pull out of this depression

twoviewpoints's picture

What your FIL needs to do is speak to his own lawyer, minus both you and your DH. This man needs his own legal advice and his own desires met. If he's having troubles making his mortgage he might consider something like reverse mortgage. He can look into several different cost savings financial ways he, himself, can afford to pay for and remain in his home. If he's only got five years currently to pay, he probably doesn't have a whole lot left mortgage wise vs the value of the home. Odds may be that his current mortgage has a much higher interest rate than what he could now be offered.

If the guy just wants 'company' an someone to cook his meals, why do all this adding on an letting you/DH on his part of his deed? Perhaps he'd have you move in free of rent in exchange for doing his cooking and cleaning? Of course though there would no 'interest' to the house and property. DH would have to wait until his father passed and get the regular share along with DH's siblings. Which is actually a much fairer 'deal' to all concerned. What if you or DH decided a year from now the guy is just too much of a pain in the ass to live with? What if FIL decides he can't stand living with you? Why tie the three of you to one house (which is the FIL's current and past home he almost already has paid off)?

Not to sound judgmental or mean, but you an DH are looking at this as an investment an goo deal for yourselves along with trying to figure out how to protect that investment blah blah....somebody needs to make sure the old guy's best interest is what actually indeed is happening (it's his home!)and that the old guy is protected along with how he wants his estate to go in the end. I suggest FIL consults with his own lawyer immediately prior to going any farther into you all talking about this an that he also gets his estate planned and put into documentation along with a will.

counseling.advocate's picture

Wow you guys, thank you for all the advice. I have a better idea of what to look out for and what the risks and rewards are.

notsurehowtodeal's picture

You need to make sure you understand the difference between having your name on the mortgage and on the deed. Having your name on the mortgage obligates you to pay the loan - it does not make you the owner of the house. To have ownership you need to have your name on the deed.

Good luck - it sounds like a complicated situation!

Rags's picture

Nope, do not enter a mortgage on this property until you are added as an equity owner of record. You get all of your home related costs back plus 1/3 of the valure of the home upon FILs demise. DH gets 1/3 and his sibs split the last 1/3. Is how I would insist on it.

When my Granddad passed my dad made a deal with his cousin that if my GM could stay in her home until she passed or had to move into a nursing home that my dad would sign the house over to the cousin and his wife when my GM passed if cousin and his wife would care for GM in her home. Cousin's wife was a licensed elder care provider. For a few years my GM stayed in her home but when it became clear that cousin and his wife were not caring for my GM adequately we moved her to a retirement home near our house several states away. Dad gave the cousin an option to buy the home at a very good price but since GM had to move out due to lack of adequate care that cousin and his wife were not getting the house unless they purchased it.

counseling.advocate's picture

Yeah I told DH I understand that this is the family home and I would never try to take it from anyone, but that him and his dad should understand that if his dad were to say I shouldn't be on the deed it would be wrong because I would be putting money into it and I'm pretty much the only one taking care of him really. I Told him also that if he were to leave me that I am entitled to a portion of the equity in the house and he would need to pay me out and that yeah i want security in this investment as someone who has been divorced before thinking things would last forever, u just never know.
I won't do it without my name on there! I just can't wait to find out what the proposal is Cuz I want to see it go down!

BethAnne's picture

How about instead of taking a portion of the house as reimbursement for taking care of fil, he pays you directly for it? That way while he is still relatively self sufficient he just pays a little towards any general house upkeep, cleaning and meals. But if his health declines then he pays a higher amount for any care he needs that you provide. If your fil sets up his finances so that his sons all have power of attorney then they can oversee what you are being paid and will know that it is a fair rate. You and your husband can pay rent to your fil for living in the house, that money can help cover any loan he needs to get to pay for renovations. Then when fil dies the house is split 3 ways, you have already been paid for your work looking after him. If fil's care becomes too much and he needs to or wants to move into a care home then the house can be sold and it is still in his name so he can fund his care and your husband and his brothers don't need to worry about it. If you and your husband have the money at that time you can buy the house from him then. This seems like a fair, open and honest way to set everything up so that you are all protected and everyone can see that they are treated fairly. If you divorce your husband you have already been paid for any work you did caring for your fil. Each brother gets his 1/3rd of your fil's estate and can see that they have all been treated equally. And fil remains in control of his money and house as long as possible and has the ability to pay for extra care should he need it in the future. You and your husband still have the option to buy the house later on if you can and want to.

counseling.advocate's picture

I just wanted to let you all know that I called it all off a while ago. You guys helped me decide, my uncle who is a Vice President of a commercial real estate company def helped and my close friend who's known me since I was 4 who is also in real estate also advised against it. It's obvious that it would have caused my marriage to deteriorate.

Just wanted to give an update, so glad it didn't happen looking back, I don't know what I was thinking. I can barely stand going over there now.