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Old 01-23-2014, 06:41 PM
 
13,682 posts, read 13,611,373 times
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My father is pretty well off and in his 80s. I am his only child (and really his only relative). Although he is very financially savvy, he has refused to do a will - there is only a partial, irrevocable will that addresses part of his estate as a result of his divorce settlement. I am guaranteed a portion of his estate (my mother feared he would pull a snit at some point and leave me nothing, just because he can be tempermental - but he and I have a very good relationship).

HOWEVER, his records are A MESS, and he has allowed his primary residence to fall into stunning disrepair - not for lack of funds but because he simply doesn't care. It may even need to be torn down. I live across the country, and although my job comes with a decent income, there is little to spare at the end of the month, as I have a recently purchased older house that needs repairs pretty regularly.

I am kind of worried what will happen if he passes away (though I'm hoping I've got another decade at least with the old coot driving me nuts). I know I'm going to have a huge mess on my hands. He has two rental properties that always need maintenance, and his own house will need MASSIVE repairs. I will likely need to hire lawyers and accountants to sort out his finances. There are properties, vehicles, debts, investments and who knows what else.

Since he refuses to do a will, is it unreasonable for me to ask for him to give me some money (under the tax-free amount a parent can give to a child each year) to set aside for his eventual passing, so that I will not have to go further into debt while sorting out his affairs? I would put aside money myself now out of my own salary, but I am focused on paying down my own debt and all my other money goes towards home improvements. I will also need to get a new vehicle in the next couple of years. There's really nothing to spare. I'm thinking a joint account so that he could monitor it and know I'm not just spending it on my own stuff?

Also, at his age, he may not be able to live on his own forever. He would not do well in a nursing home, and I deliberately bought a house that he would be able to live in (and where we would both have significant privacy). My other thought is that having some money set aside would make it easier to move him out here and make any modifications to the house he might need.

I have a friend who is in the very situation I dread (no will, chaotic assets), and her out-of-pocket expenses have been astronomical. She will likely be reimbursed eventually and have a nice inheritance, but her stress levels and anxiety are through the roof. She has had to take significant time off of work as well. The chaos she is going through now is really what has gotten me thinking about my own situation with my dad.

So is this an unreasonable idea? When I ask him to make a will that addresses all of his assets, he just laughs. I love my father, but he can be... inconsiderate. Yet he can also be very generous - when I realized I should buy a house before interest rates and home prices went up, he gave me a down payment. That's really the thing - I had never asked for money since graduating college, and I had a sound economic argument for buying a house and asking for the money. An EMOTIONAL argument (as in, my peace of mind) is something he has a harder time with. But I feel like a joint account is a more likely outcome than a will - a will is a direct acknowledgment of his mortality after all.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:03 PM
 
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It's unnecessary and inappropriate to ask him to distribute money to you now to pay for handling his estate in the future. Since he is "pretty well off," his estate will pay for all of that when the time comes. His not having a will is irrelevant. You'll still inherit but according to the laws of his state. Even if there was a will, you wouldn't get your hands on the money until after the estate went through probate.

If he needs to move, his money can pay for it. He doesn't need to give you money now to set aside to making it easier to move him someday. There's no reason to do a power of attorney either because the courts will settle that matter if he ever ends up unable to make decisions for himself.

My son's friend has a wealthy father who had a stroke. The doctors deemed he is capable of making decisions for himself. He has chosen to let everything go unpaid instead of handing any power over to his children. I finally realized he was making the right decision. He has way too much to lose. By things not getting paid, he only risks losing his house. If he hands over power of attorney, he risks getting cleaned out of millions.

Any expenses you have while handing his estate are turned into the lawyer for reimbursement. You don't have to wait until the estate settles to get your expenses reimbursed. You're sounding entitled, like it should all be made easier for you to inherit. A little financial stress and time off from work is the least you can go through to inherit your "pretty well off" father's money.

Last edited by Hopes; 01-23-2014 at 07:44 PM..
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Hampstead NC
5,590 posts, read 5,110,817 times
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I know it is stressful for you, but the truth is there is nothing you can do. Asking for money up front sounds horrible. I suppose asking to put your signature on his bank account would be a practical option he might be able to live with.

I think you should just let him run his stuff into the ground and walk away from it. Is the time and effort and money you would put into preserving this legacy for yourself really worth it?
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:45 PM
 
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If he has a substantial estate, than you can be the executor and pay any professionals from the estate. Many will work on contingency from the estate.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:46 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 92,359,957 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
If he has a substantial estate, than you can be the executor and pay any professionals from the estate. Many will work on contingency from the estate.
Without a will it's called administrator, not executor.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:59 PM
 
6,475 posts, read 9,936,188 times
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I don't know enough about this to wonder why you would have to go into debt to settle his affairs... won't the probate court handle that? You can if want, but if you don't have to, let a lawyer do it. I guess you would need to front some money, then get reimbursed, as Hopes stated above.

You can always ask him anything. I think it would be reasonable in order to make it easier on you. Also, would he consider pre-paying his own funeral, or at the very least, buying a plot for himself? I think you should definitely ask him to do that.

Your dad sounds a lot like mine, except yours has assets. He has done NOTHING regarding a will. Inconsiderate as heck. But he did buy himself a plot, and we'll hit Costco for his coffin. Luckily, no assets to deal with, no headaches. Only one getting anything is the bank and IRS. Wait, he did just find a dog... I do want the dog.
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:01 PM
 
6,475 posts, read 9,936,188 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
If he has a substantial estate, than you can be the executor and pay any professionals from the estate. Many will work on contingency from the estate.
good idea! How does one become an executor/administrator?
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:02 PM
 
13,682 posts, read 13,611,373 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
It's unnecessary and inappropriate to ask him to distribute money to you now to pay for handling his estate in the future. Since he is "pretty well off," his estate will pay for all of that when the time comes. His not having a will is irrelevant. You'll still inherit but according to the laws of his state. Even if there was a will, you wouldn't get your hands on the money until after the estate went through probate.

If he needs to move, his money can pay for it. He doesn't need to give you money now to set aside to making it easier to move him someday. There's no reason to do a power of attorney either because the courts will settle that matter if he ever ends up unable to make decisions for himself.

My son's friend has a wealthy father who had a stroke. The doctors deemed he is capable of making decisions for himself. He has chosen to let everything go unpaid instead of handing any power over to his children. I finally realized he was making the right decision. He has way too much to lose. By things not getting paid, he only risks losing his house. If he hands over power of attorney, he risks getting cleaned out of millions.

Any expenses you have while handing his estate are turned into the lawyer for reimbursement. You don't have to wait until the estate settles to get your expenses reimbursed. You're sounding entitled, like it should all be made easier for you to inherit. A little financial stress and time off from work is the least you can go through to inherit your "pretty well off" father's money.
Ok, so let me get this straight. I sound "entitled" because I don't want a mess on my hands when he dies, even though he could EASILY make it much less stressful? Wow. Thanks for the useful information, but, respectfully ... WOW.
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:08 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 92,359,957 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelstress View Post
How does one become an executor/administrator?
I have been both. You become an executor if someone names you executor in their will. You become an administrator by being appointed by the court to handle an estate. You hire a lawyer in both instances and the estate pays for the lawyer. Once you are officially the executor or the administrator, you get a bank account for the estate. You reimburse yourself as needed, but it has to be allowable expenses and you have to hand over receipts to the lawyer along with the bank account records for the lawyer to do the paperwork to settle the estate. You can even choose to let the lawyer do everything. Since this estate has assets, it's up to the OP how little or how much he wants to do.

Last edited by Hopes; 01-23-2014 at 08:17 PM..
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:09 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 92,359,957 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
Ok, so let me get this straight. I sound "entitled" because I don't want a mess on my hands when he dies, even though he could EASILY make it much less stressful? Wow. Thanks for the useful information, but, respectfully ... WOW.
A will is NOT going to make it less stressful! I promise you that. His not having a will doesn't matter. Every state has laws on how money is distributed if there isn't a will. There are only a few things that are easier as an executor but they're minimal in the overall measure of stress.
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