We will soon be moving into my FIL's home-big problems as a result of this - FamilyEducation
We will soon be moving into my FIL's home-big problems as a result of this
06/08/2010 at 23:00 PM

Hello-I'm in desperate need of advice here please!! Here's my situation:

My husband has been ill with various health problems for a few years now, which has taken a toll on us all and has made our lives very difficult and horrific, especially the last 4 months. Prior to this, he was very healthy, and we were enjoying life in a rural town in our beautiful house that has lots of property and privacy. We bought this house in 2002,our first home, and have been very happy here, especially since the birth of our daughter in 2004. This house has everything we need, and we thought we would be here for many more years.

Fast forward to now-over the last year, my Husband's health has started to get worse. So much so that he decided he no longer wanted to do the commute to and from work(50 miles one way)and told me we had to possibly sell the house so that he could be closer to his job. Of course I was devastated.

My sweet, generous 80 year old FIL has been widowed since 2007. He currently lives in his 60 year old home with my 43 year old BIL, who is severely depressed,and depends on my FIL to support him. This house also happens to be my Hubby's childhood home. My FIL is well off, and has had no mortgage for many years now. This home is in a great Suburban neighborhood where all of the homes for sale are sought after. He had been in the process of selling his home last year, as it has become too much for him to maintain.

When my Hubby's health started to get really bad earlier this year, my FIL approached us with an offer to sell our home, and then buy his home from him, at half of the houses's total worth, so that my Hubby could be closer to his job (10 minute commute). Obviously, this shocked me, as I have never felt comfortable in his house (very run down, smallish yard with close neighbors, no storage/basement space, very dirty, bad odor and lots to maintain). My Hubby obviously jumped at this opportunity-and rightly so-even though I was never once considered in this decision at all. My Hubby's feeling is that he is the one who works-so we need to do what we can to make his job easier for him everyday, namely by eliminating his commute. I couldn't disagree with him about this, So we reluctantly put our house up for sale.

Fortunately, considering the bad housing market, we have managed to sell our home-we are closing on July 15th, and then moving into my FIL's home. My FIL has taken an apartment with my BIL not too far from where we will be, (but this is a very difficult life change for him as he has so many memories in his home). He has told us that we can live in his home for a trial year mortgage free, without the financing-he even wants to pay the taxes-to get ourselves out of debt, but mainly to see how my Hubby's health is going to be, and to make sure he will be able to continue to work and not have to go on disability. He has said that we can live there forever if we want-but at some point, if my Hubby stays healthy, we have to finance the house to make it fair to the other 3 siblings, who will all make a $100,000 profit each when we buy the house. We get no money out of this-our portion of the money is being deducted from the price of the house, which will make it affordable for us to buy when the time comes. I guess this is the fairest deal my FIL could make to keep everyone happy.

My two SIL's (who I always got along with, and like very much)are seemingly not too happy about this arrangement-they know it's the right move for our family due to my Hubby's health, but they have both told me that we have to finance the house, and soon-that my FIL was depending on that money for his long term care (which he already has). I think the real issue here is that their money will be in limbo as long as we are living there for free-even though neither of them really need it. (both well off with healthy and gainfully employed spouses). My FIL told me that he has plenty of other money put aside to take care of both my SIL's, but I'm unsure if either of them are aware of this fact.

Now because of this, I feel very uncomfortable by having to live in this house soon, even though my Hubby tells me that this issue is between his Sisters and his Father,that his Father knows what he is doing. My Hubby wants no involvement in any of this-and he has asked me to stay out of it, that my FIL will handle this situation.

To futher complicate things, My SIL's are both scrambling to empty the house by July 15th of 50 years worth of my FIL's furniture, belongings, etc., and they both told me there is no way it all can be done by the time we move in-so we basically have to move into the house with all of our stuff, even though there will be a lot of my FIL's belongings left in the house. I told my Hubby if my FIL had sold his house to a stranger, he would have had to clear it out anyway-so I can't understand why it's such a problem to get done before we move in.

This whole thing is a mess, and I apologize if I sound more than a little mean or selfish here. I understand that my FIL has really helped us out,even though we didn't ask for any of this, but I will always feel a sense of obligation, and I will never feel comfortable living in his house. It will never feel like my own. I will also wonder if my SIL's are secretly resentful of us because of the fact that we are tying up their money or taking advantage of their goodhearted father.

Any thoughts or opinions about this situation would be appreciated-sorry this was so long!!


Were you upside down in your house's mortgage? Do you have an appraisal on the family home? Do you have a lot of consumer/medical debt? I would get to work on making things fair as quickly as possible. TANSTAAFL--there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. The family dynamics are going to suffer a lot if your husband doesn't make a huge effort to keep everybody informed about the whole situation. I would suggest that everybody including the mentally ill brother sit together and discuss what resources your FIL has for his own care, for your BIL's maintenance, and what you can contribute during the next 12 months--during the "trial period." Help your husband write down an agenda, then -- it sounds like you had best not attend the meeting. With no in-laws present, the meeting may be more honest and productive. He should encourage his siblings to write down their concerns before the meeting, too. The trial period makes me nervous. You aren't going to be able to do any remodeling, or much redecorating during this year. For your own comfort, if I were you I'd pay a reliable professional housecleaner to come in and clean before you move in. This description (very run down, smallish yard with close neighbors, no storage/basement space, very dirty, bad odor and lots to maintain) doesn't match real well with your in-laws expecting to get $300,000 X2 out of the house sale. At least, not in my part of the country. Step 1--look for an alternate place to live in town, just in case, and rent a storage unit. Step 2. Get an appraisal of the family home. Step 3. Have a very frank discussion WITH ALL your husband's siblings and his father about expectations. Step 4 get the house professionally cleaned before you move in--carpets cleaned, cupboards and walls washed/painted, appliances and fixtures clean, windows clean.

This is the FIL's money. Whatever deal he has made to help his son in such a trying time is between him and his son. The sisters can wait for their money. For now, just make sure that FIL has enough to live on and that should be the only concern. Your FIL sounds a lot like my grandmother, she would give everything she had to any of her children. When my uncle was terminally ill, she paid off his home and truck so he did not have to worry about losing them. My stepmother made the comment that my grandmother was spending all her money on one son. I couldnt believe she said that. My father replied with "It's her money and her son, what business is it of our's how she spends it?". Your FIL is doing what any parent would hope to do for their child if they needed it. I hope your husbands health issues are resolved soon and things go back to normal for all of you.


The sale of our house will pay off our current mortgage, and also a home equity line of credit, but we will not get very much profit out of this for ourselves. We will have some other debt that we will be able to pay off within the year we are living at my FIL's house-that is his goal for us, to get out of debt so that we can afford to finance his home next year, but that will happen only if my Husband can continue to work-if he has to go on disability, then my FIL has a backup plan that would somehow make it possible for us to get out of the mortgage free and clear(not sure what that might be). So we will only be responsible to pay off our debts, our utilities and food every month for the next year-my FIL is even going to pay our taxes for us. We will not be able to afford any renovations on the house, we will be moving in "as is"-and my Husband wouldn't spend money on stuff like that anyway. So this will not be an issue-I will do what I can to perk the place up on the small budget that we have, and make the best of it. My FIL's home is in a very desirable town and location, just 20 minutes from NYC-that is why his home, even though very old with small bedrooms and bathrooms, on a small piece of property, and with lots of maintenance issues, could command big bucks if sold and was appraised at well over $400,000-remember-location, location. He was very smart to buy into this town over 40 years ago. Now all the children will profit. As far as being able to have the carpets/heavy duty cleaning done prior to moving in like I had hoped, that will not happen. Unfortunately, my FIL and BIL's timeframe for moving out (July 15th is their apartment lease start date) will conflict with our moving in (July 13 most probably).So with everyone under one roof for a few days, with most of the furniture still there, it will make it very difficult for me to have anything done until they are moved out first. I will ask my Husband about having a one time good cleaning done by a professional cleaning company-but I highly doubt he will agree to that-again, he is very reluctant to spend extra $. So this will fall entirely on me-and since I don't work, I have no say or choice. Thanks again for your response and tips!

I think it is silly to have a meeting about your father-in-law's plans for taking care of himself and his family without him there. He sounds like he is still competent, and to have a meeting about him without him there will be a waste of everyone's time. Besides that, it is disrespectful.