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Splitting Sale of House

Discussion in 'Joint Ownership' started by mbc841, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. mbc841

    mbc841 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My grandparents bought a house in 1940s - they had two kids, a boy (my father) and girl, my aunt. My aunt had one son, my cousin, and she died in 1997. My dad had three children, my brother, my sister, and I. My grandfather died in 1974. My grandmother and my father lived in the house until my grandmother died in 2008. At the time of her death, both her and my dads name was on the deed. The house was small, only 640 square feet - was dilapidated, and in desperate need of repair. But the yard was a half acre in the close-in DC suburbs of Northern Virginia. My sister is married and has children and lives two hours away - and my brother is married and has children but lives only about 5 minutes away. I was not married and had no children. I routinely spent most weekends at my grandmother and dads house - we were VERY close. After my grandmother died, my dad wanted me to move in with him - and in order for that to happen, we decided to tear down the old house and build a new one. My dad is on social security - I work full time and make pretty decent money. I took out a mortgage to build the new house. The deed we got was a Joint Tenancy with Survivorship. We didn't ASK for this deed - the settlement lawyers just automatically did it that way. For 5 years dad and I lived together - I paid the mortgage, I paid ALL the Real Estate taxes, I paid the home owners insurance, I paid to do all the landscaping and lawn care, I even had $200 of my pay check each pay day direct deposited into dads account to help supplement his small social security income. Dad and I lived comfortably until his death last year. He had no legal will. Now my siblings want me to sell the house and divide the proceeds EQUALLY. They do NOT want to include my cousin, who is one of the 4 original grandchildren of my grandparents.

    I know that LEGALLY, I hold all the cards - since it was a Joint Tenancy with Survivorship deed, once dad died, I became the SOLE owner. But - I want to do the right thing by my siblings and cousin. I've told them that when I retire in 7 years, I plan to sell, and I'll split the money with them. But I want to split the money as follows: equally split the value of the land, and the value of the OLD house - but NOT the value of the NEW house, which I built.

    My brother and sister do not agree - they want an EQUAL split on the ENTIRE property. Plus, they want me to subtract the equity I took out when I got the mortgage to pay off my debt so I could afford to PAY the mortgage, from my portion of the sale proceeds. My opinion is that if they were to get an EQUAL split, than they should have helped pay the taxes all these years, and they should have even helped pay other stuff. They have not ever paid a DIME.

    I know my legal rights here, but I need opinions on what you guys think is fair - should my siblings get EQUAL splits even though they have paid nothing?? My lawyer sides with me, and my siblings lawyer sides with them. They want us to get a third, neutral lawyer to help decide what is fair. All my friends and co-workers, and even my extended family (aunts and uncles) agree with me, but my sister says everyone they talk to agrees with them. So I am very confused. My sister says I am destroying our relationship by my stance, and she feels I'm robbing her children of their inheritance.

    Any opinions/advice??
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    What you decide is solely up to you.
    Sorry, its your call alone.

    That said, I would have advised you (had I been your attorney) to keep everything.
    I would have suggested you put everything into a family trust.
    Talk to your attorney about establishing a family trust.
    If you did that, there would be nothing to divvy out.
    As I see it, any equity your siblings may have had, you have invested far more into the property than it may have been worth.
    With the demise of your father, there is no inheritance unless you decide to offer the greedy siblings a bite or two of your cheese.

    Besides, inheritance is simply an idea, a concept if you please, until it is realized upon two specific events:

    One, the person OWNING the property decides to memorialize her gift to others in a will;

    Two, she dies, and then the will conveys her property to the ones named in the will.

    Your father never did that, other than to say you and he owned the property in JT with right of survivorship.

    He died, you own the property in fee simple, without heirs, unless you name them in your will.

    A will could convey what your greedy sister demands, should you choose to do it that way.

    She could, of course, give er stuff to her offspring, if she believes her offspring deserve FREE stuff.

    As far as any relationship with my siblings, I choose the ones I wish to interact with, and how much interaction I choose to do.

    That is minimal with as couple, and limited with others.

    If one were to threaten me like she did you, there would be no contact whatsoever.

    You are a very kind, generous, and nice person, good for you.

    HINT: Your lawyer is even far more generous that I would have been.
     
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  3. mbc841

    mbc841 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for the response. I do feel in my heart that I'm being fair and even generous - its just that no matter how hard I try to get through to my sister - she continues to insist I'm robbing her of her interitnace, and that I'm robbing her kids of their college education. And my brother is no longer speaking to me. I just need to hear the opinion of strangers to help me realize I'm not crazy or somehow cheating them.
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You're more than fair, and extremely generous.
    I'd have told them ALL to simply go pound sand, an entire BEACH of lovely, white, beautiful, sand!!!!

    As far as talking to me, or not, thank you Lord for small favors!!!
    Go enjoy your great life, mate, with REAL FRIENDS.
    None of us had any hand in the siblings foisted upon us by our parents.
    Once we're on our own, we can maintain certain contacts, and sever others.
    Your sister is a greedy, ungrateful pig.
    You're a very kind, caring, concerned, generous, and thoughtful person.
     
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