My husband and I have been married for 22 years, and have 4 children. He has a 66-year-old brother who never married and currently lives in the home they both inherited 50/50 when my mother-in-law passed 4 years ago.
My husband and I have made our wills and advanced directives, etc. If I die first, everything we own goes to him and then to our kids, and vice versa. His brother has never made out a will.
However, he asked my husband to amend his will to say that if he pre-deceases me, that I should waive any inheritance rights to the half of the house that belongs to my husband. Do you think I should agree?
The Undecided Wife
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OK, that was the short answer. But it does come with caveats: You’re family. Your brother-in-law has lived there all his life. I don’t see any reason why the death of his brother, assuming your husband predeceases him, should be followed by shared ownership of his home and possible housing insecurity should you decided to sell it.
You are under no obligation to oblige, of course. But if you are financially sound a family should, ideally, make each other’s life easier. A brother should not, if he can help it, do something that would create a disturbance in his sibling’s life. And now a compromise: if he can afford it, he could buy your husband out.
Another option: a life estate would your children see the benefit of their father’s share in this family home. But in a game of rock-paper-scissors, or brother-home-inheritance, your single brother-in-law should come first, if he doesn’t have the means to buy his own home and you are financially secure.
Sometimes, in life we sometimes have the opportunity to squeeze a situation or a person like a lemon. That way, we can get what we believe we are legally or, depending on your take, morally entitled to. That isn’t always the right option, however, even if it is abiding by the letter of the law.
In lieu of lemon juice, it’s almost always preferable to try the milk of human kindness instead.
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