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Just seems wrong to me

fast

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When someone dies and leaves something to someone you don't think they ought to of, feelings can get hurt, but this thread isn't about that--not at all ... people have the right (for the most part) to leave what they want to who they want...and I'm okay with that.

It's not that uncommon at all for a spouse to leave their house to their surviving wife (or husband) if the house wasn't jointly owned, but if it's a second marriage and there is only one owner, the deceased, the house is far more likely to go to the kids of the deceased, leaving the surviving spouse to find his or her own way. This is generally not the case (at least not nearly as often) if the survivor was a parent (as opposed to being a step-parent).

So, if your spouse is about to pass and you want to stay in the house only your spouse owns, and if kids are involved, your chances of staying go way (way) down if you are a step-parent. If you are a parent, then your chances doesn't diminish nearly as much.

Now, this isn't an observation born of materialism, and I understand the concept of blood being thicker than water, and besides, even the spouse (if it's a first marriage with kids) will often keep the house despite the kids, so it's not solely a bloodline issue.

Recap: The spouse will often come first in terms of who gets the house unless, like I said, the kids don't have a bloodline to the survivor; moreover, the house would often be left to the other parent if there is a bloodline between the surviving spouse and kids but not to a step-parent--no matter how long the second marriage lasted.

Yes, I realize parents love their kids, but that doesn't quite fly as an explanation since there is a very good chance the house would be left to the parent of the kids...but not a step-parent. See, in both cases, the parent loves their child, but in one case (the case of a spouse being a parent), the parent gets the house more often than not despite this love that is spoken of.
 

PyramidHead

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When someone dies and leaves something to someone you don't think they ought to of, feelings can get hurt, but this thread isn't about that--not at all ... people have the right (for the most part) to leave what they want to who they want...and I'm okay with that.

It's not that uncommon at all for a spouse to leave their house to their surviving wife (or husband) if the house wasn't jointly owned, but if it's a second marriage and there is only one owner, the deceased, the house is far more likely to go to the kids of the deceased, leaving the surviving spouse to find his or her own way. This is generally not the case (at least not nearly as often) if the survivor was a parent (as opposed to being a step-parent).

So, if your spouse is about to pass and you want to stay in the house only your spouse owns, and if kids are involved, your chances of staying go way (way) down if you are a step-parent. If you are a parent, then your chances doesn't diminish nearly as much.

Now, this isn't an observation born of materialism, and I understand the concept of blood being thicker than water, and besides, even the spouse (if it's a first marriage with kids) will often keep the house despite the kids, so it's not solely a bloodline issue.

Recap: The spouse will often come first in terms of who gets the house unless, like I said, the kids don't have a bloodline to the survivor; moreover, the house would often be left to the other parent if there is a bloodline between the surviving spouse and kids but not to a step-parent--no matter how long the second marriage lasted.

Yes, I realize parents love their kids, but that doesn't quite fly as an explanation since there is a very good chance the house would be left to the parent of the kids...but not a step-parent. See, in both cases, the parent loves their child, but in one case (the case of a spouse being a parent), the parent gets the house more often than not despite this love that is spoken of.

The entire enterprise of leaving a will seems wrong to me. When I die, what happens to my former possessions is none of my concern, nor should it be. I don't know who should be the arbiter of that decision, but of all the parties, the one with the least to lose is certainly me! I get that people naturally assume that ownership should give a person the privilege to decide these matters, but it is unclear to me why this should be so. Ownership confers certain advantages in a social context based on the interests of owners. I need to be secure that my property won't be stolen by other people, or used without my consent, etc. But when I am gone, I relinquish those rights because the consequences can no longer effect me. Like I said, it's not easy to figure out exactly who should decide where my stuff goes (maybe just put it up for public auction). If I really want somebody to have something of mine, I can give it to them while I'm still alive anyway.
 

Petrel

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What's the difference in rights of ownership from five minutes before vital signs cease to five minutes after?
The law seems to think, quite a lot. The law, of course, is always trying to catch up to social reality: in the matter of inheritance, the law is still bogged down in the biblical family structure, while people have made very different arrangements. Blood may be thicker than water, but it has no business being thicker than contract-ink!

So, if a person can dispose of his or her property any they want to while alive, they should probably do that when they're close to death. They can give away or sell the house to whoever they think should/needs to live in it. Better still is to put the spouse's or child's name on the deed as co-owner. They should discuss with a responsible survivor how they want their various possessions passed on. But a legal will and designated (in writing) executor makes life so very much simpler for the family that has also to deal with the law, on top of their loss, one another, and the many unaccustomed chores and procedures they suddenly have to face.
 

Playball40

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Now I typically see the opposite. The house goes to the surviving spouse and if that spouse is a step parent, when he/she dies it goes to THEIR kids not the original owner or his/her kids. It should be set up as a life estate for the surviving spouse then divided equally among the surviving children and the spouse if sold or divided among the surviving children if the step-spouse dies.
 

rousseau

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Hopefully you'd be able to pass on your property without it being that much of a surprise to the person you've committed your life to.

I've always been of the opinion that people shouldn't rely on inheritances and just let them happen as they will without complaint. So in an ideal world its the responsibility of the spouse and relatives of the deceased to prepare for their future, not the responsibility of the deceased. If it's really an issue of fairness, though, then have the house sold and have the profits split.
 

spikepipsqueak

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When someone dies and leaves something to someone you don't think they ought to of, feelings can get hurt, but this thread isn't about that--not at all ... people have the right (for the most part) to leave what they want to who they want...and I'm okay with that.

It's not that uncommon at all for a spouse to leave their house to their surviving wife (or husband) if the house wasn't jointly owned, but if it's a second marriage and there is only one owner, the deceased, the house is far more likely to go to the kids of the deceased, leaving the surviving spouse to find his or her own way. This is generally not the case (at least not nearly as often) if the survivor was a parent (as opposed to being a step-parent).

So, if your spouse is about to pass and you want to stay in the house only your spouse owns, and if kids are involved, your chances of staying go way (way) down if you are a step-parent. If you are a parent, then your chances doesn't diminish nearly as much.

Now, this isn't an observation born of materialism, and I understand the concept of blood being thicker than water, and besides, even the spouse (if it's a first marriage with kids) will often keep the house despite the kids, so it's not solely a bloodline issue.

Recap: The spouse will often come first in terms of who gets the house unless, like I said, the kids don't have a bloodline to the survivor; moreover, the house would often be left to the other parent if there is a bloodline between the surviving spouse and kids but not to a step-parent--no matter how long the second marriage lasted.

Yes, I realize parents love their kids, but that doesn't quite fly as an explanation since there is a very good chance the house would be left to the parent of the kids...but not a step-parent. See, in both cases, the parent loves their child, but in one case (the case of a spouse being a parent), the parent gets the house more often than not despite this love that is spoken of.

Perhaps this happens more here, we seem to have developed mechanisms to deal with it.

I know a lot of couples in the older years who are in loving relationships but have each retained their own homes, specifically to prevent the wrangles of adult children, when one of them dies.

The other thing that is quite common is that the surviving partner is granted a lifelong right to live in the property, and the children formally acquire it once that person has died or formed another relationship, whichever comes first.

I can't say it never happens, but you don't see a lot of adult children turfing step parents onto the street when their biological parent dies.
 

Juma

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The entire enterprise of leaving a will seems wrong to me. When I die, what happens to my former possessions is none of my concern, nor should it be. I don't know who should be the arbiter of that decision, but of all the parties, the one with the least to lose is certainly me! I get that people naturally assume that ownership should give a person the privilege to decide these matters, but it is unclear to me why this should be so. Ownership confers certain advantages in a social context based on the interests of owners. I need to be secure that my property won't be stolen by other people, or used without my consent, etc. But when I am gone, I relinquish those rights because the consequences can no longer effect me. Like I said, it's not easy to figure out exactly who should decide where my stuff goes (maybe just put it up for public auction). If I really want somebody to have something of mine, I can give it to them while I'm still alive anyway.
What you just wrote was one of the most bastardly selfish texts I ever seen.
With ownership comes responsibility, not only privileges.
The effects on society when it is freed from your ownership and released due to your death is your resposibility.
 

Sabine Grant

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Now I typically see the opposite. The house goes to the surviving spouse and if that spouse is a step parent, when he/she dies it goes to THEIR kids not the original owner or his/her kids. It should be set up as a life estate for the surviving spouse then divided equally among the surviving children and the spouse if sold or divided among the surviving children if the step-spouse dies.
Indeed. However, it requires reasonable and cooperative parties who will actually care about what the will of the deceased is. Sadly, when my ex husband's father passed away, both his children and his spouse (step mom) did not seem to be willing to care about what Bob's will was. Bob's will was to see his second residence to be enjoyed and shared by both families (meaning his widow and her 4 sons and his children and their families). It did not happen. Named as the executors of his estate and assets were his widow and his older daughter. Two people who could barely stand the sight of each other. I wondered why Bob had come up with such doomed arrangement. Maybe he gave them more credit than they deserved. Being only his daughter in law, I remained the passive witness of a series of horrible arguments resulting in the home becoming the sole property of his widow. That home had been in his family for 30 years. 30 years during which his children had lived sweet memories with their mother.Home where his grand children had lived sweet memories with him and their grand ma.(grand ma passed away 11 years before he did and he then remarried). His grand children were the ones who bore the consequences of several adults refusing to meet half way.

The half way was about assuming the cost of the maintenance of the house. Every party using the house being willing to contribute their share. But his children were not willing to assume their share yet wanted to have use of the house. His widow reasonably expected they would. Selling it and dividing it was out of question. His widow over the course of 10 years had grown very attached to the home as well as the surrounding tight and friendly community. Up in a mountain resort, in Northern Georgia.She too had sweet memories from her time with Bob in the chalet. She did not want to sell it.

Had they come to an agreement (considering that 2 of Bob's children are very wealthy), my children and their cousins would not only be able to enjoy vacation time in the chalet but would have also retained their affectionate ties with their step grand mother. After all, during the 10 years she was their grand father's wife, she acted as a wonderful grand mother to them. To my son, she was his grand ma since he never knew his paternal grand mother.
 

TV and credit cards

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In Ohio, one can title their vehicles and home(s)/land to pass upon death just as you would with a bank account. For this reason, I don't bother with a will as what's left (my personal effects) are of little value to anyone but me. Basically, it's just stuff to clean up after I'm gone. I can't imagine what my daughter would do with my circular saw other than pull the trigger, get scared, and drop it.

I've always had reservation about leaving anything of substantial value to my child. It's not much but it's more than a twenty-two year old can probably handle. I fear I may be doing her a disservice were I to kick the bucket tomorrow. I know money dropped in one's lap is treated different than money earned.
I think it would be best to leave it to charity but I can't bring myself to do it. I wonder what my daughter would think. Should it matter?
 

Rilx

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The other thing that is quite common is that the surviving partner is granted a lifelong right to live in the property, and the children formally acquire it once that person has died or formed another relationship, whichever comes first.
In my country the law secures the surviving partner's lifelong right to live in the property where they lived together, provided that the surviving partner isn't wealthy enough to aqcuire an equal property.
 

PyramidHead

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The entire enterprise of leaving a will seems wrong to me. When I die, what happens to my former possessions is none of my concern, nor should it be. I don't know who should be the arbiter of that decision, but of all the parties, the one with the least to lose is certainly me! I get that people naturally assume that ownership should give a person the privilege to decide these matters, but it is unclear to me why this should be so. Ownership confers certain advantages in a social context based on the interests of owners. I need to be secure that my property won't be stolen by other people, or used without my consent, etc. But when I am gone, I relinquish those rights because the consequences can no longer effect me. Like I said, it's not easy to figure out exactly who should decide where my stuff goes (maybe just put it up for public auction). If I really want somebody to have something of mine, I can give it to them while I'm still alive anyway.
What you just wrote was one of the most bastardly selfish texts I ever seen.

I didn't mean for it to come across that way, and I'm surprised that it did. In effect, I was saying that people who wish to control their possessions after they are dead are the ones being selfish.

With ownership comes responsibility, not only privileges.

I totally agree.

The effects on society when it is freed from your ownership and released due to your death is your resposibility.

I simply object to the idea that I'm necessarily the best person to make that decision, especially on my deathbed. Lots of people lose all sense of perspective when they near death, and petty grudges become magnified, because they won't have to face the consequences of their choices.
 

Zeluvia

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The entire enterprise of leaving a will seems wrong to me. When I die, what happens to my former possessions is none of my concern, nor should it be. I don't know who should be the arbiter of that decision, but of all the parties, the one with the least to lose is certainly me! I get that people naturally assume that ownership should give a person the privilege to decide these matters, but it is unclear to me why this should be so. Ownership confers certain advantages in a social context based on the interests of owners. I need to be secure that my property won't be stolen by other people, or used without my consent, etc. But when I am gone, I relinquish those rights because the consequences can no longer effect me. Like I said, it's not easy to figure out exactly who should decide where my stuff goes (maybe just put it up for public auction). If I really want somebody to have something of mine, I can give it to them while I'm still alive anyway.
What you just wrote was one of the most bastardly selfish texts I ever seen.

I didn't mean for it to come across that way, and I'm surprised that it did. In effect, I was saying that people who wish to control their possessions after they are dead are the ones being selfish.

With ownership comes responsibility, not only privileges.

I totally agree.

The effects on society when it is freed from your ownership and released due to your death is your resposibility.

I simply object to the idea that I'm necessarily the best person to make that decision, especially on my deathbed. Lots of people lose all sense of perspective when they near death, and petty grudges become magnified, because they won't have to face the consequences of their choices.

Having had to deal with lots of dead people's shit and related family dramas, I say unto thee, make thy decisions now, especially for the stuff that will be contested. Make a fucking will. Decide which charity gets all your old clothes, dishes, and household items. Pick one that will come and pick up all your stuff so people that actually knew you don't have to go through it. Burn your personal papers, pictures and crap before you die. Run magnets over your hard drives. Set your accounts to joint tenancy for the people you really care about, so they don't have to deal with probate. Donate your cadaver to a medical school. Seriously. This is the least selfish way to deal with it. Leaving your junk to be dealt with by your friends and family when you are gone, including your corpse, is selfish.
 

PyramidHead

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The entire enterprise of leaving a will seems wrong to me. When I die, what happens to my former possessions is none of my concern, nor should it be. I don't know who should be the arbiter of that decision, but of all the parties, the one with the least to lose is certainly me! I get that people naturally assume that ownership should give a person the privilege to decide these matters, but it is unclear to me why this should be so. Ownership confers certain advantages in a social context based on the interests of owners. I need to be secure that my property won't be stolen by other people, or used without my consent, etc. But when I am gone, I relinquish those rights because the consequences can no longer effect me. Like I said, it's not easy to figure out exactly who should decide where my stuff goes (maybe just put it up for public auction). If I really want somebody to have something of mine, I can give it to them while I'm still alive anyway.
What you just wrote was one of the most bastardly selfish texts I ever seen.

I didn't mean for it to come across that way, and I'm surprised that it did. In effect, I was saying that people who wish to control their possessions after they are dead are the ones being selfish.

With ownership comes responsibility, not only privileges.

I totally agree.

The effects on society when it is freed from your ownership and released due to your death is your resposibility.

I simply object to the idea that I'm necessarily the best person to make that decision, especially on my deathbed. Lots of people lose all sense of perspective when they near death, and petty grudges become magnified, because they won't have to face the consequences of their choices.

Having had to deal with lots of dead people's shit and related family dramas, I say unto thee, make thy decisions now, especially for the stuff that will be contested. Make a fucking will. Decide which charity gets all your old clothes, dishes, and household items. Pick one that will come and pick up all your stuff so people that actually knew you don't have to go through it. Burn your personal papers, pictures and crap before you die. Run magnets over your hard drives. Set your accounts to joint tenancy for the people you really care about, so they don't have to deal with probate. Donate your cadaver to a medical school. Seriously. This is the least selfish way to deal with it. Leaving your junk to be dealt with by your friends and family when you are gone, including your corpse, is selfish.

Thinking about it some more, you and Juma have a point.
 

spikepipsqueak

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In Ohio, one can title their vehicles and home(s)/land to pass upon death just as you would with a bank account. For this reason, I don't bother with a will as what's left (my personal effects) are of little value to anyone but me. Basically, it's just stuff to clean up after I'm gone. I can't imagine what my daughter would do with my circular saw other than pull the trigger, get scared, and drop it.

I've always had reservation about leaving anything of substantial value to my child. It's not much but it's more than a twenty-two year old can probably handle. I fear I may be doing her a disservice were I to kick the bucket tomorrow. I know money dropped in one's lap is treated different than money earned.
I think it would be best to leave it to charity but I can't bring myself to do it. I wonder what my daughter would think. Should it matter?

I have had this same thought, though my son is now approaching 25 so it is less of an issue. But when he was 16-about 23 I felt that if I kicked the bucket my few resources would be frittered away, perhaps even just left to deteriorate.

Then I realised that was me just thinking in terms of controlling my "stuff" from beyond the grave. If my son wasted everything I left him he would be no worse off and would likely learn a lesson from it. (and I would be beyond caring). I decided to trust him (and not die just yet).
 

fast

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There are two specific cases that come to mind. One woman gets married and has kids. The husband dies. she remarries. They are together for nearly 30 years. She makes the decision long before she passes to leave the house to the kids. Even as both age considerably, never once does she decide to allow the new second husband (and step-parent of kids) of 30 years to remain in the home they shared for a great part of their lives. It seems wrong to the devoted husband, and it seems egregious even, because had he been the first husband and actual parent to the kids, it wouldn't have turned out that way.

This prompts me to ask a man who knows the situation (who so happens to be the second husband to a woman who owns a house and has kids). The man and his wife say the house will go to her kids. It blows me away. It puts an eerie twist on the notion of someone loving someone until the day they die.
 

spikepipsqueak

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Blows me away, too. Hard to credit.

In these cases is there no provision made for the surviving spouse? No underlying assumption that the affectionate step children will "do the right thing"? It's really "Out on the street with you."?
 

fast

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Blows me away, too. Hard to credit.

In these cases is there no provision made for the surviving spouse? No underlying assumption that the affectionate step children will "do the right thing"? It's really "Out on the street with you."?
Thanks. I thought maybe there was some wisdom i wasn't grasping or something.
 

Juma

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There are two specific cases that come to mind. One woman gets married and has kids. The husband dies. she remarries. They are together for nearly 30 years. She makes the decision long before she passes to leave the house to the kids. Even as both age considerably, never once does she decide to allow the new second husband (and step-parent of kids) of 30 years to remain in the home they shared for a great part of their lives. It seems wrong to the devoted husband, and it seems egregious even, because had he been the first husband and actual parent to the kids, it wouldn't have turned out that way.

This prompts me to ask a man who knows the situation (who so happens to be the second husband to a woman who owns a house and has kids). The man and his wife say the house will go to her kids. It blows me away. It puts an eerie twist on the notion of someone loving someone until the day they die.
But maybe its just that he doesnt feel he need the money and a whole house by himself is too much?
 

fast

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There are two specific cases that come to mind. One woman gets married and has kids. The husband dies. she remarries. They are together for nearly 30 years. She makes the decision long before she passes to leave the house to the kids. Even as both age considerably, never once does she decide to allow the new second husband (and step-parent of kids) of 30 years to remain in the home they shared for a great part of their lives. It seems wrong to the devoted husband, and it seems egregious even, because had he been the first husband and actual parent to the kids, it wouldn't have turned out that way.

This prompts me to ask a man who knows the situation (who so happens to be the second husband to a woman who owns a house and has kids). The man and his wife say the house will go to her kids. It blows me away. It puts an eerie twist on the notion of someone loving someone until the day they die.
But maybe its just that he doesnt feel he need the money and a whole house by himself is too much?
But deeper is the issue that should he have been the father of her kids (or perhaps simply her first love), this discussion of his needs--a moot point.
 

purple_kathryn

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I've always had reservation about leaving anything of substantial value to my child. It's not much but it's more than a twenty-two year old can probably handle. I fear I may be doing her a disservice were I to kick the bucket tomorrow. I know money dropped in one's lap is treated different than money earned.
I think it would be best to leave it to charity but I can't bring myself to do it. I wonder what my daughter would think. Should it matter?

There is no way for you to do that without really hurting your daughters feelings. If you try and explain your reasoning or not she will ultimately believe that you thought poorly of her.
 

arkirk

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Among the unwealthy working class, there is not much of an argument as to the assignment of the deceased's property. Among the ultra rich wealth accumulators this business of inheritance assumes an importance it should never have. When it comes to things like home ownership, the banks are standing in line.

There is such a thing as personal posessions. These are the things a person especially cherishes and he/she can easily parcel these items out to those one wants to have them. A mature society would not set up a system of ownership of real property that creates desperation and homelessness on the basis of somebody dying (or getting divorced or just plain getting pissed off). Unfortunately we have a system of constant grasping and competition, a system that creates just such a condition, a system of favoritism regardless of who makes the decisions. We don't OWN THE LAND. It owns us. Just look at where you end up when you pass on.

Our probate systems are to my mind, a complete disaster, based as they are on a kind of absolutism....that what we "own" we can do what we please with it. This is an unhealthy and environmentally irresponsible idea, but it does seem to point to the need for social reorganization. I am not going to go into detail just how this would be accomplished or even how it should be because things will just change over time when we figure out how we ought to treat one another.
 
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