The Moneyist: I will not leave my house to my boyfriend in my will. I don’t want his daughters, who hate me, to profit

United States

Dear Quentin,

I have been living with my boyfriend for five years. When I met him he was separated from his wife and they later divorced. His daughters blame me for their father’s marriage falling apart, and because of that, they have no love for me at all. They have even refused to meet me, and have made sure I am excluded from anything pertaining to the family.

Recently, he lost his job. At the time, I wasn’t making enough to pay our substantial rent payment and support both of us. We started renting a room from my family member. Since then, I landed a much better job, and saved enough to put a small down payment on a home. 

Because he is paying alimony to his ex-wife, his debt-to-income ratio is extremely high, and he cannot be included on the mortgage loan. I will never marry my boyfriend. I was married once, and lost almost everything in the divorce. It isn’t something I want to do again.

‘His friends and family think I am being selfish.’

Here is where things get shaky. I will not leave the house to him in my will. Early on, he let me know that all of his financial assets would be willed to his daughters. I have no problem with that. I don’t want his daughters, who hate me, to profit from anything I have worked hard to get. 

I told him that in the event that I die before him, I am going to leave the house to my son, but set up a living estate for him to remain in the house. As long as he continues to pay the mortgage and taxes, he can stay there until his death, and my son will then take it over.

He is angry and hurt by my decision. I feel like it’s the best decision all around. My son would make sure my boyfriend had a place to live, but in the end, will receive his inheritance. Am I wrong? I would love to hear from someone unbiased. 

His friends and family think I am being selfish. I haven’t shared this with my family because I don’t want them to have a negative opinion of him. 

Uncertain Girlfriend

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Dear Uncertain,

Your house. Your money. Your will. Your family. Your choice. 

Your boyfriend can’t afford to purchase a house with you and you don’t want to tie your financial future to this relationship, and want to ensure that your son has some semblance of security after you’re gone. If the past year has taught you anything, it’s that anything can happen. 

If it’s so important for your boyfriend to buy a home, he can do that on his own terms and in his own time. He also needs to dance to the beat of his own drum. His assets go to his kids, your assets go to your son. He can’t expect to do one thing, and get upset with you for doing another.

You face significant headwinds in your relationship. Relationships are difficult enough when everyone is cheering you on, but his family have made their feelings clear. They don’t want you in his life. It’s smart to accept their decision rather than drive yourself crazy trying to change it.

But you’re right. Only a sucker for punishment would want stepchildren — who cast them as the evil stepmother — to ultimately inherit their home, or even share in that inheritance. You stepchildren shouldn’t want to have it every which way, and neither can your boyfriend. 

Co-mingling assets with a man who you never intend to marry, and who has significant familial and financial issues that impact your relationship would be a mistake. Take care of yourself and your son, and let the proverbial chips fall where they may — anywhere but in your own backyard.

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