(Topic ID: 296840)

My 88 year old aunt has been swindled

By HandsOfStone

6 months ago


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  • Latest reply 6 months ago by gdonovan
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#1 6 months ago

My aunt is 88 years old. She is in great health for her age. Her husband passed about a year ago and she decided to go stay with her daughter for a while in another state. Unfortunately, her daughter died unexpectedly a few months ago. Her son-in-law called me immediately wanting to know if I had power of attorney over my aunt's affairs (I was her daughter's backup). I told him yes, and he immediately told me I needed to hand that over to him so he could take care of her. I told him that wasn't possible. A few days later, he called me back with his daughter on the phone (my aunt's granddaughter). She screamed at me and told me I was going to hand over "The Power" or else. She told me her grandmother had dementia and she was going to put her in a home nearby. I laughed and told her that wasn't happening. I went up there (10 hr. trip) and drove her back to live with me. She is doing great, and shows no signs of dementia. She has saved all of her retirement over the years and built up a nice nest egg. He was counting on getting it (to go along with his NASA retirement and parent's money). When her daughter passed, that wasn't going to happen anymore and he tried everything he could to keep her up there and get control of her finances.

So here's my question:

Back in 2004, my aunt bought a little house by the river. She was 71 back then. It was only the 2nd house she'd ever bought. Her son-in-law "helped" her through the buying process and even took her to his lawyer to draw up the paperwork. Turns out, he had his name put on the deed from day one. The day before I picked her up, he said "You know I own half of your house, and I can make you sell it". I have talked to a real estate attorney and he has told me it is a lost cause and we'll either have to pay him half, or have a court ordered split-sale. I have offered to pay him half of the value of the house, but of course he thinks it is worth WAY MORE that what the other houses have sold for in the past year. Just wondering if anyone has experienced this and what course of action you took. The house is located in Alabama. Thanks everyone.

#2 6 months ago
Quoted from HandsOfStone:

I have talked to a real estate attorney and he has told me it is a lost cause and we'll either have to pay him half, or have a court ordered split-sale.

Sounds like someone with more expertise than Pinside has already weighed in here. Best option would be to have a second attorney look at the details if you want another opinion. The only way to get out of that is to prove that at that time, she wasn't in a right state of mind to be agreeing to a contract...that's going to be really difficult, or impossible, 17 years later and she's still mentally fit.

Quoted from HandsOfStone:

I have offered to pay him half of the value of the house, but of course he thinks it is worth WAY MORE that what the other houses have sold for in the past year.

Seems like an agreed upon 3rd party appraisal of the property would solve this.

#3 6 months ago

I don't think he wants to settle for half of the value. He wants to wait it out and get the whole house (if he outlives her, he's 72 himself).

The attorney I talked to has handled her affairs for the last 10 years. He actually told me, a few years ago, the son-in-law called him and tried to get him to add his name to another piece of property she owns (of course without telling her). I wonder what a judge would think if that little piece of info was told.

#4 6 months ago
Quoted from HandsOfStone:

I don't think he wants to settle for half of the value. He wants to wait it out and get the whole house (if he outlives her, he's 72 himself).
The attorney I talked to has handled her affairs for the last 10 years. He actually told me, a few years ago, the son-in-law called him and tried to get him to add his name to another piece of property she owns (of course without telling her). I wonder what a judge would think if that little piece of info was told.

then you withdraw. you most certainly have the right to at any time. force an appraisal for the current value of the house. make him either write you a check or sell now.

#5 6 months ago
Quoted from HandsOfStone:

The attorney I talked to has handled her affairs for the last 10 years. He actually told me, a few years ago, the son-in-law called him and tried to get him to add his name to another piece of property she owns (of course without telling her). I wonder what a judge would think if that little piece of info was told.

at most a judge will think it's slimy, but it will not impact anything other than that. he didn't break any laws by doing that. it's messed up, but that's it. it's just some he said/she said heresy. the facts are only that you (assuming you're the only beneficiary of her estate) are an owner of half the asset, and he is owner of the other half. you have no obligation to stay invested.

-1
#6 6 months ago
Quoted from HandsOfStone:

I don't think he wants to settle for half of the value. He wants to wait it out and get the whole house (if he outlives her, he's 72 himself).

How would he get the whole house? If the house is half hers wouldn't her half go to her estate on the event of her passing?

14
#7 6 months ago

While your at it, make sure your Aunt writes this piece of work out of her will.

#8 6 months ago

For that house thing, you gotta go with attorneys.

For the rest, well, sounds like you saved her. Props to you for taking care of your aunt. Driving there and getting her was a good thing to do. It sounds like they were intent on taking everything from her. Nice relatives. It sounds like you have it covered, make sure whatever she has is locked up and protected from those people. More internet advice (always questionable lol) says also to make sure she has all of her estate planning in very good shape while she herself is in good shape. That includes her will for sure, and any trust she might want to set up.

#9 6 months ago
Quoted from beergut666:

How would he get the whole house? If the house is half hers wouldn't her half go to her estate on the event of her passing?

Exactly. What does her will say? Who are going to be the beneficiaries of her Estate as of now?

#10 6 months ago

I would explain the situation to her, and make sure she excludes this guy from her will (assuming he's in it). He has already taken advantage of her, and scammed her for more than what she probably would have left him when that time comes.

#11 6 months ago
Quoted from HandsOfStone:

My aunt is 88 years old. She is in great health for her age. Her husband passed about a year ago and she decided to go stay with her daughter for a while in another state. Unfortunately, her daughter died unexpectedly a few months ago. Her son-in-law called me immediately wanting to know if I had power of attorney over my aunt's affairs (I was her daughter's backup). I told him yes, and he immediately told me I needed to hand that over to him so he could take care of her. I told him that wasn't possible. A few days later, he called me back with his daughter on the phone (my aunt's granddaughter). She screamed at me and told me I was going to hand over "The Power" or else. She told me her grandmother had dementia and she was going to put her in a home nearby. I laughed and told her that wasn't happening. I went up there (10 hr. trip) and drove her back to live with me. She is doing great, and shows no signs of dementia. She has saved all of her retirement over the years and built up a nice nest egg. He was counting on getting it (to go along with his NASA retirement and parent's money). When her daughter passed, that wasn't going to happen anymore and he tried everything he could to keep her up there and get control of her finances.
So here's my question:
Back in 2004, my aunt bought a little house by the river. She was 71 back then. It was only the 2nd house she'd ever bought. Her son-in-law "helped" her through the buying process and even took her to his lawyer to draw up the paperwork. Turns out, he had his name put on the deed from day one. The day before I picked her up, he said "You know I own half of your house, and I can make you sell it". I have talked to a real estate attorney and he has told me it is a lost cause and we'll either have to pay him half, or have a court ordered split-sale. I have offered to pay him half of the value of the house, but of course he thinks it is worth WAY MORE that what the other houses have sold for in the past year. Just wondering if anyone has experienced this and what course of action you took. The house is located in Alabama. Thanks everyone.

Simple if he over valued the house sell him your half for the same price he is asking. You will get more then you are entitled to = win.

#12 6 months ago
Quoted from beergut666:

How would he get the whole house? If the house is half hers wouldn't her half go to her estate on the event of her passing?

For jointly owned property usually the remaining owner gets the other share when one dies.
I believe it depends on the particular state though.

#13 6 months ago

just have your aunt move to the bahamas and blow her nest egg living in a resort. What is the point of all this stress at 88 years old? Fuck it all IMO

#14 6 months ago

The house deed states "Right of Survivorship". No one can sell or transfer their part. It's last man standing. He had his lawyer buddy draw it up that way back in 2004. She had no idea. He had only been married to her daughter for a few years and hadn't shown his true colors yet.

I'm grateful that I got her away from him when I did. He shoved a stack of papers and demanded she sign them the day before I got there. He is also using her 28 year old granddaughter (and her baby) as a lure to try to get her to come back up there. She is smarter than that and told me she is never going back.

The fact that her granddaughter bought into the whole dementia (put her in a home) thing makes me sick.

#15 6 months ago
Quoted from DCFAN:

For jointly owned property usually the remaining owner gets the other share when one dies.

Yes typically, but does depend on how the deed is written. This also varies state to state. Need attorney to review.

#16 6 months ago

Draw up the paperwork to have her sign over her half of the house to him for free. Then swap the names on the final set of documents and hope his greed keeps him from reading the fine print.

Works in the movies; but admittedly the only things I know about Alabama courts I learned from 'My Cousin Vinny"

#17 6 months ago
Quoted from HandsOfStone:

The house deed states "Right of Survivorship". No one can sell or transfer their part. It's last man standing

Are you positive that your Aunt can't quit claim the deed?

Check with a real estate attorney.

#18 6 months ago

BTW, I have removed her from all of this drama. We don't talk about it. It is just me handling this. She was in terrible shape when I picked her up a month ago. She was a nervous wreck and had dropped 35 lbs. in the 9 months she stayed there. She is doing much, much better now.

#19 6 months ago
Quoted from HandsOfStone:

The house deed states "Right of Survivorship". No one can sell or transfer their part. It's last man standing. He had his lawyer buddy draw it up that way back in 2004. She had no idea. He had only been married to her daughter for a few years and hadn't shown his true colors yet.
I'm grateful that I got her away from him when I did. He shoved a stack of papers and demanded she sign them the day before I got there. He is also using her 28 year old granddaughter (and her baby) as a lure to try to get her to come back up there. She is smarter than that and told me she is never going back.
The fact that her granddaughter bought into the whole dementia (put her in a home) thing makes me sick.

this is why she withdraws! now! she can opt to be divested from the asset while she's still alive. he cannot stop her from doing that. he must then either pay her half of the third party valuation, or it has to be sold to pay her half of the actual sale price. any good lawyer should be telling you this. ask.

#20 6 months ago
Quoted from bigehrl:

this is why she withdraws! now! she can opt to be divested from the asset while she's still alive. he cannot stop her from doing that. he must then either pay her half of the third party valuation, or it has to be sold to pay her half of the actual sale price. any good lawyer should be telling you this. ask.

I like this idea.

Your aunt has no use for this house anymore. Cash out now.

Talk to a real estate attorney pronto. Skip Pinside.

#21 6 months ago
Quoted from RTS:

Talk to a real estate attorney pronto. Skip Pinside.

^^^ Gospel!

#22 6 months ago

1. Talk to an attorney.

2. If you want more free advice, try https://www.reddit.com/r/legaladvice/.

3. Bounce anything #2 says off of #1.

Good luck and I'm sorry you are having to go through this.

#23 6 months ago
Quoted from RTS:

Are you positive that your Aunt can't quit claim the deed?
Check with a real estate attorney.

Quit claim would be handing over her half to him. You wouldn't do this unless you had a suitable check from him for one half the value, deposited in the bank and funds cleared. Then, you could quit claim it and he would rightfully own it all.

The ongoing advice to use an attorney for this house thing is still the best!

#24 6 months ago

Simple solution to selling a jointly owned property.

One party puts a value on it and asks the other party if they are a buyer or a seller.

#25 6 months ago
Quoted from Coindork:

Simple solution to selling a jointly owned property.
One party puts a value on it and asks the other party if they are a buyer or a seller.

Effectively this way it doesn’t matter what the other one thinks it’s worth.
Both parties agree the property is being sold.
Either one of you comes up with a price and presents it to the other party.
The other party either agrees to sell or agrees to buy and has to pay out the other party.

#26 6 months ago
Quoted from xsvtoys:

Quit claim would be handing over her half to him

I thought she could assign a grantee. I was not aware it could only be to the parties on title.

#27 6 months ago
Quoted from Coindork:

Simple solution to selling a jointly owned property.
One party puts a value on it and asks the other party if they are a buyer or a seller.

Exactly!!! So simple

#28 6 months ago
Quoted from Coindork:

Simple solution to selling a jointly owned property.
One party puts a value on it and asks the other party if they are a buyer or a seller.

Quoted from JohnTTwo:

Exactly!!! So simple

How is it simple when the OP already stated the other party doesn't want to settle. Doesn't sound like the son-in-law has any interest in working something out with his aunt.

Quoted from HandsOfStone:

I don't think he wants to settle for half of the value. He wants to wait it out and get the whole house (if he outlives her, he's 72 himself).

Quoted from HandsOfStone:

The house deed states "Right of Survivorship". No one can sell or transfer their part. It's last man standing. He had his lawyer buddy draw it up that way back in 2004. She had no idea. He had only been married to her daughter for a few years and hadn't shown his true colors yet.

#29 6 months ago

Burn it down, have her light the match..

#30 6 months ago

Talk to an attorney. Ask him for all options. If you don't like what he says get a second opinion. If the second attorney agrees then you know where you stand. I would also get in contact with a financials person. You and your aunt may need to start moving assets around.

#31 6 months ago

What it all boils down to is this house is near and dear to her. She moved there because her daughter (with the scammer son-in-law) lived in a big house right on the water. She wanted to be close to her. This house is much smaller (1,400 sq. ft.) and has a small view of the river from across the street. They cashed out ~10 years ago and moved on. My aunt kept her little house, having no idea that he scammed her. Part of the deal is he knows that it breaks her heart that he can control what happens to her house. That's why he doesn't want to settle.

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#32 6 months ago

I'm a lawyer and my advice is don't get advice on pinside.

You have already consulted an attorney. If you don't like his/her opinion find another attorney.

DO NOT opinion shop on pinside. You need legal counsel licensed in the applicable state. Even if people "shared their experiences" with you it would not be apples to apples as state law can differ in estate and property matters by a lot.

Please - end this thread and get professional counsel. Upon quick glance the amount of bad advice in this thread is scary.

Would you get in a car and let a blind person drive just because they heard how a steering wheel works once from a friend?

#33 6 months ago

You need to put it on the market now, as is, and accept the first cash offer that is at or near market. You WILL get multiple cash offers, unless the property, is just a dump.

#36 6 months ago

I was just wondering if there was ever a case of a hitman being paid in pinball machines.
Looking at OP's Funhouse, Whirlwind, and and Addams.

(That's a joke. Listen to the people telling you to get legal advice from a qualified attorney.)

#37 6 months ago
Quoted from brainmegaphone:

I'm a lawyer and my advice is don't get advice on pinside.

Please - end this thread and get professional counsel. Upon quick glance the amount of bad advice in this thread is scary.

Get off your high horse (no pun intended with your avatar). Nothing wrong with a having a discussion on pinside. For many people they don't have social media accounts and come here to this community for discussions where they been members for 8 years. You see it all the time when someone asks for advise on a new roof or A/C unit. The OP already stated that he has been in contact with a attorney and I highly doubt he is going to take someone's advise from this thread and consider it law. If anything I found this topic quite entertaining and break from all the other Pinside BS.

#38 6 months ago

Pinside advice from posts in this thread :

Best option would be to have a second attorney look at the details if you want another opinion

For that house thing, you gotta go with attorneys.

Need attorney to review.

Check with a real estate attorney.

any good lawyer should be telling you this. ask.

Talk to a real estate attorney pronto. Skip Pinside.

1. Talk to an attorney.

The ongoing advice to use an attorney for this house thing is still the best!

Talk to an attorney.

#39 6 months ago
Quoted from bigehrl:

then you withdraw. you most certainly have the right to at any time. force an appraisal for the current value of the house. make him either write you a check or sell now.

He’s right!
Happened to a friend of mine, his sister is a real POS and unfortunately had rights to half their childhood home. She tried to manipulate their mother and him to get the house, took it to court and a judge FORCED an assessment and fair-market sale. Since the sister is a broke POS she couldn’t even afford to buy the house so in the end all she got was half the price and it was FAR “less” than she felt she could have gotten on her own.

As everyone is saying, find an attorney but in the end just force a sale and buy it because those idiots probably can’t afford it. You’ll have to buy them out and you could get lucky, market in Alabama isn’t exploding like they are out west or in the northeast.

#40 6 months ago
Quoted from Jherre6:

Burn it down, have her light the match..

Grease fires happen all the time. Hell, take her back there for Turkey Day and test out that new deep fryer with a frozen turkey.

#41 6 months ago
Quoted from mcluvin:

Grease fires happen all the time. Hell, take her back there for Turkey Day and test out that new deep fryer with a frozen turkey

Terrible advice

First step, find a priest. Second step, take some time to enjoy life. Enjoy the moment with Auntie. Take her for ice cream. Third step, find, attend, befriend some people at Alabama's finest Satanist church. Fourth step, have your new friends do a blood ritual to summon a demon at your aunt's house! Fifth step, wait. That demon will fuck some shit up. Give it a few weeks, they'll sell that demon, hell hole!. Last step, buy house on the cheap, & call your priest buddy from step 1 to get rid of the demon. Done and done. A buddy of mine did something similar. Worked great.

#42 6 months ago
Quoted from Friengineer:

Terrible advice
First step, find a priest. Second step, take some time to enjoy life. Enjoy the moment with Auntie. Take her for ice cream. Third step, find, attend, befriend some people at Alabama's finest Satanist church. Fourth step, have your new friends do a blood ritual to summon a demon at your aunt's house! Fifth step, wait. That demon will fuck some shit up. Give it a few weeks, they'll sell that demon, hell hole!. Last step, buy house on the cheap, & call your priest buddy from step 1 to get rid of the demon. Done and done. A buddy of mine did something similar. Worked great.

That’s too much work! How healthy are you? Rent your aunt’s half for a buck a month. Get Covid. Infect old scammer. He dies. Done…

#43 6 months ago
Quoted from mcluvin:

He dies. Done

He dies... You impersonate him, weekend at Bernie's. Collect his social security, FAT Nasa retirement and vote for him. Now that's revenge!

#44 6 months ago
Quoted from Friengineer:

Terrible advice
First step, find a priest. Second step, take some time to enjoy life. Enjoy the moment with Auntie. Take her for ice cream. Third step, find, attend, befriend some people at Alabama's finest Satanist church. Fourth step, have your new friends do a blood ritual to summon a demon at your aunt's house! Fifth step, wait. That demon will fuck some shit up. Give it a few weeks, they'll sell that demon, hell hole!. Last step, buy house on the cheap, & call your priest buddy from step 1 to get rid of the demon. Done and done. A buddy of mine did something similar. Worked great.

Your buddy did WHAT??

#45 6 months ago
Quoted from brainmegaphone:

Please - end this thread and get professional counsel.

This.

Quoted from HandsOfStone:

He had his lawyer buddy draw it up that way back in 2004

Hi lawyer buddy. He still a lawyer ? Or disbarred for shady deals ?

LTG : )

#46 6 months ago

Time to give these guys a call.....

leverage (resized).jpeg
#47 6 months ago
Quoted from bigehrl:

this is why she withdraws! now! she can opt to be divested from the asset while she's still alive. he cannot stop her from doing that. he must then either pay her half of the third party valuation, or it has to be sold to pay her half of the actual sale price. any good lawyer should be telling you this. ask.

This. Partition of Real Estate. Google it in state where property is located. Property values are high now. Have Aunt retain a lawyer to file a Petition for Partition of property by Sale. A joint owner can force a sale as long as property can’t be physically divided (like farmland). Court (usually Clerk of Court) will appoint a Commissioner who will appraise property. One owner can buy out other but if no agreement it goes to market at appraised value. Each owner can bid but must buy whole property and then get reimbursed their share from proceeds after commissioner and realtor fee. Not cheapest or quickest way, but best way to stick it to scumbag son in law.

#48 6 months ago

Wow that guy is a total douchbag!
Karma is bitch... hope whats coming his way is soon and swift.

#49 6 months ago
Quoted from HandsOfStone:

He wants to wait it out and get the whole house (if he outlives her, he's 72 himself).

What a miserable sack of shit.

#50 6 months ago

Let’s get a posse going and “egg” his house with old pinballs!

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