Crazy as a Loom

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Looking ahead.

 Making pies for Thanksgiving made me miss my mother.  She used to sit at the counter the last 10 years of her life that she lived with us, and help me.
She would hand me things, open containers, stir when I needed her to.   I didn't really "need" the help, but it made my heart sing to see how much she loved to do it.

We're all going to die.  It's a fact of life.  It's part of life.

We try to forget it, until it comes waltzing into our world, in one way or another.

We read about old school friends and acquaintance in the obits.
Sometimes, we read about people all too young, that we don't even know, but it somehow
makes us catch our breaths.
I have watched my cousin and her husband, dealing with getting older, and also with that dreaded, nasty thing they call Alzheimers.  They should call it something else.  I call it something else.

My cousin, is 13 years older than I am, but she has always amazed me with her energy, and how much she does not LOOK or ACT her age.  Her husband was the same, until a few years ago.
It started gradually, and then by the time it was given a name, it was in high gear.
It is tragic, to see him still there.  In body.  Knowing full well that he is gone.
I am so distressed by it, I cannot sometimes imagine what it is like for her.

But at any rate, it has spurred me to think of how old age and all that it can bring, sneaks up on us all.
I hear so many people say, "oh, I've got lots of time."
Yeah, well, maybe you do.
And maybe you don't.
No one really knows.

So I did something that has been on my mind for a long time.  Something that I felt needed to be done.
I went to my lawyer, and had him transfer the deed to the studio to my three daughters.   My husband and I have "life estate", which means we can live there and do what we want to it, for as long as we live.  But when we are gone, it is theirs, no will, no hassle, no probate, nothing to do.

And if, in 5 years, I should be incapacitated, and need nursing home care, the house belongs to them, and cannot be taken to pay for my care.

I asked my lawyer if there was any down side to this.  He said there was only one.  If you think someday you might want to sell it, then you will have to have your daughters sign it back over to you.   But if you are pretty sure you never want to sell, then there is no reason.  In fact, he said, I don't really know why more people don't do it, it makes such sense, and makes things so much easier for your heirs.
Anyway, it's done.  And I feel relieved.  I may stick around for a long time, or not.  But either way, my girls own the studio, and all my hard work is safe. 

Oh, I know they probably won't love it like I do.  They'll probably sell it, and split the proceeds.
But then, I won't be worrying about it, either way.
And maybe in some way, it will make their lives easier.  That makes me happy, now.

Because family and friends is what really matters, after all.



Dizzy-Dick said...

I have never heard of that, what a wonderful idea. I wonder how many states have that "Life Estate"? We only have one surviving son, so all property will go to him and some money to our grandson, who is the son of our deceased son.

Daryl said...

brilliant thing to do ... you are a smart woman .. i would do the same if i owned property. i have been thinking a lot about getting older/dying .. after my husband was ill a few years ago and recovered so well i pushed all thought of either of us dying from my mind but it keeps creeping back in .. especially this time of year when family is so important and i look around and see only my sister and three first cousins left of what was a very large family .. life is short, lets enjoy it the best we can while we can .. xox

Anita Johnson said...

My mom (87) sat with us yesterday as we put the thanksgiving dinner together...this post hit home. We need to start getting our stuff in order too! While i hope we have many years ahead of us...being prepared would be a gift to us and our kids. Something added to my to do list.

1horsetown said...

My MIL gave us her house a few years ago. Instead of a life estate, we have a renter's agreement, she pays the property tax, we pay the insurance. The house was brand new a few years ago, so no maintenance stuff for a while. The house was built on the south end of our land, so she's close.

messymimi said...

One reason more people don't do it is that it messes up the heirs' basis in the property when they go to sell. If they don't inherit it until you are gone, their basis for taxes is what it's worth when you die and they inherit. If you give it to them now this way, their basis for being taxed is what you paid for the property. So they will have to pay capital gains tax on a much larger amount when they do go to sell it.

Anyway, some people don't care about that aspect, and if it works for your family, i'm glad.

Karen said...

I think what you did was a good move. We have already gifted over some of our worth to our kids in a family trust.

Hilary said...

Clever you. It's true, we try not to think about the inevitable. And we don't always agree on how to handle that as a couple. Good for you that you figured out what works best for you and set it in motion.

Seeing your Mom at the start of the post made me wish I could give you a hug.

Cait Throop said...

You are so never know when your time is up. I like the idea of Life Estate...hmmm...Big Hugs!

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