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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I moved from Europe to the USA over 7 years ago. My aunt who lived in the USA for most of her life now told me that she wants to inherit her house and everything else to me.
I have mixed feelings about this because she has closer relatives (daughters) than me but she doesn't want to give it to them because she feels that they are only after her money.

If I was to accept her generous offer to inherit all her belongings when she passes what difficulties are there to expect. Is it easy for her daughters to sue me over this and how likely are they to win? Is there anything she could mention in her will to avoid me getting sued from her daughters?

I have mixed feelings about this and want to consider all possibilities.
Hope to get some helping answers :) Thanks!
 

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the only advice i can really give is to make sure she puts it in her will. and that she has it done by proper attorneys. because it could raise flags with her children especially when there money involved. do know that you will have to pay an inheritance tax on what you get. (unless it was from insurance) and whatever outstanding bills you will also be responsible for because you will be named as the representative of the estate. and if they do try to fight you, an im not a lawyer but have heard about this in some states from the news, that it could end up being just tied up in court and you wont get everything a quick as normal. but in the end if she leaves it in her will then that is that. make sure she goes and sees an attorney about it especially to update her will. and make sure EVERYTHING is listed all possession assets everything. i had to have a living will and a will while i was in the navy and it had to be updated everything i had gotten something that needed to be added, retirement, social security, car, home, personal belongings of value. everything. i think i updated it about 3 times in one year and on regular once a year.

on a nicer note. you have to see it the way she does. she feels that you are the more responsible and that it is a true gift from her to you. and it would be nice to her children if she did tell them. and not you because you dont want to seem like your bragging at all.

also i think she can put in her will that she doesnt want her children going to court and trying to fight you. im not 100% positive on this but again, tell her to talk to a lawyer. :) hope that helps out some. i will try to find some links for you ok? just so you can read for your own knowledge if you like.
 

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There are a couple of caveats to this situation. The main thing is to make sure that your aunt draws up her will using a competent attorney. Each state has slightly different laws about what MUST be left to immediate family members - i.e. the daughters - and if her will doesn't respect those laws, the daughters can (and probably will) move to break the will. But some states only require that a token inheritance be left to, say, the children. Others will require a particular portion - say 25 to 50%.

You might also want to ask her to appoint a "neutral" executor for the will. (Playing executor from a distance, as you would be doing, is a major headache.) Depending on the nature of what she has in her estate, an attorney or banker could serve (though it will cost) and will at least assure that the daughters cannot accuse you of fiddling the accounts as executor. The executor is charged with settling all outstanding debts and of filing and paying any estate taxes due on the estate before it is distributed. If the daughters have problems with how the assets are distributed, they would sue the executor, not you.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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She could of course sell or give her assets to you now and then rent it back from you ... at a peppercorn rent

but again something a lawyer would need to set up
 

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There are no mandatory portions to immediate family members as you are used to in Germany.
She needs a will drawn up by an attorney which also stipulates the executor of the will and the fees he/she will receive. After the will has been through probate to give potential creditors notice and everything has been paid you will inherit what is left. Are you ready to pay taxes (without deduction for homestaed), insurance, utilities, upkeep for the house?
Of course the family can sue you depending on how explicit the will is or she can execute a new one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the good replies everyone, I didn't expect so many on this difficult topic.

You would think that she can put anyone on her last will, end of story. But not in this country where people love to sue. It's a shame.
I like the idea of having a neutral executor and an attorney. This is something I would have to bring up to her and see what she thinks.

It looks like the state I live in (PA) would take 15%. My aunt lives in Indiana State.
I have the finances to upkeep the house and pay insurance and taxes. As of now I am leaning slightly more towards not wanting to be on the will, on the other hand the money would help a lot for building a future.

I now have some more thinking and research to do.... again thanks for the replies!
 

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In Belgium it's also not possible to disinherit your own children. You can give part away to someone else, but I think at least 50% has to go to your children.

Someone else also told me that, if you live in the US but you don't have the American Citizenship, that you have to pay much more taxes on your inheritance than if you were citizen. You can avoid that by hiring a good lawyer and setting up a kind of trust or something. Costs extra money, but if your inheritance is big, it's cheaper than paying the extra taxes.
 

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In Belgium it's also not possible to disinherit your own children. You can give part away to someone else, but I think at least 50% has to go to your children.

Someone else also told me that, if you live in the US but you don't have the American Citizenship, that you have to pay much more taxes on your inheritance than if you were citizen. You can avoid that by hiring a good lawyer and setting up a kind of trust or something. Costs extra money, but if your inheritance is big, it's cheaper than paying the extra taxes.
The same in Germany - I signed an affidavit that I release family from this obligation.
 

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In Belgium it's also not possible to disinherit your own children. You can give part away to someone else, but I think at least 50% has to go to your children.

Someone else also told me that, if you live in the US but you don't have the American Citizenship, that you have to pay much more taxes on your inheritance than if you were citizen. You can avoid that by hiring a good lawyer and setting up a kind of trust or something. Costs extra money, but if your inheritance is big, it's cheaper than paying the extra taxes.
If part of the estate goes to a non-USC, it's the estate that pays the higher tax - before the estate is distributed to the heirs. But these days the estate has to be worth something on the order of $2 or 3 million before it falls subject to federal estate tax.

I also think that it's the state of residence of the deceased that determines where the state estate or death taxes are paid - not the residence of the heirs. (But that may also vary by state.)
Cheers,
Bev
 
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