Estate of Affairs

Much of the last months has been taken up with dealing with/distributing my Dad’s estate. I’ve had to get myself up to speed on all kinds of “grown up” things like deeds, titles, notes, executors, etc.

As such, I’ve started to think about certain things in a different way. Such as:

If you move in with someone who owns their own apartment, do you ask to have your name put on the mortgage? If so, when? Why or why not?

If a family heirloom, say an engagement ring, is passed on to a family member, and they give it to their fiancee and they break up, does the ring come back to the family?

Finally, would you want to live in an apartment with your significant other that they shared (as in lived with) someone else? This was a big one for me. I don’t think I would want to live somewhere where my partner created a life with someone else. Too many memories and ghosts. I would probably lobby for us to find our own place. The issue, if that partners owns their place, is whether or not it’s fair to force someone to put a property on the market that they bought and on which they have been paying a mortgage. In a situation like that, I guess the appropriate thing to do is suck it up. And get a new mattress.

I realize that whomever I date has a past. There will be finger and footprints of an ex or two all over any apartment in which they live. The idea of someone other woman sleeping in his bed a few nights a week doesn’t bother. The idea of another woman carving out a space for herself in his (their?) home would.

Over the years, I’ve really come around to appreciating having my own space. I’m not sure it’s necessary to actually co-habitate together in the same space. Frankly, I see far more benefits living together, apart as they say. I think it would make each partner miss and therefore appreciate the other more. Of course, I’m talking about couple that don’t plan on having kids. Obviously, this might not be the ideal arrangement for those who want children.

From the above linked article:

Until about a year ago, Ms. Jacobs lived contentedly alone in a small San Francisco studio. Now she is cohabiting, sort of, for the first time since college. Mr. Pardo, a kindly, thrice-married art dealer, wooed her with an offer she couldn’t resist: her own bungalow, right behind his.

Theirs is a new twist on a newish trend, particularly among boomer-age couples, known as living apart together, or L.A.T. for short, an acronym that describes those who commit to each other, but not to having the same address. For Ms. Jacobs and Mr. Pardo, cohabiting at the same address but in two houses was a happy accident, she said.

When Mr. Pardo, who is now 63, asked her to marry him on their third date, she rebuffed him immediately.

“I told him I’d never lived with a man,” she recalled. “And at 50, I wasn’t going to start. I said the only way I could imagine it was if we had two houses. Of course, then he bought these. It’s intoxicating to have somebody want you that badly. How can you deny someone with such good taste?”

 

Okay. Maybe this isn’t the best example. These two sound rather..eccentric. But , hey. It appears to work.

I tend to think that, the longer you live on your own, the more difficult it will be to live with someone. Relationships and dating in general is rapidly changing. So doesn’t it make sense that these more non-traditional avenues are becoming more common?

Maybe we’re wising up and accepting certain realities regarding monogamy and living together and marriage? Namely, that they don’t really work? Sure, 50% of marriages don’t end in divorce. But how many of those are actually couples who suffer in silence or refuse to be taken to the cleaners or stay together for the kids?

If I was made aware of anything over these past few months while dealing with my Dad’s illness and passing, it’s that what he hand my Step-mom had was very, very rare. They were happy. Truly happy. But how many people come into a relationship with such an understanding of commitment? How many people get engaged with the intention of getting married and aren’t just buying time?

Just some random thoughts this morning, folks.

Speak.

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17 Responses to “Estate of Affairs”

  1. wishing u well Says:

    “If you move in with someone who owns their own apartment, do you ask to have your name put on the mortgage? If so, when? Why or why not?”

    Short term living together situation? No, I wouldn’t want my name on anything. If it were going to be a long-term living together situation (as in in lieu of marraige), the only way I would have my name put on the mortgage would be if I could make a substantial payment towards the principal balance owed, contingent upon both the deed and title be revested in both of our names as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Maybe I would also request that we consider refinancing in the interest of securing a lower mortgage, but that would really depend on whether or not the property was purchased during the height of the real estate market. (My way of buying into “our” apartment).

    “If a family heirloom, say an engagement ring, is passed on to a family member, and they give it to their fiancee and they break up, does the ring come back to the family?”

    Yes, of course the ring goes back. It’s a family heirloom, and no matter how challenging the reason, the bottom line is that the 2 people did not get married. Be reasonable, grow up, and return the ring no matter what. (Yes, even if they say that you can keep it, return it anyway).

    “Finally, would you want to live in an apartment with your significant other that they shared (as in lived with) someone else?”

    Yes I’d be okay with sharing the apartment if the breakup ended a long time ago (anything over a year or two), but I’d want to redecorate a bit with his input / approval. Some paint, different accessories, and maybe a couple pieces of new furniture can work wonders. I’ve got my big girl pants on, and I’m not so worried about the ghost of the past. However, if they just broke up within the last year, and the lease is a relatively new one ending within the next 6 months? Well, no, I wouldn’t move into that apartment. I’think that it would be smarter to take the opportunity to start afresh in a new location and not run into the risk of tripping over the ghost of the not-so-distant past. Of course there are exceptions, such as the rare rent-controlled apartment in NYC, but you get my general drift…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  2. LostSailor Says:

    I wouldn’t want my name on the mortgage. I’d want my name added to the deed.

    Yes, the ring should come back, family heirloom or not. Not that she has to, since it was given to her and it’s hers. But if she didn’t I would seriously think of having a little talk with my friend Vinnie from Staten Island and see if she could be convinced.

    I wouldn’t really care about living in an apartment/house where an LTR or marriage once took place, but I agree with wishing u well that I’d want to have some of my own stuff there. Hey, I not only come with baggage, I come with furniture (and power tools).

    But this whole “living together apart” thing is a bit weird. Personally, I wouldn’t move in with someone that I wasn’t planning to marry or have a long, long term relationship with. There are just too many entanglements that come with that for anything other than a very serious relationship.

    That whole “I’ve never lived with a man and I’m not going to start now”…well, I can see why. Living together is necessarily upsetting to your habits and your life in general. It’s supposed to be, since you’re presumably forming a new life with another person.

    Even though I’m divorced, I haven’t joined the non-marriage bandwagon. I enjoyed being married for most of those years, and would do it again–with the right woman. Not that I’m yearning to get hitched again, mind you. I’m generally enjoying single life. But I’m open to the possibility of doing it again. With the right person it still can be special.

    {sniff} Okay. Enough of that. Must now go do something manly to restore my street cred…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      this whole “living together apart” thing is a bit weird.
      It sounds a bit weird, but something my older sister said a while back stuck with me: “our marriage would be a lot easier if he lived next door instead of us always being on top of each other.” (no double entendre intended) Of course, they are in a small apartment with three kids, whereas in a house they could each have their own space; they just can’t afford that.

      I know one gal whose ex lives in the apartment across the hall because they have a kid together. She says their relationship now is so much better they probably wouldn’t have split up had they done that to begin with.

      you’re presumably forming a new life with another person.
      Many, many people live together (or even get married, though that’s fading as cohabiting gets more socially acceptable) primarily to share living expenses. They’re not really trying to “build a new life together”, just save money. Obviously, “living together apart” doesn’t have that benefit; you’re still paying for two homes, just in close proximity.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • LostSailor Says:

        As someone who absolutely requires regular amounts of “me” time, I certainly understand that being on top of each other in a small apartment can try one’s patience. And I know people who love each other but find living together difficult. But to me, “living together apart” isn’t living together at all. More like more convenient booty calls.

        And sure, people live together all the time to cut down on the cost of living, but if you are in a romantic relationship, you moving in together is certainly a life-change and by it’s nature you’re building a new life together, whether long or short.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. Crotch Rocket Says:

    If you move in with someone who owns their own apartment, do you ask to have your name put on the mortgage? If so, when? Why or why not?
    For that to happen for me, I’d have to move out of the home I own, so perhaps my perspective is different. I’d probably rent out my current home, and contribute half of that to paying expenses on her home. Since I’m not really losing anything that way (in fact, we’re both gaining), I wouldn’t feel any need for her to put my name on her home.

    Obviously, if we both sold our homes and used the money to buy one together, both of our names would be on the deed.

    The more complicated case is if she were currently renting and moved into my home. Do I have an obligation to put her name on the deed? I don’t think so, and I wouldn’t agree to that. Even if she were able to put as much toward the mortgage each month as I do, which is unlikely, I’ve already got considerable equity in it and would insist she put up the same amount before I’d consider it.

    If a family heirloom, say an engagement ring, is passed on to a family member, and they give it to their fiancee and they break up, does the ring come back to the family?
    Morally and ethically, it should. Legally, it only does if she is the one to break off the engagement; if he breaks it off, she gets to keep the ring. If they get married, the ring is hers until she hocks it after the divorce.

    Finally, would you want to live in an apartment with your significant other that they shared (as in lived with) someone else? … The issue, if that partners owns their place, is whether or not it’s fair to force someone to put a property on the market that they bought and on which they have been paying a mortgage.
    If both are renting, I’d suggest finding a new place together as soon as both leases are up. If one or both own, though, it’s an entirely different story; just the closing costs can run into the tens of thousands of dollars before the buyer starts building equity in the house–and that does consider important things like the property market, interest rates, capital gains taxes, etc. that would also have to be factored in. Non-homeowners rarely know about, much less consider, such things.

    In a situation like that, I guess the appropriate thing to do is suck it up. And get a new mattress.
    There’s nothing wrong with insisting on a new mattress, new bedding, etc. You’re probably going to do that anyway because different people have different sleep needs and different tastes in décor, and it’s a minor expense.

    Sure, 50% of marriages don’t end in divorce.
    Actually, over 50% of marriages in five years (or less); the rate of divorce after that is much lower, but obviously the total percentage keeps climbing.

    But how many of those are actually couples who suffer in silence or refuse to be taken to the cleaners or stay together for the kids?
    In my experience, most of them, especially if you add in those who only stay married for religious or social reasons or because they don’t think they’d be able to attract anyone better. Short of physical violence (or even despite it in some sad cases), they’re just not miserable enough to admit defeat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Mark Says:

    Sailor does raise good points. True, in some respects it’s a generational thing. But after a few life experiences (good, bad or indifferent) at any age you should have some idea about this sort of thing. After a kick in the head or two it really takes affect.

    Note: To Moxie; It’s tough to deal with all that paperwork. It can be mind numbing. goes well as it can. Tax and estate issues are another level.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Samantha Says:

      If you put someone on your deed without being legally married to them, whatever you have in equity is considered a gift and there are serious tax consequences.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Trouble Says:

    Merging households in your mid-40s is much more challenging than I anticipated. When I got married in March, the first month was actually not that much fun. It was very little romance and a lot of feeling like he’d invaded my space (we both own our own homes, but mine is bigger, so he moved in with me). I wanted to be thrilled that we were constantly together, but, I wasn’t. It was so awkward when people would ask if I was super happy, because for about a month, I wasn’t very happy and was a little panicked that I’d made a mistake. In some weird way, I saw his belongings as intruding on my territory, even though I’d moved a lot of stuff out to make room. It was more emotional than intellectual. Plus, he had his ways of doing things, I had mine, and they didn’t always fit. It was a huge adjustment on both our parts.

    Thankfully, we both travel for work and I started traveling again pretty consistently during April/May/June, and so did he, so we had some time apart, which spaced things out a bit and made the acclimation more gradual. I got rid of some more of my stuff while he was traveling, and he purged some stuff while I was traveling, and now we’ve gotten to a point where most of our stuff fits and we’ve gotten over our attachment to our single belongings and started seeing everything as joint belongings.

    I also think I had some residual crap from my former marriage inside my head, which surprised me. I got a little more tense for a minute, because I guess on some level, I was worried that my husband would turn into someone like my ex-husband, even though they are nothing alike. Once I had a couple of months under my belt, and I saw that nothing really changed and he was still basically the same good guy that he’s always been, and not controlling at all, I started to relax and feel a little safer and happier.

    Now, it’s at the point where it feels good, I think, for both of us, and we’re used to being married, sharing space, etc., and we’ve both learned to compromise on a few things. Mostly, I think we’ve both taken a deep breath and relaxed a little bit, and it’s gotten a lot more comfortable.

    These days, it’s very, very sweet, and I love being married.

    On the legal side of things, we both have wills. His leaves his assets primarily to me, but mine splits my assets between him and my kids (who are 14 and 18). He’s executor of my will, too. We haven’t put each other’s names on the deeds because it would cause issues with the wills if something happened to one of us. So, my name is on my house, and his name is on his house.

    If you didn’t have beneficiaries who were young, it might be different. In our case, we both brought about the same amount of assets into the marriage, except his were more liquid and mine were more tied up in my house.

    Anyway…it is different, but I would say that you would find that there are parts of living with someone or being married that would be wonderful for you. And parts that would be super annoying, just like anything else in life.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

    • LostSailor Says:

      and a lot of feeling like he’d invaded my space

      Trouble, interesting you say that. Years ago, when I moved in with my ex, before we were married, she said exactly the same thing, and she’d only been in the apartment a year and I was staying there most of the time time anyway. It wasn’t me she minded so much, thankfully, but my stuff…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Trouble Says:

        I think it’s that after my divorce, the house was MINE. I decided what went where, and how it looked, etc. Now, I have to relinquish some of the control over our space, because it’s OURS. It has to work for him as much as it works for me. I think I will always struggle with relinquishing control, to some degree, maybe because I had to fight so hard to have it.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • LostSailor Says:

          Well, good luck with it.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

          • Trouble Says:

            It gets easier all the time…we all have our little quirks that make things harder than they need to be.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. Craig Says:

    If you move in with someone who owns their own apartment, do you ask to have your name put on the mortgage?

    That would be kind of stupid, since adding your name to a mortgage makes you responsible for the debt on the property, without conveying any ownership interest in the property. The deed is where you want your name added for an ownership interest. Additionally, the only way to add a name to a mortgage is to refinance. Not a wise reason to pay closing costs again.

    If a family heirloom, say an engagement ring, is passed on to a family member, and they give it to their fiancee and they break up, does the ring come back to the family?

    Most states deem engagement rings to be conditional gifts (marriage being the condition) and thus the gift giver is entitled to recovery of the ring itself or the value of the ring. In some states, the court considers who ended the engagement to be a factor in determining who may recover (or keep) the ring and/or its value. If the individual who gave the ring was at fault in ending the engagement, he or she may not recover the ring or its value. This viewpoint is in the minority however. In the vast majority of states, fault is not a consideration and the person who purchases or gives the ring has ownership rights, regardless of which party ended the engagement.

    I wouldn’t mind moving into a place my mate once shared with someone else. The mattress and all the bedding would have to go though, and I’d probably find a way to put my own stamp on the place. As for the living together, apart thing – I’m not into it. I like living with my wife. If I wanted to live alone, I would have stayed single in my bachelor pad (and often quite lonely). No thanks to going back to that. When I need my space, I go into another room and close the door, or I go out alone. If the day ever comes when I don’t want to live with my wife anymore, I’ll divorce her – not buy another place next door for her to live separately in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  7. offensivedan Says:

    All I can say is that, even though I am single and never married, I am not paying child support or alimony to some chick who’s banging another guy. I have seen too many guys get taken to the cleaner by vindictive women even though both were at fault for the divorce.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    • LostSailor Says:

      Think you’re safe staying single? Try googling “preglimony”

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  8. Trisha Says:

    I’ve done all the above. Even though they weren’t “heirlooms” really, our wedding rings were my husband’s parents’ rings (they were divorced) so when we got divorced he asked for my rings back and I gave them back. I have said I will never fight over “stuff”, only my house and my dogs.

    As for the house and living with someone else in it, I guess I am too practical and would not care if someone else had lived with/been married to someone else and now wanted me to move in. I doubt that will happen because A: I own my own home that I LOVE and B: no one I date is financially solvent enough to own their own home so they always move in with me. :( And NO on the deed unless they are also on the mortgage as well. And in my case, because my ex rarely paid into the household as he should have, I was able to shame him out of staying on the deed after he left. A year later I was in the position to refinance and now he’s not on the mortgage as well.

    I think I would LOVE the LAT arrangement. My last boyfriend lived with me and, although he worshiped the ground I walked on, I was SO SMOTHERED that I had to end the relationship. Didn’t help that he was so codependent. (Before he moved in, I had him sign an 8-page cohabitation agreement so when we broke up there were no financial issues. He had a kid and I was not about to take on any financial responsibility regarding his kid.) As I am sick and tired of being the only responsible adult in my past relationships, I am not in any rush to live with anyone ever again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Brian Says:

    Much food for thought Moxie. On the living space situation I hear you. My husband I basically lived together for a couple of years but had our own places, both with the baggage of previous relationships. When it was time to take the next step we agreed that finding a place that was ours alone, that we could build a life together in, was important, and so we did.

    I agree that relationships, and our expectations of them are changing. However, it has also become far too easy for people to bail when the going gets tough and use the ever rising divorce rate, etc. as an excuse. There are times when an end is clearly needed. At others we really need to be willing to put in the work to save what we had built. It is no more insane to think you can build a happy long-term relationship without effort than it is to imagine doing it with a business. Yet, people do, in both cases. The issue is a desire for a quick fix and immediate gratification. If that’s what you want then working for yourself, or a truly successful, loving long-term relationship , will not be possible.

    This is my forth go round and I’m still at it. For me the intimacy, learning and bond of the relationships is worth it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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