Is there an inherent responsibility to care for a deceased parent's significant other?
What if they were never married?
What if they were left out of the will?
A man and his wife are pondering those questions and turned to the "Am I The A**hole" (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
Redditor jaiad asked:
"AITA for charging my late dad's partner full market rent?"
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
"My dad passed away a couple months ago and were sorting his estate out. I'm his only surviving child and was the sole inheritor.
"He was married to my mom a while ago but got divorced 20 years ago and had been with his new partner over 10 years. He never got remarried due to how bad he got screwed over in the divorce."
"That being said, he seemed to love her."
"His house is fully paid off and in a great area. He completed a bunch of renovations in the last year so I really lucked out with a totally modern, very nice paid off place that needs no work."
"My wife doesn't want to move into the new place because she doesn't want to change our kids school, so we decided we'd rent the place out for passive income or security."
"We assumed his partner would want to move out but the issue is that his partner was not in the will so she didn't get anything, since they're not married. She is retired living on a small fixed income, which was fine while she was living with my dad and he paid for everything."
"She doesn't feel ready to leave the place so we said if she wants to stay she can rent from us. We offered her the market rate for rent—maybe a little less and she freaked out."
"Said charging her at all, but especially the market rate, was cruel after the work she put into the house. I guess she planned the renovations (dad paid)."
"My wife says by not doing whatever to maximize our income and put ourselves in the best position we'd be doing a disservice to our kids. I'm split morally but going with my wife for our marriage's sake."
"Does this make me the a**hole to charge her full market rent?"
The OP provided more information in an update.
"My wife's offer is to let her stay through December (3 months free) and then wants her out or paying rent. Not a year of reduced rent because her son has offered to take her in."
-wife wants to reserve rental profits to the kids college fund, something we've struggled to build thus far.
-dads partner has an adult son and living brother, Son has offered to take her in.
Final edit: no common-law or squatters rights here. they didn't live there all 10 years, just the last 3, and she would NOT be homeless. She has an adult son she could live with
"She is in her 60s and seemingly healthy. We don't have a relationship."
"Her behavior was always somewhere between shy and antisocial (no way she would live with random roommates). My wife always thought she was rude because of this, and never really embraced our kids like her grandkids."
"[This is] part of why she doesn't feel the need to treat her like family when she has her own (son and brother)."
"For everyone acting like we're rich, I don't know where in the post you got that. Our combined income is about 80k for a family of 4, considered lower end of middle class in our city."
"Market rate according to my friend who is a leading agent would be anywhere from 2.5k-3k a month. We offered her 2400 to be nice."
"This timeline works out that if we were to start collecting rent by this March, we'd have enough for each kid to go to college by the time they graduate high school. Then we could either keep it as a rental or sell it for our retirements."
"It would be life changing."
"The will was updated a total of 4 times by a very esteemed lawyer, most recently after the birth of my last son. It explicitly states that all of his possessions be left to me to provide for his grandkids."
"Every lawyer who has looked at it has said it is ironclad. There is no common law claim to be had."
"Knowing my dad, I think this was intentional to not amend the will to add her.
"He had expressed interest in helping pay for my kids' college and he'd make dark jokes in the past about how if he's learned anything it's spoil your kids, not your woman."
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You're The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The majority of Reddit decided the OP and their father and their wife were the a**holes.
"YTA, holy sh*t. Is she by any chance a completely vile person?"
"As in, heavily abused you as a child or do you perhaps suspect she murdered your father by poisoning his food with arsenic?"
"You are putting an elderly relative out of her home just after she lost her partner of over ten years, while we're in the middle of a global pandemic, at Christmas, so you can earn a bit of rental income."
"You talk about doing what's best for your kids - is this really a lesson you want to teach them? That this is okay? That in the future they should feel free to treat you as callously?"
"Legally, you're in the clear. Morally, you're an AH. Your wife, too, is an AH for insisting." ~ pendingsweet
"YTA. The wife is a greedy massive AH and OP is spineless—oh it's my wife that's insisting, oh it's for the kids—I don't want to take any blame for my heartless involvement in this situation!"
"My god. OP and his wife deserve each other, they're both awful." ~ leahchandler82
"YTA. I think some people forget that this sub isn't, 'Am I legally in the right?', it's, 'Am I being an a**hole in this situation?' And yes, yes you are."
"Your father was with this woman for a decade, she is too old to increase her income, and it's the middle of a pandemic with the holidays coming. Your family neither needs nor was expecting the added income provided by a rental."
"When you say you're thinking of your children, maybe think about the lesson you're teaching them when you put financial gain over empathy and kindness. Your family will still have years and years and years to benefit off of this property in the future; it's not an 'either/or' situation."
"You can be kind to this woman, AND still profit later."
"A kind person would let her stay for a year or two and ask that she only cover the living expenses (utilities and property taxes). An asshole would kick her out before 2020 ends." ~ likeellewoods
The roughly 35% of Redditors who decide the OP was not the a**hole all cited that the house was legally his and if his father wanted his longtime companion taken care of, he would have put her in the will.
After receiving judgment, the OP returned with a response.
"About 65% are saying YTA. I'm accepting the judgement that we're a**holes to the majority, but the NTAs made better points in my opinion."
"Appreciate everyone's perspective but I don't think a lot of commenters realize how expensive college is in the US."