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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Put it in writing

This story is sad, but not unusual. A woman says that her father promised her that when he passed away, she would inherit his house. For ten years she paid the mortgage and other expenses for the house, because her father couldn't afford it, all the while thinking that one day she'd own it. But her father left the house to his wife. The woman has no way to prove that her father wanted to leave it to her.

Even if she had witnesses who knew of the father's intentions, this would likely  not help her because she would have nothing in writing. She is probably not ever going to have the house.

Those of you who have informal or verbal agreements like the one outlined here, please take note. A verbal agreement isn't enough. Put it in writing. Protect each other by setting out your agreement and signing any documentation needed to support it. You'll also be saving your estate from a potential dispute or claim.

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