Elderly couple passes down $813,000 townhouse to children early

February 24, 2024 | 05:00 pm PT
Elderly couple passes down $813,000 townhouse to children early
Elderly couple passes down $813k townhouse to children. Illustration photo by Freepik
My husband and I decided to give our children their inheritance while we are still alive and our family has been much better because of it.

We are both in our 70s. We both have diabetes and several other health conditions.

Both of us are retired teachers who managed to accumulate, through diligence and timely investments, a spacious townhouse valued at VND20 billion (US$813,338) in the western part of Hanoi.

I have two children, one son and one daughter. My elder daughter is talented, intelligent, and successful, with a good income.

My son, on the other hand, has not been as successful as his sister and makes just enough to live an average life and support his small family.

My son's family is currently living with us, while my daughter lives in a nearby apartment.

Both of our children care about us and understand that their parents are just ordinary retirees, so our combined pensions do not ensure adequate healthcare.

Therefore, they give us money every now and then to help us live more comfortably.

However, that amount of money also is not enough to allow us to travel or enjoy the finer things in life.

Accepting money from our children also makes us feel guilty because they are all working hard for their lives and raising their own children.

So, if our children have to tighten their belts to save money for us to spend, it will create pressure on them.

It might lead to a mindset where they compare us to their in-laws or even wish to avoid us or hope that we are not healthy enough to spend the money.

Then there is also the issue of one child giving us more than the other, which creates hard feelings.

Elderly people who hold large assets are also at greater risk of being scammed.

With the mindset that we cannot take our wealth with us when we die, my husband and I intend to sell the house we are currently living in and divide it equally into four parts, giving us and our children one part each (VND5 billion).

It is partly thanks to our children that we could accumulate the assets we have now.

Moreover, as our grandchildren are still young, our support will be very meaningful to them.

In the future, if one of us passes away, the remaining portion of that person's share will be transferred to the one still living.

After we both pass away, the remaining assets will be divided equally between our two children and grandchildren.

However, my daughter does not want her parents to leave the familiar place we have lived in for the past 20 years, so she and her husband offered to buy our shares of the house (VND10 billion in total) for VND400 million per year for 25 years.

After she has paid the entire amount, our living arrangements will be handled by our children and grandchildren however they see fit.

My daughter will always allow her brother to live in the house and respect his right to buy back the house if he wants.

When we reach one hundred years old or pass away, my son can still receive his share of the house.

If my daughter is no longer able to pay for the house, then it can be sold and divided among the family members just like we intended.

After reaching an agreement within the family, we consulted a lawyer, signed a contract with clear terms and conditions, and had it notarized.

Over the past three years, with the money my daughter has been sending annually for the house, my husband and I have been able to afford better healthcare, travel more and improve the quality of our lives.

Occasionally, we can also support our son and help our grandchildren pursue their talents and interests without feeling guilty or having to see the worried looks on our children’s faces when they have to spend a large amount of money.

My husband and I have also been able to organize activities for our extended family and trips with our children and grandchildren.

The family atmosphere has become increasingly joyful.

I have seen many families living in large houses with a tense and strained atmosphere because the elderly parents with assets still live in discomfort and rely on their children's financial support.

In these cases, after the parents pass away, leaving behind a large estate, their children and grandchildren often fight for the inheritance, causing conflicts and hard feelings.

Therefore, if you are still of sound mind and healthy, you should learn to accept your old age and arrange and adjust your assets and finances to be more suitable for your family's circumstances.

Children should also consider their parents’ situation and understand, empathize, and support them appropriately as much as they can.

The story of my family may not be typical, but I want to share it with the esteemed readers of VnExpress in the hope that the elderly who read this may have another option to consider.

Would you pass down your possessions to your children before death?

Reader Ha Tu Duong

*This opinion was translated into English by AI. Readers’ views are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress’ viewpoints.

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