inlaws

I moved into my in-laws’ home. My husband wants to pay his parents’ mortgage, but it will come out of my income. How can I protect myself?

Dear Moneyist,

I got married recently and moved into my husband’s house that he shares with his parents. (His name and his parents’ name are on the deed.) Currently, we pay a small amount for rent, but my husband hopes to take on the mortgage of the house over the next couple of years. I am the breadwinner, and so the majority (or even all) of the money that would go towards the mortgage would be coming from me.

Before fully committing to this, are there any precautions I need to take? Or what are the risks I could be facing? I am worried about what would happen if I end up paying off their home, and they want to sell it or my in-laws pass away, or if they decide to give their share of the house to my husband’s sister, or if my husband and I separate (which is more of a worse-case scenario).

In all those cases would I be entitled to anything with the house? Unfortunately, you can sometimes get screwed over dealing with family. How can I prevent this from happening? I do want to help pay the mortgage. I would like to think my husband and his family would not do anything untoward, but I still would like to take precautions. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Thank you for your help.

Daughter-in-law

The Moneyist: My sister-in-law moved in with her mother, changed her will, set up a new trust and inherited everything. Is it too late to claim what rightfully belongs to us?

Dear Daughter-in-law,

It’s not a good idea to use marital funds to pay off your in-laws’ mortgage, particularly given all of the potential scenarios you lay out. There are probably a few more that you have not thought

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