My aunt left me her house after I took care of her for 12 years. Her brother, my uncle, doesn’t want to talk to me. I offered to give him the house. What more can I do?

About 12 years ago, I started caring for my maternal aunt and her husband. They had no children. They live 30 minutes from my house. I took care of their tax returns. I’m an engineer, not a CPA, but I’ve been filing taxes for my family and loved ones for years (for free, of course).

While reviewing the returns, I discovered that my aunt had filed fraudulent tax returns through another company (unbeknownst to her). I corrected some older ones and started doing the returns correctly. She trusted me to help her. I just did it without asking or expecting any kind of compensation.

In 2015, my aunt and her husband said they would give me his house as a gift. This house was already free and clear. Her brother, my uncle, helped her with the down payment when she bought the house in 1990. She didn’t want to pay for a living trust.

“In 2015, my aunt and her husband said that they would give me her house as a present. This house was already free and clear. Her brother, my uncle, helped her with the first deposit.

In 2017/2018, the health of my aunt and her husband was declining (Parkinson’s disease). My wife and I promised to help them with living expenses, doctor’s appointments, health facilities, nursing care, hospital visits, etc. We did all of this as promised.

In 2019, her husband passed away. From then on, we paid for home care for my aunt. I finally asked my older sister to live with her. I compensated my sister by taking care of her. Within a year, my aunt passed away.

We cleaned the house, renovated it, took out some cash (loan to value ratio of 70%) and finally rented it out. We actually distributed portions of the money to my siblings (all of whom had helped me in one way or another with her care).

“I tried to contact my uncle to give him his share, but to no avail, either by text, phone, email or post. Our Christmas card has been returned to sender.

Of the total 10 shares, my wife and I kept two shares while keeping the house and the loan on it. The rest was distributed to my siblings (five shares), my parents (one share) and my uncle (two shares). I was given the house as a gift, so it is legally in my name.

I tried to contact my uncle to give him his share, but to no avail, either by text, phone, email or post. Our Christmas card has been returned to sender. I don’t know why he won’t discuss it further, but I can make an educated guess as to why.

He’s already well off — a retired anesthesiologist — so he doesn’t need the money. I offered to return that house to him, with the caveat that he refinance the loan before transferring the title to him. His sons said they will try to talk to him, but they don’t think he will listen.

How to fix this relationship?

Trying to do well with everyone

Dear Try,

You can be your aunt’s and uncle’s keeper. You can fix their taxes. You can pay their bills and have a nurse look after them during their final days. You can make sure they have a warm and safe home to live in. You can fulfill all your obligations as a nephew, and more.

But you can’t make everyone like you, or even appreciate your generosity. Not everyone will see you for who you are: a kind, caring, and compassionate person. Even if your uncle had changed his mind, there would still be far too many people in the world to appease.

Unlike some people, you did everything right. Your aunt had no children. His brother probably didn’t help them out with a down payment in hopes that they would leave their house to him in return. If his help came with such a caveat, he should have made it clear.

There’s nothing wrong with you inheriting your aunt’s house. You have gone above and beyond the call of duty by remaining a firm and constant presence in your aunt’s life and paying out of pocket for her care. You gave it your all. You have been recognized for all your hard work.

“You can fulfill all of your obligations as a nephew, and more. But you can’t make everyone like you, or even appreciate your generosity.

An act of sacrifice – “Take home, if it means so much to you” – will not make your uncle like you. And if that’s what it takes for him to return your calls, that would be a Pyrrhic victory and/or a transactional, meaningless transaction. relaxation. This is not the kind of relationship or acceptance you should accept.

Do the right thing and respect your aunt’s wishes. Stop reaching out to your uncle. You have done enough. Texting him, emails, letters, and voicemails will only strengthen his resolve and, let’s face it, likely create more anger and ill will. It’s too much awareness. You have no control over how he feels.

You have control over your aunt’s property and house. Focus on that. Take care of it and make sure this gift is one that puts good energy into the world, providing a home for renters – especially during a rental crisis for so many Americans – and being a good landlord. She wanted you to have it in her house, after all.

Your uncle is his own man. Good for him. Let him live his life in the way that suits him. It’s time to take advantage of this moment by living yours. Being a caretaker is an important job, though often underpaid and undervalued. The time has finally come for you to take care of yourself.

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Learn how to shake up your financial routine at Best New Ideas in Money Festival September 21 and 22 in New York. Join Carrie Schwab, President of the Charles Schwab Foundation.

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