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Young, Widowed Dad Asks If He’s Wrong For Refusing A Free House From His Late Girlfriend’s Parents

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The death of a loved one often brings a showering of gifts.

The homes of the grieving are filled with floral arrangements, fruit baskets, and greeting cards stuffed with cash.

Sometimes, the influx can be daunting. On top of mourning, now there is the need to arrange a cluttered house.

For a recent Redditor, the post-mortem gift-giving took on a whole new level. The Original Poster (OP), who goes by SeaGrand9588 on the site, shared his experience in a post to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.

OP’s title made it clear just which form that gift took. 

“AITA for refusing a free house on my child’s behalf?”

He began is explanation with the hard facts.

“Some quick bullet points: I’m [a 29-year-old male] and a widower with a daughter [1-year-old female]. My girlfriend passed in labor.”

“I have a relatively nice 3 bedroom apartment that we live in. I’m a professor at a university.”

“My late girlfriend’s family is loaded, both her parents were engineers who started and sold several companies and have been retired for a couple decades now.”

After the dust settled following OP’s loss, he observed a strange development.  

“They decided without much warning to start looking to buy us a house.”

“By this I mean they want to buy a house my daughter and I will live in, but it will be in their names until my daughter is 18, then it’s transferred to them.”

“I am not involved at all, my name is on nothing. They want to mortgage it and have me make monthly payments to live there.”

And while there was some precedence, OP had trouble connecting the dots.

“This was a plan when my late girlfriend was pregnant. They wanted to buy a house, have it in her name, then it would become the matrimonial home when we got married and I would have equal rights to it.”

“Since this didn’t happen, they still want to go ahead with the house but the conditions are changed such that I have no right to it.”

OP made his position clear. 

“I am refusing because I don’t want to pay for something I have no rights to.”

“You can argue I do this right now by renting, but I have some rights with regards to my living conditions. I also don’t manage the property.”

“With a house, I am on the hook for everything, and the way they want to do it is I still yet have no right to it.”

“Am I the a**hole?”

Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Most Redditors reassured OP that he wasn’t the a**hole. Many explained that this was by no means a free house he was refusing. 

“It ain’t free if you’re paying for it…” — Lexi_Banner

“NTA. No thank you. That’s not a free house they are gifting you a mortgage and I would assume it has a gazillion strings attached.” — lovebeingana**hole

“NTA If you have to pay for it, then it’s not free. It would be in their name, so if they any point during those 17 or 18 years decide to keep it, you’re pretty much screwed.

“If they want to do something for your daughter they can start a college fund or something in her name.” — Katesaurus

“NTA. This isn’t a free house for your child. Late girlfriend’s parents would carry the note while you pay the mortgage. So YOU would be buying your daughter a house, not her rich grandparents.”

“I highly suspect these people are merely looking for a way to maintain control over you and your daughter.” — valerian_spiel

Several people felt similar to that last thought. They identified this as more of a plot than a gift.

“NTA Sounds like they want to control everything. Homeownership is about owning your own home. Not vaguely renting it until your daughter can ‘own’ it” — EliteEmerz

“How is your relationship with them? It seems like your late girlfriends family only cares about your daughter and not in the slightest about you.”

“If this is the case I’d stay away from living in a house under their control where all you do is pay to stay and pay more to maintain it. NTA.” — kheenye

“NTA. Off-hand that does sound like a terrible deal. If these in-laws want to be supportive, they can help you pay for your own house. It sounds more like a trust and control issue than one of being supportive.” — writesgud

Others gave OP’s in-laws the benefit of the doubt, but they still advised different ways to help out.

“NTA it feels like they could have come up with another way to provide for your daughter if they wanted to? Why not set up a trust fund for her to access when she is an adult?” — theworldisnotquiet

“NTA – instead have them redirect the ‘generosity’ into something else. Open up a 529 and let them contribute to it to help pay for college.” — ctemple04

“NTA. It seems like they think they are trying to help by following through with the plan.”

“Perhaps instead, sit down with them, thank them kindly for the offer, and offer instead if they are really wanting to help their grandchild in the future to set her up a college fund or mutual fund so that when she gets older she has a nice little nest egg from her grandparents.” — lawschoollorax

Taking into account OP’s comments and the almost unanimous agreement of Redditors, it’s quite clear that he and his daughter will be renting for at least a little while longer. 

Written by Eric Spring

Eric Spring lives in New York City. He has poor vision and cooks a good egg. Most of his money is spent on live music and produce. He usually wears plain, solid color sweatshirts without hoods because he assumes loud patterns make people expect something big. Typically, he'll bypass a handshake and go straight for the hug.