Fury as Friends Demand Decade-Old Inheritance From Family: 'Zero Claims'

The internet has backed a property owner for refusing to sell two commercial units despite the fact that their parents had promised them to someone else.

In a post on Reddit's popular r/AmITheA**hole forum, user u/Agile-Ad561 shared how the real estate was left to them after their father's death four years ago.

The 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) reported that the average inheritance in the U.S. was $110,050 for the middle class. Inheritance includes not only monetary gifts but also jewelry, heirlooms, stocks and real estate.

A recent survey by Ameriprise Financial Inc. asked 3,325 adults about the passing of wealth between family. More than two-thirds of respondents agreed that passing on generational wealth to heirs was important, with 70 percent saying that they plan to leave real estate to family members, whether land or a first or second home. But 56 percent of these hadn't shared that plan with those who would inherit it.

Real estate unit and deed
A file photo of a small town street featuring three shopping units and an inlay picture of a close-up real-estate deed. The internet has backed a property owner for refusing to give away a property they inherited from their father. Mshake/matt_benoit/Getty Images

There is also notable concern that leaving real estate assets after death could cause issues. Some 14 percent of those surveyed said they feared potential conflicts could arise from leaving property to more than one person, while 15 percent said they weren't sure heirs would be able to afford the upkeep and taxes and 13 percent were worried that they would quickly sell the property.

In the now-viral post that has received more than 11,000 upvotes and thousands of comments, the Redditor explained: "About 10 years ago, a family friend owned two commercial units but couldn't keep up with the associated costs (repairs, maintenance, taxes, etc) and also needed a lump sum of cash to keep their business afloat. So he asked my parents to buy the property from him with the condition that he could buy it back for free after a few years once his business recovered. My parents could rent it out in the meantime and recoup what they paid."

But after their father's death, the Redditor inherited the property and in the four years since had renovated the units and been letting them out.

Issues had arisen during the summer when they received word from the family friend: "The family friend and his kids sent me a pretty aggressive letter saying they want the property back for free under that original agreement between them and my parents." They explained: "There is no contract or anything, it was just a verbal agreement."

After some argument, the family offered to buy back the property for the original purchase price of $80,000, but the property has increased substantially in value since then, and the Redditor made clear they have spent a fair amount of money on renovations.

"I've never met these people," they explained. "And I have no intention of upholding a verbal agreement that I was not a part of. I told them, no, and not to contact me again. They've been sending me threatening letters with semi-legal threats. I talked to a lawyer and he said they have zero claims and that I'm in the clear."

Going to Reddit, the poster asked: "Am I the a**hole for ignoring them and keeping the property?"

In over 1,000 replies, Reddit users were quick to side with the poster, overwhelmingly telling them they are NTA (not the a**hole).

One commenter wrote: "Honestly, the original agreement sounds like he was taking advantage of your parents. Screw this guy."

Another reply said: "They don't get to sit back a reap the benefits of 10 YEARS worth of work and maintenance."

"Your parent's friend was pretty naive to just let go of his building without a written contract, or making sure that those assets would come back to him in case of death," said another Redditor: "The bottom line is, those properties belonged to your dad, and now to you. You don't owe anything to this person."

Keeping the Property

In a later comment, the poster said: "Well honestly, my dad would've honored the agreement because that's the kind of person he was. But I'm not."

"So basically your parents gave them an 80k cash gift, built up and maintained their business for 10 years, for free, and they now want it back?" questioned another commenter on the viral thread.

The Redditor clarified later on that they would not be giving back or selling the property and wrote: "I wouldn't even sell it for 20% above market value, let alone free or the "original" price. I make more in passive income from the units than I do at my full-time job."

This wasn't the only inheritance matter to capture people's attention this week. There was a debate online after a father of three made his eldest son the sole inheritor of his house. Meanwhile, a husband was slammed for his "selfish" actions when he spent his inheritance on a new car and a friends-only trip, without considering his wife.

Newsweek has reached out to u/Agile-Ad561 for comment. We were unable to verify the details of this case.

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