If you do decide to keep the house as a rental, do not rent it out o a relative. They will not treat you as a landlord, they will skip rent payments, do a bit of damage and expect you to repair the damage which was preventable in the first place. And when they do move out they'll leave trash all over the place for you to clean up and the relationship that once was tolerable will not longer be acceptable-it will be intolerable! Don;t ask me how I know these truths.
Since this home is your primary residence, you have a $250,000 exemption ($500k for a couple) on any capital gains (difference between what you paid for and you sold your house for) on your personal home. If you choose to hold onto it and turn it into a rental and it appears on your tax return as a rental under schedule C or a separate entity you will eventually lose this personal home exemption on the capital gains. I believe in the current real estate market we will not see this type of appreciation/ bubble for a very long time after it bursts in the next 9 to 12 months. My recommendation has been if you can sell your home and pull your money off the table, go rent a place for 12 months, and when the bubble bursts go pay cash for another home and pocket the difference.
Exempt proceeds from a personal home sale should be kept in a separate account and never commingled with a fiancé or spouse that you’ve yet to marry or have just married. Because this isn’t your first rodeo, I would recommend a prenuptial agreement to set out all of the separate assets and any assets acquired with your separate property. A prenuptial agreement can also include language that addresses spousal support (and not having to pay it) should this marriage not work out.
Find a reputable financial advisor and invest your money wisely and in line with your age. There are much better rates of return out there if you have a good financial advisor than your average 1.0 to 1.5% rate of return that most people think only exists.
Probates do not happen overnight. Between the initial filing of the petition for probate the hearing being set for letters of administration, the notice to creditors and the time for creditors to apply for claims and the cleaning up of any residual issues at a minimum it’s generally 5 to 7 months. If there are title issues on property there may have to be some cleaning up of those title issues prior to the final accounting with the court. If your mother’s home was deeded in joint tenancy with your dad at the time of his passing that house would not be part of the probate estate by operation of law. All it requires is an affidavit terminating joint tenancy (along with the death certificate) filed within the county clerk of record where the home resides to effectuate the transfer of that property to your mother, outside of the probate estate.
Once the attorney has accounted for all the assets there’s a filing of a petition for final accounting with the court, publication of the notice and the hearing is set out 30 to 45 days after the filing. If there are no creditors claims or objections to the final accounting the probate will be closed. If your father died without a will, (which is called dying intestate), this could potentially add additional time to the probate because of descent and distribution problems of potentially unknown heirs.
Yes, it is true you can hire and fire attorneys like you can do an electrician or plumber. They work for you and your mother not for themselves. Don’t be afraid to ask questions document everything in writing including emails confirming any telephone calls you have with counsel
Late to the show but...
You wont pay capitol gains tax on a property if you lived in it at least 2 years and its less than $250k when you sell. I'd sell the house and invest the proceeds in a good S&P mutual fund. I use Vanguard.com and its pterry easy to find an SP 500 index fund which has averaged 12% over the life of the market. Mine has earned no less than 18% the last 5 years and as much as 36% BUT I wouldnt advise this unless your going to leave it for 5 years. Taking it out early if the right property came along is fine as long as the market hasnt dipped - which it does in cycles but thats normal and when it dips, it always rebounds historically. So plan to leave it 5 years and if you need it in 3, and the market is up, sell it and buy your dream house. If its down, wait. A downturn in the market is like a sale at the store, good time to buy more rather than selling.
2008 when the housing bubble popped is a prime example. Many got scared and sold, losing thousands, when I was buying at half price and it skyrocketed back up earning me thousands.
As for the other questions, I'll have to think on them more.
You seem to have a good head on you and we've met. Trust in God for these hard directions. He usually answers me.
We keep checking accounts separate, works for us 16 years and going. It’s our money though. To make it easy, they are joint account that we keep separate.
If I felt I needed to hide money, I’d never have said yes, much less asked her to marry me. Like you said, you are all in, or you are not.
I would recommend a prenup in one case, both of you have children going into marriage, especially adult children. Use a prenump for inheritance. I’ve seen that go wrong too many times. Where ones heirs gets screwed out of family multi generation property by the surviving spouses children. Use prenups for that.
It you get married, just start it off right and have at least one trust trust, and have wills, medical detectives, etc all setup from the start.