When my dad died this year he left everything to my mother. The condo and cottage were, naturally, marital property and all the movable valuables also became her’s (bank accounts, investments, jewellry, etc). I had no issues with this and had already assumed that she’d get everything.

My mom’s pension is tiny – she’s completely dependent on her state pension, which isn’t much. When the Elder Bean was alive his pension was sufficient enough to provide for any shortfalls and pay for whatever holidays they wanted to take (within reason). With my dad’s death mom got the cottage, which is a financial drain.

The cottage was listed at $145K. It’s in good shape, quite solid. But as my dad was not very good with the aesthetics, it wasn’t the prettiest with regards to interior decor. Mom got one offer of $100K that was eventually bumped up to $110K. Yesterday she rang to ask me if I would have any issues with her accepting $120K. I, as a dutiful and loving child, said I’d support her decision. She asked me how much would the capital gains tax be — as it is not a primary residence it is subject to Capital Gains. She would have a nice little sum afterwards, once the taxes were paid, as the cottage was purchased nearly 30 years ago at a really low rate. I am still in the process of trying to convince her to hold onto the “profit” and not split it between herself, myself and lil bro. But she insists on being fair and wants to split it up before her death. So I’m to get $20K, lil bro the same .. and the rest stays with Momma Bean.

What I didn’t tell her was that I had over-inflated how much her capital gains tax will be, as I knew this was her plan (the splitting of the profit) and I am trying my damndest to make sure she keeps the majority of the funds. I have managed to convince her that the initial capital outlay should automatically go back to her, and not even be considered for splitting as that is what she and my dad paid out decades ago. Fortunately I am much better with numbers than either Momma Bean and lil bro, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that neither one of them will notice that I am trying to pad my mother’s tiny little nest.

My next step? Trying to convince her to sell the condo to move into a smaller place. She’s in the middle of the inner burbs, with poor transportation links and no amenities nearby. I’d like her closer to the subway, closer to her friends. Plus the monthly property tax and condo fees are eating up nearly 80% of her pension. I want this lowered significantly.