When I retired, I wanted a house that was in the country. I found a place that was being sold at a tax auction. According to the perspective, the owner of the house had died and left no heirs. I drove to the location to check out the property. It was a large house on quite a bit of land. Taxes amounted to several thousand dollars, which, fortunately, being a bachelor all of my life, I could pay this tax lien and still have a comfortable income from my portfolio.
On a whim, I went to the county tax office and offered to pay the back taxes and the current year taxes if they didn’t go ahead with the auction. The clerk said he didn’t have the authority but would speak to the mayor and get back to me.
A week passed, I hadn’t heard from the county tax office. I drove to their office and wanted to speak to that clerk again to find out why I haven’t heard from them. Walking into the office, the clerk was on the phone., When he saw me, he hung up the phone and smiled. He said he was calling me when I walked in, and the council has approved my offer, but I needed to have the money in three days. I smiled and asked for their bank information. He said to wait, left the office, and returned 15 minutes later with the county’s banking information. I picked up his phone, called my bank, and arranged for the money transfer. I told the clerk to check their bank. He left again and came back in 30 minutes with the deed to the property. There were several forms I had to complete. Then I had the keys.
I called a Realtor in my home town and put my condo on the market. I was anxious to enter the house I just bought.
I went back to my condo, packed a suitcase. I was anxious to enter the house. Driving up to the gate, I stopped, got out of my car. I had to take a few minutes to admire the house. It was a mixture of European and Americana design. I unlocked the gate and drove to the front of the house. I was like a kid with a new toy. I couldn’t wait to enter the house. Stepping in front of the door, I unlocked the door, and it swung open. Entering the house, I stood in the foyer. To my right were two doors, and to my left, there were two doors. In front of me was a staircase to the second floor.
I opened the first door on my right, entered, it was an office. All of the furniture was in place, this I didn’t expect. I opened the blinds to let in some light and went to sit at the desk. When I sat down, I sat on some papers. Rising up enough to extract the papers, I began to read them. They were descriptions of the house and the names of people to contact. I was well into reading the papers when I man entered the office.
“Hello, my name is Steven Jefferies, and this was my father’s house.” Saying that, he went and flipped the light switch. The lights came on. “When the county clerk called and said the house was sold, I came over and threw the electrical switch.”
He went to a bookcase and picked a book. “Before my father died, he finished this book with instructions that it would be given to the new owner.This is the history of the house and how it got to what it is today. I think my father hoped that whoever bought the house would continue what he started.”
“I don’t understand. If this is your father’s house, why didn’t you inherit this house?”
“My offices are across the street. They were once a part of this property. Upon his death, my father deeded those offices to us. I have brothers all over the world. All have been set up in business by my father. I think after reading that book, you’ll get to know my father and that painting on the wall behind the stairs.”
Now he has piqued my interest. “Do you mind giving me a tour?”
“Sure, it’d be my pleasure.”
I spent the rest of the afternoon with Steven, touring the facility as well as the grounds. I kept thinking this place is worth much more than what I paid for it.
“Do you have any children?”
“No, I never got married.”
“Then, would you agree that if you decided to sell this place or upon your death, that the house and property be placed in a trust?”
“I don’t have any close relatives. Tell me more about the trust?”
“My father set up a trust to provide for boys who are forced to live on the street. He hoped that whoever bought this property would carry on his work. In case that didn’t happen, he formed a trust that my brothers and I managed. I’m the oldest of my brothers living in the States. Therefore, I am the executor of that trust. My father didn’t know who was going to occupy the house; the trust owns the property across the entrance road and the property surrounding the house and grounds.”
“I need to get to know your father and understand what his objectives were before I can give you an answer.”
“I understand. I’m sure after reading that book, you will come to understand not only my father but his mission in life as well. If I can be of any further assistance, my office is in building 1A.”
After our discussion, I was anxious to read this book. I had packed a few groceries before leaving my condo, so I went to prepare my dinner. While I was cooking, my thoughts were on the book written by Steven’s father. I rushed through dinner, found a comfortable chair in the living room, and began to read the book.