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Dispute over inherited, shared property

(47 Posts)
woodforde Mon 17-Mar-14 09:31:03

Hi, from 2006 till last year, I acted as live-in Carer for my mother, who, sadly, passed away in April 2013. She left no will. The Administrators of her estate have now brought things to the point where they have drafted an Agreement, where my brother, sister and I each hold a third, equal interest in this house and providing for the agreement to be reviewed after three years, myself to have the security of living in the property till then. All well and good, my sister and I, who shouldered between us 99% of the caring for Mother. are in agreement with this. However, my brother, is threatening to force a sale of the house because he is in favour of receiving some easy cash. This would mean that, at age 65, I would have to go looking for an alternative place to live, after having given up an income and my property, save for the Carer's Allowance, for the last seven years. I do not think that my sister and I can afford to buy out his share in the equity. He appears to be intractable in this and prefers to communicate only through his solicitor. My question is, do I have any residual rights of residence, surviving from my years spent as Carer? Thankyou.

Mishap Mon 17-Mar-14 09:32:59

If I were you I would go to CAB or a solicitor. You must be very disappointed in your brother.

whenim64 Mon 17-Mar-14 10:01:51

woodforde that's an almost identical arrangement that my grandmother's will stipulated. My auntie looked after her and remained in the family home all her adult life. Her two sisters were happy for her to remain there, but the three brothers, including my dad, forced the sale within a couple of years. Very mean of them, but the will had acknowledged my auntie's years of caring and specified there should be a reasonable amount of time to enable my auntie to find a smaller home for herself. However, I don't think for a moment that this forceful way to deal with it was what my grandmother intended. She would have expected her children to treat each other sensitively. I hope you can find a way to resolve it.

Nonnie Mon 17-Mar-14 10:47:51

So sorry to hear this woodforde. I have no experience of this so cannot help you, just wanted to show sympathy flowers.

My own experience is that families can be absolutely horrid where money is concerned, including my own family. I was in the fortunate position of being able to walk away and let them get on with it. I don't think DH has ever understood why I did that because we would be financially better off if I hadn't but I think we are better off in other ways.

I agree with Mishap you need to get legal advice.

Mishap Mon 17-Mar-14 13:35:49

We are in the process of trying to sell my Dad's bungalow nd all the proceeds will go to my brother, who is executor and named in the probate document, and he will then divvi it up amongst us as per the contents of the will - we trust him implicitly; so I cannot imagine what it must be like to be in your situation and send my sympathy.

FlicketyB Mon 17-Mar-14 15:49:52

I would emphasise Mishap's first posting. Go and visit your local Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) or speak to a solicitor. I would suggest CAB as they are often far more aware of your rights on this issue than some solicitors.

Grannyknot Mon 17-Mar-14 18:16:26

I am always sorry to hear of situations like this.

I have to wave a flag here for families who do get it right - my mother transferred her flat into her eldest daughter's name (my big sis) before she died (not in this country), with instructions to share the proceeds from it -once sold - fairly amongst the three of us. When my sis (who was also the executor) sold the flat and divided the money, it was split 3 ways and all accounted for down to the last "36c". I've never forgotten that. The three of us trust each other without reservation.

By contrast, on my estranged father's side, his two sanctimonious old brothers literally left his deathbed and were at the ATM in the early hours of the morning having got hold of his card and PIN number and made repeated withdrawals over a few hours until they had practically drained it (this was before strict bank anti-fraud measures were in place). We didn't care about the money, I just wish I was there when my sister told them what she thought of them when she went to collect some of the photos we wanted to keep.

Grannyknot Mon 17-Mar-14 18:17:32

Mishap snap smile

FlicketyB Wed 19-Mar-14 06:48:27

My aunt and uncle, who had no children, left all their money to charity because there had been so many acrimonious post-death rows in uncle's (by marriage) family. They couldn't bear the thought of rows about their assets after their deaths. They also appointed DH as executor as our side of the family were like Grannyknot's.

Aka Wed 19-Mar-14 07:21:11

This emphasises the importance of making a will. Why, oh why do people shy away from doing this?

My DiL has a brother. Her parents are alienated from him and his awful wife. These parents have told my son and DiL that NO way do they want their son to have a share of their house when they die. But they refuse to make a will to this effect, they just keep saying 'but you know what we want'.

We had explained over and over again, and so have my son and my DiL that in law, if they die intestate, then their estate has to be equally divided between my DIL and her brother. But they just don't 'get it'

rosesarered Wed 19-Mar-14 11:57:34

Inheritances have caused so many problems in so many families. Everyone must make a will! Not only that but name an executor that can be trusted [if in doubt, the solicitors who draft the will will act for a fee.]So sorry you are having this awful problem woodforde and I think that legally speaking, the house may have to be be sold and you all share in the proceeds, however you simply have to get good legal advice on this.

FlicketyB Wed 19-Mar-14 15:33:46

Even wills do not help if people want to war over money, often continuing feuds that went on in life.

DH was asked to act as executor to the will of an aunt and uncle, it was a second marriage for both, they were both widowed. DU's daughter never took to the second wife. They had moved away from the area where she lived and felt DH, a nephew, was someone they knew and trusted and had had nothing to do with remarriage and DH hadn't seen the daughter, his cousin, for decades so would make a suitable executor.

The will was crystal clear, but did that stop DH's cousin from causing mayhem? No, of course it didn't, we were accused of stealing items of her father's that we had never seen, stealing things that were 'hers' even though she had no entitlement to them. We gave her everything we found that belonged to her father, whether he left them to her or not, but still the accusations were continued, even our solicitor was accused. It was horrendous, yet there was a will, it was crystal clear, but when the aunt and uncle died, the feud didn't but was continued with the executors.

Sugarpufffairy Sun 10-Aug-14 17:58:41

There are Legal Rights in Scotland which means that certain relatives have the right to make a claim on the estate even if they have not seen the deceased relative for years. Some of them can be really nasty about it. However, my main question is what gives the Law the right to say where or to whom a person leaves money? If a person is a nasty piece of work why does the Law think they should be given money.

etheltbags1 Sun 10-Aug-14 19:02:54

Im seeing this situation at the minute, my FIL died recently and I was married to his (late) eldest son. There are 3 siblings left, and when they were alive my in laws promised the house would be shared 4 ways, my DD getting her dead fathers share. However, my DD has had little contact with her GF apart from occasional visits, although we have invited him many times so we are wondering if he may have changed the will to say that just his surviving 3 family get the share in the house and estate. Also, there is one of the siblings living in the house. Does anyone know how long someone can live in the house in this situation. While no-one wants to make him homeless or rush him into moving, it would be good to have and idea how long these things take. I want to add that I have no expectations of receiving anything from this will but would hope my DD gets her rightful inheritance.
Also does anyone know how to find out what is in a will because if it takes a while to sell the house,we may never know when the estate is wound up or which solicitor was used. I would never go to the executor and ask openly.

Ana Sun 10-Aug-14 19:15:53

You can request a copy of a Will be applying to the relevant Probate Registry for the area. A fee will be payable (think it was £12 when we applied some years ago).

Ana Sun 10-Aug-14 19:16:12

'by applying'

etheltbags1 Sun 10-Aug-14 19:23:10

I did my family tree a few years ago and thought that a will had to be ber100 years old before anyone could see it.
If I apply to the probate people would the family have to know that I had applied

Ana Sun 10-Aug-14 19:41:12

No, they wouldn't know. Anyone can get a copy of any Will once probate's been granted - it becomes public property.

rosequartz Sun 10-Aug-14 20:55:48

Anyway, you need to know for your DD's sake.

Surely someone can only stay in the house until probate has been granted, unless it is written in the will that he/she has the right to stay in the house for their lifetime?
The solicitor should get in touch with your DD if he has an address for her.

Elegran Sun 10-Aug-14 21:07:31

Ethel A will is a public document once it has gone through the system and probate has been granted. When you think about it, it has to be - an executor could just hang on to the money and not hand it over to the legatees if he could keep it to himself. No-one would know who should have benefitted. You and your daughter have an interest in knowing what is in it, and have a right to know.

feldmarschallin Sun 10-Aug-14 21:48:46

My Dad was the sole surviving family member (apart from me, my DD and 2 DGDs, I guess) of a lady who died recently. There had been some sort of family rift some years ago - don't know the details - but this lady had contacted my parents several times in recent years to say she wanted to put things right. My parents continued to be cool with her.

More recently, since my Mum's death last year and since her own diagnosis of a terminal illness, this lady had contacted my Dad to say she felt bad about the past and wanted to help him. She owned several properties and was quite well off; my Dad lives in social housing and lives on state pension and pension credits. Dad told her he didn't need her help - he was fine as he was. He says he told her to stuff her money(though I don't know if this is literally true.) I don't think it was pride on his part so much as not wanting the hassle of dealing with assets - in his own way, and at his age, his income from benefits is enough for his needs.

For my part, because of the family rift, I hardly knew this lady and never gave the thought of any inheritance a second thought. And yet - AIBU to feel so dreadfully hurt that Dad (for about the millionth time in the last 60-odd years) has demonstrated yet again that he couldn't think for an instant about how he could have helped me - specifically, in this case, of how DD, DGDs and I might have been helped by this inheritance? I'll be interested to get a copy of the Will at some stage and to see which charity has benefited...

granjura Sun 10-Aug-14 22:02:01

Woodforde, can only repeat my commisarations and advice to seek legal counsel.

But I hope we will all ensure that we leave legal wills with the right people to ensure we make life easier for our loved ones. I know some people who think it is bad luck to make a will shock- not making a will is really cruel and can lead to so much trouble. I've also known people who talked again and again about changing their will, for very good reasons- but didn't, again causing untold difficulties for the one who should have been the sole beneficiary.

TriciaF Mon 11-Aug-14 13:47:47

Seek advice from CAB, Woodforde.
As already said, inheritance is the cause of many family feuds.
Second marriages and step siblings are another complication.
We've made wills leaving all to "charity", not that there will be much to leave, and I don't think this would be recognised in France .

ninathenana Mon 11-Aug-14 16:27:50

DH and I made wills when our children were young.
This thread has prompted me to make the necessary changes now we have DGC to consider. It's something we've been meaning to do. Also the fact that DS still lives in our house and will do for the foreseeable future. I'd like to think his sister wouldn't force a sale. But you never know grin

granjura Mon 11-Aug-14 16:31:32

it's often spouses and partners who push for this to happen..