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Legal & money

Can I stop people pestering me about my father's estate.

(43 Posts)
emmah1952 Sat 22-Sep-12 10:44:05

My father passed away in November 2011.
I had been living with him since 2002 after my mother and husband passed away.
Mum left me her half of the house and we were tennants in common.
I was working till June 2010 and Dad had a lady as a friend who visited in the day but they split up in August 2010 after she wanted me to leave and buy myself a flat. I had sold my house to join Dad.
Dad said this was not going to happen as I own half the house and have spent several thousand of £'s on it.
The day after he passed away I had phone calls from 5 different people demanding I hand over the house to this lady and had many subsequent calls and 3 on the same day as his funeral.
They are all saying Dad promised her the house when he passed away but I was the sole beneficiary of his will.
I have changed my phone number and have gone ex directory.
The house is now totally in my name.
The problem is now is that I can hardly walk down the street or shop locally without somebody coming up and saying in a loud voice I have stolen this woman's house and people are still coming to the door but I now have a chain on it and just shut it.
The house is worth about £500,000. I am really convinced she befriended Dad to try and get the house.
She does have a house but it is more modest than ours. 3 bedroom detached worth about £300,000.

Bags Sat 22-Sep-12 10:51:50

If you know who they are, could lawyer's letters be sent to them asking them to desist from harassing you?

Notsogrand Sat 22-Sep-12 11:10:59

Good idea Bags. I was similarly pestered/bullied after DH died about something of his that another person felt they had a right to. I tried reason, explanations, ignoring them. The communications became increasingly unpleasant but stopped immediately once I instructed a solicitor to write to them.

emmah1952 Sat 22-Sep-12 11:11:15

I have the contact details for about half of them as at 2010.
Oddly enough I was a member of a social club along with my father and my membership expired in December 2011.
Most of these people were members of that club and I presume the club would have their contact details.
The commitee sent me a letter stating they wanted me to attend a disiplinary hearing as it was alleged I had not been honourable in my dealings.
I was not intending to renew my membership anyway so I never bothered to go.
Some of these members have been long standing members of this club including the woman I mentioned.
As far as I am concerned the house is mine and I intend to go on living in it.
I am not giving it up because several people think I should.
I have now joined a more suitable club anyway.

Emma

emmah1952 Sat 22-Sep-12 11:14:34

Sorry I forgot to mention there are about 20 people involved in this harasment.

Bags Sat 22-Sep-12 11:40:12

Good luck, emmah. Don't give in to the bullies. Even if half of them got the lawyer's letter, it might do the trick.

Greatnan Sat 22-Sep-12 11:42:57

Surely harrassing someone in this way is a criminal offence?

Nanadogsbody Sat 22-Sep-12 12:43:56

I don't believe in luck, unless it's making your own. If you want this resolved then do something about it, especially if this has lrrady been going on for 20 months. Good advice has been given - send a solicitor's letter, starting with the club. You might also want to post in the personal section of your local paper, if you feel able to, saying that any future harassment will elicit legal action.

Nanadogsbody Sat 22-Sep-12 12:44:38

That should read 10 months Emma, sorry.

Barrow Sat 22-Sep-12 14:56:51

I agree with the advice given here. You are your Father's sole beneficiary according to his Will and therefore she has no entitlement.

Is she saying she made contributions towards the upkeep of the house, or that she took care of your Father on the promise that he would leave her the house?

If they had been living together for several years and she had made contributions to the household then she might have some claim but from the sounds of things this wasn't the case.

I would contact a solicitor (a lot will do a free initial consultation). This woman has obviously told everyone her side of the story and so they are taking her at her word. The house has been your home for 10 years - don't let the bullies win.

MARTINBEVAN649 Sat 22-Sep-12 15:42:27

I really think you have got to contact a solicitor as I think these people will not go away.
The situation may be difficult if the woman had not known of your existance and your father had willed the house to her and she did not know of your part ownership.
In this case however she clearly knew you were there although you do not say if she knew of your part ownership.
I think the main point here is your father terminated his friendship with her over a year before so she can not say she was financially dependent on him and if she has contributed to the house she should have queried ownership as you were there.
She therefore has no right to the property.

Martin

glammanana Sat 22-Sep-12 17:25:55

emmah I would go down the route of putting a notice in your local paper stating any further harrassment will be dealt with by a court of law to the people concerned,I also feel that solicitors letters will also work as those whose address you do not know will be informed of your intentions by the bullies whose address you do know and have received said notice from your solicitor.How strange it is that when people pass away all sorts of claims come out of the woodwork and people you have hardly ever had anything to do with suddenly have a vestred interest in the person concerned.

JessM Sat 22-Sep-12 17:44:32

That is appalling and you have my sympathies.
I agree you need to talk to either a solicitor or a local community police officer.
I wonder - what if every time this happened you smiled serenely took out your mobile phone and took a photo of the person, or just pretended to.

emmah1952 Sat 22-Sep-12 18:39:15

I can confirm that this woman had been told my name was in the land certificate. My father told her in front of me the other half of the property would become mine.
My father decided to split with her as he had been left with the bill on about 4 occasions for meals for her and all of her grandchildren.
She also wanted to go on a cruise and wanted Dad to pay and he did not have the money in a liquid form at the time and she approached me for the money.
I spoke to Dad in private and he said he did not want to go on a cruise and no way did he want me to pay.
Oddly enough we went to France on the cross channel ferry a few weeks after they split up and Dad did not feel too well on the boat going to France and coming back so I could fully understand why he did not want to go on a cruise.
The sea was reasonably calm and Dad has never really been well on any boat.
I will have to involve a solicitor which is the general advice in this thread. It is just annoying as solicitors are not cheap.
The house and my pensions are my largest asset.
The house is also my home. My parents purchased the house in 1953 so it has been the family home for 59 years.
I hope one of my daughters will be in a position to take the house over if I have to buy somewhere smaller.

Emma

Faye Sat 22-Sep-12 22:28:36

emmah. This is harrassment, how dare they bother you when your father had recently passed away. My mother died in November last year too, I can imagine it must have been a very difficult time for you. I would immediately report this to the police. Being a friend does not give someone the right to inherit a house. You might need some evidence, a peephole camera and some recordings would help. Good luck flowers

JessM Sun 23-Sep-12 09:07:12

Try the police first, as they are free! Some of them are very helpful.
Citizen's advice may also be worth a try.

annodomini Sun 23-Sep-12 10:02:30

I think CAB would give you the same advice - police and if all else fails, a solicitor's letter to the offenders.

MARTINBEVAN649 Sun 23-Sep-12 12:20:45

Hi Faye

You are perfectly right in saying ''Being a friend does not give someone the right to inherit a house''
I have heard it said by ladies on many occasions that some elderly man has a nice expensive house but half of it belongs to the children ie they are registered as owners at the land registry and they think if they go and live with a man for a few months they will get the house and the children will lose their right to their half.
This is not true. The children own half the house whatever happens but I am not sure what will happen if the man gets married again and brings the new wife in to the house. I do not know if the children can throw her out when he passes away, sell the house and give her half of the proceeds or if the children will have to wait for her to pass away.
In my case I am not sure if anybody else could get title to my half of the house as there is a clause on the land certificate saying no sale, transfer, or charge is to be given over the house without the consent of my children.
If I have to go into care I think it is possible the council may not be able to get any of my house.
Unfortunately my wife has passed away but there is no way I will get married again owing to the complications it could cause my or possibly her children.

Martin

FlicketyB Sun 23-Sep-12 12:41:09

If a man remarries all previous wills are invalid and a new one has to be made. His assets will otherwise be treated as if he died intestate. In the absence of a will it would then be up to children and wife to negotiate, who will both own half the house, whether the property is sold or whether the wife can stay in it. Hopefully children and wife would have a good relationship and reach agreement. My parents watched a house near them become totally derelict because the second wife, who did not live in the house, refused to sell, refused to let the children occupy the property and just left it empty and unmaintained for over 20 years. When she died the house had to be demolished and the land sold at site value.

When someone dies it is the will that is the legal document that decides the distribution of the estate not anything the deceased may or may not have said in life. You see court case after court case in the papers where a deceased person made verbal promises before death but never changed their will, or in one sad case I know, died suddenly while the new will was being drawn up and it is the will that holds not the verbal promises.

Harrassment is a crime. Start with the police, that usually puts the fear of God into people even more than a solicitor's letter

MARTINBEVAN649 Sun 23-Sep-12 14:58:34

Hi FlicketyB

I think if a parent wants to remary and bring his new spouse into the property which the children half own it would be best for an agreement to be drawn up before the marriage happens to avoid a dispute in the future which may run up large legal bills and the property may be deserted in the mean time.
Possibly a clause could get inserted saying if the children lets the new spouse stay in the property they will inherit it all when he / she passes away.
A problem could still happen however if the parent passes away and the new spouse marries somebody else and brings him / her in to the property.
I am not sure how things would stand then and if the agreement will be still valid.

Martin

FlicketyB Sun 23-Sep-12 15:06:30

Couldnt agree more. Where new family and old are in complete accord problems dont arise. It is when they arent the problems arise and those kinds of families are the ones least like to think and plan ahead.

Lancashirelass Sun 23-Sep-12 15:26:20

Emma, even if you only start now, make a note of what is said by these people, so you have a list with dates, names and exact words spoken.

You have all my sympathy, it is painful enough to deal with grief after loss of a parent, your neighbours and acquaintances should be giving you support. What a manipulating woman she must be. Stay strong, and things will get better.

Sbagran Sun 23-Sep-12 16:28:23

Following on from JessM's contribution - I think the pretending or actual taking of a photo on a mobile could well work - many nasty people are willing to shout their mouths off until they have to put their names to their comments officially!

Call their bluff wink - Put them on the spot and ask them to confirm their names and addresses as well so that "the facts that they obviously know all about can be checked out by your solicitor" - that may act as a deterrent as well - load of bunkum obviously but they don't know that and I would be amazed if any of them would be willing to actually give you their contact details.

Good luck Emma - and like all the other posters I send you flowers and my sympathy at what is a truly difficult time. God bless xxx

merlotgran Sun 23-Sep-12 17:06:56

emmah If you appoint a solicitor be very careful that they don't use the situation to rack up their fees. I am going through a situation at the moment where I (and others) am due to inherit some money from a wealthy distant relative who died intestate. This relative lived with a woman for forty years but for reasons unknown, did not leave her anything. Egged on by friends, she appointed solicitors to see what they could get for her. As there was money and property involved it went to court. The woman had terminal lung cancer and it was agreed in court that the estate (us) should give her the value of the house she was living in to pay for her care needs. Even though legally she was not entitled to anything as they were never married, nobody contested this from our side as we felt she should have something. The woman died 16 months ago so the property was sold and the money went back into the estate. We have still not been paid a penny - we even had to pay the woman's court costs to try to bring an end to the matter. Our solicitors are using every tactic possible to delay the 'pay out'. It will soon be four years since our relative died and it looks like the solicitors will hoover up around 400K. sad angry We've been told it will take another two months to wind everything up so before Chrismas??? We're not holding our breath.

MARTINBEVAN649 Sun 23-Sep-12 17:26:55

Hi Emma

Another thought I have just had is why not ask these people to send you a letter saying why this woman shoild have the estate and say your solicitor will respond and will clarify the legal position.
I doubt if any of them will want to put anything in writing.

Martin