Siblings are aggressively trying to get me out of my late fathers house despite his written Will for me to stay

(111 Posts)
Tryingtosurvive Thu 21-Mar-13 13:13:03

I am a disabled mum with two children under 10 years old and have recently spit up from my partner of 20 years - that was traumatic. My only place of refuge is the house which my late father left to all of us (tenants in common). I moved back into the house a few months ago with my children explaining to my siblings that my relationship had broken down and I had no where else to live except this house.

Now two of my siblings have put me under immense pressure to put the house up for sale despite my father putting a specific clause in his Will which says to the effect that my siblings shall allow me to live in the house for as long as I want to and that the house shall not exercise any trust for the sale of the property without my written consent. My father also said that if cease to reside in the house (other than through temporary absence) then the property can be sold.

Everyone else in my family has regular work/income and a secure place to live. I am self employed and work is very difficult to secure the moment though I am not claiming benefits yet. When my father died we (siblings) allowed one of my aggressive siblings to live in this house, rent-free for four years when she became divorced until she decided she was ready to buy a property abroad. She is furious with me because she has put money into her foreign property expecting the sale of this house to go ahead, but never discussed any of this with me.

There has been a lot of nasty conversations and bickering, and one sibling even trying to get the others to side with her to force the sale of the house if I don't put it on the market by the end of the month. She has threatened me with grave consequenses if I don't do what she wants.

This is an extremely stressful time for me and as a result am suffering depression and other signs of stress whic is taking a toll on my health and my business.

Does anyone have any suggestions what I could do to live securely as my father's Will intended until I'm in a position to buy out the main aggressive sister? I'm short on cash at the moment. The same sister has said that if I intend to buy her out now when the property market is low and then sell the house at a profit when/if the market picks up I have another thing coming.

Thumbwitch Thu 21-Mar-13 13:16:08

Are you too short on cash to see a solicitor? because that's what you need to do.
If the house cannot be put on the market without your signed consent, then don't consent or sign anything, problem solved!
Ignore the aggression - they're trying to browbeat you.

What "grave consequences" is she able to inflict upon you anyway?

how horrible.

well in my view you don't have to do anything they want. your father expressly wanted you to be able to do what you're doing.

your sister has assumed rather too much about the sale of your house, and you can't be made to be responsible for something that you knew nothing about. if she assumed that she'd get money that wasn't actually in her bank that's her problem.

i do urge you to see a solicitor. that will be money well spent.

Tryingtosurvive Thu 21-Mar-13 13:22:44

Thanks Thumbwith, I'm trying to get legal aid, which is ending in April and am living off my savings, but would consider a solicitor if the fees were not too exorbitant.

It's hard to ignore the browbeating, but am feeling so vulnerable at the moment that my fighting spirit has flown - hence the depression.

The grave consequenses I think she's referring to is that she will want to enter into mediation with a view to forcing the sale of the house. She argues that because I lived with my partner for 10 years it is not a temporary absence.

OTTMummA Thu 21-Mar-13 13:23:03

Tell her to read the will and then tell her any threats made will be reported to the police.

Oh and I would tell her to go swivel as well, but you sound too nice.

GingerBlondecat Thu 21-Mar-13 13:23:46

Stay put sweetie (((((((((((Hugs))))))))))) on the loss of your Father.

Your siblings can't force you out.
Stay Put.

msrisotto Thu 21-Mar-13 13:26:28

Surely it is a temporary absence seeing as you have now returned?

Callisto Thu 21-Mar-13 13:26:50

Well I can see your siblings point of view - you have been hugely favoured over them and that must hurt. And tbf, it isn't really about who is earning what but about fair division of your late father's estate. IMO any inheritance should be divided equally. Obviously you're not in a particularly financially stable place right now, but how long are you planning on staying in the house?

No sale would go through without your consent unless your siblings could find a dodgy solicitor who would go along with fraud (or one stupid enough not to realise that's what they're doing). The buyer's solicitor would expect to see your name on the sale agreement and transfer.

'She argues that because I lived with my partner for 10 years it is not a temporary absence.' i don't understand that.

is she saying that because you haven't lived continuously in the house since his death you're not entitled to live there anymore?

Thumbwitch Thu 21-Mar-13 13:28:31

"The same sister has said that if I intend to buy her out now when the property market is low and then sell the house at a profit when/if the market picks up I have another thing coming."

But she's quite happy for you to sell the whole house now while the property market is low so that she can get the cash she needs? Daft.

Well, if you can buy her out, you can always get a solicitor to draw up an agreement to the effect that she will get an additional pay out if the house sells for rather more than it was valued at when you bought her out. That's if you want to. I wouldn't want to, personally, but it might solve a few problems so I'd probably do it anyway.

I hate shared family houses. They cause so much bloody grief...

badtime Thu 21-Mar-13 13:28:53

If your sister is harrassing you, you should keep records and tell her you will report any incidents of harrassment to the police. And if she doesn't back off, you should report it to the police.

She is going against your father's wishes. She should be ashamed, particularly since she was happy to liv in the house when it suited her.

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Thu 21-Mar-13 13:32:27

You really really need to spend the money on seeing a solicitor if you can't get legal aid. You don't need to rack up a huge bill but you need to understand
a - whether you life interest is correctly drafted and enforceable
b - whether your 10 year absence was "temporary" (which I suspect may be difficult to argue but will depend on the facts)
c- whether your siblings have any legal options to force you out

Then at a minimum you are clear on your legal position and whether there is any legal risk that you'll be made to leave. You could also get the solicitor to send a snotty letter to your siblings saying (s)he has advised you (assuming they do) that you are entitled to remain in the property, if you think this would get them off your backs.

Miggsie Thu 21-Mar-13 13:32:31

Stay put
sign nothing
Tell her you will only communicate via a solicitor

Tryingtosurvive Thu 21-Mar-13 13:32:39

I hope to be able to stay for until at least my two children are ready to go to secondary school - which would be about two to three years. I'm really offended that the good grace I allowed her of four years or possibly longer to sort herself out has not been extended to me.

If I could I'd buy her out, but she doesn't want that, and it's not practical at the moment as I'm in survival mode as my partner and I did not marry.

SirChenjin Thu 21-Mar-13 13:32:49

I can see it from your siblings POV too. Have you given them any indication of how long you plan to stay? They may all have jobs (I think you said you were self employed, so also earning an income of sorts) and a place to live - so presumably they are paying rent or a mortgage and could benefit financially from the sale of your family home.

I agree with the previous poster - all inheritance should be divided equally, unless your siblings were absolutely vile to their father, but it doesn't sound like that was the case.

This is one of these threads where I would like to hear the other side of the story.

Naysa Thu 21-Mar-13 13:34:49

Am I reading this right?

You haven't lived in the house for ten years and now your marriage is over you have moved back?
When did your father die?

I'm reading this as your father died a long time ago and you lived there 10 years ago and now you are living back there?

If I have read this right then I can understand why your siblings presumed that you had moved out but they don't have any right to hound you out of the house.

Correct me if I'm wrong though. blush

MuchBrighterNow Thu 21-Mar-13 13:34:59

I think long term relations with family are more important than a house. By living in the house with no time limit you are effectively denying your siblings a fair share of their inheritance.

Can you suggest to them a time limit which you need to get yourself on your feet after your divorce and then either....

take your share of the house sale and find somewhere else to live....

buy them out or

Offer them either some rent now or a % gain more than you of the profit when the house is eventually sold to recompense them for the time you have had sole use of the house.

I understand it was your father's wish that you stay in the house as long as you had need... but from a detached viewpoint this is not entirely fair on your siblings.

You need to come to a compromise which recognises their inheritence rights as well as your need for a home right now.

If you and your sister both dig your heels in it's only going to cause a huge rift and misery.

fuzzywuzzy Thu 21-Mar-13 13:35:46

Calisto did you miss the bit where one of the other siblings lived rent free in this house for four years following her divorce after their father passsed away.

Stay put and get legal advice.

How long is it since your DF died?

Tryingtosurvive Thu 21-Mar-13 13:38:24

I like the idea of asking the property solicitor to send them a letter to back off and if it's money well invested at least I could sleep properly at nights.

I thought my family were so close, but I have caught my one sister doing several irregular things like trying to change my father's Will to give her the security I have whilst he was dying in hospital - she bawled at me and wouldn't speak to me for months. Maybe the best way forward would be to engage a solicitor for future communications as the though of confronting her give me palpitations!

Callisto Thu 21-Mar-13 13:38:50

Erm, sorry but what has that got to do with anything? Or should all of the siblings get to spend 4 years there rent free? It sounds like a train crash to me, and I doubt very much the OP is the innocent she is making herself out to be.

Tryingtosurvive Thu 21-Mar-13 13:39:53

My Dad died in 2007, that 's when we let the aggressive sibling stayed put and we didn't have the heart to tell her to get out of the house as she had no where else to live.

Callisto Thu 21-Mar-13 13:42:31

So you haven't lived in the house since 2007 but you're claiming that your absence was temporary? confused

So, the DS moved in, moved out, expecting that now the house was empty it would be sold. This may be why she moved out... Then you moved in (did you ask/tell them?) after not having been there for 10 years.

I understand why you are annoyed with the sibling that moved in and didn't move. Sorry but I can also understand why the others don't want to wait a total of almost 10 years for their inheritance.

Tryingtosurvive Thu 21-Mar-13 13:46:17

Yes, dad died in 2007, and I was having relationship difficulties back then, however, it would have been impossible for me to move back into the house as my sister had put all my personal posessions in the shed and moved her own furniture and dog in - which my daughter was terrified of.

SirChenjin Thu 21-Mar-13 13:46:39

What's happened to the house in the time since your father died? Has it just been sitting empty in the time since your sister was there? Who has paid for the upkeep and maintenance of the house?

Something about this just isn't really ringing true.

MuchBrighterNow Thu 21-Mar-13 13:49:07

If your sister had 4 years rent free you need to work out what that was worth to her.

Fix a sum for rent and then however much you have individually "spent" can be taken off your individual shares when the house is sold.

Fix a time limit for when you will move out... you suggested 2/3 years .

Tryingtosurvive Thu 21-Mar-13 13:49:31

Hindsight is a great thing. Also that sister is the eldest and is very influential over the others. We didn't for sister out because we were all more concerned that older sister didn't have anywhere to live and sorry about her divorce from her husband in USA.

broccolirocks Thu 21-Mar-13 13:49:51

Tryingtosurvive, who's paying for the upkeep of the house while you're all tenants-in-common? Things like utility bills, council tax & maintenance/improvements. If you're doing all this entirely on your own and keeping it in saleable condition then I understand your frustration a bit. As it's several years since you all inherited the property I see why your relatives want the situation to move on. If the house was sold, could you use the proceeds towards getting a smaller property of your own? Can't be much fun for you knowing your family are resenting you.

Sorry if that sounds unhelpful, have seen relatives in a similar position and it ended very badly.

Tryingtosurvive Thu 21-Mar-13 13:51:21

I've got an appointment to see a legal aid advisor in 40 mins which I hope will give me some hope.

Thanks for all your practical and sympathetic threads.

Will keep you posted.

msrisotto Thu 21-Mar-13 13:51:22

Have I got this right - it is written into the will that the house is to be used by you specifically, or the children generally to use as they wish, until they decide to sell it when the profits should be split equally?

ElliesWellies Thu 21-Mar-13 13:52:15

So your dad passed away in 2007, and had made his will several years previously, while you were still living with him? Basically the clause was included so you would not be kicked out of your home. In my opinion, that doesn't cover you moving back into the home after he has been dead for several years, and claiming you can stay. I don't think it is fair on your siblings, and am not convinced it would hold up should they have lawyers look at it. You had a partner, and have a family, and you were living with them for years - that is not a 'temporary' absence.

In light of the fact that you're all family, and another sibling stayed there for several years, I don't think it is quite fair of them to try to force you out immediately. Nor is it fair for you to live there indefinitely, and try to prevent them from selling. Agree with whoever said you need to come up with a time limit, e.g. two years.

tiggytape Thu 21-Mar-13 13:52:57

I think MrsTerry is right:
The 'aggressive sister' lived there at the time that your dad died and nobody had the heart to throw her out. None of the other siblings lived there when he died in 2007?
So 'aggressive sister' lived there for 4 years (which is frankly taking it a bit far but you all agreed so fine) and moved out recently.
At which point you move back in having not lived there for 10 years and claimed that your 10 years absence was just a temporary blip and further announce that you intend to stay for 3 more years!

I can see why the other siblings would be annoyed too.
It isn't about who deserves or needs it the most - all the siblings have equal entitlement - they were all your Dad's children so why should they wait 10 years in total for you and 'aggressive sister' to sort things out? What happens if aggressive sister's house falls through, will she move back in too?

firesidechat Thu 21-Mar-13 13:56:44

That clause about the tempory non residence wasn't well thought out was it? Did it not say what length was acceptable? I have alot of sympathy for your situation, but also some sympathy for your siblings. An absence of a few years would not be tempory surely?

WeAreEternal Thu 21-Mar-13 13:57:45

How long ago did you move into the house Trying?

AnastasiaBieverhausen Thu 21-Mar-13 14:08:36

Have I understod this correctly?

You lived in the house with your father.

Your father had a will regarding the house, with a clause stating you had the right to reside there and that it couldn't be sold while you still lived there. The will states that if you cease to reside there, other than a temporary absence, they can sell it.

You moved out in 2002ish to live with your DP.

Your father sadly passed away in 2007 without amending his will.

Your sister moved in at some point after this and lived there 'rent free' for four years.

She moved out, plans were made to sell the house.

You have moved back in, ('rent free'?) have claimed the ten years was a temporary absence and are blocking the sale.

Is that all correct?

You are taking the piss MASSIVELY and I hope they can evict you and finally sell the house. your poor siblings.

msrisotto Thu 21-Mar-13 14:12:25

"I hope they can evict you....your poor siblings"???

Bloody hell lets have some compassion people! Where's the hurry to sell the house? It would be taking the piss to claim it as your own and live there indefinitely but to use it as respite in a really difficult time, after her sister has done similar, is surely not unreasonable??

Money really does something to otherwise sane people.

WileyRoadRunner Thu 21-Mar-13 14:16:49

I can see your sibling's POV. I do think YABU sorry.

Surely if you sell the house you will have a decent deposit to put down on a rentl for yourself and your children?

WileyRoadRunner Thu 21-Mar-13 14:18:00

Where's the hurry to sell the house?

Hasn't it been six years though since the will was read?

Yes, RoadRunner and potentially another 3 years until she moves. Then, what if another sibling wants to move in...

msrisotto Thu 21-Mar-13 14:20:21

Yeah it's been six years so lets kick out a recently separated desperate mother along with those pesky kids that are clogging it up....Nice.

fuckwittery Thu 21-Mar-13 14:25:26

I'm sorry, I can see why your family would like to finalise your father's affairs now, it has been a long time since his death and you living there now was not your father's intention at the time the will was made.

How much will your share of the sale be? Can't you agree to stay while the house is marketed and sold, and use your share to rehouse?

CloudsAndTrees Thu 21-Mar-13 14:25:49

You need to find somewhere else to live and let your siblings force the sale if you are going to need help from the council. It's not fair for you to continue to hang on to that asset so many years after your fathers death, your siblings have understandable reasons for wanting to sell the house. I expect they could do with their share of the money, and it's not right for you to keep that from them indefinitely, or until you decide you are ready.

It would be much better for everyone concerned if the house was sold and you were all given your fair share so that this situation doesn't have to continue.

ilovecolinfirth Thu 21-Mar-13 14:27:43

It's a difficult one. My MIL once told me that she would leave the house to my SIL and my DH but we must never expect SIL to leave the house...she's well into her 30s and shows no sign of moving out. We (dh and i) personally would prefer they sold their house now and they were both able to retire...but the thought that my DH wouldn't be entitled to his share if they do keep the house is a bit hurtful

So I see how your siblings might feel. However, your situation must be tough.

Would a sale not give you a decent deposit?

X

I'd also like to know if the DS's 'property abroad' is supposed to be her primary residence. If it is, she is just as desperate, if not more, since she no longer has the DF's house to live in.

I think a plan B is needed OP. Think about the best/easiest way to move out, sell the house, move on and restore sibling relations. As long as this is hanging over everyone, it is hard to put your DF to rest with good memories and also for you to move on as a family.

WileyRoadRunner Thu 21-Mar-13 14:34:12

Yeah it's been six years so lets kick out a recently separated desperate mother along with those pesky kids that are clogging it up....Nice.

But what about her siblings financial affairs? What if one of them needs that money or they may face losing their own home?

firesidechat Thu 21-Mar-13 14:37:28

Can I just ask, very politely, that you find a different way to describe your sister ie sister A. I'm finding the "aggressive sister" tag a bit hard to take for some reason.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Thu 21-Mar-13 14:39:18

Hmm. I 'm sorry but I tend to agree with your siblings that the property should be sold and divided equally. How much money do you personally stand to make on a sale? Hopefully it will be enough to help you get by or buy/rent somewhere new.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Thu 21-Mar-13 14:40:20

Well, if it were me I would want my share of the cash ASAP. I actually think that trumps everything else - each sibling is entitled to their quarter, so if one wants to sell than either the others buy them out or they sell. Of course, they may not want to sell but also can't afford to buy anyone else out - in which case, too bad. Different situation if all 4 siblings agreed to wait, of course, but they all have to agree, which is not happening in this case.

Tbh the facts that you are disabled and recently moved back in after a divorce and are therefore in a vulnerable emotional and physical state are not relevant. Your siblings are entitled to their quarters and you can't afford to buy them out. You could take your quarter and use it as a deposit on a house of your own, or if you didn't want to do that, then have a nest-egg.

Your father died 6 years ago. You weren't living in the house then. You were elsewhere.

That's not a temporary absence. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Sorry. I have every sympathy for your plight, but you can't claim that's a temporary absence.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Thu 21-Mar-13 14:43:32

And they aren't kicking you out to be destitute. You'll have a quarter of a house's worth of cash.

Writehand Thu 21-Mar-13 14:54:40

You are the vulnerable one among your siblings: a disabled mum, responsible for 2 DCs with a low and irregular income. The others are all much better off and more secure. Your father's awareness of the situation and his concern for your future security are no doubt why he wrote the will he did. His intentions are what matter, and he clearly intended you to have a place of refuge if you needed it. And you do need it.

From what you say, they can't get you out without your consent. Write formally to each of your siblings requesting that they stop trying to pressure you, pointing out that is unacceptable both legally & morally, and stressing that you will not give consent to the sale of the house until it suits you. It might help to add that you plan to consent once your DCs are at secondary school. Three years is not a long time.

I don't understand how you let them get access to hassle you. If they're being that unpleasant I wouldn't let them into the house, and if they're being nasty to you on the phone you can just hang up on them.

If they do keep pestering you I'd tell them you are keeping a diary of these incidents to show to the police (even if you don't). smile If they do anything more than argue -- make threats or damage something -- then call the police.

It's always true that if someone allows others to intimidate them, the bullies will keep it up. Some people don't get bullied, because they don't react in a way that encourages the bullies. You seem to be very vulnerable to this sort of pressure, probably because your circumstances make you pretty fragile already, and I can't imagine that confronting them in person will help. You need to keep away from them as much as possible, That's why I suggest a letter.

I agree with other posters that a close family is more important than a house, but sadly the OP doesn't seem to have a close family. If one of my siblings was so much worse pff than the rest of them we'd want to help, not coerce. In fact I am much worse off than my siblings. One of them is extremely wealthy and, when we go to parties at his house, he pays for a car home rather than let us leave early to catch the last train, which is always full of drunks. We live more than 35 miles from him, and I hate to think how much a taxi costs. He does other little things to make our lives easier, but he's so tactful about it that I feel cherished rather than a poor relation.

The bit you don't mention is your ex-DP. Where is he in all this? Is he paying anything for his DCs? And if not, why not?

FasterStronger Thu 21-Mar-13 14:56:23

trying - why don't you want the money?

maddening Thu 21-Mar-13 14:57:34

Well if you do have to move out then make sure aggressive sister has 4 years rent taken off her share - funny how she gets compassion from everyone when she was in need yet when the shoe is on the other foot she's leading everyone against you.

lainiekazan Thu 21-Mar-13 15:01:42

If I were Judge Judge, I would go with some of the others here who say that it's an inheritance to be divided four ways. The OP's absence was not a "temporary" one; had she stayed with her DP she presumably would not have moved back.

I have read many articles which say that parents should never try to play "God" or try to even up financial situations between their offspring via a will. It just leads to resentment and messy situations.

lainiekazan Thu 21-Mar-13 15:02:14

Judge Judge?! Judge Judy , I meant.

OneLieIn Thu 21-Mar-13 15:03:43

What I'm uncomfortable with is how you started with a "poor me" statement that somehow entitles you to stay?

If you want to stay, you will need legal advice and be prepared to fall out with your family over this. You might be in need, others might be too. This might be irrecoverable family relationship wise.

If you want to go, do so on your terms and to your timing.

I have to say it makes me sick when I hear this kind of thing, it's only money, surely the family relationship is more important?

Floggingmolly Thu 21-Mar-13 15:07:04

I can see why moving back in seems like the answer to your problems at the moment, op, but you are massively in breach of the clause in your fathers will, you must see that?
Your family seem to be going about things in a needlessly aggressive manner, but they are actually in the right here. I can't see any solicitor deeming a 10 year absence "temporary" in the legal sense.

Chattymummyhere Thu 21-Mar-13 15:07:40

That is not temporary by any stretch of the imagination Infact the sister living there for 4 year is even by pirate lets long long term.. Long term in private is a year so 6 months really is what I would class as temporary..

You need to move out and sell the house if I was your sister I would be seeking legal advise to prove you where gone more than temporary and therefore have given up your right to live there for free and to gorse the sale though.

Chattymummyhere Thu 21-Mar-13 15:08:26

Force not gorse

flowery Thu 21-Mar-13 15:08:45

I feel for you but 10 years living in a permanent home elsewhere is not by any stretch of the imagination a temporary absence. Keep your dignity, allow the house to be sold, save your relationships with your siblings and use your share of the cash to set up in your own home.

DomesticCEO Thu 21-Mar-13 15:15:10

I'm always intrigued by the enormous sense of entitlement demonstrated by so many in threads on inheritance - none of us are "entitled" to a penny of our parents money, they can do what they like with it!

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Thu 21-Mar-13 15:21:25

Domestic, but this is a discussion about a parent who DID leave money (well, a valuable asset) to the 4 children. confused So they are each entitled to their share.

DomesticCEO Thu 21-Mar-13 15:27:21

It wasn't specifically about this post, just a general observation!

HugeLaurie Thu 21-Mar-13 15:27:32

You can't get legal aid for private client work (which is what this is). You basically have an occupational right under the terms of the Will.

Who are the Executors of the Will?
Has the Will been proved at the Probate Registry?

Without actually seeing the Will itself I can't tell you what your rights are and neither can anyone on here.

The moral issue is completely separate from any legal position so it doesn't matter what is fair or reasonable. It only matters what the Will says and what the law is.

Do not, under any circumstances, move out of that house without seeing a solicitor.

The firm I work for charges £75.00 plus VAT for a 90 minute consult. Money well spent in a situation such as this one.

Thumbwitch Thu 21-Mar-13 15:27:44

I imagine that the father included the clause about the OP having the right to reside in the house as long as she needed it in part because of her disability? And perhaps because he wanted to safeguard her from the acquisitiveness of her siblings, worrying that they wouldn't look after her if she needed it.

Speculating of course.

My Dad wants to leave the family home to the 3 of us as tenants-in-common - I've told him that he's not allowed to. We're dealing with a family situation that has been ongoing for years now, as a result of this type of thing and it's costing everyone a fortune, apart from the sitting tenants, who had NO such right-of-accommodation as the OP, and will culminate in legal action against them. The fall-out is dreadful - I can't bear the thought of going through it all again whenever my poor Dad shuffles off his mortal coil.

ENormaSnob Thu 21-Mar-13 15:29:40

I think you are taking the piss.

HugeLaurie Thu 21-Mar-13 15:33:07

Thumbwitch - The choice of how you own the house between you will be yours to make when he dies, not his. When the house is transferred under a form AS1 there is a provision as to how you wish to hold the house. Be aware that if you hold as joint tenants rather than tenants in common then if you or your siblings die then their share will pass to the surviving owners, rather than to your husband or children. Tenancy in common between siblings is the usual position, particularly when they have their own families.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Thu 21-Mar-13 15:36:19

I think it's a bit off to criticise your sister for asking your dad to change the terms of his will when all she wanted was the same protection he'd given you.

Especially considering she was presumably living there at the time?

Thumbwitch Thu 21-Mar-13 15:41:11

Thanks HugeLaurie - it's all a bit dutch to me at the moment, and am hoping it's never going to be an issue but he's made dark mutterings about letting my sister live there and paying rent to the rest of us; or us all keeping it in perpetuity as some kind of family shrine hmm - I'm really hoping he's joking about that.

As we already don't all get on, it could get extremely acrimonious - so ideally selling it straight away and splitting the money would be the best way forward for us, but I hope it's a long way in the future!

AnneEyhtMeyer Thu 21-Mar-13 15:41:42

Whatever your rights are or are not to live in this house I think if you want to have any further relationship with your siblings you need to move out now and allow the sale.

Talkinpeace Thu 21-Mar-13 15:46:42

Your siblings are being arses
the property market is as flat as a watery pancake at the moment.
If you live in the house, maintain it and keep it warm and then sell it when you are ready, all of you will make more money in the long run.

If you were with your partner for 20 years then surely you'd be out of the house for a lifetime?

Filibear Thu 21-Mar-13 15:56:43

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Her sister does need the money. She has a property relying on the money. Plus, I wonder what the siblings would say about all this...

firesidechat Thu 21-Mar-13 16:01:44

I imagine that the father included the clause about the OP having the right to reside in the house as long as she needed it in part because of her disability? And perhaps because he wanted to safeguard her from the acquisitiveness of her siblings, worrying that they wouldn't look after her if she needed it.

1) We don't know what the disability is though do we? There is a very wide range after all. Both of my parents are disabled (blind) and they would be disgusted at the thought of having to be looked after.

2) Do we know that the siblings have been acquisitive? They may just be frustrated at the "tempory" non residence. For all we know they may be in as much need as the OP.

flowery Thu 21-Mar-13 16:05:19

I agree you should do nothing without seeing a solicitor.

But morally, it seems to me that when your father made the will, his intention was that if you were living there at the time of his death, he wouldn't want you to be kicked out when he died.

Whether the exact wording means that you retained the right to move in after a number of years and not get kicked out is something you need a solicitor to advise you on. But it's not just about whether technically you can argue this that or the other, it's also about relationships.

Is the clause just for the OP though, or is it a more general "if any of the siblings are living in the house" clause?

I just don't think there's anything like enough info to make a proper judgement.

HugeLaurie Thu 21-Mar-13 16:13:53

I see this sort of situation day in and day out. To be honest it is difficult to separate the moral and legal issues in a complex family situation.

People may not like it but the question here is a legal one. It is not a moral one. Depending on what the Will actually says will determine the OP's rights under the terms of any Will.

Parents quite often do not appreciate the ramifications of their decisions for the family when they make their Wills, which is why we advise clients to review their Wills either every five years (If they are over 60 years of age) or alternatively if there are problems in the family, for example tensions between siblings, divorces, addictions, bankruptcies, etc.

flowery Thu 21-Mar-13 16:17:14

Huge I agree that what the OPs rights are is definitely a legal question not a moral one. But that doesn't mean there isn't a moral question as well. Doing what is technically allowed legally isn't necessarily the right thing to do where there are delicate family relationships in the balance.

ZolaBuddleia Thu 21-Mar-13 16:19:35

Reading between the lines it looks like the rest of the family were waiting for the other sister to move out, then OP pops up and they're facing another indefinite period of not being able to sell.

Unless your dad said something specific regarding the time frame, I'd agree from what you've told us that his intention was that if you were living with him when he died that you weren't forced to leave. Surely he couldn't think it right that some of his children get indefinite free housing while the others have to lump it?

HugeLaurie Thu 21-Mar-13 16:26:58

Flowery - To be honest with you I agree. I would recommend that she sees a solicitor sooner rather than later. Once she knows the legal position (and there are many unanswered questions here as to Probate, who the Executors are, whether the house has been transferred to the beneficiaries or the Executors etc), then she needs to make a decision about what she is going to do.

Most occupational clauses in Wills are quite clear, for example the rights will end if the beneficiary of the right moves out, marries or cohabits. However the OP has not said whether the Will has been prepared by a solicitor or whether it is a home made Will. The validity of the Will is not known either, because she hasn't mentioned whether this has been proved or not.

Just because it is legally right does not make it morally right. Only the OP can decide what she is going to do, once she has received advice, which I would recommend she does immediately.

ukatlast Thu 21-Mar-13 17:17:38

You know what your father wanted and he had the good sense to state it in the Will, so the Law is on your side. There is probably nothing they can do legally hence the strong-arm tactics - but do see a solicitor and get restraining orders taken out against them if necessary.
Stay put and do claim any benefits you are entitled to....you/your ex-husband paid into the system etc etc ....Good luck.

WilsonFrickett Thu 21-Mar-13 17:27:54

So, the rest of the family were waiting for Sister A to move out, thinking, brilliant, finally the house will be empty and we can sell it and move on with our lives... and then the OP's relationship breaks down and she takes possession just like that?

I do think they have a point, actually. I think you should sell. Not today, certainly, but I think you should agree to put the house on the market in say 6 months time. That will give you time to get your head sorted out, sort out maintenance from your X-P and get your business built back up.

I too would like to know who has been paying for and maintaining the house for the past six years <nosey>

louisianablue2000 Thu 21-Mar-13 17:31:13

You need to speak to a solicitor to see if you are allowed to stay in the house. It is all well and good posting on a forum but you will only get opinion, not fact.

kungfupannda Thu 21-Mar-13 17:33:47

Huge sympathy for your situation, OP.

BUT, and I am not a civil/probate lawyer, my gut feeling is that if you take legal advice you will be told that your right to live in the house is no longer in place because your father died several years ago and you have only just returned to the house. If the will states that if you cease to reside in the house, the house can then be sold, I don't see how you can rely on it. I would strongly suspect that the "temporary absence" clause is to prevent the other beneficiaries trying to force a sale because you've gone on holiday for a week - I'd be surprised if an absence of several years in your own family home counts as a temporary absence.

As I say, not my area of law and I don't know what the process is for some beneficiaries to force another to realise the inheritance by selling an asset, but in terms of your right to reside there, I think that boat has probably sailed, unfortunately.

I would strongly suggest that you check the exact legal position and then, if it is as I suspect, try to come to some sort of arrangement with your siblings before they stop talking to you and just crack on through legal channels. Perhaps set a date in a few months time by which you will be out. Otherwise you may find yourself with no control whatsoever over the timescale and manner of your leaving the house.

Floggingmolly Thu 21-Mar-13 17:36:53

Restraining orders, ukatlast? Op sounds like she could well have broken the terms of the will by choosing to live elsewhere for ten years.
See a solicitor by all means, but I doubt there is "nothing they can do, legally" very much.

Was your dad expecting you to be moving home? Because from what I can grasp from your posts, when he died you had lived with your partner of fifteen years and your two children for around five years already? So why would you need a clause to say you can live in the house when you presumably had your own house. Unless he knew your relationship wouldn't last or the will was made Pre-2002 before you moved out in the first place confused

Pandemoniaa Thu 21-Mar-13 17:50:59

It would be worth knowing when the OP's father made his will. Because I can't see why she, alone of all the siblings, would be granted permission to live ad-infinitum in a house that was left to all the siblings. Which makes me wonder whether the will was made long before the moved out the first time. Only while not being legally qualified, I'd find it hard to see how she can establish a right to live in a house that she had left years earlier and has only recently re-occupied.

I can sympathise with the difficult position she is in but also see things from the point of view of her siblings. They may well have very pertinent reasons to want to realise the assets that they have tied up in the house and since the father died back in 2007, they've waited a long time already.

SnotMeReally Thu 21-Mar-13 18:07:44

Gawd, this is all rather jeremy Kyle.

but I dont see how it was ever meant to work - what if they all wanted to move in becuase they are co-owners, or is it like musical chairs where the first one the baggsies it and hard luck the rest?

My ILs have told us similar re their house they have 2 DS and 1 DD the DSs are both married with good jobs and families and are homeowners, but the DD is sinlge and renting and not in a good job - the house is theirs jointly when the IL die and can be sold and the fuinds divided equally, unless the DD had moved back in by then & needed to live there

lainiekazan Thu 21-Mar-13 18:08:10

Something similar-ish happened with my sister's in-laws in Italy. Family home was left between sibling offspring with life interest for the unmarried one. However the unmarried one sold it, against the terms of the will. Thirty years later the only winners have been the lawyers. The case is still going on.

SnotMeReally Thu 21-Mar-13 18:10:36

I'd also like to know how the siblings all got on before the death of their father (I can see why they would have the humop if OP had alwasy been the favoured one, for example)
and how the upkeep of the house has been paid for in the meantime - joint opwners surely means jointly liable for eg council tax and repairs

expatinscotland Thu 21-Mar-13 18:14:46

'You know what your father wanted and he had the good sense to state it in the Will, so the Law is on your side. There is probably nothing they can do legally hence the strong-arm tactics - but do see a solicitor and get restraining orders taken out against them if necessary.'

Not necessarily at all. And it's doubtful a restraining order will be granted in such a position if the siblings have not threatened violence or been violent.

This is why it is truly best to seek legal advice because this is not cut and dried given that the OP moved out and then moved back in and the length of time the owner has been dead.

You are only back in the house because your relationship broke down.

Otherwise you would still be living with your EX.

Hence your absence was NOT temporary.

Your dad died more than 6 years ago, you moved out over 10 years ago, and your sister has lived there since. You pounced on the house the moment she left. She needed the money to buy a property. You are now denying all the siblings their inheritance.

I can see why they are mad at you. I dont think you are doing the right thing in this.

Xales Thu 21-Mar-13 20:51:06

I agree with others that you didn't move out temporarily.

If you put the house on the market now you can stay in it until it sells? It could take months to get a buyer and then months after that before completion.

Then when it sells you would have 1/4 of the share of the proceeds as a deposit for some where else.

WafflyVersatile Thu 21-Mar-13 21:59:16

I can understand your point of view. your sister quite happily made everyone wait 4 whole years while she got her life together and saved money for a new house while living rent free. And now she won't afford you the same courtesy when you need to get your life together. It's all urgent now because she's built castles in the sky on money she didn't have yet. I do think she is cheeky to think that it was ok for her to take advantage of free rent to the detriment of her siblings but not ok for you. Will she be taking rental out of her share when she gets it? I think that would be fair.

But lots of people leave marriages even though they don't have a parent's house to move into so I'm not sure the 'I couldn't leave my marriage because she was living in the house' stands up. Although I too would be a bit aggrieved that I couldn't take advantage of the same refuge that she had for those 4 years.

Contrary to what some have said I have the impression that the father's will had the other sister in mind (if anyone) when he wrote that clause as she had separated and moved in prior to his death.

I expect if your father was able to communicate his wishes and he favoured his children equally he would want you to be able to stay in the same way your sister did.

I imagine 'temporary absence' would mean a holiday or having to live somewhere for work for 6 months or summat. to stop siblings selling up while the resident was paddling in the sea at Scarborough for a long weekend.

What was the legal advice?

SirChenjin Thu 21-Mar-13 22:12:47

Any update?

The CAB appointment was hours ago.

Catchingmockingbirds Thu 21-Mar-13 23:38:32

Are you paying rent to anyone at the moment for living there?

lainiekazan Fri 22-Mar-13 11:21:47

This is an interesting thread, but more information is needed. Agree with others that very material is who has been paying for upkeep and council tax etc. And I don't think you can make a will that decrees you house shall be kept in perpetuity in case any of your heirs need to have it as a bolt hole. It's like those people who think they can ask to be stuffed and kept in a corner of the living room, or frozen.

quesadilla Fri 22-Mar-13 12:51:15

I have a lot of sympathy as well and the siblings do sound aggressive but like other posters here I can't see how you get around the fundamental fact that your absence was not temporary.
Why would you not want to simply take your share of the proceeds of the sale of the house and use them for a deposit on a property (or even on buying a property outright if there's enough money.)

I suspect the OP has decided not to come back to this thread.

moominmarvellous Fri 22-Mar-13 13:59:55

Sorry if this has been said, but could you just allow the sale of the house and use your inheritance for a deposit or rent on a new place?

Cut ties with the old family home and move on with a fresh start and your relationship with your siblings in tact. I have a large family and threads like these make me absolutely dread the death of our Mum (on top of the fact that I love her and will miss her obviously) as it causes so much crap. Parents sometimes think that they are doing what's best with clauses like these but in reality, anything favouring one over another will always end in bad feeling.

Yfronts Fri 22-Mar-13 15:44:22

I think you should highlight that sis had 4 years and you want 4 years too.

Maybe all of them should have 4 years each in it, how about that?

morethanpotatoprints Fri 22-Mar-13 18:45:09

I haven't read the whole thread but this is what my solicitor said.

He asked me and my sister if anybody may turn up out of the woodwork to contest the Will.

There was somebody, but not to give details here.

Unless somebody can prove that the will was made under juress, (e.g gunpoint) or has a certificate from doctor saying the deceased was not of sound mind, then the will is valid and will stand.

DrHolmes Fri 22-Mar-13 19:06:28

As others have said, sell and use your share to put down as a deposit.

Domjolly Fri 22-Mar-13 19:37:59

Legal aid has now changed unless you sell the house you are very likey to loose the house anyway in terms of legal fees fighting the siblings

Sell the house divide move on

ZolaBuddleia Sat 23-Mar-13 09:33:43

I've lost track, how many siblings are there? Which sister went to the solicitor with you?

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 23-Mar-13 09:59:30

I would sell and use the money as a deposit. There may come a day when you need your siblings and you are behaving unethically.

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