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Am I being unreasonable or is my sister?

(100 Posts)
isitginoclock Thu 16-Feb-17 11:49:31

So a bit of a long one. My sister split up with her husband, around 3 years ago and moved back to the family home so she can be near family and have support. My dad died years ago and it's just my mum on her own. She's in good health but getting on a bit (76) and on the whole, in good health. She does love having them around and seeing her grandchildren every day, which is nice.
My sister came over to see us and stay last night as the kids are on half term. We were talking about family stuff and I can't remember how we got into it but I was just saying how sad it would be to sell the family home when mum died. She looked really shocked and basically said that she thought she was going to stay there and it would t be fair to kick her out of her home, and there was no way that she could afford somewhere else (she works as a teaching assistant at the kids school part time but mum pays for EVERYTHING else - food, clothes for kids, bills etc).
My husband and I were a bit shocked, as far as we were aware the will was that the house and everything was split 3 ways.
Can she contest it? Can mum change it (Even though it was dads will before he died).
I'm not being grabby... It's just the pronciple of the whole thing that she's assuming the house is now hers?
Does anyone know where we stand on this?

Goondoit Thu 16-Feb-17 11:53:01

Well I would think your mum could change her will if she so chooses to leave the house to your sis alone. If she leave the will that your aware of in place and it's split 3 ways then your sister will need to pay 2/3 rent or buy the other 2 out.
It's not hers by default just because she lives there now with your DM but she really needs to think about her future options.
How would you feel if your mum did change her will to make your sis the sole benefactor?

EmeraldScorn Thu 16-Feb-17 12:11:43

Hmm your mum is alive and therefore future ownership of the house is a non issue.

However, how does your husband factor in all of this? There's no "we", as surely it'll be a matter between siblings so I don't understand why he was "shocked".

Your mum could change her will and it would be perfectly reasonable for her and her alone to decide what happens to her belongings/assets.

You, your sister and your husband all sound very entitled to be honest; The discussion you're wanting to have is only appropriate to broach after your mother is dead, not before!

troodiedoo Thu 16-Feb-17 12:11:44

Your mum could change it, and your sis could contest it, not sure if she would be successful though. Obviously you want to avoid that for everyones sake.

The obvious solution would be for her to buy you out when the time comes or pay you rent for your half. Worth noting though that should your mum need care in the future your sister may well be the provider of that care and that might affect things.

Kiroro Thu 16-Feb-17 12:19:05

house may well need to be sold to pay for care before your mums death.

Or your sister may end up being the carer.

Lots of things in flux before you get your mits on 1/3 the house.

carabos Thu 16-Feb-17 12:19:43

Who is the third party? Is there another sibling? Surely you're not assuming your husband will be an equal beneficiary to you and your sister in your parents' estate?

coughsandsneezes Thu 16-Feb-17 12:20:30

I am in a very similar situation to you. You need to read your dad's will clearly to answer your question.

My parents (both still alive) have left the house to each other in the first instance and then to both of us kids in the event that neither of them survives. My sister has been assuming she would be able to stay in the house forever.

I warned my parents that this is what my sister was expecting. After thinking about it, they have said they might change their wills to leave it all to her because "she needs it more than you do".
That upset me. Even though I understand that decision is up to them.

I then pointed out (the house is in the south-east and prices have gone up in their area over the years) that there will be inheritance tax to pay. So even if my sister was the sole benefactor she would have to move out because she would have to sell the house to pay the tax. I think she assumes my parents will magically leave her some money to cover it, which they can't. Yes the house has gone up in value over the years but none of us are rich.

Look at your dad's will again. If the house was solely in his name before he died AND he split the house equally on his death, then you have a current share and your sister would have a job contesting that. However if the house turns out to be your mum's alone currently, then she can leave it to whoever she wants. As the pp says, you should bear in mind before you talk to your mum how you would feel if she decides to change her will to make your sister the sole benefactor.

GTS Thu 16-Feb-17 12:21:35

I think you should consider having a conversation with your mum about it.
My DH's parents house was split three ways with his two siblings after his mother passed away, then his sibling wanted to live there so bought the other two out.
Also I'm not sure why your mum is paying for everything if your DS works? Surely she's entitled to some benefits etc, working tax credits?

Sirzy Thu 16-Feb-17 12:22:06

I think you and your siblings need to sit down with your mum and have a proper discussion so everyone knows where they stand - but ultimately it is your mums home and she can do what she wishes with it

LaContessaDiPlump Thu 16-Feb-17 12:22:35

Makes far more sense to consider these things before the event IMO - maybe you should broach it with your mum. My dad is saying he'll leave the family house to my sister now; I'm glad I know in advance, as it prevents bad feeling at a time.when we will be distraught anyway.

KayTee87 Thu 16-Feb-17 12:23:10

I can't really believe you're talking and thinking about this when your mum is still alive, she's only 76 ffs. My grandpa is 94!
It's up to your mum what she does with the house etc. She can change her will if she likes.
Personally if that is their home now I'd never ask them to move.

unicornsIlovethem Thu 16-Feb-17 12:23:59

It would depend on how your parents had owned the house. If your parents owned it as joint tenants, it will now belong to your mum in its entirety. If they owned it as tenants in common, it will depend whether any share owned by your dad was left outright to your mum, in which case it is hers to do what she likes with including leaving it to the cat's home.

If your parents own their house as tenants in common and your dad left his share to the three of you with a life interest for your mum, you then have a 1/6 share of the house plus anything your mum leaves you.

Gatehouse77 Thu 16-Feb-17 12:24:10

As your sister is a dependent she may have some claim to the house. Ideally, your mother needs to take legal advice as some things have changed which she ought to be aware of. Your sister could contest the will.

Oldraver Thu 16-Feb-17 12:24:15

What has happened to the house on your fathers death ? Was it left in its entirity to your DM or split three ways ?.

If the house belongs 100% to your Mum then she can do as she wishes. Though your DS is being grabby expecting the house to go to her.

JugglingFromHereToThere Thu 16-Feb-17 12:24:37

Whilst I understand the thinking around people feeling entitled to something I really don't think it's realistic to expect people not to give such things a little thought beforehand. I think it's often helpful if they do as long as everyone realises a lot can happen between now and then, such as older people needing care sometimes for many years.

Pooka Thu 16-Feb-17 12:24:41

If your father was the sole owner of the house and left it in equal shares to you, your sister and mother, then your mother would have her third share to will on however she may choose. So technically if she left her third entirely to your sister, she would have 2/3 and you your 1/3. She could buy out your 1/3 to become sole owner.

That's quite an unorthodox situation though - what happens more commonly is that your parents would have been joint owners. Your father may have left the house I. It's entirety to your mother. She can then write a will leaving the house solely to your sister, or 1/2 to each of you. Or he may have left his half in thirds - 1/3 to you, your sister and your mother. Without knowing the terms of your father's will or your mothers will you won't know what the set up is planned to be.

I personally don't think that it's wrong or premature to have a vague idea of what a parent plans to do - it saves heartache, stress and arguments after the fact, when people feel vulnerable and grief stricken if the terms of the will are clearly expressed and even handed.

ElderDruid Thu 16-Feb-17 12:25:06

I think it's a rather macabre thing to think about. I do hear people having these conversations and it some what horrifies me. I think there was a post a few weeks back where a condition was written in that someone's DB had the right to live there 3 years before it was sold.

She will obviously speak to your mother about it, as it is likely something that never entered her head, she sees it as her home.

I can't really rule who is right and who is wrong as surely if you'd be sad to sell it, surely you should keep it. My thoughts go along the idea of if anyone has financial trouble in the future they could stay there.

I still think it's macabre though thinking let alone talking about it.

Evilstepmum01 Thu 16-Feb-17 12:27:08

Ive had this before with my sisters. Spoke to my mum who assured me its split between all four of us. No harm in double checking, leaving the house to your sister would be massivley unfair.
Since my mum married my stepdad, 'her' house. our family home, will now be split between us four sisters and my two step-sisters. Big rows about this from my twin, but it is only fair I suppose!

OldJoseph Thu 16-Feb-17 12:28:48

I expect there's a way round this, I couldn't chuck my sister and children out of a house knowing they'd struggle to find other suitable accommodation. Unless of course the house is so valuable / big that the sale of it would give her enough of a share to buy a house for her and her children?

Also 76 and in good health has potentially another 20 or so years before any will reading.

greenworm Thu 16-Feb-17 12:29:13

You may well be up needing to sell house to pay for care for your mum (there are quite complicated rules in place about what the process is if sharing home with another adult). But as other posters say your mum could live for 20 years or more, surely your sister might meet someone and move in with them in that time?

AnneElliott Thu 16-Feb-17 12:30:37

Who is the third share to op? Another sibling?

Pancakeflipper Thu 16-Feb-17 12:30:40

As macabre as it seems I am so bloody grateful my dad had everything sorted prior to his unexpected death. Oh it made that side of things so easy to deal with when our lives were turned upside down. It's a nightmare enough in the first year sorting everything out without the added horribleness of having conversations like that.

If you can then try and have the conversation now so you all know the intentions of your mother - it will save a lot of problems and extra heartache later

Surreyblah Thu 16-Feb-17 12:31:38

It's not macabre IMO. Most adult DC would be very upset to be treated differently from siblings in a parent's will, or for siblings to seek this.

In your shoes I would talk to my DM, and indeed my sibling, and express my feelings about her financially supporting my sibling and the sibling's assumption on inheritance.

My parents and siblings have discussed this stuff, power of attorney etc, and have all assumed that the house might well need to be sold to pay for care.

LolaTheDarkdestroyer Thu 16-Feb-17 12:31:38

Fucking hell the pot woman is alive and kicking and healthy yabu for the thought crossing your mind.

seafoodeatit Thu 16-Feb-17 12:32:08

Why all the talk of speculating and contesting wills? your mother is still alive and well, surely you and your sister need to speak with her as adults and find out what her wishes are rather then try to find a way to overrule the will once she's passed. It is her home but it is your mothers house first and foremost.

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