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Bit complicated but DP is in a situation where we don't know what the best course of action is.
June 2020 DP's Mother died and left her entire estate to be split between her four children.
Executors are DP's sister and DP's Aunt.
Probate has been granted.
Estate is primarily comprised of the house - which therefore needs to be sold and the proceeds split 4 ways as per the will.
The issue is one of DP's older brothers lived in the house with DP's mother and is still resident there. The two other siblings are happy to sign over their proportion of inheritance (until his death) in order to allow DP's brother to continue living there. The brother has many health issues and the other siblings expect they will outlive him and so will realise their inheritance when he is gone.
My DP on the other hand lost his job due to Covid and has been unemployed for over 10 months. He received JSA for 6 months but that has now run out and his income is zero. My income is quite large which therefore means he also cannot get UC.
DP therefore just cannot wait for possibly 20 years to realise his inheritance. He has suggested selling the large house and using the 3/4's available to re-home his brother in a smaller more suitable accommodation. He however wants to realise his quarter share (and I would like him to as well because it will finally lift us into having a deposit large enough to buy - we currently rent).
However DP and his sister are not on speaking terms and so all communication goes through DP's father who is not really able to sort this situation out even as an intermediary and even with no personal involvement in the estate (the parents were divorced for many years prior to the mother's death).
DP has really tried to get details of if a solicitor is being used but every request gets ignored.
So what are his options? How can he force the house sale so he can realise his inheritance? Or can't he?
We just don't know what to do and would hugely appreciate some advice.
I'm not a solicitor so I am not sure of the exact process of forcing a sale. However this exact situation came up here on mumsnet not that long ago. The woman was advised that one alternative to forcing a sale if she was struggling with the cost of forcing a sale is to install lodgers in every available spare room. This brother might like having company and make new friends, you can collect the rent money. Total win win situation. The siblings might be annoyed they aren't collecting any rent but its them who decided not to sell the house.
Can the siblings remortgage and buy your dh out of his share?
A few more things. The executors can not allow him to live in the house until he dies unless it was in the will. Executors are not allowed to make their own rules up. One way to deal with this would be to apply to have the executors removed by a court for failing to carry out their duty. You could apply for the executors to be replaced by impartial solicitors. If the executors are solicitors they have a legal duty to carry out the will to the letter.
I understand that the siblings think, oh this is his home we can't move him! However this way of thinking posses lots of issues. If the boiler breaks down next year will your partner be asked to cough up for a quarter of the cost ? Who will pay for repairs? Who will check brother is keeping the house in good repair ? What if brother who lives their wont pay and your partner can't pay? Should the siblings who allowed brother to stay pay for all repairs? What happens if brother lives much longer than expected? Is brother capable and well enough to have relationships? What do you do if brother moves in a partner next year who lives there for 20 years and then you have to chuck him or her out? Would brother be capable of starting a family in that house ? What happens if one of the siblings wants to live with brother? Also the council count owning a property you do not live in as an asset for benefits calculations I believe so what if someone needs benefits?
By the way when you say sign their share over to brother do you mean allow him the use of their share or actively sign over the portions so he has legal ownership? The issue is if they legally sign over parts of the house and brothers health deteriorates so he needs carers or a care home eventually, the council do confiscate the assets of people who are in care to pay for the care. Essentially if brother needed care due to his health the portions of the house owned by siblings could disappear. Further more if they needed benefits or care one day the benefits people or council grown upon what they call ' deprivation of assets'.
Thank you for responses - I really appreciate it. As DP's sister is an executor and refuses to talk to DP (and him her!) I think getting executors replaced would be best plan. I didn't know you could do that.
Any pointers as to where to start? Is there an application form or anything?
If you google removing an executor from an estate there is lots of useful info ! I think there probably would be forms. I think it is sensible to write to the executors explaining that you are going to apply to the court for their removal for failing to carry out their duties. I would suggest using recorded delivery so you have proof that you have notified them and explained your side of things. A will is not a vague guideline they follow it or they are in legal breach of their duties. In order for it to be legal to all the brother what is known in law as a ' life tenancy ' they would need to vary the will then all four beneficiaries would need to agree on terms, potentially putting the house in a trust with clear rules. The trust would end on brothers death. If you husband will not write to his sister maybe you can do it as I think it is sensible to have proof that you have asked the executors to do their job.
Here is my anecdotal example demonstrating problems with what they are proposing. My partners gran died 9 years ago, and wrote her will 15 years ago. She had 2 daughters and a son with downs syndrome almost 20 years younger than the eldest daughter. The eldest daughter persuaded her mother that she should live in the mothers house for the lifetime of the brother to visit him in his nearby care home. Eldest daughter is my partners mother and is so unpleasant he went no contact at Christmas. She never moved into her mothers house, would visit it twice a year at most. Tried to move lodgers in but was forced by executors to move them out. She stopped visiting the disabled brother 6 years ago and has not seen him since. She has not done much in the way of repairs, won't let me partner help or go there. She met a new partner last year and moved in to his house. They have been going to the trust house together apparently; nobody knows this partner and for all we know he could have given copies of the key to his family or anything. The executors are a solicitor and the other daughter and have just decided to ignore everything and let her get on with it, even though the will says the house should be sold if she moves out or doesn't move in within 6 months. Essentially the situation has become too complex for the elderly family trustee, daughter 2 to want to deal with and the solicitors have clearly thought that means they can be lazy. A new partner has changed things and the (so called) occupant being able or willing to pay for repairs has become a problem. These things could happen with your situation.
Can he not talk to his aunt rather than his sister?
Replacing the executors with solicitors will mean the estate will have to pay the increased costs from using solicitors. I would imagine all his siblings would be even less inclined to help your DP if he forces them to lose some of their inheritance as well though increasing the costs.
The simplest thing, surely, is for one or all of them to buy his share off him? Then DP gets his inheritance now and the other 2 get their share plus what they bought off DP once the resident DB passes away?
Probably makes sense for one or both of the non resident siblings to buy him out as then any care needs won't eat into the 'extra' share that the remaining siblings have acquired.
I know about removing executors because we could also though for us it would be trustees but it's a similar process with going to the court. The only reason we don't is the will says that daughter 2 gets a third, 1 third is the disabled brothers inhearitance and can be given to any family member. The last third is for daughter one or any of her descendants ( children grandchildren ect). The executors have to look at 2 of the portions and decide who is the most worthy to receive an inhearitance. Family trustee says she thinks it will be the least stressful thing to just dive the whole estate between her and her sister, despite the fact her sister refused to speak to her and used to say nasty things about her to the disabled brother. Daughter 1 is 80 in just over two years, and disabled brother may live into she is mid eighties so it is convenient to us to do nothing as family trustee has no contact with dp siblings or niece ( neither does he) so if his uncle outlived his mother he could legally get half the estate. The point of all this is is you can see that these things get extremely complicated and take up lots of time and energy. I hope that might find it useful to communicate some of my points to the executors. If you want to use my anecdote in a letter to them as a cautionary tale as to why this is a bad idea you can.
You can apply to remove the executors if they aren't administering the estate. They can do what they want with their share of the house. What they cannot do is speak for your DP.
One last point to make to the executors. They seem to be assuming that this brother will definitely 100 percent be outlived by his siblings. Real life doesn't work like that. The executors appear to not have thought about what happens if brother lives an unexpectedly long time and one of the siblings dies tragically young. If that happened the siblings partner or children would inhearit a quarter of a property with a sitting tenant and possibly ongoing arguments about who pays for what repairs. This is not a fair situation for anyone to risk leaving to heirs. In our situation when partner grandmother wrote her will the life expectancy for people with downs syndrome was 15-20 years lower than it is today. Huge advances in medical science mean that partners uncle may live 5-10 more years. A big part of why the situation in partners family has got so bad and complicated is that the trust and life tenancy of the house was designed to cover a situation that was expected to only last a few years at most. Nobody expected uncle to have survived his mother by already 9 years with likely many more to come. What happens if huge advances in medicine mean the brother in your situation ends up living a similar amount to his siblings?
A variation of the will (which this would be) requires the agreement of all the beneficiaries so they can't do it. If you get a copy of the probate (gov.uk website), it will show the solicitors who are acting for the solicitors. It might be worth contacting them direct.