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Family Rift

(34 Posts)
fish65 Thu 13-Aug-15 17:49:00

Hi everyone- Recently my mother-in-law died. Although very sad she was nearly 90 so expected. Her daughter (my husbands sister) who is 56(never married) & lived with her and already has a third of the deeds signed in her name. My husband and his other sister are trying to be very patient as it is only 3 months ago and have tried to help and put no undue pressure for her to leave as the house as it split 3 ways. They have tried patiently asking her of her intentions as they wish to help in anyway they can. However she is getting very angry and saying it is her home and no one elses & refusing to discuss with any of her siblings her plans. My husband has assured her nothing will happen until at least March when they wish to put the house on the market & may take some time to sell. My husband & his other sister do not like confrontation and tried to be reasonable & she is having none of it. Does anyone know what legal rights my husband and his sister have- your advice would be much appreciated.

Baffledmumtoday Thu 13-Aug-15 17:53:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hornydilemma Thu 13-Aug-15 17:53:24

Did your MIL leave a will, and who is the executor? That person should be sorting out the estate.
If she didn't leave a will, here in Ireland the law is similar to the UK in some ways, and I think someone has to apply for Letters of Administration and they are then appointed as the Personal Representative of the deceased (like an executor of a will) - they would have similar duties.
Have you offered her the option to buy the other 2/3rds of the house instead?

Walkacrossthesand Thu 13-Aug-15 17:55:09

Hi fish. Sorry to hear of your & your DH's loss. If you look under Talk/other stuff you will find a forum called 'legal matters' where the legal beagles lurk - suggest re-post there (or you can get thread moved by reporting it yourself & asking MNHQ to move it) for advice. All the best.

magoria Thu 13-Aug-15 18:04:08

You need proper legal advice.

Has this been done legally?

Was the house owned with the live in sister owning 1/3 or was the deed set up differently?

If the sister in the house owns outright 1/3 then in the will is she entitled to 1/3 of what is left? So another 1/3 of the remaining 2/3 after her already owned part is taken out of the equation IYSWIM.

Cupcakemommom Thu 13-Aug-15 18:41:18

If the property was registered with both the sister and mother as joint tenants as most property transactions are registered then on the death of your MIL the property will be owned in it's entirety to the sister. If the property was apportioned as tenants in common ( which it sounds as though it has ) with sister owning 33% and MIL 66% then if MIL has left a will she will specify how she wishes her share to be apportioned. If there is no will then this will alter things and at it's most basic level could mean the remaining 66% be split between all three siblings. As she owns the property a court order would be required to force her to sell or she would need to buy out the remaining share from the siblings.

I would certainly take legal advice as your husband and sister cannot simply put the property on the market against her wishes.

cozietoesie Thu 13-Aug-15 18:57:04

It sounds as if your MIL might have thought to anticipate her demise by giving one SIL a third of her house upfront so much will depend on what the solicitor did at the time and the contents of the will. Your husband and other SIL need to talk to a solicitor directly.

The family fallout could be notable, I'm afraid. Is your DH close to either of his sisters?

fish65 Thu 13-Aug-15 19:00:29

Thank you my mother-in-law did leave a will which was apportioned as tenants & they are equal to a third share. My sister-in-law is sending rabbling letters stating she will not leave the house but will get tenants in to help her pay the bills which will make selling even harder. Unfortunately we lost our house through the recession as my husband was out of work for 14 months, so we are at present in rented accommodation with 2 children & she is living in a 4 bedroom house with a swimming pool in the New Forest. All we want is her to do is look to the future & help her the best way we can. Thanks for your advice.

fish65 Thu 13-Aug-15 19:01:17

Thank you!

fish65 Thu 13-Aug-15 19:03:52

Thank you!

fish65 Thu 13-Aug-15 19:07:27

Yes my husband has always got on with both sisters & is quite shell shocked at her behaviour but still won't hear a word against her as he thinks she is grieving!

cozietoesie Thu 13-Aug-15 19:14:45

They should go to a solicitor then. Having a dispassionate legal mind/letters on the matter might help things. If nothing else, their legal situation could be spelled out to the sister currently residing in your MIL's house and that might influence her thinking.

goddessofsmallthings Thu 13-Aug-15 19:23:15

As Horny has alluded to, the key question is whether your mil left a Will and whether the executor(s) are in the process of applying or have been granted probate?

If there is no Will see here

Magoria has rightly raised the question of who is named on the deeds to the property as this may have bearing on the eventual division of your mil's estate.

It seems to me that until the formalities have been completed your dh and your other sil are being premature and it's not surprising that, having so recently lost her dm who she, presumably, lived with for many years, their dsis is finding it difficult to come to terms with the possibility or probability that she may lose her home in the not too distant future.

If their dsis lived with their dm since birth and, effectively, the only home she has ever known (apart from, say, time spent completing her education at university or similar) has been with her dm, it could be that she may have or find cause to challenge the Will/divison of your dmil's estate.

Sadly, unseemly wrangling issues which the deceased didn't envisage when drawing up their Will/making provision for the distribution of their estate are not uncommon and it's to be hoped that your dmil's estate can be settled amicably without need for any beneficiary to incur costly legal fees.

flowers in memory of your dmil and a wine for you as I have a feeling you may need it. sad

cozietoesie Thu 13-Aug-15 19:44:25

Yes indeed. (wine)

People often think that their wills will work in one way and they actually work in another. (Sometimes they're misinformed about the law, sometimes they don't know the people concerned as well as they thought they did, sometimes, sometimes, sometimes.............)

Advise your DH to go to a solicitor directly - always operate from a position of knowledge if you can - and remember that he and his other sister may not be of one mind on this matter deep down either.

goddessofsmallthings Thu 13-Aug-15 20:12:22

Cross-posted without having seen your update.

I'm sorry to hear that you're living in straitened circumstances while his single dsis resides in comparative splendour. but that will certainly count in your dh's favour should she attempt to challenge your dmil's Will.

Has probate been granted? If so, or when it is, I suspect that a solicitor's letter will concentrate his dsis's mind on the necessity of honouring their dm's wishes and, more particularly, as it seems she doesn't have the werewithal to pay the bills on the 4-bed & swimming pool she's accustomed to living in and is therefore unlikely to have much in the way of disposable income to pay legal fees - unless, of course, the beneficiaries are in line to receive monetary sums as well as other bequests?

Try not to be distressed distracted by the dsis's ramblings re tenants etc, as it's par for the course in cases of this nature and if she is so foolish as to go ahead without the express consent of your dh and other sil, she'll find herself owing them two thirds of whatever sums are paid to her by way of rent from any lodgers she takes in.

Is the sale of the property likely to raise a sum which would be sufficient to enable the dsis to buy a 2-bed flat or small house outright not too far from her present home or in any area which you/your dh may have heard her express an interest in?

Smilingforth Thu 13-Aug-15 21:13:41

Make sure you take your time and get good practical and legal advice.

Morganly Thu 13-Aug-15 21:33:46

She is being unreasonable but sometimes grief and bereavement can affect people that way. I think your H is dealing with this just right, giving her time but gently insisting on his rights. Don't forget she is losing her home on top of having lost her mother. If she doesn't have any partner or children of her own, she is doubly bereft. Does she need company and help to get her through her bereavement rather than nagging over moving out of her home right now? Will she be able to find a new home on a third of the value of her current home? I actually think her mother should have given her a bigger chunk of the inheritance in view of the fact she's been her carer and enabled her mother to stay in her home until she died but I guess that would have also caused a family rift. Bereavements are so hard and people don't always show their best selves when going through them. Be kind to each other.

SelfLoathing Thu 13-Aug-15 21:37:28

If it was the home of his sister, I think the siblings are being pretty nasty and cruel to chuck her out to be honest. Oh what so they can sell the house and get their grasping hands on sale money - that is really just a windfall. They didn't have the money yesterday and that house belonged to their mother - she could have left it to the cats home. They are lucky she chose to leave it to them - hence windfall. You were managing yesterday without it; if it's a choice between that and forcing a sibling out of her home, manage without it tomorrow. You're renting? So what? Plenty of people do that.

People lose all sense of decency and kindness where money is involved. I bet the sister was acting a pseudo-carer and house keeper for her 90 year old mother - and probably wouldn't have been her first choice of lifestyles.

You and your DH and the other sister sound like money grabbers. Have a bit of kindness. Have you even explored options like her taking tenants or even the posibility of her mortgaging to pay you something now so she can stay in HER HOME?

She's grieving for her mother and is now going to be homeless. Where is your decency and propriety?

cozietoesie Thu 13-Aug-15 21:41:11

There's so much that the OP hasn't said about the whole situation, Morganly.

If any of those things apply then I'm sure that they would influence the OP's husband's actions but it's best to have the legal aspects very clearly established beforehand. It's also worth remembering that his other sister is also a party to this and she may not utimately be of the same view - whatever that is.

goddessofsmallthings Fri 14-Aug-15 03:01:25

From the OP's post I see no reason to suppose that the dsis in question will be cast out into the snow in the manner of a Victorian melodrama, SL, and it could be that she has lived fast and loose on her dear mama's money all of her life and now the day of reckoning is nigh.

It occurs to me that the deceased may have made potentially exempt transfers of her property to her 3 dc and if these were made more than 7 years ago, the house will not fall within her estate and can be sold at any time as agreed by them.

In any event, the deceased's wishes should be paramount and, imo, all of her dc are duty bound to respect them unless it can be proved that she was of unsound mind when she made her last Will/gifted her property to avoid inheritance tax.

< reminder to self - review Will regularly, revise where necessary, and downsize before own death occurs >

ffffffedup Fri 14-Aug-15 04:44:56

Just a thought but if your renting a small place with 2 children and she's living in a big 4 bed house why don't you move in to that house aswell. Your husband and his sis could club together to buy the other sister out.

DeckSwabber Fri 14-Aug-15 09:38:12

Who is the executor? If its a neutral person they might be able to get this conversation moving.

I don't know the law or the ins and outs of the will, but I wondered if you might get this unstuck by listening to what your SiL wants and seeing if you can offer some options, eg she buys her siblings out, she pays them rent for their share.

However I think 3 months is still early days as far as bereavement goes.

DeckSwabber Fri 14-Aug-15 09:39:19

... Sorry I meant to say that this might help her come to her own conclusion that selling up would be the easiest thing.

QuiteLikely5 Fri 14-Aug-15 10:45:28

If the house is yours too simply move in! It sounds like a fab property

fish65 Fri 14-Aug-15 21:12:14

Hi thank you for your kind comments. Sounds like your a like minded person as my sister-in-law.

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