Thereis nothing legally to stop you selling the house and buying another smaller oneBUT
Youare under a duty to act in your mother's best interest, and you're actually notable to use any of your mother's money for your own benefit. However, in thesecircumstances I think the actions that you propose could be justified if theywere to be questioned in court.
Thehouse would still be at risk for the payment of care fees if ever your motheris unable to pay for them
Thepotential fly in the ointment is the estranged sister who may pop up out of thewoodwork and allege all sorts of wrong doing. Because of the circumstances Icannot think what allegations she could make, but I mention it in any event.
Thereis a potential issue with your mother's will depending on the wording and howthe house is described and if you sell it.
Ifthe will refers to "my house at numberXXXXX", then it is that house,and in no other, so the replacement house, when your mother dies, passes intoresidue and is dealt with under the residue terms of the will.
Thesame applies if the house is simply referred to as "my house".
Ifhowever the house is referred to as the house I own/live-in at the date of mydeath, then it can be the replacement house. However, on a strictinterpretation if it says the house I live in at the date of my death, ratherthan, the house I own, if she has never lived in it there is a very strongargument which which then says that the gift fails and it falls into theresidue of the will. If you and your brother get everything that is left thanthat isn't a problem, but if you and your brother were given the house and yourmother, thinking that there was very little else left, left everything else tothe cats home, the gift of the house fails, it falls into residue, and the catshome get it.
Forthat reason, it is essential to look at the exact wording of the will and toread that in relation to what you propose to do with another house.
Pleasebear with me today because I will be online and off-line
Can I help further?
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Ifthat is what is in the will, and that house has being sold, then that sectionof the will does not apply to the replacement house.
Itthen means that your brother does not have the right to live in the houseunless you allow him to and you get it equally between you to deal with as youwish.
Providedthe care fees can always be met, there is no problem in selling the house andbuying another one subject to you being aware of what happens with the will.
Ithink now is the time to apply to court to register the EPA.
Theonly duty on you to register it is if you wish to use it to manage your mother'saffairs