We are a large family. My mother died in September 1979, my father having pre-deceased her in February 1979. We have two bachelor brothers who continue to live in the family home. This is by agreement with all family members. The house is still in my father's name........everything just continued as normal. I have been aware for a long time that we need to deal with this matter soon. My two brothers are in their seventies. I would appreciate any advice as to how to proceed. Thank you. Margaret XXXXXX
1. At the outset, you should realise that the former family home was owned by all the children equally once your mother died in September, 1979. In law it would be necessary for the wills of both your mother and father to be administered in order that the reality reflect the legal effect of both your parents dying. However, you should be careful as the two brothers who live in the house might now consider it their lawful home as they have lived there for more than 12 years exclusive possession which would be sufficient to give them a claim under adverse possession or squatter's rights.
2. Ultimately, everything is ok in this situation provided there is agreement amongst all family members. However, given that it is a large family, there may be some disagreement as to what is to happen. However, I would consider that you should agree to give the two brothers who live in the house a life interest each in the house so that they may live there until their death with the house being sold or bought by one child then. I don't see the two brothers who live in the house being happy to now leave the old family home given they have lived there for so long.
Thank you so much for your answer. In fact there is no will. As a family we have no intention of selling the house except if the need arises where my brothers can no longer fend for themselves or the property. Please God that will not happen.
3. Very good. Then all you will have to do is reach agreement amongst yourselves as to what is going to happen. In the meantime the wills of your late father & mother can be administered so that the legal situation is up to date.