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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask the approximate value of your mothers estate please to your knowledge on her passing - from what you say this would include half the value of the house?
Do you know if your mother owned the house as tenants in common or joint tenants? If you are not sure that's fine.
Her name as well as my fathers was on the land registry so I believe that would mean joint tenants? Her entire estate would have been half the value of the house in 2002 - there were no other assets at the time. We would like to add that my father continued to pay the mortgage after the divorce.
Thank you. Do you know the value of the house roughly?
approximate value is 300000
Have either of your parents ever advised you that you could remain in the property for any period - e.g. as long as you wished or anything of that nature? Is your father willing to provide you with alternative accommodation? Have you ever contributed to the property financially yourself?
my father is now retiring and has lived abroad for years and now wishes to sell the property as part of his retirement plan and has offered an amount (he has not disclosed how much) but I have very little confidence it will be anywhere near the correct value or even that he will honour this agreement. I took the house over a few years after my mothers death as it was falling into disrepair and was worried it would be a target for squatters. I have since started to renovate the house as the house was in very bad condition.
Thanks. Have you kept receipts or have other proof as to how much you have spent on materials? Have you spent your own time in renovating?
Your father has offered you a capital sum to hand the property back to him. is this correct?
I have only the receipt for some double glazing work I had undertaken. The rest of the renovations I am doing myself so tended not to keep any sort of spend ledger. He has stated that he would give me 'some' money but has not indicated how much. Any money he is willing to part with would need to be split between me and my brother. As a side note my father never intends to repatriate to England.
Thanks. Could you show how much you have spent by reference to bank statements do you think? How much would you guesstimate you have added to the value of the property in terms of your improvements?
Guestimate I would probably place the figure between six and seven thousand - some of which I could corroborate with bank statements but not all as I tend to use cash rather than credit/debit card.
Thanks - improving a property will often result in a price increase of more than the amount you spend particularly when factoring in your unpaid labour. Do you consider that the property value has likely increased by more than the above figure as a result of your improvements?
I don't know to be honest! I still have a lot to do as the house was in a shocking state.
Thanks. there would appear to be two aspects to this which with your permission, I will deal with in turn. The first is in respect of any potential entitlement you may have on your mother's estate. If your mother made no will, then your father would be entitled to the first £250,000 of your mother's estate. From what you say, because her estate was likely to have been worth less than £250,000, your father would be entitled to your mother's entire estate which would unfortunately include the property. however, there would appear to be slightly more positive news in respect of the improvements you have made to the property which I will now turn to...
although based on the above, you would not appear to be entitled to any beneficial interest in the property as an inheritance from your mother's estate, because you have made capital improvements towards the property including both materials and time spent, this would entitle you to claim a capital interest in the property commence yours with the value your improvements have lent to the property. The burden of proof is upon you to evidence any improvements you claim to have made and so ideally you will have access to financial and other circumstantial evidence which evidence is any improvements that have been made to the property and it may be necessary to obtain agents valuations in respect of the property prior to you and post improvements being carried out in order to support your claim
on the basis you are able to evidence the above improvements, you can seek a capital interest claim against the value of the property and on this basis, you can claim a right of occupation under the trusts of land and appointment of Trustees act they your father could going forward, seek to claim an occupancy rent for your continued occupation of the property pro rataed to his share in the property
ideally, you and your father would be able to come to a negotiated agreement as to the value of your interest in the property because taking the matter to court will erode your respective interests in the property. initially, it would be for you to put forward during proposal in respect of your assessment of the value of your interest to him using the above methodology.
Thank you for all the above. It has been most helpful and given me much to think about.
if you and your father are able to reach an agreement, then you would wish such agreement to the clearly documented in unambiguous terms which would ideally be signed by both of you in duplicates of each of you retain a copy. Ideally, this would be prepared by a solicitor but providing such documentation is clear, you may decide to prepare such documentation between you yourselves. such an agreement would need to set out the percentage that you have agreed will belong to you from the net proceeds of sale and include provisions whereby agreed to move out subject to a minimum notice period from your father and an undertaking from your father solicitor to remit the agreed sum to you on the sale of the property or words to that effect
Thank you - I will request he visits England so we can have this officially drawn up.
If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.
I will do! Thanks again for all you help.
A pleasure. If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.