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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3775
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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hi- I have a tricky situation whereby my brother has made a

Customer Question

hi- I have a tricky situation whereby my brother has made a claim against me in the County Court for £5500 which he says I owe him for the refurbishment of the roof of my mother's house in Yorkshire where he resides with our mother. However 1.5 years ago she has gone to a care home. I have no knowledge of any formal agreement. I have always said that any expenses incurred for my mother including care home fees and repairs to the house be taken out of the estate on my mother's demise.
My brother also says he has found some letters from 25 years ago where I asked for money from my mother and said I would repay it. I have no copies. Presumably if these are valid then I would owe the estate. My mother gave me more money than my brother as gifts many years ago and he says these should be equalised.
There is a twist in the story because in 1994 the family property was gifted to my brother and I all conducted by solicitor etc. I have all the original documents. The transfer has not been registered with land registry. My brother asked me to destroy this document presumably because he wasn't sure of the tax implications.
My response:
I agree I owe the money for the roof although my brother is receiving the benefit from it. I would pay this out of the sale of the family home. In view that there is no formal documentary evidence re: the repayment of the roof loan I don't think the Court would accept his arguments but not sure on this point. The other option I considered was to make a counterclaim for rent owed by my brother and his girlfriend as they reside in the house rent free for the last 1.5 years. As regards ***** ***** my mother gave me I am of the view that the money she gave to me is her business. My mother has dementia so it would be pointless to ask her what her wishes are on this matter.
Nick
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
Does your brothers court claim have a witness statement and particulars of claim that details his evidence?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi- no witness statement. But he has an invoice from the roofing company with my name on it as I organised the works. My brother paid it but I always maintained that the monies should be taken out of the estate as will be the care home fees and any other monies associated with my mother's care. I don't know if he has any other substantive evidence. The deal was that I would pay my brother 5% interest on all these fees at the time of the demise of my mother.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Did you instruct the roofing company to put the invoice in your name?
Really your defence is that this is not a debt, and your brother is only entitled to be repaid the money from your mother's estate.
You have yo respond to the proceedings otherwise you risk a default Judgment, however what I would recommend you do is go and see a solicitor and ask them to draft an application for you to have the claim struck out under Civil Procedure Rule 3.4(2). Without evidence of the debt the claim really has little prospect of success.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ
Alex J. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I arranged the works but didn't instruct the builder to put my name on the invoice. The invoice had my name on it but my brother's address (i.e. my mother's home) I live in London. We agreed to share the costs but I said that these should be deducted from my mother's estate. My brother paid the bill. This was 5 years ago. The claim has come through County Court Bulk centre and I have sent acknowledgement of service. Either way there was no time specified to pay the amount save that will be paid on the demise of my mother or earlier should I choose to!

Presumably the other issues will be dealt with separately with a different fee?

Best wishes-Nick

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can you answer the final question I posted a few mins ago? Nick

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

I am happy to deal with the other point under this thread.

On the first point do you have any thing in writing that shows you and your brother agreed, you would repay the money on the sale of the house?

On the other point can you give me more information about how your mother paid the money to you?

Kind regards

AJ


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi. Thanks for prompt reply. Im not sure if there is anything in writing to the effect that I would pay out of the house sale proceeds but there may well be. I will have to trawl through a million e-mails!!! I am happy to draft an agreement that the monies will be repaid also at a 5% interest. Will check


 


My mother paid me various monies about 25-30 years ago to help me with deposits for flats etc. By cheque. I have no records going so far back but my brother says he has discovered some letters from me to her saying I would repay the money. Not sure if any time limit stated. Have not seen these letters!!!


 


Best


 


Nick

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

25-30 years, is long past any limitation period or any 7 year period required for a Potentially Exempt Transfer for the purpose of Inheritance Tax.

Your brother cannot make vague statements about these sums, if they were intended to be gifts. If the money was gifted to you then that is an arrangement between yourself and your mother.

Is your brother making any claims about these loans?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes he wants these loans to be repaid to the estate with interest!!!


 


Shall I proceed with your recommendation to hire a solicitor to have the money claim re: roof struck off?


 


Best wishes


 


Nick


 


PS on the other question about whether it is better to retain the gift of the house rather than keep the house in my mother's will would you recommend I get professional advice on this matter as well??


 


N


 


 

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

In relation to the house I recommend that you speak to an accountant - if your mother gifted it to you then you, then she must survive 7 years for the house to be exempt from IHT.

If it is in her will you will only not pay IHT if the value of the estate is less than £325k.

In relation to these loans? Your brother would have to prove they are loans - in any even as it has been more than 6 years they would be statute barred from claiming them. Further more unless he has a Power of Attorney he has no right to bring such a claim on behalf of your mother.

I would proceed with going to a local solicitor and see if you can get the claim struck out - it appears to have little merit or evidence supporting it.

Kind regards

AJ