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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33955
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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12 months ago my Mother died and I have been looking after

Customer Question

12 months ago my Mother died and I have been looking after the house. I wish to sell the house but my Brother who is a 50% beneficiary of the Will wants to keep it. I have spent 20K in one year looking after the property and devoting my time freely. I need to spend more time on my business and will no longer have time to look after the property. I have a sensible offer from a purchaser which my Brother has rejected. The house will become dilapidated if I don't continue looking after it, my Brother lives too far away to look after it. The house has reached its maximum value, time will make it uninhabitable without attention. What can I do to force a sale?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

Thank you question.

I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Has Probate been obtained?
How much is the house worth and was any of the £20,000 spent on structural improvements?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes Clare, I had to replace fences and a fallen wall and re-fit the kitchen which was found to have mouse corpses behind the cabinets. This cost me £8K. I have also been cutting hedges, cleaning gutters and painting. The house increased its value from £165K to £190K during the year. Travelling weekly 100 miles at 68p per mile was a significant expense. We have probate and the Estate is about £40K below the IHT threshold.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

How much money is there apart from the property?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

About £45k each was allocated after probate. We are under the Death Tax limit. (Mother inherited Dad's Estate)

John

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

Sorry - has that been distributed already?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It was, about 6 months ago.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

Thank you - and my apologies I should have asked sooner - who are the Executors of the Estate?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Both my Brother and I are the executors, Clare. I understood that executors had to act in the best interests of the Wills beneficiaries. I have certainly looked after my Brothers interest in the property but it is costing me thousands.

John.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

There are two ways forward here.
If the property has already been transferred into your joint names then you can simply apply to the court Order - and an Order that you receive a share of the equity that reflects the money that you have spent on the property to improve it.
There is no defence to such an Order and it will be granted.
IF the house remains in your late mothers name then you will have to use Probate Law and make an application brother to be removed as an executor on the grounds of his failure to realise the asset
Either way a clear letter before action setting out your intentions and the possible costs could achieve the result you need
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33955
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

My brother said that he would sell to me providing that I submitted to an Overage clause. He refused to let me have sight of this clause and I would not buy without seeing said document. Several letters to his Solicitor and texts to him did not persuade him to send it to me. After a year I twigged that I was being used as cheap labour so he could delay the sale of the bungalow whilst property prices increased. After a year I said that I will no longer look after the house and I gave the details to an estate agent with instructions that I could not sell since I did not have a certificate of ownership. My brother shortly after visited the estate agent and arranged the sale of the house which happened within eight weeks to completion, but the sale went through without the Overage Clause. I wasted a great deal of time and sold a house to raise money purchase of the bungalow. As an equal Executor and Beneficiary, do I have a claim against my Brother? I seem to have rather lost out here. Thanks this Clare. John.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

May I ask why you did not offer full price when it came on the market?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I did but my brother insisted that I should submit to an Overage clause. Over the year he put the price up but below the rate at which I improved the bungalow. It was very tatty when I first started looking after the house. After a year he wanted - insisted that he took control of the sale but he sold it at about £30k below market value. I afterwards discovered that he had not imposed his Overage clause.

John

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

I am sorry there is no claim that you can make.
If you had wished to you could have offered the full amount to the Estate Agent and forced the sale through
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Clare. I thought that might be the case. G'night, John.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

I am sorry not to give you better news
Clare

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