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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Mum was in care home now died. Sister and self only beneficiaries.

Customer Question

Mum was in care home now died. Sister and self only beneficiaries. Sister moved into mums house without mums permission 4yrs ago. Mum was senile by then and there was no Power of Attorney.
Sister said she could no longer afford to live in her own house so was putting it on market and would eventually buy mums house when she died. I agreed on condition she sold her own house and made a contribution to mums care funding subsidy as Social Services had a charge on the house and the eventual debt would be less if she paid an unofficial rent.
She still has her own house and has never marketed it and is still paying rates and mortgage on it. Hasn’t paid a penny towards mums care home subsidy. During a separate issue 3yrs ago, her own solicitor told her to move out back to her own house but she wouldn’t and has now lived there for 4yrs rent free.
Social Services bill is £36k charged against the house and 3yrs ago they said she should be paying rent if she was living there. I am liable for half that debt. She has now backed out of buying the house but won’t move out and won’t let me into the house although I now own half of it. We applied for Letters of Administration in January and had an appointment to swear the oath in February which she cancelled at the last minute and won’t now continue with.
4 questions.
Can I reapply for L o A in just my name?
What is my legal position re: access to the house
How do I get her out to enable the house to be sold?
Can I take legal action against her to increase her half of the Social Services bill because she never made any contribution as agreed?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Joshua :

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.

Joshua :

Please accept my condolences for your loss.

Joshua :

For the avoidance of doubt may I confirm that you and your sister are your mothers only natural or adopted children and that your mother had no spouse at the time of her passing?

JACUSTOMER-vlsbl9pi- :

My mother was a widow - father died 1997. Sister and I are full biological daughters. No other children living or dead

JACUSTOMER-vlsbl9pi- :

Should clarify - subject of rent was never formalised/agreed as it would have had to be done by a solicitor because of no Power of Attorney. It was a suggestion at the time I agreed she could move in

Joshua :

My apologies for the delay in reverting to you - I had to step away to take a telephone call.

Joshua :

Based on what you say as you suspect you and your sister benefit equally from the net estate and both have an equal right to administer the estate under the Administration of Estates Act

Joshua :

Either of you can apply to take letters of administration without the other but if you choose to do so you must serve a written notice on your sister informing her of your intention to do so before you make the application. The probate office can advise you if they require the notice to take a particular form - public applications for probate are undertaken differently to solicitor applications so it is worth using probate registry provided precedents where necessary to ensure there is no holdup at your appointment.

JACUSTOMER-vlsbl9pi- :

Does that mean I have a right of access to my mothers property at the present time or do I have to obtain a court order to gain access?

Joshua :

However you can simply serve notice on your sister as above and make an application for letters of administration in your own name. Consider however that there is nothing preventing your sister applying for joint administration later (more on this below).

Joshua :

based upon what you say, both of you act as administrators of your mother's estate and therefore both have a legal right to deal with her property. As such, you have a legal right of access to your mother's property and to any bank accounts or other assets she holds.

Joshua :

If your sister has been living in the property without your mother's permission, she may be guilty of a criminal offence under the new anti squatting laws however that is not likely to be a productive line to follow. Better would be a claim of occupation rent owed by her to your mothers estate

JACUSTOMER-vlsbl9pi- :

Thank you - how do I get my sister out of the house so it can be put on the market? As long as she stays there I am losing the investment value of my share of the estate. Can I go to an estate agent and put it up for sale having first advised her of my intentions?

Joshua :

if your sister has been living in the property without your mother's permission, notwithstanding the above, she will be liable to pay an occupational rent for occupation of the property. An occupational rent would be commensurate with the market rental payable for a property of that size and value. that market rent would be owed to your mother's estate and because your sister is an equal beneficiary of that estate, it would be in order for her to discount the occupational rent owed at this point by 50% - simply because she would be entitled to half of the occupation rent owed.

JACUSTOMER-vlsbl9pi- :

Estate agent needs access and she has changed the locks. I would want to be present when any valuation was given so what do I need to do to get that access/key etc

Joshua :

As administrator of your mother's estate, once you have obtained letters of administration, you can bring a claim against your sister for that money. the difficulty arises if your sister also seeks administration and attempts to block such a claim. If this occurs, you may need to consider an application under section 50 of the administration of justice act to remove her as an executor on the basis that she has a conflict of interest and is not acting in the best interests of all of the beneficiaries of the estate though hopefully this will not be required

JACUSTOMER-vlsbl9pi- :

Thank you that is very helpful. I need to discuss this with a relative who has been helping me so can I come back to you later to either close or ask another question?

Joshua :

In terms of obtaining access, you will need to consider serving notice on your sister that you intend to obtain access for viewing or valuation. Once you have obtained it as a demonstration, if necessary you can employ a locksmith to attend the property to gain access. A locksmith will typically require evidence of your entitlement and you would need to show him a copy of the title entries and a copy of your letters of administration showing that you act as administrator for your mother's estate as well as ID showing you are who you claim to be.

JACUSTOMER-vlsbl9pi- :

Thank you again

Joshua :

Yes of course you can. 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. This will also save the thread to your account and you can access the thread by clicking on the "My Questions" link or from your email. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

JACUSTOMER-vlsbl9pi- :

Happy to do so and will be in touch later today or possibly tomorrow.

Joshua :

Please do. Best wishes

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
Joshua and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello again.

Just a couple more question and then I think that's it.

If I obtain L o A and then pursue the issue of rent payments over the 4yrs my sister has occupied mum's house - would that be in the County Court?

Would I need to get some guidelines from the Local Authority Fair Rents as to the likely rent for that period?

Would it be an obstacle that no formal agreement was entered into or that there was no Power of Attorney? Would a court accept that there was an expectation of payment based on what my sister was told as a condition for her living there?

I have a copy of a letter I sent to Social Services in May 2012 advising them that my sister was vacating the house on the advice of her solicitor, would that be classed as evidence?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I'm not sure whether you have received this - sent last night


Hello again.



Just a couple more question and then I think that's it.



If I obtain L o A and then pursue the issue of rent payments over the 4yrs my sister has occupied mum's house - would that be in the County Court?



Would I need to get some guidelines from the Local Authority Fair Rents as to the likely rent for that period?





I have a copy of a letter I sent to Social Services in May 2012 advising them that my sister was vacating the house on the advice of her solicitor, would that be classed as evidence?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have now posted these questions 3 times and emailed direct. They were originally posted on 29/3 but you would only have seen them on 30/3. 3 days have now elapsed and I have not even received an acknowledgement that you have received my questions.


Hello again.



Just a couple more question and then I think that's it.



If I obtain L o A and then pursue the issue of rent payments over the 4yrs my sister has occupied mum's house - would that be in the County Court?



Would I need to get some guidelines from the Local Authority Fair Rents as to the likely rent for that period?




Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
My sincere apoogies for the delay in reverting to you. I have been out of the country until last night. May I continue to assist you with the above?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi

Yes please - can you now answer the questions I raised above

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Certainly. Occupation rent can be assessed at market rent for the property. Fair rents you refer to relate to old Rent Act tenancies which have long since been replaced with assured shorthold tenancies so this would not apply here.

You will need to seek a rental valuation for the property for the period she has occupied. You can seek an opinion from a local estate agent - ideally RICs qualified. It may be prudent to obtain two valuations and use the median valuation between the two and then seek 50% of that valuation from your sister.

A claim can be issued in the County Court by you as administrator. Power of attorney is not prejudicial to your claim as POA ceases on death and would not be valid for your mother any longer even if it had been granted. You have authority as administrator to recover debts owed to your mothers estate.

If your mother has any money to her estate, consider that you coulddeduct rent owed by your sister from any monies due to her under your mothers estate though you may still need to seek possession through the courts if she refuses to leave. You will also need to consider serving notice to quit on her as soon as possible providing at least 28 days notice and warning her of the proposed claim for occupational rent for her period of occupation.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you

I don't think I have any more questions so this can now be closed

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
A pleasure. My apologies again for the delay in responding.

Best wishes

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