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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25486
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I lived with and looked after my mother last 8 years

Resolved Question:

I lived with and looked after my mother for the last 8 years (I own the house). I paid the mortgage (20 years to pay) and she paid the bills. She also help me financially as things were very tight for me. Now she has died my siblings (who visited less than once a week for 1 hour) are saying I fleeced my mother and therefore their inheritance is less. My mother had fill mental capacity and I never asked for the money it was offered.
My siblings all hate me and are threatening to sue me, I am so worried as I am no guilty of what I am being charged with. I have very little savings where all my siblings own their own houses. Would they have a case?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience. I am very sorry to hear of the above circumstances. May I clarify what assets your mother owned when she passed away? You mention you own the house. Did she have bank accounts and other assets?You mention that she helped you financially - could you tell me in what ways she helped you - i.e. what she did and the typical amounts involved?Finally did your mother make a will? If so what did she provide for in it and when was it made? Was the a previous will before that?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

She had bank accounts and shares totalling approx. £11,000

The house I lived in with her was originally hers, but she sold it to me in 2009 for £100,000 the processes were divided between my three siblings £25,000 each and my £25,000 remained in the house as a deposit. I have a mortgage for the £75,000

She helped in me various ways. Firstly with petrol for my car £50, servicing costs to allow me to sell the car, this was about £2000. Also small amounts re car tax. Secondly the property we lived in has not been improved and I shared the cost of improving the patio (it was a tripped hazard and I was concerned she would fall) between my mother, me and my girlfriend. Also my mother was unable to have a bath so again I shared the cost to have the bath removed and shower fitted. I guess in total £2000.

My siblings have never contributed to my mothers upkeep.

Yes my mother made a will leaving her estate to all of us, ie me and my three siblings 25% each.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
thank you. Based upon what you say above, I cannot see any realistic prospect of your sibling succeeding in respect of any challenge. The reasons for this are that your mother's will divides her estate equally between all of you so they can have no complaint there that could succeed realistically. Accordingly, there any potential challenge could be in respect of any monies that your mother gave to you to help with the various costs you kindly refer to above. However, again I cannot see any realistic prospect of success in this respect because your mother lives with you and you maintained her physically in your home and the costs you refer to are all legitimately costs that benefitted your mother directly. e.g. the car costs and fuel - you presumably use the car for shopping and possibly to allow your mother transport from time to time; the bath/shower was to provide for her washing and patio to ensure her safety. These are beyond reproach from a legal point of view and any challenge would be at best extremely challenging and in practice I cannot see that there is any realistic prospect of success. I would consider any attempted legal action by your siblings to be at best speculative and at worse vexatious and any attempt to sue you I would suggest should be met by your asking the court to strike out the claim on the basis that there is no case to answer and that the claim is vexatious in nature and an abuse of the court's process. Having said all of the above, if you have financial records relating to the various contributions your mother may that you kindly refer to above, though it should not be necessary to do so, it would be worthwhile retaining such records for at least six years from the dates she gave you those various monies. The reason being, if any of your siblings do decide to issue proceedings in court, and the matter does proceed to a hearing despite the above suggested request to the court to strike out any such claim, such financial evidence would be useful to have to hand, in order that you can refer to it and give the above explanations you have given me as to what each amount represented which should amount to a comprehensive defence in respect of any attempted claim. I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you.

My siblings seem to suggest that as the house is mine (albeit mortgaged) I should pay for all the bills and therefore my mother live completely free. This is something that I could just not afford. My siblings hold all the bank statements as they are currently going through her estate etc so are just looking at outgoings in black and white and not really understanding the history and or agreement behind them. Further, I understand that my mother attempted to change her will so all her estate (not that we are talking about a lot of money) would come to me. However my brother was with her and advised her, in front on the solicitor that "it was not fair" and therefore at this time the will was not changed. This I would suggest does not reflect well on my brother.

I do not wish to fall out with my siblings so I have offered to give up my inheritance and pay each of them £2500 to clear the air.

Obviously I am still concerned about legal action against me.

Does any of the above affect your previous advise?

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Your siblings are misguided in their view. If your mother was living with you you would in fact have been legally entitled to charge her rent if you wished unless you had agreed to allow her to live there rent free following her sale of the property to you. In either event the law expects occupants to contribute towards outgoings. Converse to what your siblings believe, based upon what you say, you could seek a further claim against your mother's estate yourself if you wished under the inheritance (provision for family and dependents) act on the basis that you were being financially maintained by your mother prior to her passing and the amount she has left you in her will is not sufficient to provide the your continued financial maintenance. Based on what you say, you would appear to have the basis of the claim they were there it would be worthwhile pursuing such a claim given the amount involved is questionable as the fees associated with such a claim are likely to be disproportionate with any amount awarded. Nevertheless, you could potentially use the threat of a claim under the Inheritance Act as a lever to control your siblings demands if they realise that their position, rather than being one of strength is actually threatened by a potential further claim by you. If you were to pursue such a claim, it is essential that you make the claim within six months of the date of any grant probate or you may be out of time. Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily?
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