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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I am executor of my mother's will. She shared a property with

Customer Question

I am executor of my mother's will. She shared a property with her partner and was going through a separation at the time. The tenancy is Tenants in Common. Do I have to notify her ex-partner that, once probate is granted we want to sell the house? And how do we value property in the house such as furniture, electrical goods, etc? how do we get access to the property to collect personal items and value joint assets. The relationship is very poor and he won't 'deal' with us
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.

Please accept my sympathies for your mothers loss.
From what you say your mother and her partner owned the property as tenants in common, both being named on the title deeds. Is her partner still living in the property?

From what you say is her partner not allowing access to collect your mothers personal belongings? Do you have a key?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, her partner still lives in the property. We have a key but he won't allow us access.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. if you are at your mother's executor or under your will, this means you are the legal (though not beneficial) owner and controller of her property. In other words, from a legal perspective, you have all the same rights to manage and deal with your mother's property as she did by virtue of the Administration of Estates Act.

accordingly, you have a legal right to enter the property just as your mother would have done in order to collect her belongings, check on the property etc. If access is being physically prevented, you may need to seek a court order together with costs or access.

To do this you can use this form:
http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/GetForm.do?court_forms_id=424

if your mother did not provide a right for her partner to continue living in the property in her will, then apart from the above, as executor or, you have a right to require that the property is sold. You will need your mother's partner's signature and consent to proceed with the sale and in the assumption this is unlikely to be forthcoming, you will need to consider applying to the court for an order for sale under the trusts of land and appointment of Trustees act. Notwithstanding any rights to continue to live in the property provided for in your mother's will as above, her partner cannot simply refuse to sell the property. He may either make a market offer for your mother's share all the property must be sold at market value which will be determined by the court in the absence of agreement.

in addition to the above, if her partner is living at the property, he can be liable to pay in occupational rents to your mother's estate for her share of the property. This can be assessed at a market rent for the property less a 50% deduction to take account of his share. Again if necessary this can be dealt with by an order from the court under the above application.

If your mother has not provided for her partner at all in her will, notwithstanding all of the above, it is possible for her partner to make a claim against the estate for reasonable financial maintenance under the Inheritance ( provision for families and dependents) Act. He would need to make a claim within six months of grant of probate or he will be out of time. Under the act, if he has not been adequately financially provided for, you can seek to make a claim for reasonable financial provision to enable him to continue to provide for himself. if your mother has provided something in her will or he is otherwise provided for financially, such a claim will not normally be possible.

in terms of the way forward, initially you may wish to serve notice upon her partner requesting access for the purposes of collecting your mother's belongings and going through her papers expressing a view that you would hope that he would cooperate in order to avoid the need to obtain a court order for access. You may also wish to ask him for his proposals with regards ***** ***** property and paying occupational rent for his occupation or you may consider to delay this until a later date; in particular, from a tactical point of view, if you consider he may make a claim for reasonable financial provision, as above, you may consider delaying raising such matters until after six months following the grant of probate in order that he is out of time to make such a claim. There is no right or wrong approach in this respect.

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 I'd be very grateful
Joshua and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you!

One more thing, with regards ***** ***** furniture, electrical, etc, how are these valued as part of her estate?

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
I'm glad the above is of assistance. With regards ***** ***** and personal belongings, it can in practice be difficult to untangle what belongs to whom and depending upon the value of the items in question, it can sometimes be a battle that is not worthwhile having but of course there may be items which may not have a great deal of financial value which may have sentimental value. Ideally, you would attempt to agree what items are to be removed and what items are to stay, however where this cannot be agreed, once again reference to the County court is required but such applications are very difficult for the above reason that there is often very little if any evidence as to who paid for what and it can therefore come down often to who the judge believes in what he feels is fair.

In terms of valuation for the estate, this is usually more straightforward. Unless you believe your mother has any items of particular value such as antiques and so on, usually second-hand personal belongings, whilst potentially having sentimental value, frequently have very little market value and unless there is anything that stands out in your mind, HMRC are usually willing to accept an approximate nominal valuation of a few hundred pounds or more (as you consider appropriate). In some cases, where there is little or nothing of market value, it can actually cost money to clear a property so in the circumstances it may be appropriate to record a value of nil but generally it is better to include a nominal valuation rather than a nil valuation in the estate return form to avoid revenue questions, though if the estate is not liable to inheritance tax, HMRC will not be interested.

I hope the above is helpful? Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily? If you could drop me a quick message to let me know I'd be very grateful.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

If we have proof of payment and HP agreements, can these be claimed? For example, my mother paid (and there is an outstanding balance) for her new sofas, and we have receipts for relatively new items such as a £500 lawn mower? Can we obtain these items? Although they have little resale value, before she died she told us myself and my sister that she wanted us to have these and some other items.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
For any items for which you have evidence your mother paid, these belong to the estate and can be claimed and collected.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** all my questions.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
I am glad I could assist.