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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34583
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My father has passed away 5 weeks ago. I lived with my father

Customer Question

My father has passed away 5 weeks ago. I lived with my father together with my family for the last 14 years. I maintained the house, paid bills and looked after my elderly father up till his death.
I am one of 6 siblings.
Ever since I have been living with my father I had nothing about grief from my siblings, with being accused of not looking after him, living free, a number of times had the police called on me and just constant interference from them. My father never wanted to live with anyone else, I was the only one he preferred. I was even prepared to leave several times and move back into my own home, but the emotional blackmail from my father kept me there.
The house was in quite alot of disrepair, I have brought it up to a reasonable standardin the last few years.
About 3 years ago my father gave my eldest brother a large sum of mony, even though he is well off. He had told me that he has had his share.
My fathers 1st will was made in 2004, which he changed in 2012 and made me the sole beneficiary of his estate and executor. He told me to distribute to my other 4 siblings( minus my brother), the cash he has, which I think may be in the region of £40,000.
The house still needs work on it, and is worth approximately £300 - 340 000 in its current state. I have not had it valued yet.
When my father changed the will he told me this was my home and should continue to live here as \i have been here virtually all my life. I am 51 years old, and not working as I looked after my dad after my mum passed away.
It will not be possible to get a mortgage, as my husband does not earn alot. I do have my own house which I rent out, which I kept as a safety net. This is my only source of income.
My other siblings are all well off, 2 brothers with money and enough property, 1 has already had his share. 2 sisters with freehold houses and 1 in a council house.
I would like to point out nobody has ever helped me with my father and just to confirm my father was of sound mind right up to his death.
The will that was made in 2004, my brother was the executor, but my father did not trust him after an incident that occurred.
My siblings do not know yet, but I am happy to give them approximately £20,000 each depending on my fathers cash and I am also happy to remortgage the house that I rent out to get some cash so that they can get at least 20.000 each. I do not want to fall out with my siblings and neither do i want them to contest the will.
I just want to get on with my life and do the house up, which I am reluctant to do with all this hanging over me.
I want to know will my siblings be able to contest the will ? if so do you think they will be successful and what will it cost them?
As you can see this is a bit of a dilemma for me and is stress ful.
Any advice on how I can go about with this?
Shamsa
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Did your father use a Solicitor to draft his Will?.
Did he get a doctors report confirming mental capacity?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,

He used one of the will people.

There was no Drs report confirming mental capacity. He had absolutely no mental health problems which the Dr can confirm.

Thanks

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
That is a shame.
Did he see them on his own?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Were you within throughout the time he was giving instructions?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

no. Only bout the first 10 mins for tea etc

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
How much money have you spent improving the property and where did that money come from?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Over the years probaby thousands, the garden needed doing, the rooms, new furniture, new carpets and any repairs I used to do. It was very outdated.

My husband works and I used to have a property that I rented out, my own home, before I moved to my fathers.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
How much dies you spend on the structure - rather than carpets and contents
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Clare,

What do you mean by structure? The house was structurally sound, it was not going to collapse.

I treated it as my own home, so did all the repairs, decoration,bought new furniture. All maintenace of the property was done by husband and I. Plus paid towards bills.

Like any normal person would do in their own home for the last 14 years.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
You have said the house was in disrepair and that you have improved it.
This is an important point. It ha sto be more than redecoration - what did you pay for that was more than redecoration
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi

It was mainly decoration. Also had new laminate floors put in, chimney in my room pulled out.

The bathroom needs complete refurbishment, which I was about to do in March 15 but my father became too ill and there is only 1 bathroom here so I left it.

Now decided not to do it as family want to contest will.

But it was mainly decoration. Just want to point out that we kept up maintenace also, i.e. leaks in property, changed taps.

Just want to point that I was going to put an extension here at one stage but never did, and I am glad I never did.

The kitchen needs total refurbishment.

Also I have been the only one who has ever done anything without any help from my family.

I would have done more if I had money and also if I my father had sold me this house years ago, like I asked him to do.

I hope I can get an answer now.

Thank you

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I fear that your siblings may well feel that is will be worth challenging the Will - no doubt arguing either that your father was of unsound mind when he made the Will - or that he was subject to Undue Influence from you.
The fact that he did not see a Solicitor away from his home (and you) and that no medical report was prepared at the time helps their case.
Obviously the issue of his mental capacity is quite easily dealt with by his GP who will have records of seeing him during the last three years of his life.
The Undue influence ground is harder to deal with.
Whilst the property has been your home and clearly you have maintained it, you also have another property which you have been able to rent out and from which you have taken an income.
Having said that you were the only child willing to care for your father and provided there is robust evidence of his mental capacity and ability to make his own decisions then your siblings may well find it impossible to prove their case.
Having said that there is much for them to gain by a challenge and little to lose except the costs - which will be relatively modest when shared between six of them. You on the other hand will be paying the legal costs from your inheritance.
On that basis it could be worth attending Mediation to try and resolve the matter without a court application
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

My father had absolutely NO mental health problems at all, his GP will confirm that. He made all his own decisions on everything, he was a stubborn man.

Because of this what basis can they challenge on?

I had to keep my house purely for this reason, I feared something like this would happen.

What can they possibly gain from all of this? Except loss of money.

There are only 3 who are challenging. I `m not even sure if they will go ahead but will wait and see.

Just want to know, why is it that the costs come out of the inheritance?

If this challenge did go ahead and they lost who then pays the cost?

If I won but am not the one challenging who then pays the costs?

How long could this take?

Just want to know, that this has been my main home for the last 14 years, and my father also promised me that this would be my home for life as I was the only one who did any thing for him, surely that will stand in my favour? The last 14 years of my life have been based around my father and not had much of a life myself, will the courts not take this into account?

The 4 of us were sleeping in almost one and a half rooms, (bedroom and a small boxroom). Had to put up with alot of stress from my siblings as well as from my father during these years. Surely this sacrifice counts for something?

Thanks

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
From what you have said your siblings will have little chance of succeeding in their claim - but even if they lose they do not necessarily have to pay your legal costs - which you as Executor will have to pay out of the Estate.
Such cases can take anything up to a year - sometimes more.
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I don`t understand, whether they win or lose, why will the costs come out of estate and not their own pocket?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Just wanted to add, that I have done nothing fraudulent or wrong. I never told him to leave everything to me, he did this out of his own free will. If I had influenced him, he was the sort of person who would have told another sibling.

I would have stayed with my father whether he had left me the house or not, he knew that. Thats why he left it to me, he knew I was not there for the money like the others were. He could see how much sacrifice I had made for him at the expense of my own family, surely this counts for something?

Also before all this trouble from my family I was willing to give them some money, but they did not even give me a chance to say this to them!!

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I do understand all of that - and as I said it is far from certain that any claim made would succeed
Clare
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your help and assistance

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
You are welcome - I hope all goes well for you
Clare