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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 35059
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My sister and I are co-executors for my Mother's estate. The

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My sister and I are co-executors for my Mother's estate. The house was put on the market and a buyer found. My sister agreed to sell the house to the buyer by email, a copy of this was sent to our solicitors. In the email my sister demanded that contracts were signed within 2 Days. The letter also acknowledged the receipt of a 25% deposit which had been paid to our solicitors prior to the agreement. The Buyer visited our solicitor at the end of the first day to collect the contract only to be told that there was no contract ready. A second buyer then appeared on the scene and a bidding war has commenced.
Being that a written agreement to sell has been sent and that a 25% deposit has been paid, are we obliged to honor this agreement ?
I should say that I have no faith whatsoever in the solicitor appointed to deal with the sale. I am worried that by accepting the result of this bidding war we could leave ourselves open to legal action from the first buyers. I would think that as an agreement has been made in writing and that a large deposit has been made that this would constitute a contract. On the other hand we are obliged to get as much as we can for the beneficiaries. I should say that the amount agreed in writing with the first buyers is £35,000 more than value put on the property by the estate agents.
Where do we stand please ??
Robert Guest
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How much extra has the second buyer offered?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It is an ongoing bidding war . Currently at £50,000 over the original price.

If it had been anything other than a house I would have said that my sister acted too hastily and that the written agreement plus the money changing hands was a contract. What I don't know is if a house is different from any other type of contract.

Did the email use the words "subject to contract" at all?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No. The email was as follows- (dated 5.05 pm 10/09/14)

"I will agree to the immediate issue of a contract to Mrs. Henderson to be exchanged and become binding for the sum of £510,000 being the full sale price for the property to be returned to our solicitors office by 5pm 12/09/14.

The non returnable deposit is currently held by our solicitors.

These terms are not negotiable."

May I ask what the rush was - and why the deposit was asked for in this unusual way?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

There was an attempt by Mrs Henderson shortly after the house was put on the market to buy the property. The rush was all imposed by my sister who also demanded that the sizable deposit was paid. On that occasion the Hendersons were given 3 working days to come up with the deposit and sign contracts. They paid the money into the solicitors account but there was no contract ready to sign as my sister refused to agree to it but still insisted that contracts be exchanged within the 3 days. Understandably the Hendersons are very annoyed about the situation. To me it is totally illogical but as a co-executor I cannot do anything without her agreement.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I dont know if you have received my reply as I have had computer problems so I will reply again.

There was an attempt by Mrs. Henderson to purchase the property when it first came onto the market. At that time my sister imposed a 3 working day limit on them to produce the sizable deposit and sign contracts. This they agreed to and the money was deposited into our solicitors account within 2 days. They then asked for the contract to sign and were told that it was not available as my sister had changed her mind and was not prepared to sign what the solicitor had prepared. My sister refused to extend the deadline which in my view was totally unreasonable. The following attempt was where my sisters acceptance was put in writing. Mr and Mrs. Henderson are understandably VERY annoyed

In short the ridiculous time scales were imposed by my sister. I find the whole episode a farce but as a co-executor there appears nothing I can do without her agreement



Your sister may well have placed the estate at Financial risk.
In the usual way of things the email would not have created a binding contract to sell the property - that is the purpose of the written contract
However the fact that such a large deposit was asked for and the purchaser was ready and willing to exchange contracts BUT your solicitor was not makes the position very debatable
There was a clear written offer and acceptance and the buyers have acted to their detriment - this could be at the very least a binding option to purchase - so yes there could be potential claim.
You are a co-executor and have as much right to make the decisions as she has - and you need to ask the solicitor to seek an opinion as to the actual position you are in
Please ask if you need further details
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you