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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.
Please accept my condolences for your loss.
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?
My mother was a widow - father died 1997. Sister and I are full biological daughters. No other children living or dead
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
My apologies for the delay in reverting to you - I had to step away to take a telephone call.
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
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.
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?
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).
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.
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
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?
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.
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
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
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?
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.
Thank you again
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
Happy to do so and will be in touch later today or possibly tomorrow.
Please do. Best wishes
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?
I'm not sure whether you have received this - sent last night
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.
Yes please - can you now answer the questions I raised above
I don't think I have any more questions so this can now be closed