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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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My mum died in August last year and left her estate to be divided

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My mum died in August last year and left her estate to be divided between my sister and I.
At that time we both decided to not do anything about the house until after Christmas as everything was still "raw" for us. Once the house was passed through probate the Solicitors acting for my mum's estate suggested that the house be transferred into both our names as tenants in common. Up until this time I had no idea that my sister was intending for the house to be rented out. When she eventually told me of her plans for the house, I explained to her the proceeds of any rent she got from my mum's house, once divided between the two of us would not even cover the rent I am presently paying for my Housing Association flat. Furthermore I will not be in a position to buy anything where I live as the house is only worth about £275,000, I just want to be able to cut down on hours I work. I have since asked my sister to "buy me out" and her husband has been to his bank to ask for a mortgage. The bank have agreed, though he has never mentioned a sum to me and he is telling me that the bank have asked that an independent survey be carried out on the property. I know that this is what normally happens when buying a property but since I have asked them to buy me out my sister is not talking to me and I am corresponding through text messages with her husband. My sister and brother in law own over ten properties between them and I am fearful that he is, in some way, trying to con meandthat he will come back with a really low valuation on the house just to do me out of money. It has been four weeks since my brother-in-law sdaid about a surveyor going to the property and when I text him and asked if it had been done yet he said no and that these things take time. I have always been close to both my sister and brother in law but now I feelIjust can not trust them.
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.

Would I be correct to assume that you had the property valued by an agent as part of your mothers probate process please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No the house was not valued at the time of probate, when we were settling matters with the solicitor she just asked me to give her a rough idea of the value of the house and I said £240,000, but I have since had three solicitors round to value my mum's house and we have been given estimates in the region of £255,000 to £275,000

OK I assume the estate was not liable to inheritance tax however is still worthwhile obtaining a valuation at the time of probate in order to guard against any potential capital gains on any subsequent sale of the property because capital gains is charged on the difference between the valuation obtained of probate and the price of any sale so it is important not to unduly undervalue the property of probate or you may give yourself a capital gain to deal with unnecessarily. However, if this was the case, you are still in time to retrospectively revalue the property say this should not be a major issue and it is obviously a very separate point to the issues raised in your question but I mention it because it seems pertinent.In respect of the specific issue on which you raise your question,based upon what you say you and your sister own the property as joint owners on trust for each in equal shares unless there is an express agreement between you to the contrary to all the property in different shares which I assume is not the case. The solicitor should have registered your title as tenants in common which means that should anything happen to you before the property is sold, your respective shares do not pass automatically to the other but rather pass under the terms of your will. On the basis that you own the property in equal shares, either of you have a right to require that the other buy out your share at market value or that the property is sold on the open market under the provisions of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act.Ideally you will be able to come to an agreement with your sister both with regards ***** ***** value of the property (with the assistance of a local estate agent) and timing and each of you should generally act reasonably in this respect - i.e. giving a reasonable period for the other to raise funds to buy out your share or a reasonable timetable for sale as a court would not generally endorse unreasonable action by either party which serves to potentially adversely impact the value of the others shares.Subject to this if you cannot reach an agreement despite acting reasonably you can if necessary apply to the court for an order that the property is sold at a price agreed between you or in default of which set by the court on receipt of valuers evidence. if at all possible, such an application to the court would be avoided in part because of the cost which is typically upwards of £2000 and also because it is likely to put a severe strain on future family relationships beyond any present strain they are presently under as it is very difficult to re-establish amicable family ties having been engaged in litigation against each other.What can often help in such situations is a friendly discussion either between the two of you and more often than not an independent mediator can be helpful both because they can serve to mediate any conflict but also calmly and independently explain failing to both parties their legal position. From sisters point of view, it is important she understands that she cannot take decisions in respect of the property without your consent, and this will include letting the property out but also that she cannot hold your shares a ransom, for example preventing a sale of the property if she cannot afford to buy you out. Based on what you say, you have a right to your net market share in the property and if she attempts to prevent that or acquire at an unrealistic price she leaves herself open to a claim by you under the above legislation to force a sale and where you can show she has acted unreasonably, she is at risk bearing some or all of the cost of that application depending upon the conduct.Many people in such situations will agree to obtain three valuations and look to agree on an average between the three as a potential price if they are looking to buy out your share from which of course they can deduct 50% of notional estate agents costs which would be incurred if the property were sold on the open market. if a price simply cannot be agreed, a useful solution can be to actually instruct an estate agent to market the property to see what interest is actually attracted in the property and allow your sister to make offers based on competing offers from third parties. alternatively, a survey can be appointed to provide a market appraisal. There are many ways in which a price can be a determined and ultimately, the price cannot be agreed between you it may be better to either sell the property and each take the cash or there is a risk of your applying for a court order using the above approach.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.if you think you have in the past the point where you can both sit down together and have a amicable discussion, may wish to think about contacting a local mediator and suggest a mediated discussion which hopefully will allow you to resolve a plan to move forward. You may also wish to suggest your sister takes legal advice so she understands her legal position and associated options in an effort to try to avoid the matter escalate into a full-blown legal dispute.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
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