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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 35054
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Can you help me please with the following: The father of two

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Can you help me please with the following:The father of two boys died approx. 10 years ago, leaving his flat divided equally between them.The second son, who lived and worked abroad, died earlier this year, leaving his estate between three beneficiaries, his son, daughter and long term friend. The flat was not specifically mentioned as an separate item in the Will.Previously, an agreement (not legally witnessed) was drawn up between the two brothers after the father's death, that the son based in the UK would live in the flat paying a rent of £300 the other son. (I am in possession of a copy of this).After his brother's death, the remaining living son based in the flat did not declare his brother's half share in the flat when he was acting as executor, even though this should have been declared for IHT. He also stated that his brother had bought property in the US (he had not) and retired there permanently. (He had not, intending to retire to the UK when personal circumstances allowed him to).Having raised this matter with the remaining brother, (I am joint executor) the half share of the flat was identified for probate.I am now concerned that the remaining son may be able to claim squatters rights. Would this be possible at this stage or am I unduly concerned?

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

Do you intend to insist on a sale of the property?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, I was planning to leave the occupant in situ and forgo my portion of the rent (I do not know if this has ever been paid, as the second executor and resident of the flat has excluded me from correspondence between himself and the solicitor, and I have not seen the deceased bank account ). He has not acknowledged to date that the flat is jointly owned. However, if charging rent or offering him my portion to buy is something that has to be done, I am willing to do so to protect the other two beneficiaries portions which are to go into trusts.

Is there any provision in the Will that allows for a delay in realising the assets?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The only delay in releasing assets is that the Will requests that the estate left to his two children is held in trust until they are 35, which will be in 3 and 5 years (approx) time. The Will suggests that one trust - for the son, should be held by the dec'd brother, and the daughter's by myself.
The remaining brother has been looking after the deceased estate (shares, bank account) since their father died and whilst he has been resident in the US. I am very concerned that this will continue without my input once the Will has been probated and IHT paid. Do I have any rights as executor once the Will is finalized. I must point out that there is discontent with the fact that I am also a beneficiary of the Will.

But you do not wish to force the sale of the property now?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If it is for the best then I will ask him to buy me out, it is not a tremendous sum, approx £35,000, but as he is the deceased brother and has lived there since the father died (over 10 years) I was not going to ask him to, although it is what I would prefer. I am anxious re him claiming 'Squatters rights' as he has lived and maintained the flat with his brother visiting once or twice each year (barring the last 2/3 years when he could not leave the US because of his wife's illness, she is now permanently in a medical care home in the US). He has not worked for years as he had a stroke - he is fully physically and mentally mobile - and after his father died his inheritance helped with this. He was an Estate Agent.

How much is the property worth in total?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As an ex Estate Agent he valued a half share of the property at £103,500 so £207,000 maybe a little more.

Do you trust him?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did until he omitted the half share of the flat from the probate form, there were one or two other anomalies as mentioned earlier, now I am unsure, especially after a friend expressed her concern.

The proper way forward is for there to be a formal independent valuation of the property.

It should be sold - to the brother if he wants it, and the money paid into the Estate and divided in accordance with the terms of the Will

Please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there any possibility that he may have grounds for a claim on his deceased brother's half share of the property due to his occupation over 10 years?

None at all - only in respect of any improvements he has made to the property (if any)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Clare
I had an email from the brother living in the flat yesterday saying the solicitor needed to know what I intended to do with my share of the flat before the 5th August. I checked with the solicitor who told me that she had not specified that date for myself but for the brother whom she had to refer to another solicitor because of a conflict of interest which may affect the paperwork (probate form). I know he is after the flat or stocks and shares he has looked after for the brother over a number of years whilst he has been abroad, visiting once a year on average. Can I feel confident that he cannot claim the flat or shares (flat lived alone for 10 years, stocks and shares looked after for 17 years). I am seriously concerned.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just heard that the daughter of the dec'd is considering leaving her 1/6th share in trust for the remaining brother's grandchildren. She also thinks her brother will do the same. That leaves 1/6th of the whole property (1/3rd of the half share of the property) for the 3rd beneficiary which I think is being challenged.

He has no extra claim because of having been there for 10 years.

The property must be sold - either by him buying the estate out or by it being sold on the open market

Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you

He has no extra claim because of the passing of the years

Either he buys the half share of property from the Estate or the property as a whole is placed on the market.

His choise