Father's Will

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carolegif | 13:17 Sun 20th Jan 2013 | Civil
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My father died last March and one of my siblings who was living with him at the time due to her separation, had leave to live in the bungalow for a year (in father's will) until she finds somewhere else to live. It is now nearly a year on and there appears to be no indication that she will either buy us (my other siblings) out or sell the bungalow. If she stays there after the March date, what is her legal status - does she become a sitting tenant after that date?
If we mention anything she either ignores the question, or flies off in a rage saying we are only after the money, but we need the money for things ourselves. We don't want to fall out over this, so what can we do?


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Who are the executors?

What are the precise terms of the clause? Does the phrase "or until she finds somewhere else to live" feature?

Unless it is a very open ended clause (and from what you have said, I am inclined to the view that it probably ceases after a year, but can't be certain) she has no rights to reside after one year. After that year the executors are entitled to apply for possession of the property and can then sell it. She does not become a tenant and has no legal rights to reside there.

Unfortunately, these disputes generally do become unpleasant. If she won't leave, you will have no choice but to ask the executors to take the appropriate action.
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We are all the joint executors, including her. The will categorically states that she has the right to remain for one year.
Well I regret to say that if she won't leave voluntarily you are going to have to seek the intervention of the Court since you have 3 execs and 1 is refusing to act jointly and severally.

Try and resolve it amicably. Call a meeting between the 3 of you and explain that you are only intending to implement your father's wishes. Perhaps suggest you are prepared to give her a further six months as long as she pays rent at the market rate (clearly she will only have to pay 2/3rds though)? Explain that whilst she lives in the property beyond the year, you are losing out since she is getting a rent free benefit to the expense of you and your other sibling. Is there another family member you could ask to help as a "disinterested honest broker"? You could potentially try the Family Mediation Service although I am not sure if they will deal with this type of dispute.
Do please bear in mind that grief at a loss does affect different people in different ways. I lost my parents five years ago and it's only now that I feel able to deal with their assets. Could it be that, having lived with your father, she's finding it difficult coming to terms with the situation?

In our case, I bought my sister's share of the property at a discount and have paid a mortgage ever since. Would you be prepared to make an offer of this kind to your sister? And, of course, does she have the income to pay the mortgage?

I really hope you're able to sort this out, it's never easy.

Good luck.
I agree entirely with what Barmaid has written. It is unlikely your sibling is a tenant at all, at the most I would expect her status to be an assured short hold tenant, and if she is not paying rent her stay would probably be considered an act of goodwill giving her no security. The problem is going to be arranging for her removal without bad feeling, which you wish to avoid; I suggest you follow the advice given by Barmaid.

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