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Beneficiary not agreeing to sell house

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  • Beneficiary not agreeing to sell house

    Hello! This is my first post on Legal Beagles and would be extremely grateful for any input on my situation. I will be as succinct as I can explaining the context leading up to now, bearing in mind the estate was granted probate over 19 months now.

    Deceased relative - DE
    Second beneficiary (2/3 of estate) - SB
    Third beneficiary (deceased before probate, after testator) - T
    Executor (solicitor firm) - WJ firm

    Sadly DE passed away back in in the first quarter of 2022, and left their residuary estate equally between myself, SB, and T. SB was currently residing at the property at the time of DE's death, despite having her own temporary residence elsewhere. The estate comprises of a house solely owned by DE without a mortgage. Probate was granted 4 months after DE's passing.
    DE’s will does not specify how the estate is distributed; I noticed the that JW firm are both the executor and trustees. Due to the mental health issues of SB, I was initially happy for her to remain at the property until the estate is wound up. Due to similar complications faced by T, it was challenging for WJ firm to contact him initially. T expressed to WJ firm he was happy for SB to remain in the property for the meantime but not indefinitely wanted to review this in “a few months’ time” (First quarter of 2023). This meeting did not manifest, and sadly T passed away in the summer of 2023; he did not have a will, and his estate (mainly chattels and minimal cash) was intestate, now administered.
    By intestacy, his share of DE's estate was then passed on to SB, therefore leaving 2/3 to SB, and the remaining 1/3 to myself. There is no inheritance tax liable due to nil rate band, however, was advised of the possibility of capital gains should the house sells for more than the probate value. WJ firm has since been managing the renewal of house insurance; I requested a copy of the estate accounts shortly after the grant of probate was obtained, which was provided.
    A shortfall of legal fees of £7,000 to WJ firm was made aware to all three of us shortly after DE's death, which would need to be deducted from the estate (house) when sold, or paid by the beneficiaries with cash.
    Having resided in the property since DE's death, SB has been unable to manage the basic finances of the house and has generated fairly substantial debts to utility companies (circa. £1,500), some now paid with assistance from her care team. On top of this, although tidy, SB struggles with basic aspects of the upkeep of the house, and has resulted in one pest infestation, now resolved.
    SB initially was resolute against selling the house, however, has now warmed to the idea of using her 2/3 share to buy her own flat, more suitable to her needs, and financial situation.
    Despite this, SB remains inconsistent with her views on this, and I’ve “adjourned” any furth conversation on this for the meantime.
    SB's care team has suggested equity release to "buy me out" as a "third option" - SB is effectively retired, with no major income other that disability benefits, and does not own her own property.
    I am concerned of the ramifications of this option, and what this may mean for SB should she decide to sell later down the line.
    A meeting with WJ firm has been scheduled with SB, without my presence upon the request of SB's social worker; I have expressed I am happy to be absent for a meeting between SB and JW firm for a second time, however wanted to know what are the rules on this from a legal perspective?

    Tags: None

  • #2
    these are my thoughts and opinion
    The property sounds too big and unsuitable for SB to continue to live there. She is struggling to pay utility bills and has had difficulty with house maintenance, possibly devaluing the property.
    The executor, WJ, has a duty to ensure assets are looked after securely and maintained on behalf of the beneficiaries. WJ has a vested interest in moving SB to more suitable accommodation so the property can be sold and they can receive their outstanding £7k fee. If you offer to pay their fee, WJ might think you are not concerned about the delay since probate (approaching 2 years) and decrease their efforts to move SB from the property
    You don't have a legal right to attend the meeting, but you should speak to the executor before and after the meeting about the delay in receiving your inheritance and the continuing deterioration of the condition of the property

    You mentioned a "third option". The first option is to move SB to alternative accommodation. What is the second option?
    Last edited by Pezza54; 27th March 2024, 11:52:AM.


    • #3
      Hello! Many thanks for your reply.

      To confirm, the second option is transferring the property to shared ownership as tenants in common, third option is for SB to apply for equity release to "buy me out" to allow her to live there for her lifetime.


      • #4
        Sorry, I should have said welcome to LB. I missed you are a new member

        Would you consider option 2? Which option is your preference?


        • #5
          Originally posted by Pezza54 View Post
          Sorry, I should have said welcome to LB. I missed you are a new member

          Would you consider option 2? Which option is your preference?
          My preference would be a house sale, just to answer your final question.


          • #6
            You should make the executor aware of your preference if you haven't already done so


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