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Left a house with a catch

Left a house with a catch

Postby Corky » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:28 pm

Due to a family feud myself and my sister haven't spoken in more than 10 years. She has recently passed away so you can imagine my surprise to find that she has left me her home in her will. Her only stipulation in her will is that I allow her boyfriend to live in it rent free until he dies. I totally respect her wishes and will abide by this but I was wondering as I am now the property owner what are my responsibilities?

Obviously before I do anything I will take proper professional legal advice on the detail but purely for the purposes of discussion I was wondering if there are any obvious responsibilities I have now?

Is he responsible for the council tax or am I? Is he responsible for the gas and electric bills or am I? He is basically a freeloader who lived off my sister and it's why we fell out all those years ago because I saw him for what he was but she was blind to it. All the council tax and bills were in my sisters name. So now that I am the property owner am I responsible for paying this?

He is allowed to live there rent free but the will says nothing about him not having to pay the bills. Now that my sister has passed away and he is the only person living in the house surely he must be prepared to stump up and pay the gas, water and electric? If he doesn't am I under any legal obligation to pay these bills for him?
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Re: Left a house with a catch

Postby 3.14 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:33 pm

Do you have to abide by her wishes legally and how old is he?
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Re: Left a house with a catch

Postby Corky » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:37 pm

Well it's in her will so I assume that I do have to abide by her wishes, don't I? She was only 62 when she died.
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Re: Left a house with a catch

Postby 3.14 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:59 pm

How old is the boyfriend?
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Re: Left a house with a catch

Postby Russell » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:42 pm

Is he likely to outlive you?
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Re: Left a house with a catch

Postby shootist » Thu Jun 29, 2017 6:04 pm

This is definitely one to ask a solicitor you have engaged professionally and given every single detail of the situation to.

Notwithstanding that, I suspect that the council tax is the responsibility of the person living there, ask the council. Water, Electric and gas bills shouldn't be difficult. Get the details of the supplier and cancel the supply. He wants gas and electric. water, he pays for them.

Inheritance law, property law, possibly tenancy law, trust law, mental competency, ye Gods!
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Re: Left a house with a catch

Postby Corky » Thu Jun 29, 2017 6:44 pm

I'm in my mid fifties and in good health. The boyfriend is in his early 70's and in poor health. Obviously nothing is certain in life but odds are he will go before I will. Shootist. I agree. It's a bit of a legal minefield although google tells me that it's actually quite a common situation.

In law I think the boyfriend does have legal protection as he may be considered a life tenant. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_estate
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Re: Left a house with a catch

Postby theycantdothat » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:32 pm

It would help if you could quote the exact words of the relevant part of the will.
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Re: Left a house with a catch

Postby Corky » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:41 pm

Unfortunately I don't have it to hand yet. I've just been told over the phone what it says by the solicitor. I have to meet with him soon to finalise everything. I was just curious if anyone had experienced anything like this before.
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Re: Left a house with a catch

Postby atticus » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:19 pm

3 points.

1. Council tax etc will be your responsibility.

2. You will have to maintain the property. That will be at your expense.

3. You may be able to pay the guy to leave, to enable you to sell.
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