Tricky family situation - can I buy out my brother's 5% share?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
15 replies 1.8K views
ParisianParisian Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
My mother sadly passed away last year. I cared for her in a very extensive manner for many years, and my brother who lives abroad was (much) less involved. She left a will which named me as the sole executor. She left me all of her physical possessions as well as 95% of the proceeds of her home. She left 5% of the proceeds from the house for my brother (it was previously nothing, but she changed this in the weeks leading up to her death).

When my mother died, my brother did not ask to see the will and assumed that he would be receiving a 50% share. He was quite difficult and threatened violence around the time of the funeral, and I felt unable to tell him about his lower share at the time. After this, he returned home (he lives abroad) and I planned to tell him then when he was at a safer distance.

We ended up having a fair number of verbal arguments over a number of issues - I had an accident with a bus, broke my foot and was unable to walk for 2 months and felt quite abandoned by him (I have no other family members in the country, and only distant family in other countries). I felt alone and overwhelmed with dealing with all of the estate and the sale of the house (particularly because of my injury), and multiple issues came up with the estate agent, buyers pulling out of the house sale, and then more recently a very very complicated issue with a historical charge being found/reinstated on the Title of the property after a significant mistake made by the Land Registry.
During this time, and whilst believing he was inheriting 50% he offered minimal help (practically and financially) and said he couldn't financially contribute to any of the significant expenses that were arising on behalf of the estate. During this time, I did not tell him about the will.

However, finally I am in a position to sell the house to a buyer who has offered £508,000 and who has waited around through all of the complicated charge issues with the Land Registry. The buyer is getting a very good price, and I feel we settled a bit low on the offer back in December because of circumstances at the time and because of this being the first serious offer after 6 months on the market. It was a joint agreement with my brother to accept the offer of £508,000.

I am now considering keeping the house to live in and would like to give my brother 5% of the value in cash from my savings. He currently thinks we will be selling the house to the buyer who offered £508,000.

My question:
If I tell him that I want to keep the house and pay him 5% of the value (at £508,000 or I could possibly increase the value to say £525,000 or £550,000 at maximum for the purposes of calculating his share. The house was valued in this region in May 2018, but all the offers we received were always much lower) in cash - can he refuse and say that he wants to keep a 5% share in the house?


I don't want to keep the house if he can maintain a 5% share in it. I am not sure how he is going to react to finding out about his 5% share in the will, but am concerned that he might try to make things difficult for me once I tell him.

Any advice would be very appreciated....!
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Replies

  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    What does the will actually say?
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  • KynthiaKynthia Forumite
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    Does the will say you both inherit the house or does it say tge house will be sold and you'll inherit the proceeds? They are two different options.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
  • DigForVictoryDigForVictory Forumite
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    He thinks he's on for the thick end of quarter a million & you haven't told him?
    And now you want to hang onto the house?

    Get a solicitor into play, if only to act as a buffer.
  • edited 23 March 2019 at 9:38AM
    tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    edited 23 March 2019 at 9:38AM
    I think I would sell the house for £508,000, show him the will that left him 5% of this then give him 45% of the proceeds, with you keeping 55%. I would also invite him to chose something from your mother's possessions as a keepsake.

    A £50,000 difference between you is sufficient recompense for the significate care and attention you provided to your mother and for sorting out the estate.

    To answer your original question: You can offer to buy your brother's share, but if he has already been threatening you and is not aware that his share is 5% I don't think there is much chance that he will agree to this, even if you pay over the odds for the house.

    You could take legal advice on the likelihood that your brother could successfully sue you if the paid him £25,400 without telling him that the money was coming from you rather than a third-party purchaser. He would not have lost anything in the eyes of the law, so I doubt you would get penalised in any way, but I don't have any experience to back me up, so take legal advice if you want to go down that route. It sounds like you can afford to pay for this advice. The first option will repair relations with your brother, the second might damage relations irreparably.
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    I really think you should not do this. Make a clean break and sell the property. You then have a choice,stick to the terms of the will and give your brother his share, or make a deed of variation to make a more even split.

    As you have a really poor relationship with your brother, I would pass his inheritance and a copy of the on via a solicitor so you do not need to have any direct contact with him. You also need to make sure you have an an up to date will in place unless you want him to inherit everything should you die first.
  • FlugelhornFlugelhorn Forumite
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    I think that you need a solicitor - hopefully the will was drawn up by one as brother may make accusations of coercion when the will leaving him 5% was drawn up

    It might have been better if he had seen a copy of it early on and dealt with the problems then and there.
  • hb2hb2 Forumite
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    Flugelhorn wrote: »
    I think that you need a solicitor - hopefully the will was drawn up by one as brother may make accusations of coercion when the will leaving him 5% was drawn up

    It might have been better if he had seen a copy of it early on and dealt with the problems then and there.

    OP says that brother's share was 0 up to that point, so I think he would be on a sticky wicket there!
    It's not difficult!
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  • FlugelhornFlugelhorn Forumite
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    hb2 wrote: »
    OP says that brother's share was 0 up to that point, so I think he would be on a sticky wicket there!

    depends how long ago the 0% will was done - presume the brother didn't know about that one either. He would be on sticky wicket but wouldn't stop him causing trouble
  • hb2hb2 Forumite
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    Flugelhorn wrote: »
    depends how long ago the 0% will was done - presume the brother didn't know about that one either. He would be on sticky wicket but wouldn't stop him causing trouble

    Sad but true!
    It's not difficult!
    'Wander' - to walk or move in a leisurely manner.
    'Wonder' - to feel curious.
  • NickiNicki Forumite
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    Personally I think you should decide whether you want an ongoing relationship with your brother who has threatened you with violence.

    If you don’t or are uncertain, I’d sell the house and appoint a solicitor to notify him of his share of the will and not tell him your new address. You can choose whether or not to block calls and emails from him too.

    If you do want an ongoing relationship, then you either need to agree a variation to the will or you need to sit down with a third party to mediate to explain what the will says and why. You definitely should not attempt this alone given a history of violence
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