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Delicate will and inheritance issue.

69 replies 6K views
Some 6 or 7 years ago, my partner’s father signed his property over to the ownership of his three children, those bring my partner and her two brothers. This was done to avoid the house potentially being sold for care home fees and to avoid inheritance tax. However, two years ago, my partner passed away, leaving the one third share of her father’s house to me as sole beneficiary of her estate.

I was not aware of this third share of the house at the time I settled her affairs and no one else in the family clearly remembered it either. Now,though, on ‘tidying his affairs’ her father has realised that I now owned a third of the house and as he sees it, that ‘was not the plan’. Therefore he wants me to resolve this ‘issue’ by signing my third of the house over to the two sons (my partners brothers).

The situation gets further complicated in that I will have to now re-submit Probate / Confirmation here in Scotland and will have to pay inheritance tax on this third share of the house, as it pushes her inheritable over the Inheritance Tax threshold, in essence the tax he was seeking to avoid has backfired by his daughter dying before him, the difference bring that I’ve to be the one covering the tax.

The brothers involved have taken nothing at all to do with their sister’s/my partner’s estate in the last two years. I have done everything, runaround everywhere, paid for everything, tidied everything, organised everything, disposed of everything,... you get the picture. Which is fine, and I do not and never would mind doing that, However, now the realisation that some money is on the line, one brother especially is hounding me to get this ‘issue’ fixed and sign the house to them, after I’ve dealt with the solicitors, paid for and re-sought the confirmation and then paid the inheritance tax.

Needless to say, all communication has broken down, as it does as soon as cash is involved, and there is anger being directed my way by one brother especially, because it has taken me two months to get a solicitor engaged and pull together the valuation information, whilst working full time in healthcare, dealing with my own parent’s house being repaired after a catastrophic flood and a pet dying, and this is nowhere near quick enough in his view to get the house signed over to him.

What is your take on this, have you any experience and have you any suggestions?

Thanks,
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  • edited 18 October at 12:22AM
    naedangernaedanger Forumite
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    edited 18 October at 12:22AM
    Some 6 or 7 years ago, my partner’s father signed his property over to the ownership of his three children, those bring my partner and her two brothers. This was done to avoid the house potentially being sold for care home fees and to avoid inheritance tax. However, two years ago, my partner passed away, leaving the one third share of her father’s house to me as sole beneficiary of her estate.

    I was not aware of this third share of the house at the time I settled her affairs and no one else in the family clearly remembered it either. Now,though, on ‘tidying his affairs’ her father has realised that I now owned a third of the house and as he sees it, that ‘was not the plan’. Therefore he wants me to resolve this ‘issue’ by signing my third of the house over to the two sons (my partners brothers).

    The situation gets further complicated in that I will have to now re-submit Probate / Confirmation here in Scotland and will have to pay inheritance tax on this third share of the house, as it pushes her inheritable over the Inheritance Tax threshold, in essence the tax he was seeking to avoid has backfired by his daughter dying before him, the difference bring that I’ve to be the one covering the tax.

    The brothers involved have taken nothing at all to do with their sister’s/my partner’s estate in the last two years. I have done everything, runaround everywhere, paid for everything, tidied everything, organised everything, disposed of everything,... you get the picture. Which is fine, and I do not and never would mind doing that, However, now the realisation that some money is on the line, one brother especially is hounding me to get this ‘issue’ fixed and sign the house to them, after I’ve dealt with the solicitors, paid for and re-sought the confirmation and then paid the inheritance tax.

    Needless to say, all communication has broken down, as it does as soon as cash is involved, and there is anger being directed my way by one brother especially, because it has taken me two months to get a solicitor engaged and pull together the valuation information, whilst working full time in healthcare, dealing with my own parent’s house being repaired after a catastrophic flood and a pet dying, and this is nowhere near quick enough in his view to get the house signed over to him.

    What is your take on this, have you any experience and have you any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    My take on it is that the brothers should be very accommodating to your needs arising from this matter as you are doing them a great favour by agreeing to forgo what you inherited.

    What is their argument for why you should pay the costs (including taxes) of sorting this matter out now? Were you the executor for your late partner's estate? Did the will explicitly mention the property, or was there some other reason why you should have known of its existence? Even if there was some error on your part in winding up her estate I don't see why you should be expected to pay for costs arising as a result of your generosity. 

    Of course I have no idea how much you value the relationship with your late partner's family. But from what you have said they are being unreasonable in many ways. 

  • ameliarateameliarate Forumite
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    If you want to play hardball about it I would push for them to buy your share out, but if not then just insist that if they come up with the cash to pay the IHT bill in exchange for your 1/3 share. If they won’t do either you simply hold on to your share.

    i would certainly get them to pay you back the IHT and any solicitors fees. Why should you be out of pocket? I am sorry you are going through this. I know what it’s like to have people like this on your back at such a terrible time. 
    We don't stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing.
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    You could always suggest your partner’s father buys your share back as a tax reduction scheme. As he disposed of his house in 2013/14 his estate will not be able to claim the residence NRB, so his children will be better off if he actually owns part of his home when he dies. 


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  • stephenbalmerstephenbalmer Forumite
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    Thank you thank you all very much for you comments and advice.

    On the points raised, it was actually my partners father’s solicitor who was involved in the original transfer of the house into their names, so I guess it’s the solicitor who was mistaken in the plan of avoiding care home fees and IHT? Anyway, that is something of a side issue to my current quandary.

    The other point of why this is happening two years after her death and settling her estate, is that I simply did not know about the arrangement with his house. I suspect he has recently been checking his own Will and realised the situation, or I actually think brother 2 has realised the situation and saw cash leaking away from his inheritance.

    Morally, I should facilitate the return of the family property back to their family. What is really irritating me is the way it is being approached and handled, especially by brother number 2.

    The attitude taken is that I must transfer this to them, they are not asking if I will. Additionally they are layering on emotional pressure; this is what dad wants, so get the issue fixed, he is a very old man, there’s not much time. They are taking the stance that there is actually an issue, but it is not really - a very deliberate attempt was made, rightly of wrongly, to avoid something and it went wrong when his daughter died before him. When they say issue, they really mean, I’ve got money then want.

    I actually feel that if I could even get them to agree that I’d be helping them out, rather than their current belief that I’ve got this somehow unlawfully, it was not what was meant to happen so give it back, I would be happier about doing so. Right now I feel bitter and the desire for cash is causing some frankly very unpleasant behaviour.
  • MoneySeeker1MoneySeeker1 Forumite
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    I would agree it is indeed an issue.

    The house was left to the 3 adult children  and not to "a partner of one of the adult children". Therefore it now rightfully belongs to the 2 brothers only imo.

    In your position - I'd take the position that, as long as I wasn't left short for any expenses (taxes/etc) and was in exactly the same financial position as if there'd not been a house/etc to leave then I'd accept that and stop fighting them and have the estate re-divided just between the two of them.

    I know it's not what you want to hear - but I'm with the 2 brothers on this that they are due for it to be split 50/50 between them and not go to a "stranger" because of an accident of marriage/then death of someone else.
    Woke up in a parallel universe some months back - where it says it's Earth, it looks like Earth, some of it is familiar - but it obviously isn't Earth (because nothing makes any sort of sense any more).

    Have come to the conclusion I'm living in 1930's Germany - but not going to give up hope it can be changed back to 21st century Britain-as-normal.





  • getmore4lessgetmore4less Forumite
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    You could always suggest your partner’s father buys your share back as a tax reduction scheme. As he disposed of his house in 2013/14 his estate will not be able to claim the residence NRB, so his children will be better off if he actually owns part of his home when he dies. 



    The share is already a GWR and if it is gifted back it is now in the fathers estate twice.


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