6 Comments Wills, probate, letters of administration, powers of attorney
Theoretically you could be charged rent but most executors wouldn't bother. I think reasonably you could be asked to pay whatever is over what the house would cost to maintain if it were vacant. Power, phone, water the estate would cover rates etc.
If your 2/3 share is insufficient to buy alternate accommodation you may have a chance in a contest.
Dependent on some of the following.
Does the estate have sufficient cash to pay for a contest ($70-$150K) without selling the house to pay the legal costs?
Does the other beneficiary need the 1/3?
BTW the 11 years care won't count for much as you probably had free rent during that time? Especially since you back injury.
The estate, through the executor is responsible for the costs associated with the house, rates, insurance, repairs etc, but if you are using water and electricity, I expect the executor may require you to pay for these.
As a resident in the home of the decease, you do have rights, especially if you do not have another home to go to. Those rights are considerable and could even include the right to continue living in the house indefinitely.
If you have not received a copy of the will from the executor, you should ask for one, you are entitled to this in return for payment of any costs involved such as photocopying and postage. Send $10 with your request for a copy.
If you are to receive a two thirds share of the home, and that is insufficient to finance you into your own place, or if you do not have sufficient funds to purchase the other third, you perhaps should have your solicitor contest the will to have you awarded either the other third, or a life interest in the other third.
A life interest will mean that someone else will own the other third but you can continue living there during your lifetime.
EDIT: Sorry, we were posting at the same time, I'm a very slow typist.
MartinO 2014-01-16 21:47:10
Thank you so much for your responses, which has given me a little hope. A little more information for you:
The house (should fetch $420K) is the only asset. My two-thirds would allow me to purchase a small villa (elsewhere, I cannot afford a home where I currently live).
I have two sisters. Sister #1 has been left $15K, as was my mothers wishes because she squanders any money she has and we have not hardly seen her even though she lives only 2 hrs away. Mum did write her a letter (estate solicitor has a copy) explaining why she did what she did. Sisters #2 has been left the other one-third of the house (she lives in Canada with husband and daughter, and mortgage). I have had zero support from sisters over the years, both physically and emotionally.
On the emotional side (which I fear may have no bearing at all as far as the outcome), I have not hardly been able to leave the house for the past 5 yrs. My mother was extremely dependant (think old-school marriage). I always put her happiness first over the past 11 yrs to ensure her final years were happy ones. It has been a very heavy burden to carry. The executors will do their best to ensure I receive what mum wanted (two-thirds). We are very close.
My suggestion would be to be as quiet as possible. Get probate done wait the 12 months from date of death and distribute ASAP and buy yourself a unit.
I wouldn't be surprised if sister#1 contests the will herself, if you start a challenge that will just start it off and the outcome will be the same.
The way your sister wastes money is irrelevant. All she need to say is I've changed my ways and mum didn't know as we didn't talk. The letter from you mum will be considered "biased" and hold little weight.
The 11 years you lived with your mother will be described as free rent by the opposition.
The care you provided you mun will be commended by the judge and then they will comment on what a pity so much has been spent on lawyers.
Without knowing the people involved I would predict that sister#1 will contest. After the contest ether in court or at mediation the house will need to be sold to cover legal costs. This will leave about $300-350K you will get $200K and your sisters will get 1/2 each of what remains.
If your lucky the judge will let the will stand as it is but the house will need to be sold unless you have the money to pay of the sisters and pay legal fees.