Having inherited a dwelling from her deceased mother, along with her two siblings, a reader wants to know what their best options are regarding the ownership of the house.
The offspring are the beneficiaries under their mother’s will, which states the residence must be left to them in equal shares.
See the reader’s question here.
The option to sell the house out of the estate has arisen and she would like an opinion on whether or not selling or taking part ownership would be more beneficial.
Various considerations come into play.
The value, location and desirability of the property may result in it dramatically increasing in value over time.
This could even happen in the short term, which may mean that a handsome profit could be realised.
The problem with joint ownership of this nature is that it may be difficult to reach agreement as to when it is the right time to sell.
The respective financial means of the siblings may be a factor, one perhaps not requiring any additional money and thus not being in any hurry to sell.
Selling the property at the earliest possible stage eliminates any future arguments as to the management and responsibilities in respect of the property.
It also frees the siblings to do whatever they may wish with their respective shares of the proceeds of the sale.
Investing the money may result in better future gains, particularly if the property is not desirable and is not anticipated to increase in value over time.
The siblings will have to weigh up the options and make a judgment call as to which one may be best.
If the siblings are all in need of cash, selling may alleviate financial pressures.
If, however, the intention is to continue to own the property in thirds, it would be important to consider how the property will be dealt with in future.
Aspects such as responsibility for maintenance of the property and paying any charges and taxes will have to be considered.
The three siblings could easily conclude an agreement dealing with the future actions in respect of the property including, for example, what would happen should one or more of them wish to sell.
Another important aspect would be to consider what should happen to each sibling’s share in the property if one of them passed away.
A sibling may have children and he or she may bequeath their interest in the property to the children in equal shares.
The ownership of the property then becomes quite fragmented, leading to even more discontent as to the manner in which the property is managed.
Should the siblings elect to keep the property, it would be transferred to them from the estate with no duties payable.
The conveyancer’s fees, however, would still be payable by the estate.
If the estate is “cash poor”, it may, regardless of the decision of the siblings, become necessary to liquidate some of the assets in the estate to settle any debts and claims.
This may eliminate any choice the siblings may have in the matter unless they wish to contribute an amount to avoid the liquidation of one or more of the assets in the estate.
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