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Inheriting Property

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 18 May 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Property private Property inheritance

When someone dies any private property (or shares in a private property) that (s)he owned will become a part of his or her estate. This estate will be distributed according to the law either by the executor (someone named in the deceased’s will) or administrator (someone appointed by law in the event that no will was left). Depending on the type of property held and the instructions left in the will, there are many ways in which an individual could inherit property and many rights and responsibilities that come along with such an inheritance.

Ways of Inheriting Property

There are three main ways in which private property can be inherited. The first is if the deceased and the inheritor were living together in a property held as a “joint tenancy”. Upon the death, the surviving member of this agreement inherits the entire property automatically. The second common way of inheriting property is if the property was owned as a “tenancy in common”, then the inheritor will be awarded the deceased’s share in the property either as stipulated in the deceased’s will or according to the laws of intestacy/succession (in the event that no will exists). Finally, if the deceased owned the property outright then it will be inherited according to the deceased’s will or the laws of intestacy/succession (again if no will exists).

Debts and Inherited Property

Property that is inherited will usually not be released to the inheritor until all debts have been cleared from the deceased’s estate. However, it may be that outstanding debts exist and the property must be sold in order to make up these debts. If such is the case, the inheritor should be informed of these developments and should be kept informed about the process by the executor or administrator of the will. Generally if the property was held as a joint tenancy then all other avenues of paying debts will be explored before the idea of selling the property must be raised, but if it is impossible to pay these debts otherwise then selling may be the only option. Working with a solicitor will help make all details clear about specific cases.

Uses of an Inherited Property

Sometimes the properties inherited after a death are already inhabited by tenants. Whether or not this arrangement will continue is up to the new owner. However, if it does continue then the new owner becomes the landlord and must shoulder all of the responsibilities of this position as stipulated by the law. Regardless of whether the new owner is hoping to sell the property, inhabit the property him/herself or continue renting the property to others, a solicitor should be consulted to ensure that all laws are followed regarding these transactions. If a new owner does intend to move into the property, (s)he should consult a solicitor regarding the existence of any tenants, registering the property in his/her name, nominating the property as his/her main home with the Tax Office, taking on mortgage payments, paying any applicable taxes and anything else related to his/her specific situation.

Inheriting property is not usually a straightforward affair. There are many ways of inheriting property, and many more issues that must be dealt with such as taxes on the property, the property being used to pay off debts, relationships with existing tenants living in the property, tax issues surrounding the property becoming the owner’s main home, the new owner taking over the mortgage on the property and much more. If possible, the guidance of a solicitor should always be sought in case of private property inheritance.

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[Add a Comment]
Bess - Your Question:
My father died 22 years ago and told me that the house would be left to his wife firstly then splìt between us 4 children. He told me I had nothing to worry about everything had been sorted.His wife is now selling the property and I have been told I am no longer in the will just her children is she legally allowed to do this ?

Our Response:
You should be able to get a copy of the Will to check this out. If the conditions of the Will have not been followed a solicitor will be able to advise.
FacingBereavement - 22-May-18 @ 3:43 PM
Sky - Your Question:
My mother had passed and I'm entitled through the Will to her Estate, am I duty bound to share it with my husband of 35 years?

Our Response:
In general yes you should. There are some legal complexities involved, especially if you divorce, so we suggest you contact a legal professional.
FacingBereavement - 22-May-18 @ 3:40 PM
My father died 22 years ago and told me that the house would be left to his wife firstly then splìt between us 4 children . He told me i had nothing to worry about everything had been sorted .His wife is now selling the property and i have been told i am no longer in the willjust her children is she legally allowed to do this ?
Bess - 16-May-18 @ 7:03 PM
My mother had passed and I'm entitled through the Will to her Estate, am I duty bound to share it with my husband of 35 years?
Sky - 16-May-18 @ 6:33 PM
Jessica Cortez - Your Question:
If I build a house and my grandfather is in the deed and he dies will I have to split my house with his kids? He’s giving me part of his land and want to build a house there but he insisted on being in the deed and I heard if he’s on there it will have to be split between his kids even if the house is mine. True or false? I live in Texas

Our Response:
Sorry but we are UK based so can't comment on US law related issues.
FacingBereavement - 9-May-18 @ 11:45 AM
Tiny - Your Question:
Just quick, if a brother had inherited a house from estate is he entitled to anything else.When there is four other siblings

Our Response:
This depends on the terms of the Will. If there is no Will(and no living spouse), the entire estate is divided equally between all the children.
FacingBereavement - 8-May-18 @ 1:55 PM
If I build a house and my grandfather is in the deed and he dies will I have to split my house with his kids? He’s giving me part of his land and want to build a house there but he insisted on being in the deed and I heard if he’s on there it will have to be split between his kids even if the house is mine. True or false? I live in Texas
Jessica Cortez - 8-May-18 @ 1:40 PM
Just quick, if a brother had inherited a house from estate is he entitled to anything else..... When there is four other siblings
Tiny - 8-May-18 @ 10:59 AM
Mazza83 - Your Question:
Hi I have a quick couple of questions, I rencently received a letter from a research company to trace me to inform me my grandmother passed away ( she never wanted anything to do with me). My father had passed away previous to her and I am now entitled to 1/4 if the estate. I got the lawyers letter saying only to fill in And send back if I don’t want my legal rights I.e the money. I just wonder do I have to do anything to say I do want it or will I just receive a cheque ? I have already been told what I’m receiving this is Scots law Thank you

Our Response:
We don't know what the rules are about these research companies. You are entitled to the money, but if you don't reply saying that you are who they think you are, then surely they won't be able to release the funds?
FacingBereavement - 27-Apr-18 @ 12:04 PM
M - Your Question:
My father passed away and through probate the house went to our mother and me and my two brothers.My mother signed her share to one of my brothers, with my eldest brother and I having 5% each on her death.My mother passed away June 2017 and my brother is now selling the property (his name on the Title). We have only been communicating through solicitors.As our 5%s are from my late father's estate, how do we obtain these from the sale of the property and could he just disappear with our inheritance? Do we just have to trust him to give it to us?

Our Response:
Get you solicitors involved in this. If you are communicating viathem anyway, they should be sorting this out for you.
FacingBereavement - 25-Apr-18 @ 3:41 PM
Hi I have a quick couple of questions, I rencently received a letter from a research company to trace me to inform me my grandmother passed away ( she never wanted anything to do with me). My father had passed away previous to her and I am now entitled to 1/4 if the estate . I got the lawyers letter saying only to fill in And sendback if I don’t want my legal rights I.e the money . I just wonder do I have to do anything to say I do want it or will I just receive a cheque ? I have already been told what I’m receiving this is Scots law Thank you
Mazza83 - 24-Apr-18 @ 6:00 PM
My father passed away and through probate the house went to our mother and me and my two brothers. My mother signed her share to one of my brothers, with my eldest brother and I having 5% each on her death. My mother passed away June 2017 and my brother is now selling the property (his name on the Title). We have only been communicating through solicitors. As our 5%s are from my late father's estate, how do we obtain these from the sale of the property and could he just disappear with our inheritance? Do we just have to trust him to give it to us?
M - 23-Apr-18 @ 9:44 PM
BigJon - Your Question:
My father recently passed away and has left me his home, which is mortgage free and full of furniture and personal possessions. He left all of his money to his daughter and her sons. His daughter is now trying to claim 50% of the possessions in my new home, but my stance is that the contents were left to me when the house became mine. Can you please tell me who is entitled to these contents if they were not specified in the will?Thanks

Our Response:
Who is the executor of the Will? Who receives the possessions, will depend on how the Will is worded. It may be worth asking a solicitor to help with this if you can't agree. Don't forget probate is needed if property is involved.
FacingBereavement - 19-Mar-18 @ 12:57 PM
My father recently passed away and has left me his home, which is mortgage free and full of furniture and personal possessions. He left all of his money to his daughter and her sons. His daughter is now trying to claim 50% of the possessions in my new home, but my stance is that the contents were left to me when the house became mine. Can you please tell me who is entitled to these contents if they were not specified in the will? Thanks
BigJon - 16-Mar-18 @ 3:25 PM
My sister in law left money to my husband her brother if he had passed away the money was to pass to me unfortunately my husband has already passed away we have two children my daughter thinks the money should be divided betweenthree of us but this is not stated inthe will. The will was made inthe USA Please helpThankyou
Tess - 11-Mar-18 @ 6:50 PM
I hav 6 brothers but one of my brother and his wife r dead but I m the guardian of his only daughter n we have our parents property how much ownership of that girl in our joint property
Tayyab - 7-Mar-18 @ 12:30 PM
Unknown - Your Question:
My mum died just over a year ago and in her will it states the house is split between me and my brother, but her partner can stay in the house as long as he needs to without making any major changes to the house. I was living with my mum up to 2 months before she passed when I was forced to move out with my new partner. When my mum died her partner changed the locks so I couldn’t get in. I wonder where I stand and if he can somehow claim the house?

Our Response:
He shouldn't be able to do this, but it's definitely worth your seeking professional legal advice on this.
FacingBereavement - 12-Feb-18 @ 2:17 PM
My mum died just over a year ago and in her will it states the house is split between me and my brother, but her partner can stay in the house as long as he needs to without making any major changes to the house. I was living with my mum up to 2 months before she passed when I was forced to move out with my new partner. When my mum died her partner changed the locks so I couldn’t get in. I wonder where I stand and if he can somehow claim the house?
Unknown - 10-Feb-18 @ 4:31 AM
Jojo - Your Question:
My mother has recently passed away and she has stated in her will that her 6 children are to receive 1/6 of her estate each my one brother still lives in her house (who's 60 years old )and wishes to remain there for a further 2 years me and my youngest brother want him to leave within 12 months as we know he will not pay any of the bills and will not look after the house please advise as to where we stand my other sister is executor to the will and wants him to stay in the house and for all of us other siblings to hand over our share of the will to him he has lived in the house for 17 years mostly rent free (60 per week) the mortgage is paid but the are still household bills to be paid which he is to irresponsible to pay and he is now going away for 2 months on holiday is it the executor responsibility to make payments for bills to be paid

Our Response:
This a question of ethics/morals really, so we can't giv good advice. It's up to you and your siblings to agree this between you. The executor does have to settle any debts that were in place before the person died and it is the executor's responsibility to ensure the Will is carried out according to the wishes of the deceased. The beneficiaries can however, agree not to dispose of assets...but if you're not all in accord this will not be feasible.
FacingBereavement - 9-Feb-18 @ 3:19 PM
My mother has recently passed away and she has stated in her will that her 6 children are to receive 1/6of her estate each my one brother still lives in her house (who's 60 years old )and wishes to remain there for a further 2 years me and my youngest brother want him to leave within 12 months as we know he will not pay any of the bills and will not look after the house please advise as to where we stand my other sister is executorto the will and wants him to stay in the house and for all of us other siblings to hand over our share of the will to him he has lived in the house for 17 years mostlyrent free (60 per week) the mortgage is paid but the are still household bills to be paid which he is to irresponsibleto pay and he is now going away for 2 months on holiday is it the executor responsibilityto make payments for bills to be paid
Jojo - 9-Feb-18 @ 2:08 AM
Caralin - Your Question:
I was contacted by bank trying to trace my exhusband. We divorced many years ago. My daughter was born to my new partner before divorce was finalised and my daughter had to have my ex’s surname on birth certicate. Would she be able to inherit from ex’s estate?

Our Response:
If your daughter is the bioligical child of your ex husband, she could inherit in the absence of a Will and any other children etc. If she has your ex husband's name on her birth certificate but is not his biological child, there's always a danager this could come to light (and it's also fraud, so you should take steps to amend it).
FacingBereavement - 31-Jan-18 @ 10:47 AM
I was contacted by bank trying to trace my exhusband. We divorced many years ago. My daughter was born to my new partner before divorce was finalised and my daughter had to have my ex’s surname on birth certicate. Would she be able to inherit from ex’s estate?
Caralin - 29-Jan-18 @ 9:58 PM
Tilly - Your Question:
Our mother died in February leaving no will her estate only consists of the family home (no savings) which our youngest sibling still lives in.We (three ) other siblings unambiguously want this to stay the same how do we go about putting this in place in legal form ?

Our Response:
You may be able to do this via the usual Probate process, but consulting a solictor would be the most straightforward way to find out.
FacingBereavement - 24-Jan-18 @ 3:44 PM
Our mother died in February leaving no will her estate only consists of the family home (no savings) which our youngest sibling still lives in.We (three ) other siblings unambiguously want this to stay the same how do we go about putting this in place in legal form ?
Tilly - 24-Jan-18 @ 12:27 AM
My sister as been told she as to leave her home by September 2018 ,she as lived in it for 51 years with her husband who died September 2017 , apparently he bought the house forty odd years ago in his name only , he made a will on his deathbed with a solicitor and no provisions for her but left the house to two of their nine grandchildren. They had 4 children together, the youngest still living at home with his mum . The house was originally rented from the council then purchased , i think she as rights ? I am also surprised the council would have sold the property to one tenant only , I find it difficult to interfere as family but told her not to leave her home . Thank you
Spud - 21-Jan-18 @ 11:38 AM
Linds- Your Question:
My mother has a house as tenants in common with her husband. She has put in her will she wants to leave her share of the house to me and my sister. She wants the house sold on her death so me and my sister can have her half. Her husband is arguing this as he will still be living in the house and says he has seen a solicitor and will fight it. Where does my mother, me and my sister stand?

Our Response:
Assuming they have equal shares in the property and your mother has made no provision for a "life interest" to enable her husband to continue living in the property then he would usually have to sell the home in order to fulfill the requirements of your mother's Will.
FacingBereavement - 10-Jan-18 @ 12:22 PM
My mother has a house as tenants in common with her husband. She has put in her will she wants to leave her share of the house to me and my sister. She wants the house sold on her death so me and my sister can have her half. Her husband is arguing this as he will still be living in the house and says he has seen a solicitor and will fight it. Where does my mother, me and my sister stand?
Linds - 7-Jan-18 @ 8:10 PM
stephen L - Your Question:
My grandmother and I bought a house in joint names from the council.The mortgage was paid off many years ago and we got the deeds of the house. She has since died and the deeds are now in my possession, do I need to do anything with them or are they ok as they are if I sell the house.

Our Response:
You should complete a "Deceased Joint Proprietor" (DJP) form and send it to HM land registry to remove the other name from the register. You will receive a new title to keep with your existing documents.
FacingBereavement - 3-Jan-18 @ 3:41 PM
My grandmother and i bought a house in joint names from the council.The mortgage was paid off many years ago and we got the deeds of the house. She has since died and the deeds are now in my possession, do i need to do anything with them or are they ok as they are if i sell the house.
stephen L - 2-Jan-18 @ 4:55 PM
Love - Your Question:
My father has died and a will in place from many years ago when he previously owned another Home to be left to my sister who since this will was written she has sold it to myself there is no current mention of my fathers current dwelling house in the will does she now receive this under Scots law or does this become a part of the estate? She thinks she can change the address to the current one and have that

Our Response:
A solicitor would be best placed to answer this question. Without seeing the Will and establishing why your sister was already in possession of the property (to be subsequently sold to you), we can't really help.
FacingBereavement - 2-Jan-18 @ 11:08 AM
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