Court settles siblings’ dispute over sale of family home
The High Court has settled a dispute between four siblings who couldn’t agree over the sale of their parents’ house.
The issue arose after the parents died having left their family home in equal shares to their four children. The parents had expressed a wish that if one the children wanted to continue living in the home, they should be allowed to do so.
One of the brothers did want to keep the home and bought the share owned by one of the sisters.
Following disagreements over the sale and the price, the matter went to court where the judge found that the four children had reached an agreement in principle that the property would be sold to the brother at a value to be agreed.
He then directed that the price should be determined by a court-appointed expert.
Two of the siblings objected, saying the judge had been wrong to assert the brother’s right to buy the property, but if such a sale were to go ahead, the property should be put on the open market rather than have the price determined by court-appointed expert.
The High Court dismissed the appeals. The fact that no one was currently living in the property did not mean that the court had no power to say it should be sold to one of the siblings. The parents bought the property as a family home and so that, if any of the children so wished, it could be kept within the family.
The judge had also considered all the relevant issues and was entitled to say the price should be determined by an independent expert.
Please contact Nicki Denton-Masih if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.