Q&A - Uncle won't vacate house so that we can finalise grandfather's estate

15/08/2011

Q:  My husband and I are named as executors in my late grandfather's will. Apart from a few specific legacies the only remaining asset of his estate was his mortgage free house. The residuary estate was left equally to his 3 surviving children (my two uncles and an aunt). One of my uncles was living with my grandfather. Now he refuses to leave, saying he is unemployed and has nowhere to go. He is also being obstructive, refusing us access to carry out repairs or market the property for sale so that we can finalise the estate. He has not sought to challenge any of the provisions under my grandfathers will and whilst we believed everything would be amicable and he would move out when necessary, this does not now look to be the case. What can we do?

A:  Before your grandfather died your uncle presumably occupied the house with your grandfather's consent and had no other right to remain in occupation. Following grant of Probate the legal title vests with you and your husband as personal representatives of your late grandfather's estate. If your uncle refuses to cooperate with any sale of the property, or to provide vacant possession, you will have no alternative but to treat him as a trespasser and issue possession proceedings in the County Court in order to facilitate a sale of the property.

Although your uncle appears to have an interest in a share in the residuary estate, he appears unable to ‘buy out' the other residuary beneficiaries' interests due to unemployment. His actions are obstructing your duties as personal representatives in concluding the administration of the estate. So once an order for possession is granted by the Court he will have to leave. As a last resort, if he does not comply with the order eviction can be enforced via County Court bailiff's appointment.

Rodney Waters

Rodney Waters

Senior Solicitor

Part our of Civil Litigation and Personal Injury team in Wrexham