COMMENT:

Q. My father passed away 15 years ago and my mother five years ago. My sister has mental health issues and as she is of retirement age, we all thought she would be in residential care long ago.

However, she continued to live at home and in my mother's Will, it was specified that my sister could live in the family home for ten years, at which point it could be sold and the proceeds be split equally between my sister, my brother and I.

My mother also left my sister some money. I don't have any issue with the Will, except that I don't think it has worked out well for anyone.

The house is quite run-down. My sister has spent all the money and is in debt to the council for rates, a building contractor and who knows who else. I have already paid for a new roof last year as it desperately needed it, but I can't afford any other expenses. I am worried about her but also, honestly speaking, I am worried about my inheritance.

I think a fair situation would be if we sold the house, repaid all the debts and then from what was remaining, my sister could take a 50 per cent share. This would be more than enough to buy her a modern home in a care facility, as well as pay for her ongoing expenses. My brother and I would each have a 25 per cent share. I've talked to her about it, but she is not open to moving. Is there anything I can do?

A. This sounds like a difficult situation, but unfortunately not an uncommon one.

In theory, providing in your Will that a loved one can live in your home for a period of time is a good idea. It provides stability for that person when they need it, and the assets can still be passed down to the "final beneficiaries".

However, in practice it often doesn't work well for the reasons you describe; people are unable to take care of the asset adequately, either because they don't have the financial means or the mental capacity to do so. This can

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