Can I ask my Executors to sell my home when I die to help prevent a dispute amongst my family?

Even if your family get along well, you may be worried about whether they would agree on what should be done with the family home if you were to die.

If you give your house to your children in your will there are various ways in which they can choose to deal with it. For example, they could sell it and split the proceeds between siblings, one sibling could buy the other out and become the sole owner, or the house could be let out and rent divided. Occasionally, siblings will disagree on what to do.

Even the best sibling relationships can come under strain when deciding what to do with the family home after the death of the last surviving parent. It can get particularly difficult if one sibling would like to keep the property but cannot afford to buy out the others who would prefer to sell it.

If you believe there may be the possibility of your children disagreeing over what happens to your house when you die, you can try to prevent this by making your wishes clear now through communication with your children and a well drafted will.

The first step may be talk to your children and lay out your wishes. This will mean there won’t be any unpleasant surprises that could cause arguments later. It also allows time for each sibling to prepare emotionally and perhaps financially for the desired outcome.

The second step is to review your will. You can direct your Executors to sell your home when you die and if you consider this to be the best option, your solicitor can draw up a will that achieves this. It is important you give specific details of how you want your children to inherit the sale proceeds rather than the property itself. You may wish to express direction in your will for how the sale of your property will be carried out. This can include who will sell it and whether it is on the open market, or by auction. It may be important to make sure that the property or the sale proceeds do not fall into what is known as ‘the residue of your estate’, if the residue benefits anyone other than your children, or benefits your children in unequal shares.

Our highly regarded and friendly wills, tax and probate team can talk you through the process of dealing with your property in your will to help reduce any disputes amongst your children when you die. If you would like to discuss any points in this article further or are looking for independent advice relating to contentious probate or creating a will, please contact Spire Solicitors LLP on 01603 677077.