In a society where there is an increasingly ageing population and people are struggling to pay their care fees, it comes as no surprise that family members are acting as live-in carers to their elders.
Many of these carers not only invest their time and money into making their loved one comfortable, some would argue they also invest their lives, often putting careers on hold and making sacrifices towards their own family.
But what happens when the loved one dies and it comes to the division of their assets?
Do the carers deserve a larger portion of the estate due to their lifetime of sacrifice?
Such a case was in the news last week.
Reported January 24th 2018, a 62 year old man (Timothy) had spent his life living with his parents acting as a live-in carer, whilst his two brothers left home and forged careers as Doctors in London.
When their mother passed away in 2015, she left a Will stating her estate (estimated at £1.8million) was to be divided equally between her three sons.
As Timothy acted as “primary carer for many years”, he has challenged her Will believing he is entitled to a larger portion of her estate due to his brothers taking “none of the burden”.
His brothers on the other hand believe Timothy, who is still living in her property, should leave the home so it can be sold and distributed in line with their mother’s wishes.
In court, Timothy explained that for the last eight years he was caring for his mother (a dementia sufferer), unpaid.
Although there were two other paid carers living in the property with him, he believes he had taken on equal responsibility.
Speaking to his brother, he stated:
“You are employed as a consultant and have multiple properties. You are a wealthy man. You offered no financial support and didn’t visit often enough for it to manifest any form of care. I’ve looked after her almost single handedly.
“I don’t own a house, have a pension or a steady income.
“I don’t think I should be made homeless or put into penury if it can be avoided.”
Responding, his brother highlighted that his children are entitled to their share of the estate.
Mr Justice Carr highlighted that as he acted as a carer, there was an obvious conflict of interest between Timothy being both a beneficiary and an Executor.
Ordering Timothy’s brothers to pay their own costs of £25,000, he also ordered Timothy be removed as an Executor and replaced by a solicitor.
When delivering his verdict, he stated:
“The claim to remove Timothy as an Executor is well founded and I intend to accede to it.”
He also warned the brothers they may too have to be removed if further conflicts of interest became apparent.
Although it doesn’t appear Timothy was granted a greater share of the inheritance, it does bring about an important debate that families may need to discuss before their loved one dies.
To find out more information about care planning, LPAs or Will writing, contact LCS NOW on 0345 017 8250.