Q&As

Where a beneficiary has been living in the deceased’s property for a number of years, do they have a right of occupation? What can the executors do to force a sale?

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Produced in partnership with Lynne Counsell of 9 Stone Buildings
Published on LexisPSL on 30/01/2020

The following Wills & Probate Q&A produced in partnership with Lynne Counsell of 9 Stone Buildings provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where a beneficiary has been living in the deceased’s property for a number of years, do they have a right of occupation? What can the executors do to force a sale?
  • Beneficiaries in occupation
  • Beneficiary’s right of occupation
  • Summary

Where a beneficiary has been living in the deceased’s property for a number of years, do they have a right of occupation? What can the executors do to force a sale?

Beneficiaries in occupation

It is quite common for a beneficiary to occupy the deceased’s property. This can occur in two situations. The first is when the beneficiary has been in occupation for some years during the lifetime of the deceased and perhaps caring for them. The second situation is when the beneficiary moves into the property after the death.

The occupation by a beneficiary can have some advantages for the estate as the property is being maintained. However, it usually raises the problem of how to sell the property if the beneficiary refuses to move out, as the property will often be the main asset of the estate and will need to be sold so the executors can properly administer the estate in accordance with their duties under section 25 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925 (AEA 1925). Occupation by a beneficiary can also raise the issue of the duties to maintain equality between the beneficiaries in that the beneficiary in occupation has an advantage over the other beneficiaries and should account for their occupation. If that beneficiary is also an executor or trustee, there may also be a conflict of interest.

Beneficiary’s right of occupation

A

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